There’s no way around it: weddings are an expensive event that has many different moving parts. When working with couples I have many ask me:
How do we keep track of everything we're spending and make sure we don’t go too far?
That’s where my wedding budget spreadsheet comes in handy. While setting up our couples spreadsheet in an organized manner. This way also keeps wedding stress at a minimum, the first, and most important, thing to get a handle on is a realistic approach to their wedding budget.
I always tell couples that instead of setting a set number. Setting a range is less stressful. Your max number should have a 5k buffer for any incidentals but as a wedding planner, I always shoot to be under that 5k buffer point.
No matter what number you’re working with, you’ll want an efficient, easy-to-read way to keep track of how you allocate funds along the way—and how much you have left to spend.
How to set up your spreadsheet
Like all spreadsheets, your wedding budget spreadsheet will have horizontal rows and vertical columns. Make your rows the different vendor categories of your wedding and any other necessary add ons. I typically list them starting with larger costs first and then taper off into smaller expenses, such as the cake and favors. Here are the categories I use:
Furniture: tables, chairs, bars
Transportation: guests, getaway car
Nannies (Only if kid-friendly)
How detailed you get is, of course, entirely up to your personal preference. While it may be overwhelming for some to have a line item for every single purchase visible in one sheet, others may find it helpful for quickly cutting costs once the numbers start creeping up.
When venue hunting, create tabs for each venue by copying your spreadsheet and renaming the tab according to your venue. This will help you figure out which venue falls into your overall budget without becoming overwhelmed.
Your columns will be where you track costs and the payment process. Be sure to include one column for each of the following:
Sum up all your columns to keep track of your calculations in real-time. Saves valuable time.
How to manage your spreadsheet
The key to a successful budget worksheet is to keep it updated. I use Google Spreadsheet and download the app to my phone so that I can constantly update the numbers while on the go.
An even easier way to keep everything in one place is by using our online spreadsheet. You can now access a copy of what we use with our clients to get started.