Your wedding is probably going to be one of the biggest (and most stressful) events you’ll ever plan. From finding the perfect venue to choosing a catering company, it can be far too easy for inexperienced wedding planners to throw budgets to the wind and go into debt for the sake of their ceremony.
However, planning a wedding on a budget isn’t an impossible task if you stay organized. One tool that many soon-to-be brides and grooms use to manage their wedding expenses is a wedding budget spreadsheet. Wedding budget spreadsheets are easier than trying to record every expense on paper and give you and your future spouse a one-stop zone for expense calculation.
Getting into debt is no way to start a marriage. Use one of our favorite wedding planning spreadsheets to keep your “I do”s within your budget — and have more money to spend on your new life together.
Quick Look: The Best Wedding Budget Spreadsheets
- A Practical Wedding’s Wedding Budget Spreadsheet
- BrideSide’s Wedding Planning 101
- Bridal Musings’ Wedding Budget Spreadsheet
- Wedding Wire’s Wedding Planner
- The Knot’s Wedding Budget Calculator
- You Need a Budget (YNAB)
What Does Wedding Budget Spreadsheet Help You Accomplish?
One of the best ways to save money in any area of your life is to stay organized and track your expenses, and planning a wedding is no different. Wedding spreadsheets help you keep track of how much you spend on each expense category, which can be especially useful if you and your soon-to-be spouse have been putting payments on different savings accounts or credit cards.
The best way to use a wedding spreadsheet is to begin by sitting down to figure out how much you can afford to spend in total on your upcoming ceremony. Don’t forget to include expenses for your honeymoon, reception
Items to Look for on a Wedding Budget Spreadsheet
Your wedding is a unique experience, but there are some things that every wedding spreadsheet should have, including:
There are a few expenses that every wedding planner needs to anticipate. Make sure your wedding spreadsheet has areas to record the most basic features of every wedding, like your venue, attire, invitations, save-the-dates and catering.
Are you the type of bride or groom who wants to rock out to music from your iPhone played over the venue speakers or are you willing to splurge for a violin quartet? Either way, you need to allocate at least some money for your entertainment — even if it’s just $20 to legally download your favorite songs.
An Adjustable Category for Cultural Expenses
If you’re planning a traditional or culturally significant wedding, your wedding spreadsheet needs to allow you to add expenses that other couples may not need.
For example, if you’re planning a Hindu or Muslim wedding ceremony, you’ll need to pay for your
Our Picks for the Best Wedding Budget Templates
The internet has made wedding planning easier than ever before. Here are a few of our top picks for wedding spreadsheet choices.
1. A Practical Wedding’s Wedding Budget Spreadsheet
If you’re searching for a straightforward and easy-to-use wedding budget spreadsheet, A Practical Wedding’s Wedding Budget Spreadsheet might be exactly what you’re looking for. APW’s spreadsheet is available as a free Google Sheets item but the sheet can also be exported and downloaded as an Excel file.
The Wedding Budget Spreadsheet includes ten major expense categories: venue, décor, attire, ceremony specifics, photography and videography, stationary and paper goods, entertainment, planning expenses, miscellaneous and an emergency fund. From there, the spreadsheet breaks down each category into more specific expenses.
For example, the “ceremony specifics” category includes expenses for the officiant, the marriage license and music during the ceremony.
One feature that makes the Wedding Budget Spreadsheet unique is that the sheet features estimations on what percentage of your budget should be spent on each category based on industry averages. This can be especially useful for if you haven’t planned a major event or party before and aren’t sure where you should put toward your budget. It’s also easy to add or subtract budgeting lines and you can customize your spreadsheet with just a few clicks.
A simple, straightforward and free option, A Practical Wedding’s Wedding Budget Spreadsheet is a great introductory must-have for both event planning and tech newbies alike.
2. BrideSide’s Wedding Planning 101
Is A Practical Wedding’s offering a little too simple for your taste? BrideSide’s Wedding Planning 101’s sheet offers another, more comprehensive free budget template. The Wedding Planning 101 sheet is available as a downloadable Excel file, which means that you’ll need to already have this program on your computer to view it — you can’t automatically open it online with Google Sheets like APW’s offering.
However, what Wedding Planning 101 lacks in compatibility it makes up for in category completeness. The author behind Wedding Planning 101 has thought of every conceivable expense that you could incur throwing a wedding — expense categories are available for everything from ring engraving to automatic gratuity for bartending staff to the groom’s cufflinks and postage for your save-the-dates. When you look through Wedding Planning 101’s sheet, you’ll probably come across one or two expenses that you didn’t even know you needed, which is a great thing in terms of creating an accurate budget.
