At ThymeBase, we’re lucky to have a spreadsheet wizard on the team, David, our CEO. And he’s created the absolute best free wedding budget template.
In his own words, David says, “I come from a finance and accounting background as well as owning and consulting for small businesses. Budgets and spreadsheets are my life. I love them. Not a joke, I love spreadsheets. I may even name my first child Excel.”
Well, it’s probably a little better than X Æ A-12 Musk, son of Elon Musk, and Grimes (yup, we keep our fingers on the pulse).
In this article, I’ll help you navigate the wedding budget template itself. I’ll also explain why the various tools matter, and how to use them to your advantage, whether you’re a wedding planner or the soon-to-be-wed.
Why You Need A Budget Tracker
More than half of all couples end up increasing their budget, according to Wedding Wire, sometimes by over 30% of their original budget. And that’s why you need a wedding budget template spreadsheet – to help manage expenses, stay on track, and still meet your wedding goals.
A budget is your road map, and a great budget is your Google maps. Checking in with the budget and tracking actual costs keeps you’re on the right path to wedded bliss. If you don’t stop and see where you are, you’ll end up going in the wrong direction. So check in with your budget often.
Why Couples Go Over Budget
There are several reasons that couples end up spending significantly more than intended, but doing some preliminary investigation will help avoid many of the likely mistakes.
Often couples set their budgets before doing any research. This leads to underestimating the costs of vendors. Then, as the affianced twosome explores their options, whether decor or catering or something else entirely, upgrades and customizations add to the expense.
Guest counts also can grow as, over time, familial obligations drive larger guest lists. Or maybe more people RSVP’d yes than expected. But more people more gifts, but also more money to put down.
Working With A Wedding Planner on Your Budget
We build event planning software for event planners. So we know the incredible value that wedding planners can bring to your special day. It might seem counterintuitive, at least, at first, but working with a wedding planner can save you way, way, way more money than the costs of their service. And you’ll avoid wasted time, headaches, panic, stress and hives (probably).
A wedding planner knows the costs of the various items that make up your special day. They can help you budget the right amounts unique to your vision, local prices, and restrictions. And they know the best people who provide the best value, so even if costs go down, the quality does not.
In many cases, they’re able to negotiate for you, especially with the venue. While it’s not reasonable to expect a wedding planner to play hardball with vendors, because of their deep industry experience, they’ll know alternatives and tradeoffs. Helping you brilliantly budget is only one of the tremendous amount of value they’ll bring to your wedding.
How A Wedding Budget Spreadsheet Can Help Keep Costs Down
A wedding budget spreadsheet that is consulted often will help rein in impulses, sure, but there’s more to it. A smart budget calculator can uncover areas that are over-budgeted. And so you can recommit money from one category to another.
That’s why David built-in visualization. Keep an eye on the Estimated Vs. Actual Cost chart for an instant view of where you’re under- and over-spending. So if your catering is under budget, but you really want to splurge of florals, well, go for it.
Another way of keeping costs on track is by tracking what is owed – another aspect baked into our budget template. When you look at your bank account and see the money just sitting there, it’s easy to give in. By carefully managing what is owed, you’ll maintain a responsible discipline and avoid spending funds you’ve already committed elsewhere.
But you can only make these smart decisions if you’re tracking the expenses accurately and functionally. So let’s get into how ThymeBase’s fantastic wedding budget spreadsheet works.
Using The ThymeBase Free Wedding Budget Template
Step 1: Add Your Projected Budget.
Total Projected Budget in cell D4. This is just a reference. It’s useful to refer to this number as you plan your wedding.
Step 2: Begin checking the items you plan on including.
In column B, check the items you plan on having for your wedding. We’ve already populated the rows with likely items, but you can add your own too. Anything checked will be included in the running total.
Step 3. Enter Your Estimates
As you plan, enter the estimated costs for each item in column F. You don’t have to get this right, but do a little research. The more realistic these guesses are, the likelier you’ll be to coming in on budget.
Step 4. Add The Actual Costs
As you talk to vendors and work your way through the planning of your wedding, enter the actual quoted costs in column H.
Step 5. Track Deposits
Payment tracking is critical to stress-free wedding planning. Enter in the deposit, and the date paid in columns J and K. The wedding budget spreadsheet will keep track of what is still owed.
Step 6. Track Vendor Payment Schedules
Paying on time is a courtesy we all appreciate. Use the wedding budget tracker to stay informed about the vendor payment schedule, what is owed, and, also, method of payment. Who wants to fuss about this on your actual wedding day? No way.
What You’ll See As You Use The Wedding Budget Spreadsheet
As you use the spreadsheet and enter in the details, things will happen. Cool things. I mean, that’s why sheets built by accounting pros, like David, are so awesome.
You’ll see that TOTAL ESTIMATED BUDGET and TOTAL ACTUAL COST will update based on what you think things will cost and what you’re quoted by the supplier. DEPOSITS PAID and BALANCE REMAINING will also update based on the entries.
As you add to the spreadsheet, you’ll observe the graphs update instantly. The charts visualize your budget and progress. The pie chart shows your estimated breakdown of category. It helps you see, quite literally, where you’re allocating your funds.
The Estimated Vs. Actual Cost chart is your sanity check. This lets you understand just how close you are to the actual costs you expect to pay. And finally, the Total Amount vs. Outstanding reminds you that you’ve committed funds to suppliers and vendors, even though it’s still sitting in the bank account. So keep an eye on this one.
As your wedding nears, dates will turn red if unpaid and past due.
Start Your New Life With Joy
Okay, so maybe I’m overstating the power of a good budget. But maybe not. Controlling your budget is simply another way of ensuring peace of mind. So why let a dark cloud hang over your wedding day? Track expenses carefully, and you’ll maintain a sense of calm and control. And you’ll have that much more of yourself to share with your loved ones on your special day.
Related article: Your Event Planning Business and Bookkeeping: Tips From a Finance Pro