Sticking to Your Wedding Budget [No Matter Your Income Level]

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Recently engaged to be married? The thought of affording a wedding can be quite unnerving at first glance. However, with a bit of effort, anyone can pull off a budget wedding. The average price of a wedding in the United States was just under $26,000 last year. Typically, with many couples spending around $19,000 to $32,000, over half of them pay less than $15,000.

No matter how much you have to spend, understanding the hidden costs, as well as the obvious ones, will help you when it comes to making your budget. This guide is broken down into three main categories super budget, budget, and average price points. Each set of statistics representing the specific budget ranges: $5,000, $5,000 to $15,000, and $15,000+.

 

Table of Contents

Super Budget Wedding

With the state of today’s economy, a super budget wedding is far more reasonable for many couples planning a wedding. Is a budget of tens of thousands of dollars is a bit of a stretch for you? If so, a super budget wedding will help you to no derail due to the costs of tying the knot.

For the following super budget section, all quoted expenses are based on the average 50 to 100 person wedding in the United States.

The $5,000 Wedding Budget

A $5,000 budget may seem tight, but you can have a fantastic wedding with that amount. As long as you enjoy your wedding, and succeed in creating a day to remember forever, that’s all that matters. Keeping this in mind can make the whole process easier.

The first thing you need to do is determine what exactly you can and can not afford. Reevaluate these things several times leading up to the wedding. A touch of charm and creativity will help you pull off the best economy budget wedding. Cutting back on the guest list by having a smaller venue such as a private at-home wedding can save you more than just about anything else.

The $5,000 budget can be broken down in a manner of ways. Depending on which aspects matter the most to you and your spouse. For one instance, you can allow $1,000 for the venue and entertainment. Budget $1,000 for the food, drinks, and alcohol. You can then spend $1,000 on the rings as well as $500 for the dress and tux. Finally, you can budget $1,000 for photos and $250 each for both invitations and flowers.

Alternatively, you can budget $1,000 for accessories, jewelry, and beauty if you aren’t paying for venue rental. The options are nearly limitless. The bottom line is that for a $5,000 wedding, you’re going to have to be creative with the budget.

Attire, Accessories, and Jewelry

One of the first things couples start discussing when planning for their wedding is the attire that they are going to wear, wedding gowns and tuxedos particularly. It’s important not to forget about the jewelry, especially the pieces worn by the bride herself when creating your budget.

Do you need a $2,500 engagement ring? And if so, do you also need a $1,000 wedding ring on top of it? Think about buying gold or silver bands instead. Also, if your bride is going to wear jewelry with her dress, can she borrow some pieces from friends and family instead of buying new stuff? These are the types of considerations you will need to make if you don’t intend to break your budget.

To keep from blowing your budget before you even get going, plan to spend no more than $1,000 of your overall budget here. The most basic rings are available for a couple of hundred dollars each, which leaves a few hundred for the dress and tux.

Wedding Gown and Bridesmaid Dresses

Every woman’s first question for the bride is, “have you picked the dress yet?” and for a good reason. The wedding gown is one of the most complicated decisions of the entire wedding for the bride. An economy gown has an approximate price range of $563 to $1,600.

Bridesmaids dresses will probably not be a factor in your wedding working with a $5,000 budget. That’s ok though because most bridesmaids buy their dresses anyway.

Wedding Tux and Groomsmen Tuxedos

One area you won’t need to worry much about creating cost reduction is the groom’s tuxedo. It may already cost as little as $138 to $254. On the other hand, one expense that you may escape is the $200 or so cost for each of the groomsmen’s suits. However, a tux rental is approximately $100 to $200 as well if you’d like to pitch in.

Engagement Rings and Wedding Rings

The average economy engagement rings range from $1,671 to $3,488. These numbers, however, may be somewhat high figures, as there are several rings available for half that price. Your engagement ring was likely purchased a long time ago so we will not be adding them to this budget.

Another area that can ease off pressure on your economy budget, or can completely blow your budget, is the wedding rings. Realistically, you should only be spending about $500 for both wedding bands.

