by: Lauren

We talk about wedding budgets a lot here on ELD. Anywhere from what to expect to pay for things, to creating your wedding budget. But one thing that we haven’t touched on lately is something that is REALLY important when it comes to wedding budget and working with wedding professionals- defining what “on a budget” means!

Define What On A Budget Means via

I hear it all the time, and unfortunately the term “on a budget” just doesn’t provide enough information. Case in point, some of the following dubious “on a budget” phrases that are commonly heard by myself and many others…

“Well we’re of course on a budget, and we would like to know your pricing.”


“We’re on a budget, so clearly we would like your best prices.”


“What is your pricing? We’re on a budget.”


“I’m on a budget, so I can’t have XYZ for my wedding.”


Friends! Essentially, everyone planning their wedding is on a budget. Even weddings by Preston Bailey have budgets… it’s just part of planning a wedding.

So instead of using the common and all-encompassing phrase of “on a budget”, I challenge (or beg) you to define what “on a budget” means for you and your wedding.


Why should you define “on a budget”?

In the wedding world, a budget is viewed as an amount that you have put in place for spending on your wedding.

In general life, the term “on a budget” tends to be associated with a lesser amount that has been set aside for spending.

Do you see the potential disconnect in using this phrase? 

Most wedding professionals are going to expect you to have a budget because paying for things is kind of an important aspect of hosting an event. So when you tell a potential wedding vendor that you’re “on a budget”, it’s not telling them much… they basically think, “Well yeah, I’d hope you’re on a budget!”

Any one wedding vendor could have worked with couples who had budgets of $20,000, $45,000, $100,000 and on- and all of those couples were “on a budget”! So they really can’t know what you mean when you say “on a budget” unless you get more specific. You don’t have to tell them the exact number, but at least tell them what range you’re in or what you’re budgeting for their specific “category”. Communicating this information will be incredibly beneficial to both you and the potential wedding vendor!

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Image by Nicole Jansma Photography

So just remember- if you want to tell potential vendors that you’re “on a budget”, be sure to define it for them. Trust me, it will only help you! And if anything, it will eliminate that extra email of them asking what your budget is so they can give you accurate pricing and you can check another box off your list of To Dos. :)


I’m curious- how would you define your “on a budget” phrase? Share your definition in the comments! :)

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A version of this post was published in August 2011, and it has since been revamped for accuracy.
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Define What On A Budget Means via


Founder & Editor at Every Last Detail
Lauren Grove is the editor and owner of Every Last Detail. A clueless bride-turned-wedding planner, Lauren uses her experiences and knowledge to educate and inspire brides all over the world.

20 responses to Define What “On A Budget” Means

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  1. Ashley Daniell Photography

    Oh my gosh Lauren this is one of the BEST tips ever. Like you said everyone is on a budget, but that budget could be different for each person. “On a budget” doesn’t necessarily mean cheap. I hate when I get inquiries that tell me they are on a budget – help me out by letting me know what that means! Thank you so much for this post!

  2. erin

    so true. Vendors need to know your budget so they can accurately draw up a proposal.

  3. WrappedCouture

    This was a great post! I was just speaking on this subject with a potential client the other day. Some words, such as budget is all relative. It can mean one thing to one person and another to someone else. Everyone has a budget and going in with a specific number in mind really helps both parties and eliminates times wasted.

  4. Sharon

    Great post, Lauren!

  5. alex

    Well, as an engaged person who has done this, I found it really tricky to get information from vendors sometimes. If you name your price first, they won’t tell you their lowest amount, and if you name too low a price they just won’t call back. I have a low budget, but when I was still figuring out how much money to allocate for each thing, I really needed to know what a vendor’s low range would be, just to get an idea, so that I could build a budget in the first place.

    So, “We’re on a budget” means “what’s the lowest price you’re willing to show up for cause I’m broke and also have no idea how much this stuff usually costs.”

    • Lauren Grove

      Great points Alex. Definitely points out that vendors need to be more open with their price ranges so brides can know more and make educated decisions when creating a budget. This goes back to a series that I’m planning for all about average pricing for different types of vendors!

  6. April

    Excellent. As Wrapped Couture said, this is a daily thing for me. If you dont know your budget we will assist you in planning one. but Please know that we cant direct you to vendors we dont know your budget. EVERYBODY has a budget (and what i call the OMG budget- OMG i HAVE to have it!)

  7. Elizabeth {Bridal Musings}

    Such a simple statement but with very different interpretations ~ great post!

