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How to Create a Wedding Budget in YNAB

Say I Do to Organizing Wedding Expenses

So, you’ve popped the big question, and perhaps a bottle of bubbly to celebrate your engagement, and now it’s time to get down to the nitty gritty of planning a wedding.

Roll out the red carpet (or aisle runner of your choosing), bejewel the bride, book the band, tailor the tux, taste the cake, tip the officiant, and get ready to write some checks. Getting married is an exciting, emotional—and potentially expensive—event.

The costs associated with hosting a ceremony and reception can add up quickly, and if you don’t have a plan in place, the whole wedding planning process can start to feel chaotic and overwhelming.

Save money—and your sanity—with this YNAB wedding budget breakdown.  

Budget Categories for Wedding Planning

Learning that the average cost of a wedding adds up to a whopping $33,900 (according to The Knot) may cause a knot of anxiety in your stomach. Have no fear; there are ways to save for a picture-perfect wedding day and YNAB is here to help organize your expenses to avoid overspending.

Before you can create an accurate budget, you’ll need to make a list of your expected expenses. Some of your costs will be obvious, but it’s the sneaky little stuff that can cause you to over budget for your big day.

money snapshots

Don’t worry if your eyes just bugged out at that total. It’s simply an average, and if you want to spend way less (or way more), that’s up to your and your priorities.

Here’s a list of potential budget categories to help get you started, but don’t forget to account for the special touches that contribute to your personalized wedding experience:

  • Save-the-dates
  • Invitations
  • Postage
  • Wedding planner
  • Rehearsal dinner costs
  • Wedding day attire, including alterations and accessories
  • Hair and makeup
  • Wedding rings
  • Flowers for ceremony and reception
  • Decor (such as linens, signage, aisle runner, seating chart, guest book, etc.)
  • Transportation
  • Marriage license
  • Photographer fee
  • Videographer fee
  • Officiant fee
  • Gifts for bridal party
  • Hostess gifts for bridal showers or parties
  • Venue
  • Catering
  • Beverages
  • Wedding cake
  • Entertainment
  • Gratuities for vendors
  • Wedding favors
  • Wedding night accommodations for bride and groom
  • Honeymoon expenses

Of course, YMMV (which means “your matrimonial expenses may vary”, in this case because we love acronyms, we really do) but that list covers most of the basics and beyond.

Now let’s compile those categories into our wedding-friendly YNAB budget.

How to Budget for a Wedding in YNAB

Okay, you’ve got your list of expenses and plans for your big day so now you need…wait for it…a budget.

Get it?

You Need a Budget says you need a budget?

You do though.

In order to be efficient and effective, you need a budget that works best for you, so we’ve put together three different options for creating a wedding budget in YNAB so that you can choose your own adventure.

Option One: A Shiny New YNAB Wedding Budget

Weddings symbolize a new beginning, so starting a fresh new budget for the occasion might seem fitting.

You can create a new budget solely for wedding expenses if you’re keeping wedding funds in a separate account.

Choosing that New Budget option under settings is ideal if you’re keeping your nest egg for nuptials in a separate bank account. Simply add the account with your wedding-related funds, start adding category groups, fill in your line items as categories, and assign amounts based on what you have available in To Be Budgeted.

Voila! It’s really that easy. Just don’t forget to add your transactions as you start spending!

If you plan on spending from your regular checking account, creating a separate budget could make reconciling your expenses more challenging than it needs to be, so keep reading.

Option Two: Use Your Real Life Budget Plus One Wedding Category

Maybe you’re already a dedicated budgeting guru, or perhaps you plan on starting your new life on the right financial foot. Either way, we’re proud of you! Think of the addition of a “wedding expenses” category group to your everyday expenses as the delightful plus one on your budget category guest list.

Adding a wedding category group to your existing budget is an easy option for organizing expenses.

Just hit the edit button, add a new group, name it something awesome and creative—or just “Wedding”, there’s no reason to reinvent the wheel—and add your expenses line by line. Combining your regular budget and wedding budget can be helpful for those trips to Target where you buy dog food, two dozen items you didn’t need, and then some cute decor for the wedding because the “split transactions” feature makes it easy to allocate those funds where they belong.

Option Three: The Union of an Existing Budget and Wedding Categories

Our last option offers the practicality of joining your wedding budget and regular life budget together while also allowing all of the glitz and glam and excitement of breaking your wedding expenses into nicely organized category groups.

Look, it’s exciting for us, okay? You watch “Say Yes to the Dress” for the bedazzling, we watch “Fun Money with Ben and Kelly!” for those beautiful budgeting tips. (You should watch that episode, by the way, it’s about saving for a wedding.)

Easily identify wedding-related expenses in your existing budget by adding emojis or a W to the category name.

The easiest way to visually differentiate your wedding-related category groups from the everyday stuff would be to add a “W” in front of the category name, but the coolest (and still easy) way would be to add an emoji.

In keeping with our “choose your own adventure” theme, we won’t try to peer pressure you into emojifying your budget despite how much fun that is.

It’s YOUR budget, however you choose to do it is awesome. Just like your wedding will be.

Haven’t started a budget in YNAB yet? Get started for free on our 34-day trial. And the only commitment you need is the one for your significant other, you don’t even need to enter your credit card info for the trial. Get started today for your big day!

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How to Create a Wedding Budget in YNAB