Creating a Budget for your Marriage Event

Creating a Budget for your Marriage Event

How does your church invest in marriages? We can all agree that healthy marriages don’t happen by accident—it takes intentionality. It takes a committed investment.

Because our pastors believe that healthy marriages build healthy churches, they stand firmly behind our ministry to MarriedPeople. With their support, our team has the distinct privilege of helping couples strengthen their marriage by encouraging them to build the Core 4 Habits into their relationship.

One of those Core 4 Habits is to “Have Serious Fun.” We get behind this habit by offering a once-a-year marriage event called “Caliente, A Night Out for Married People.” The goal of this event is to provide a non-threatening environment where married couples can reconnect through laughter, fun and community.

No matter the size of your church, you can invest in marriages through an event like this, too. Here are some things to consider as you begin to build a budget for your event:


Without a “why” behind your event, you’re essentially taking couples on a trip to nowhere. You’ve heard it said “if you aim for nothing, you’ll hit it every time.” On the other hand, if you have a goal and can identify the “win” it will help you eliminate the unnecessary and stay focused.

The why behind our event is for couples to protect their marriage by having serious fun. The definition for “serious” is earnest, or wholehearted. We want couples to be committed to having fun.

As leaders we are committed to providing opportunities to do just that, this event being one of them. Before you do anything, know your “why.”


Who is your audience? Consider your community—ethnicities, culture, income, children (childcare)—it all matters in planning your event.

Who is coming helps determine the food you will serve, the entertainment and music you will bring in, and how many childcare workers you’ll need (we have a lot of kids at our church).


What do you want to accomplish? We want couples to find a reason to laugh, reconnect, discover community and ultimately have a stronger marriage because of our event.

Once you define the “what,” you can start talking with your team about how to execute the vision. And clarifying the “why” and “who” makes determining the “what” even easier.


This is the fun part! We believe that how we do what we do is just as important as what we do. No matter the size of your budget, staff or facility, you can create an environment that achieves the goal of your event.

We’ve found that there are a few key components to a successful event. Below are some of the categories we plan for when budgeting for our events:

  • Entertainment/Speaker: This is often the biggest expense. The average cost of a reputable speaker is anywhere from $3,000-$5,000. That’s the average, so if you have a smaller event, keep in mind there are speakers for less. You may even find some who are free!
  • Band/DJ: This is second piece of the “fun factor.” We typically hire both—a band for the program itself and a DJ for the “after party” immediately following the programmed part of the event. You may have people at your church who are gifted and willing to donate their services, or charge a minimal fee.
  • Environment (decor, set up, theming): You can create a fun environment on a shoestring budget! There are lots of ideas out there and if you have some crafty people on your team, recruit them to help. You can keep it simple with a few photo op areas, table toppers and background music from your iPhone. Or go all out and bring in a DJ, live band, and inflatables. As you’re planning, avoid overly feminine decor. If you lean in any direction, lean more masculine.
  • Food: I’m going to state the obvious here—get as much for your money as possible. And keep the men in mind when you consider your food options. No chocolate covered strawberries or chocolate fountains.
  • Childcare: We highly recommend offering childcare at your event. Include any cost for food, crafts, etc. in this category. Be sure that your childcare providers are background checked and have been interviewed to insure the safety of your kids.
  • Security: In this day and age, we want to make sure everyone feels safe. We build this cost into all of our events. Determine if this is something that could add value to your event.
  • Volunteers: We want to show appreciation to our volunteer teams. Providing food for them when they work our events is one small way we can do that.
  • Thank-you’s: We always follow up with “thank-you’s” to team members that serve at our events. This can be a simple thank you card, or treating them to coffee. Don’t skip this!
  • Games – To create some fun, we invite 3-6 couples to compete to win a prize in a couple of platform games. There will be cost associated with supplies for the game, but it should be minimal.
  • Giveaways: Reach out to some businesses in your community for donations. You’ll be surprised at how many are happy to donate gift cards, memberships and services. If you can, get 3-5 donations, the only cost you will have is the supplies for presenting the gift (gift boxes, ribbon, etc.).
  • Ticket sales/registration: How many do you expect to attend? The number of seats sold will be a determining factor in the cost of the ticket. If will you be using a third party, like Brushfire or Eventbrite, consider building the cost of the service into the ticket price. Other costs may include physical tickets or wristbands for entry, will call lists, etc.
  • Greenroom: Anytime we bring guests in (like a speaker), we like to go the extra mile in caring for them. Ask in advance what their favorite foods and drinks are so you can have them ready for them when they arrive. Then you can provide snacks, their favorite coffee/drink and a warm meal for them when they arrive.