  8. Jenna @ Heartcarry Press

    This is so true! Can’t WAIT to see your average pricing series- I was thinking of doing something like that for stationery after I saw The Knot’s average price infographic recently. Would be such valuable information for couples trying to figure out how to allocate their budget!


    I totally needed to read this! I was just talking with a bride who continually brought up her “budget” but never made it clear to me what that budget was exactly. It’s frustrating that budget seems to generally mean cheap when that isn’t the case at all, so thank you for this post and clairfying that!

  10. Emily

    This was a great tip for me, as I’m planning our wedding and have been using the ‘budget’ term. I understand Alex’s point; currently I’m looking at florists, and if I ever buy flowers, they’re under $10 from Trader Joe’s. I have no idea how much a ‘small’ flower budget is, and it’s hard to get an idea.
    With that in mind though, I will definitely try to be more specific with vendors, because I love hearing all of the industry points of view as well. I’m hoping to be an ‘informed’ wedding consumer!!

  11. Kristine {in love, engaged}

    Such a great point, Lauren. I think we’re so used to saying, “I’m on a budget” but we don’t think about what that actually means–or the importance of clarifying it for our vendors. I’m sure I was one of those annoying brides claiming we were “on a budget” without giving an exact price. Oops!

  12. Jemma Coleman

    When we hear,, “I’m on a budget.” we generally assume that our potential client is trying to be smart about their spending and wants to communicate that they’re not looking to “go bananas” within our particular category. All of our pricing is available up front online so that our clients can educate themselves without the hassle. Our prices don’t change based on our clients budgets – we simply help them find what they are looking for and assist them in getting creative with their budget when needed.

  13. hM


    In all of your examples (and any others that come to mind) it’s pretty clear that “On a budget” is a euphemism for “I don’t have much money so let’s do this cheaply.” You aren’t an idiot, so I’m pretty sure you understand exactly that message.

    You are the professional in this situation; not the bride. She probably hasn’t planned a wedding before, which is why she is seeking out professional vendors. Pressing for her to give a specific number shows that you don’t have set pricing for your services and are looking to nickel and dime people for all they can afford. That kind of attitude is totally unprofessional; a high quality vendor is open about their pricing and services up front and doesn’t play games.

    • Lauren Grove

      Ultimately, the thing to take away from this is that both parties need to communicate with other. I’m encouraging brides to share more information than just “on a budget” for the reason that “cheap” is a different number or price range for everyone. Not everyone’s idea of “on a budget” or “let’s do this cheaply” is the same. :)

  14. Erin Davenport

    This couldn’t be more on-point for me today. You’re right, it’s such an obscure term. Thanks for re-sharing :)

  15. Dana Goodson

    Great article Lauren! one of the many reasons i love your site so much. you always have a way of explaining both sides and helping brides and vendors.

  16. Eleni (a Vendor)

    This is a wonderful point. We customize all events and we need a range to make sure we are staying within the clients budget. This doesn’t mean we are trying to “nickel and dime” anyone but it does mean we might have to adjust sizes of arrangements or use different types of flowers/decor items. At the end of the day, we want to create a beautiful event that the clients not only love but feel great about! Xoxo

  17. SHEENA (a Vendor)

    The other phrase that makes my skin crawl: “Reasonably priced.” First, it assumes that a professional who understands his or her value is being unreasonable by stating his/her price point and it’s incredibly subjective. I think $3k is really reasonable for a photographer. Jane Bride might think $5K is reasonable and John Groom might think anything over $1k is crazy.

  18. Ashley D (a Bride)

    This is great to know, I am guilty of this! I also have a question that involves this exact topic and couldn’t find an email address for you but I didn’t want to write it all on here in the comment section. I could truly use your advice on how to approach the next several months with vendors & venues. Long story short,We were getting married on 4/2015 and had to suddenly postpone a month before because I was diagnosed with breast cancer and BRCA1, I needed surgery and treatment right away. After the worse year of my life, I am finally cancer free however a lot has changed including me. Now we are attempting to scrap together pennies to put together another wedding, we lost money on the first because of cancellation policies. But now when I am starting to talk to vendors and places again about the wedding, I am trying to delicately say that we cannot afford certain things and feel bad when I end up having to go into the story because I do not want them to think I am using that for sympathy or a handout. I know that things happen and this happened to me and I’m okay with it, I just do not want them to think I’m explaining looking for discounts. I hope that makes sense, I am sorry to put all of this on here, I am just hoping you might have some advice on how to approach the topic in a way where it doesn’t come off that way. I’ve read several of your articles and your tips are SOOO helpful and useful. Even if you cannot help me, Please know you have been a very big help already. Thank you so much, God Bless

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