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The How-To Lounge: Budgeting your Wedding

Now that your save the dates have been sent and your time line is in place, it is time to budget for the big day. Weddings can be extraordinarily expensive and like everything else, the cost of an average wedding keeps climbing. With that said, outlining a budget is imperative before breaking the bank.

For tips on how to budget your wedding

  • Gone are the traditional rules of the bride's family paying for the wedding and the groom's parents paying for the rehearsal dinner, many couples are now taking on the expense themselves
  • No matter who pays for what, your budget will determine the kind of wedding you have so knowing what you can and can't afford needs to be determined before you get too carried away
  • According to, the average cost of a 150 person wedding in the $25,000 range should break down like this:
    • Reception 48%-50%
    • Ceremony: 2%-3%
    • Attire: 8%-10%
    • Flowers: 8%-10%
    • Entertainment/Music: 8%-10%
    • Photography/Videography: 10%-12%
    • Stationery: 2%-3%
    • Wedding Rings: 2%-3%
    • Parking/Transportation: 2%-3%
    • Gifts: 2%-3%
    • Miscellaneous: 8%
  • While we want every aspect of our wedding to be perfect, sometimes we have to pick and choose our battles to keep the cost down. Perhaps you nix a course at dinner so you can have 10 more guests, etc.
  • While the invitation is the first thing your guests will see, you can cut the cost by printing your own invitations and going without a calligrapher for addressing
  • Flowers add a beautiful touch to any event, although they are expensive. Instead of using a florist, opt for a trip to your local flower mart the morning of the wedding and creating your own arrangements
  • The time of year and day can dictate the cost of your wedding. Saturday is the most popular day of the week for a wedding, so to cut the cost, opt for a Friday or Sunday wedding
  • Having an open bar can skyrocket your food and beverage bill. Offering only wine and beer is a good way to satisfy your guests while respecting your pocketbook
  • Music can really get the party started, but live bands are pricey. Having a DJ is a less expensive option, or you could always use your iPod for the musical entertainment
  • Eating buffet style and skipping out on passed hors d'oeuvres will cut the cost on wait staff
  • While there are places to cut costs, the photographer is not one of those places. Although your memories are priceless, a picture really does say a 1,000 words
    • Since you are spending so much money on your special day, be prepared for the unexpected-- don't skip out on wedding insurance. Every bride is unique and prioritizes her needs differently, so with a structured budget in place, hopefully your wedding day can be everything you always hoped it would be!

Join The Conversation
andaman andaman 10 years
If you don't like jeans, you could always buy a second hand white dress from ebay. If anyone asks, tell them you're into vintage. Tell your guests you don't do ring, that's so yesterday. :)
callmehoney callmehoney 10 years
the backyard idea is not a bad one...
kendalheart kendalheart 10 years
Haha nice andaman.
andaman andaman 10 years
dearsugar I'm kidding alright :)
andaman andaman 10 years
lol..i hear you girl. Regarding wedding, have it in your backyard or a friend's backyard (if it's bigger), ask or beg a local band to play for your special day by offering sexual favours to the lead singer in return, dress in jeans, and drink your own homemade wine. That should save you a lot of money. For honeymoon..tell your parents (or force your friends to put the money together) to send you off to hawai for a long weekend.
kendalheart kendalheart 10 years
Uhg, all this wedding talk its driving me nuts!! can we get some stuff for us singles??
popgoestheworld popgoestheworld 10 years
I have been to weddings where the DJ was a computer sitting up on stage. No one even noticed the difference. Everyone was dancing and having a blast! I have also heard advice that you should pick whatever thing is absolutely most important to you and build everything around that. For some people, it will be reception place. For a friend of mine, they wanted a particular band and had to wait until they were available. But please, whatever you do, don't do annoying things to cut your costs if it makes your guests' costs higher! I know people who couldn't afford the reception place unless they booked on a holiday weekend for a Sunday evening wedding. And this place was not easily accessible! So they got a good rate, but everyone else suffered with higher costs of travel and traffic because of the holiday, and being forced to take vacation from work since they couldn't travel home on Sunday.
grl-in-the-world grl-in-the-world 10 years
My boyfriend and I are both agreed that we will be having a very economical wedding when the time comes! We want to save our money for buying a house, so the actual wedding isn't a huge priority for us. We'll be paying for it all ourselves, so we'll be looking for the best deals possible.
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