Earrings, Necklaces, and Bracelets

Purchasing a pair of beautiful earrings will run you an additional $81 to $145. A spiffy necklace for the bride can be had for somewhere between $104 and $184. While a fashionable bracelet, an entirely optional piece of jewelry for the bride, will cost another $87 to $227.

An excellent way to reduce costs is to ask family members to loan jewelry such as family heirlooms for the wedding. That way the bride feels even more special, all while saving hundreds if not thousands of dollars.

Beauty and Spa

One of the most affordable, as well as important to the bride herself, is beauty and spa. The part of the budget that entails the bride’s hair, nails, and makeup. Overall, an economy budget can account around $80 to $200 for this area. Or, friends and family can pitch in and scratch this category off the budget altogether.

Hair, Nails, and Makeup

Hair and nails can be done by a loved one of the bride’s, such as a sister or best friend. Otherwise, plan to pay somewhere between $45 to $81 for hair and $30 to $54 for nails. Additionally, the bride’s makeup is going to cost anywhere from $35 to $64 unless her bridesmaids or mother take it upon themselves to provide themselves as her makeup artist for free. Hair and makeup for the bridesmaids are also usually paid for by the bride. However, for a super budget wedding, a makeup and hair party before the ceremony would be better as it is free.

Flowers, Decorations, and Invitations

Every princess type bride envisions a wedding with flowers decorating the table tops and lining the walkways. However, failing to take into consideration the costs of flowers and decorations for your wedding can quickly blow your otherwise tight budget.

Invitations and thank you cards are easily overlooked when you’re on a tight budget. However, those costs, as well as postage prices, are essential areas to remember while figuring your $5,000 wedding budget. When left out of your planning, these costs can sneak up and surprise you.

Make a head count database to use throughout your planning process, with columns for contact info, RSVPs, gifts, and any other relevant information.

For reaching your goal of a $5,000 wedding, prepare to limit your spending for flowers and decorations to around $250. That allows $100 for a bouquet, $100 for invitations, and $50 or so for decorations.

Bouquets, Floral Arrangements, and Decorations

A basic, albeit beautiful, bouquet will cost you around $103 to $204. This price is not including several extras for bridesmaids or otherwise. Necessary floral arrangements for an economical wedding can add an approximate $257 to $590. Not exactly a fortune, but enough to make you notice the cost that’s adding up.

On a tight budget, lighting is one of the last things you’d probably remember to account. However, dedicating a couple hundred for low fog lights, or a few accents lights for the walls, isn’t such a bad idea. Extra decorations can tack on an additional $206 to $450 to your budget.

Ceremony Programs and Reception Menus

The ceremony programs make up a small part of the budget, costing only around $69 to $120. The reception menus, however, are a natural place to save on your economy budget. Merely creating them online and printing them out at home, or even at the local office max, will keep your part of the $66 to $113 that it would otherwise cost you.

Table Name and Place Cards

If you decide to have table names and place cards, you will do well to consider making them yourself or asking a friend or family member to contribute their computer friendly skills in helping you to design and print them. Opting to purchase place cards and table names will incur another $38 to $75 on your budget.

Invitations, Thank You Cards, Postage, and Other Costs

Some folks are set on having the perfect invitation cards, and well they should be as it is supposed to be the perfect day. However, sending emails or making personal phone calls is a great way to save on the $71 to $120 that it would cost to buy invitations for 50 to 100 guests.

A necessity that is replaceable with an email or phone call to each guest, over the course of a month or so of course, is the thank you cards. Sending a “thank you” to each guest will cost at least $37 to $80, even more for the postage. Sending your invitations and thank you cards is going to accumulate another $36 to $83 on your budget.

Photos and Videos

The section I would suggest trying to save on your economy budget is the photography and videography. Don’t get me wrong, having pictures and videos of your special day is a must. However, there are more straightforward options out there that won’t necessarily take up a quarter of your entire budget.

Realistically, $1,000 is the maximum amount of your budget that you should consider spending on photos and videos. You can hire a professional photographer for around $500, get prints for about $200, and order a wedding album for approximately $300.

