Minneapolis wedding officiant Rev Coleman, for a chapel with a Minnesota wedding

Free Wedding Budget Tool

Free Downloadable Wedding Tools:

Wedding Program Template      Seating Chart      Wedding Budget Tool (Excel)

Free downloadable wedding budget tool (Excel format).
Every wedding budget tool I've ever seen is just not helpful at all. They're either confusing, inaccurate, or just plain unhelpful - how frustrating! Many tools, whether in wedding books, on for-pay websites, or on free websites, include oddball items such as "oil painting"(?), or they just have a lot of unhelpful blanks for numbers. When getting an idea of what your wedding will cost, brides tell me that it's so much more helpful to have what is "traditional" or "usual" or "suggested", then you can go from there. At least then, you can have a rough idea of how things go. Usually, if a newly-engaged couple is asked, "What's your wedding budget?", they have no idea, which is completely appropriate, because they've never done this before! In response to this frustrating lack of clarity from the wedding industry, I've created this free wedding budget tool, to help get you started.

  • Note: As with all my advice and guidance, this free wedding budget tool is just a suggestion/my opinion of how wedding ceremonies and receptions are usually put together, at least in in the Minneapolis, Minnesota area. You may have a completely different experience with your wedding budgeting, and find that this free wedding budget tool is not applicable to your situation. Any number of factos may not apply to you - but as with all rules of thum,  at least this is a good place to start.


You may design your wedding any way you wish, but if you want some free advice and rules of thumb from an award-winning minister who has coordinated and performed over 600 wedding ceremonies, here is some information that can be invaluable.
  • The #1 most important factor in how much the wedding will cost?
    • How many guests you have. It sounds obvious, but if you invite 175 guests, it will cost basically 75% more than if you invite 100. This free wedding budget tool will help clarify how important this one factor (how many guests) is to your budget.
  • Wedding rules of thumb:
    • Estimating cost? 
      • Think $100 per guest. That number may sound high, but if you  check out this free wedding budget tool; it will help show how this $100/guest rule of thumb is a pretty accurate way to budget. You can definitely have a cheaper wedding, but it will require a lot of careful thought, and of course, if your wedding is more than $100/guest, it will be that much more luxurious.
      • Every other element of your wedding? 
        • Think 1 grand. Everything is about $1,000. 
        • If you pay more, you get a better vendor, if you pay less, you're getting a really good deal (or a cheap deal). 
        • Flowers, invitations, ceremony site rental, photos, DJ, musicians, gown...everything is about $1K. 
        • At the very least, this a good rule of thumb to start with...just a way to estimate costs, and see how these "small" expenses compare to the much huger costs of the reception budget, with the number of guests (times $100/guest) is the much bigger part of the equation...100 guests=$10K, 200 guests =$20K, etc.
    • Thinking about ushers? 
      • Estimate 1 Usher for every 50 guests. Ushers are incredibly helpful for wedding ceremonies - when guests arrive, there's someone there to immediately put guests at their ease, answer questions, give them a program so they know what's going on, help direct them to their seats (tell guests whether it's bride's side/groom's side, whether the front row is just for family, etc.), and when it's about time for the wedding to begin they can help tell your guests that they need to get to their seats - the wedding is about to begin!
  • False rule of thumb: 
    • 20% of invited guests will RSVP "No". 
      • Where did this one get started? To say that 20% of invited guests won't come, and thus a small room or small budget can be accomodated is, I think, basically wishful thinking (sorry). 
      • Believe it or not, virtually everyone who is invited usually winds up coming to the wedding (really!). Weddings are super-important to people - everyone wants to come to your wedding, and they will make an incredible effort to do so!