You said yes! Congratulations, you are now engaged to be married. You are on cloud nine and ready to set a date and start planning the wedding of your dreams. How much is this celebration going to cost?

The average wedding cost about $25,000. Of course, each wedding is unique. And so is each budget. So, it’s very important to start with the budget.

Who will pay for wedding? The couple? Bride’s parents? Will Groom’s parents help? Maybe Grandparents? If anyone is contributing finances towards wedding, find out if dollar amount or a portion of the wedding. Example: Grand mom may be willing to pay for florals or contribute a certain dollar amount. Once you have a discussion with anyone that is contributing to financing the wedding you will need to determine a realistic budget.

Now that you have a budget you can start planning. Compare your budget with your vision. Does it match? If not, you may need to adjust your vision to find creative ways to cut cost.

Prioritize: Bride and Groom separately should make a list of 3 top “must have” at wedding. Then together try to combine those priority items.

Here’s a list to show what portion of your budget will be spent for what. Of course, this can be adjusted to what’s important to the couple.

Venue, Food and Beverage: 40%- 50%

  • Venue space: Some venues give a discount for a weekday, Friday or Sunday. Saturdays are the most popular day for a wedding and will cost the most.
  • Food: this includes food, service charges, taxes and tips
  • Beverage: if serving alcohol, this is a large charge. Less or no alcohol can cut cost
  • Cake

Ceremony: 2% -3%

  • Marriage License
  • Officiant
  • Ceremony Music Rentals
  • Florals

Photography and Videography: 18% -20%

Décor: 8%

  • Floral
  • Rentals
  • Lights

Entertainment: 7%

  • DJ, Band

Planner: 3%

  • A professional planner can save you money (and your sanity) and help you avoid costly mistakes.

Stationary: 3%

  • Save the Dates
  • Invitations
  • Postage

Wedding Attire: 9%

  • Dress
  • Hair and Beauty
  • Accessories

Rings: 2%

Transportation: 2%

Favors and Gifts: 2%

Tips for cutting cost:

  • Hire a professional certified wedding planner: This may seem like an added expense, but an established, professional wedding planner has developed relationships with the local vendors and often can pass along saving to you that the vendor offers to them. Your planner will review contracts to be sure there are no hidden fees or missing items. A planner will help you stay within budget and help you avoid costly mistakes. You spend a lot of money on your wedding. Shouldn’t you have a planner to ensure that your wedding goes smoothly and as you planned?
  • Shorten your guest list: You pay per person for food, beverages and rentals.
  • Catering: Many venues have their own caterer. But if not and you hire a caterer, consider hiring one that offers full service. If you just have them bring in food, then you will need to rent linens, dishes, glassware, flatware and possibly tables and chairs. A full-service caterer also brings with them a certified bar tender. If you are required to hire a bar tender, often you will need to take out event insurance as well.
  • Use Ceremony Décor at reception as well. Have your planner arrange transfer.
  • Florals: Let the florist suggest seasonal flowers for your colors and style.
  • Have wedding on a day other than Saturday. Many venues and some vendors offer a discounted rate on weekdays, Friday and Sunday.

Cost you may have not considered.

  • Vendor meals: your planner, photographer, Videographer and DJ are with you before and throughout your celebration. Many require that you provide a meal for them.
  • Postage stamps
  • Wedding Dress Alterations
  • Overtime: Many vendors have an hourly package. If you go over the planned time, there will be an extra charge.
  • Delivery fees: for rentals, cake, florals.
  • Taxes and gratuities
  • Some places charge for cake cutting service, corking fees and clean up fees especially if late in the evening after staff has gone. Check your contracts