Though brides and grooms who are planning a simple ceremony might be overwhelmed by the number of categories contained in Wedding Planning 101, meticulous spreadsheet nerds will drool over the complete list of categories.
3. Bridal Musings’ Wedding Budget Spreadsheet
Frustrated with cutesy designs that sacrifice functionality for style? Just want a simple, straightforward, free place to track your ongoing wedding expenses alongside your future spouse? Bridal Musings’ Wedding Budget Spreadsheet is a no-nonsense,
This feature can be an asset for brides and grooms who are splitting wedding expenses but who don’t have access to the same computer to jointly edit an Excel file. You also have the option of exporting your data to a personal Excel sheet if you wish.
Bridal Musings’ Wedding Budget Spreadsheet makes it easy for wedding planners to add
4. Wedding Wire’s Wedding Planner
WeddingWire’s Wedding Planner isn’t a spreadsheet in the traditional sense — instead, it’s a free app available as a download for both Apple and Android phones and tablets.
WeddingWire’s app is a powerful, one-stop-shop for everything that brides and grooms need to budget and plan for their wedding expenses. After creating a free account through WeddingWire, you can create a total budget through the app and allocate funds for expense categories like “catering,” “photography,” “ceremony music,” or your own custom categories. The app allows you to set your original “estimated expenses” while you’re in the early stages of planning, then adjust categories based on what you actually spend.
This makes it much easier to stay on budget by allowing you to move money from one category to another without messing with a spreadsheet’s format or doing a whole new set of calculations. There’s even an option to enter your total budget and let WeddingWire distribute funds between categories for you based on industry standards.
WeddingWire’s Wedding Planner is much more than a simple budget spreadsheet. The app also offers connectivity and synchronization with WeddingWire’s community of vendors, and you can create a guest list, registry, countdown, and even a personalized to-do list and store them with your budget.
A free and comprehensive wedding planning tool, WeddingWire’s Wedding Planner is a strong budgeting contender when it comes to mobile planning.
5. The Knot’s Wedding Budget Calculator
Another online budgeting tool, The Knot’s Wedding Budget Calculator is not a traditional spreadsheet but instead offers a more visual way to manage your finances and contact vendors. First, create a profile on The Knot’s website and enter your total budget in the “maximum budget” section. Then, enter your estimated and actual expenses below, using multiple categories organized by color.
As you spend money on different services, The Knot’s calculator will automatically deduct these expenses from your total overall wedding budget and serve you with a pie graph that displays the funding that you have left. This unique tool can be especially useful if you still have more than 12 months until your big day and you need to think about your budget in the context of long-term planning.
Though The Knot’s Wedding Budget Calculator comes with a list of some of the most common wedding expenses, it’s easy to add or delete items with a few simple clicks.
The Knot’s website also has full wedding-planning capabilities, allowing you to create a guest list, design your own wedding website, and even compare vendors in one convenient place. Another all-access wedding planning site, every couple should register with The Knot before their ceremony.
6. You Need a Budget (YNAB)
Okay, You Need a Budget (commonly abbreviated “YNAB”) isn’t an app or spreadsheet specifically for couples planning their wedding. However, it is a powerful spreadsheet-based budgeting app that can make saving up for a wedding and honeymoon easier.
YNAB’s app links with your bank
YNAB is free for 34 days. After your initial trial period has ended, you can continue to use the app for $6.99 a month. If you or your soon-to-be spouse need to save up for your ceremony (or pay down some student loan debt) before you say “I do,” YNAB is a simple and easy-to-use budgeting tool that’s perfect for beginners.
Fall in Love with an Affordable Wedding
Too many couples assume that if they’re throwing a wedding, enforcing a strict budget will result in a drab courthouse affair. However, the truth is that a creative couple can throw a Pinterest-perfect wedding without breaking the bank.
When you finalize your budget, sit down with your soon-to-be-spouse and think about areas in which you can save. For example, you might want to consider creating your own custom centerpieces to save on decorations or cut down on your catering bill by holding a Sunday brunch-themed wedding instead of a traditional dinner.
Cutting costs doesn’t have to mean cutting the magic from your ceremony. After all, the thing that makes a wedding memorable and joyous isn’t fancy décor or a designer dress — it’s the family and friends who come together to celebrate the love that you and your future spouse share.
Looking for more ways to save money on your big day? Check out Benzinga’s guides to the best cheap wedding invitations, the best budget spreadsheets and the best budget apps.