One of the toughest components of wedding planning is sticking to your budget.
With all the excitement that comes with this happy time, it is easy to go overboard with spending and you could find yourself with no more money and maxed out credit cards.
No newlyweds want to return from their honeymoon with a monumental stack of debt to start their lives with.
It is just not worth it.
To avoid this pain, you must come up with a framework to track your spending and concentrate on what you can securely spend.
The easiest and most practical method to do this is to create a spreadsheet in Microsoft Excel.
Now I realize you may be thinking, "I don't know how to create a spreadsheet?!", but it really is very easy.
Getting StartedFirst, you need to evaluate what all you need to budget for.
We suggest that you start by separating the wedding into these 12 categories:
- Photo & Video
- Rehearsal Dinner
- Bachelor & Bachelorette Parties
Now not all of these categories will apply to your wedding but this pretty much covers any size of wedding.
Out of these 12, choose which ones will directly apply to your wedding.
The next step is to break down these categories even more to assess the precise expenses associated with that category.
For instance, if you chose "Attire" as a category for your budget, expenses would most likely be the bride's dress, groom's tux, the veil, shoes, and other accessories.
Do this for each category you choose until you feel that you have covered all expenses.
Building The Spreadsheet
Start by opening a new spreadsheet in Excel or whatever application you choose to use.
For each category, you will construct three columns in the spreadsheet.
One column to list the category and its subparts, one column for the estimated costs, and one column for the actual costs.
It should look something like this:
The next step is to add a function that gives the sum of the amounts for the estimated costs and the actual costs.
Functions are what make applications like Excel and Numbers so useful, they do the math for you.
The main function or calculation you will use for your wedding budget spreadsheet is the SUM function.
Check out the screenshot below:
Looking at arrow #1, I have selected the box or cell B18 which, in this example, is supposed to display the total estimated expense.
Arrow #2 is where I have added the SUM function with the proper range from the "Bride's Dress" at cell B6 all the way to "Other" at cell B17.
For example, if your estimated cost column goes from cell E15 to E24 then your SUM function would look like this: =SUM(E15:E24).
This now means that as you add number values to the estimated column, the total amount will be displayed in the cell that you added the function to.
Now that you know how to add a SUM function, apply it to all categories for both the estimated and actual costs columns.
Once you have completed this, the spreadsheet should appear something like this:
Now if you want to take it to the next level, you can add a section to the spreadsheet that gives you the total sum of estimated costs and the total sum of actual costs of all categories and how it relates to your budget.
This is how I set it up:
Next to the star is the selected estimated total expenses.
The function of the cell may look complicated but it is simply adding up the corresponding category totals as shown through the pink and green arrows.
The same process would be used to determine the total actual costs.
To track how close you are keeping to your budget you may want to add a subtraction function of your wedding budget minus the actual costs.
The function would look something like this: =C4-C7.
This will give you the difference so you can make the proper changes to keep you on the right financial track.
That's it! Pretty easy, huh?
Utilize what you have learned in this article and apply it to your wedding, no matter how small or large it may be.
Whether you use Excel, Numbers, or Google Sheets, creating a responsive and detailed spreadsheet will not only force you to not only come up with a wedding budget but keep you on track with it.
I am not going to lie, this might take some time but it is not hard at all once you get the hang of it.
We know planning weddings can be hard, that is why we have created the ultimate checklist that will help you stay on track and consider things you had not previously thought of!
Check out our free download "The Ultimate Checklist: How To Plan Your Wedding" now!