Planning a Wedding Budget: Your Questions Answered

Etiquette expert and editor of Debrett’s Wedding Guide Jo Bryant answers your questions about planning a wedding budget


When it comes to planning your wedding budget, you can be left feeling baffled when it comes to who pays for what and how to talk about money and budgets with your family. If you are just engaged and need to start planning your wedding budget then we are here to help.


We spoke to etiquette expert and editor of Debrett’s Wedding Guide Jo Bryant to answer all your budget worries and questions.

Vintage retro glass jar with hemp rope tie wedding tag and few coins inside on wood counter concept of saving money for wedding

Q. My parents have said they will help out with wedding costs but I’m not sure how much money they are actually offering. How can I find out what they really mean?

If your parents have offered to ‘help’ pay for the wedding but not given an specifics then simply come to them when you are finalising your budget, thank them for the offer and ask if they can give you a rough figure or estimation so you can factor this in to your budget plan. It’s be to keep any level of expectation quiet, if you come in way over it can cause problems.

Q. Who should pay most towards the wedding?

Forget the old fashioned idea that the bride’s parents pay for everything as many couples finance their own day with assistance from both sides of the family. It will completely depend on everyone’s financial situations and it is probably best to go in expecting you will pay for your wedding yourself and any additional offers of money will be a welcome helping hand.

Q. My parents won’t contribute at all. What can I do?

You can’t ever demand they pay for your wedding, it is their right not to. Whatever you do don’t let bad feelings ruin this special time. Sit down and make a plan with your fiancé; it may just mean that you can’t afford that honeymoon in the Maldives, but you can still have a special day.

Q. We want to pay for everything to avoid parental meddling. How can we tell them without causing a fight?

Your parents probably don’t realise they are being a nightmare, but honesty isn’t the best policy here. Take a gentle approach, give them small specific tasks to keep them involved without you losing control. If they insist on contributing? Ask for help with the honeymoon and say “It would be a weight off our minds while we are planning the wedding day itself.”


Q. Should we as the couple pay for my bridesmaid’s dresses or will the bridesmaids pay?

As far as possible the bride should pay, but if that really isn’t an option you can’t be dictatorial on style or price. You must also be upfront about money when you ask them. Tell them you would love them to be your bridesmaid but that you are not able to pay for their dress. It is then up to them if they accept.

Q. We want money instead of gifts. How do we avoid offending?

People feel uncomfortable simply putting money into a current account, so a cash gift list like Prezola can be a simple way around this.

Find out more: The best wedding gift lists

Top Tips for Starting Your Wedding Budget

Talk About Your Wedding

Before you start to plan your budget, first sit down with your partner about talk about the type of wedding you both want to have. If you have a very small budget and dream of a big fairytale wedding day then you may need to either plan the wedding for a later date so you have time to save or manage your expectations.

Consider Your Other Financial Commitments

Take time to consider your wider budget – not just the wedding. If you have any big events coming up, you are looking to move house or your have any other financial commitments then don’t forget to factor those in.

Do a Small Amount of Research

It’s a good idea to do a little bit of research into wedding costs and estimations before you settle on a budget, this can help you plan something a budget that is realistic.

Factor in Some Future Savings

When you look at your finances, don’t forget to include future savings in your plan. If you are having a wedding in 18 months then you could include savings from those 18 months into your budget. If you do this though you must be strict with yourself and stick to this plan as much as you can.

If you are looking for more ways to save for your big day then don’t miss our article 47 Ways to Save Money.