Sample Budget

Add up all of these categories and any additional ones you might have (we have a few others not listed), divide it by the number of seats you plan to sell and the number you get will help you determine your ticket price. Here’s a sample:

Speaker $3,000
Environment $500
Food ($3/person X 500 attendees) $1500
Greenroom/guests $100
Childcare ($2/child X 300 children)* $600
Security $200
Volunteers ($4/volunteer X 25 volunteers) $100
Thank you’s $25
Games/giveaways $200
Band $500
TOTAL Cost $6,725
# of couples attending (1 ticket per) 300
Approx. ticket price per couple $25

*You may need to cap the number of children you’re able to care for!

With proper planning, your event can pay for itself, which is a win in itself. But the biggest win is the joy you’ll experience when you begin to hear the stories of marriages that were saved, transformed and strengthened because of your investment.

Over time, you will start to see healthier marriages, stronger families and a thriving church.

Creating A Mission Statement For Your Marriage Ministry

Creating A Mission Statement For Your Marriage Ministry

At the end of 2016, our pastors invited us to take the lead on a new initiative. We were confident that by implementing this initiative, we could move the vision of the church forward in our region.

The initiative was to strengthen and build marriages within our church. We hoped to use the influence of Christ Fellowship to impact the marriage culture of our surrounding communities. After stepping into the opportunity, we quickly realized we needed to bring cohesion around all that was happening for marriages at that time.

There were several great marriage classes and programs available to the congregation. However, each operated in a silo, separate from the others. We believed the most important thing we could do was to align all the marriage opportunities around a joint mission.

Randle S. Hanson says, “a mission statement acts as an invisible hand that guides the people in the organization.” We knew that our mission statement would define the purpose of the ministry, build unity with all those who served in the ministry, provide clarity, and give us laser focus for all our ministry activities.

Here is the mission statement that we created for our ministry to married people: “To lead a radical transformation for Jesus Christ in our region and beyond, we create environments that strengthen and build healthy marriages.”

Looking back at the lessons learned from our process, here are three things to take into consideration when creating a mission for your married people ministry.

1. Make your mission statement motive-focused

A mission statement should clearly express the reason or motive behind the existence of your ministry. A mission statement isn’t a list that describes what you do. It’s a statement that declares the motivation or the “why,” behind what you do.

A key way to define your motivation is to identify your vision or goal for marriage ministry. Ask yourself: “What does the preferred future look like? What does the win look like?” From our mission statement, you can see our motivation is “To lead a radical transformation for Jesus Christ in our region and beyond.”

A second way to dial into your motivation is to look at your past wins. Where have you found forward motion and success? This could be an indicator of your unique ministry motivation and point toward your mission.

Lastly, look for ways that you are positioned to make a difference. Being uniquely graced to speak into a specific area of need can be a huge motivation for a mission. When you answer the “why” question, you will begin to see the answers to the “how” questions more clearly.

2.  Make your mission statement measurable

Be specific enough in your mission statement so that you can measure your successes and failures.  If you refer back to our mission statement, creating environments is what we do. We determine the success of an environment by whether or not it strengthens and builds into a healthy marriage. This gives us a tool to ask, “How are we doing? Is this environment or experience working?”

One of our environments is our Prep 4 Marriage course. We know that couples who take a class like Prep 4 Marriage before they get married, will reduce their risk of divorce by 31%. For us, one of the measurements of success is the number of couples we graduate out of the course each year.

Another environment that we measure is groups. We know that biblical community is critical to having a healthy marriage. So, gauging the number of couples in group life, as well as the number of new groups launched, will give us an indication of how we are doing at fulfilling our mission.

3.  Make your mission statement memorable

Your mission statement should be stated in as few words as possible. Try to keep it to one sentence.  This will help it to be easy to teach to others. People should be able to remember it! Your mission statement is the map that provides a path to follow.

If you can’t remember the mission, it will be pretty easy to drift off course.

Make sure that you are clearly articulating your mission whenever possible to your leaders and members of the ministry. A good rule of thumb is that when you start getting sick and tired of hearing yourself saying the mission, people are just then beginning to listen to you.

It’s so easy to lose sight of your mission. Post your mission statement on the walls around your ministry area or offices as a visual reminder.

4. Don’t Re-invent the Wheel

If your church already has a mission statement, you should leverage it instead of trying to create something new. Our church has a very clear mission to lead a radical transformation for Jesus Christ in our region and beyond. Everyone, Everyday, Everywhere. (Our language for the church is every person, living out their calling every day, everywhere they go).

This mission has been fundamental in the forward movement for the church. It has given us a consistent framework for growth and expansion. As we started thinking about the mission for the ministry to married people, it was evident that we needed to align to the mission of the church.  There is power in a unified purpose.

The more that you can align with the mission and vision of your church, the more effective you will be.

Does your marriage ministry have a mission statement? What is it?

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