Renting a Photographer/Videographer

One of the main places to be creative with your wedding budget, if possible, is the hiring of a photographer or videographer. Consider asking your best friend or parents to record your wedding from the reception to the after-party.

Having a friend or family member do this for you will save you around $426 to $1,019 on a videographer and another $668 to $1,606 on a photographer.

Wedding Photo Album and Prints

Purchasing a wedding photo album to immortalize your big day is going to run about $155 to $553. Consider saving this money for another part of your budget. Instead, make things a bit more personal by printing own your photos and putting together a photo album of your own.

Prints are going to cost you around $114 to $216. Again, if you have a friend or family member taking the photos you can save money by selecting the exact pictures you like best and making your prints.

Venue, Entertainment, and Extras

Choosing a place, food, transportation, and wedding suite rental, or no rentals are all vital aspects of planning your wedding budget to come in under $5,000. I would encourage taking a hard look at the all options, in turn, stretching your money the furthest. If you can free up money for food and alcohol by finding a free venue, that’d be great.

As far as entertainment, a great way to find an affordable live show for your economic wedding is to go out and see a few local bands or musicians and book your favorite one. Also, if you know someone who is part of a group, see if they would play your wedding as a favor.

Spend no more than $1,000 for the venue, entertainment, and extras.

Ceremony Officiator

If you have a friend or family member, who happens to be clergy you can save on the $113 to $285 you would otherwise pay for a ceremony officiator. Ask around at work or church; you’d be surprised how many people are willing to officiate a wedding for free or for donations legally.

Venue Rental Location

Possibly the most expensive part of the economy wedding is the venue location. Deciding whether you will have the reception and the ceremony in the same place will be one of the most crucial aspects to consider in keeping the budget down. Plan on spending around $1,000.

Having the wedding at your parent’s house, or a free or low-cost public place like a park equipped with pavilions will do wonders in opening up your overall budget. Otherwise, you’ll spend anywhere between $2,000 to $4,000.

Bar, Food service, and Catering

Affordable food service will cost you around $1,050 to $3,909, and an additional $721 to $1,870 for bar service. Catering is one of the primary areas I would personally suggest cutting out of your budget if possible.

The average cost of an economy catering service for a wedding is about $100 to $400. Consider asking the best man, or maybe Uncle Charlie, if they would mind grilling for the group if it’s summertime.

DJs, MCs, and Musicians

An economy priced DJ or MC is going to cost your approximately $356 to $764. For a few dollars less than a DJ or MC, you can hire a musician or ensemble for around $324 to $680. Consider using a playlist and stereo to save a few hundred dollars.

Rehearsal Dinner

Another place you can free up a couple of hundred dollars for your overall budget is the rehearsal dinner. Ask a few friends and family to prepare dishes at home and bring it to feed the guests. Even if you end up buying drinks for every that shows up, you’ll still end up saving most of the $209 to $520 you’d end up paying for dinner otherwise.

Hotel and Limo Rentals

After the wedding and party wind down, you can enjoy an economy wedding suite for a night between $252 to $359. An economy limo service will cost you something like $236 to $471 for a ride to and from the big event.

Wedding Cake and Desserts

A wedding cake is pretty much a must, so, unless your sister owns a bakery, you’re probably going to end up spending anywhere from $196 to $424 on your cake. A great way to reduce this cost is to encourage your best friends to get together and prove their undying friendship by baking a cake.

Wedding Planning Hacks for a $5,000 Budget

To not go over the $5,000 budget, there are several different hacks you can use and to come in well under budget. For example, something as simple as picking out a discounted dress can save you hundreds of dollars.

Sending emails and requests on social media in place of physical invitations, printing you own placeholders and reception menus, as well as having the bridesmaids do the hair and nails of the bride can also save you a few hundred more dollars.

Try sitting down with your spouse and writing down the most crucial aspects of the wedding budget in your opinions. Study each other’s ideas and decide which elements are the most important to both of you. These should be the areas you put your money towards, for the most part. All other areas will need some finesse and a little bit of creativity.

