4 Ways to Organize Your Wedding Expenses

Quick Answer

You can organize your wedding expenses by following these four steps:

  1. Set a realistic spending limit
  2. Create a spreadsheet
  3. Add payment dates to your calendar
  4. Consider using a wedding app
Young fiancees standing in their kitchen organizing their wedding expenses

Even if you go into wedding planning with a clear budget and the best intentions, costs can creep up as you start making plans, booking vendors and selecting menu options.

Staying organized with expenses can keep you within budget and ensure wedding bills get paid on time. Read on for some wedding planning tips that can help you celebrate your big day without taking on more expenses than you can handle.

1. Set a Realistic Spending Limit

It's common for couples to spend more than initially planned for a wedding. A study by the Knot found that 54% of couples go over budget, with an average overage of $7,100.

Ultimately, weddings are a big occasion where it can be hard to say no to the perfect dress, DJ, flowers or venue. That's why setting a spending limit is important, and pricing out each aspect of your dream wedding is crucial to choosing a realistic budget.

Wedding venue fees and catering costs are large expected wedding expenses, but lesser-known costs can pop up along the way, and building flexibility into your budget can make room for them. Below are potential hidden wedding costs to consider:

  • Officiant fees
  • Hotel accommodations
  • Vendor delivery fees
  • Vendor setup fees
  • Makeup and hair trial fees
  • Tips and gratuities
  • Venue cleaning fees
  • Favors and wedding party gifts
  • Meals for vendors and photographers on the wedding day

2. Create a Spreadsheet

Once your spending limit is settled, add expenses to a spreadsheet to share with your partner and others helping you plan and pay for the wedding. This way, you can get on the same page about the wedding costs and when they need to be paid. Include the following items in your spreadsheet:

  • A name for each wedding expense
  • The projected spending limit for each expense
  • The amount actually spent
  • Due dates for payments
  • Date the expense is paid in full

For a budget to work, you should check the spreadsheet and make updates often. Spending might not go exactly as planned, and if an expense is lower or higher, make adjustments to other areas of your budget to compensate.

3. Add Payment Dates to Your Calendar

Weddings aren't paid for all upfront. Some costs, like a dress, might be paid for right away. But the cost of the venue may be split into multiple installments where the first deposit secures the date, and the last payment might be due on the day of the wedding.

Write down payments with due dates on your calendar, and consider setting up reminders to notify you before the payment is due. This way, you can ensure you have enough money in your bank account to pay the bill on time.

4. Consider Using a Wedding App

Downloading a wedding app is one way to keep the wedding budget at your fingertips as you shop for venues, decor, flowers, attire, catering and more. WeddingHappy is an example of an app that lets you keep track of your wedding to-do list and expenses. WeddingHappy is free for download in the Apple and Google Play app stores.

The Knot's free wedding app is also available in the Apple and Google Play app stores and has even more features. You can use it to set a budget, create a wedding checklist, manage your guest list, contact vendors, manage RSVPs and more.

What if Your Wedding Goes Over Budget?

If expenses start adding up to more than what you have set aside for your wedding, you could borrow money to supplement your savings. Using a credit card with an intro 0% APR is one way to pay for costs with no interest as long as you pay off the balance during the introductory period. Experian CreditMatch™ can help you shop around by showing you personalized credit card offers that fit your credit profile.

However, paying for your wedding in cash is the ideal scenario. If you're several months or years out from the big day, depositing money into a high-yield savings account biweekly or monthly could boost your savings for the upcoming nuptials. Interest earned on the account may be small, but every bit helps, and borrowing less money for a wedding means you'll have less to pay back as a newly married couple.