Budget Summary

As impossible as it may have seemed at first, everything does indeed fit into a $5,000 budget. Check out the following example;

  • Attire: $600
  • Wedding Rings: $500
  • Jewelry: $200
  • check Entertainment: $500
  • check Spa: $150
  • Venue: $1,500
  • Food: $500
  • Photography: $800

Total: $5,000

To have the perfect wedding for under $5,000, there are going to be things you’ll have to sacrifice. If you want to spend more in one area, something else will suffer, so choose wisely.

Budget Wedding

The second set of numbers we’re going to be looking at is the “Budget” price range. With a bit more money for your wedding budget comes a bunch more options for your arrangements. The added financial ability will allow for things like better refreshments, a more excellent venue, a bigger cake, better entertainment and much more.

For the following section, all expenses are based on the average 100 to 300 person wedding in the United States.

The $5,000 to $15,000 Wedding Budget

Planning a wedding around a $5,000 to $15,000 budget gives you a little more breathing room than an economy budget. You’ll be able to increase focus on the physical setting and atmosphere bit more. You’ll also have a few other options like limo rental, a full bar, and catering service as well.

However, keep in mind while planning your budget wedding that even the most trivial-seeming costs can add up to some serious expenses. So, as you and your spouse determine what is most important to fit into your budget, be sure to try and consider ways to save money on your wedding.

Attire, Accessories, and Jewelry

A groom’s tuxedo and a bride’s gown are a couple of the most critical decisions that you have to make. With a budget of $15,000 or less, a world of new options is opened up for you. That said, beware of overspending in this area, or you’ll be sacrificing somewhere else.

Jewelry is without question one of the most expensive aspects of a wedding for sure. You can spend thousands of dollars before you even know it. A couple thousand here, a couple thousand there, and quicker than lickidy-split, you’ve spent a third of your entire budget.

Take care to calculate the overall expense of the whole wedding as best as you can before purchasing the jewelry if at all possible. Finding discounted wedding jewelry from last season, or the one before is always an excellent option for saving a few hundred to a couple of thousand dollars.

$2,500 for attire, accessories, including jewelry and beauty will allow you to stay on track budget wise. That breaks down to around $1000 for a dress, $1,000 for jewelry, $250 for a tux, and $250 for beauty.

Wedding Gown and Bridesmaid Dresses

A beautiful wedding gown that she adores is one of the most important factors to take into consideration for your budget. The average cost of a gown is around $970 to $1,968.

For a budget wedding, it’s a great idea to pitch in a little bit for the bridesmaids’ dresses; that way all of your bridesmaids will be more likely to approve of the theme you picked out.

Wedding Tux and Groomsmen Tuxedos

His tux, on the other hand, is only going to run somewhere between $156 and $269. If you have a bit more of a budget for attire, consider pitching in for groomsmen tux rentals that will cost them around $100 to $200.

Engagement Rings and Wedding Rings

Her engagement ring is another price to carefully consider as it will cost on average $2,756 to $5,359. Again, you probably purchased this long ago, so it is not in this budget.

The wedding rings themselves add $698 to $1,388 for hers, and $324 to $745 for his, to the overall budget if you include the rings as part of the wedding expenses.

Earrings, Necklace, and Bracelet

A beautiful pair of diamond earrings to match the gown will be between $115 and $323. A decent string of pearls, or strand of silver, is going to run your budget up by an additional $149 to $419. For some extra bling on the brides’ wrists, expect to shell out another $136 to $335.

Beauty & Spa

A beautiful bride, or even more importantly, a bride who FEELS gorgeous is a crucial component to any successful wedding. Guys, let me tell you, you better go ahead and earmark a couple of hundred dollars for the big day. Unless you feel like explaining to the bride why her cousin Tammy has better-looking hair than her on her wedding day, you better budget for the salon!

Hair, Nails, and Makeup

Hair and nails are sometimes the last aspects factored in the budget. Of course, she wants to look amazing for her special day, and why not? Her hair at around $51 to $83, and her nails for another $34 to $58 a small price to pay to look and feel fabulous. Her makeup will be an additional $32 to $58 for the budget to take into consideration.

Flowers, Decorations, and Invitations

Decorations can add up way quicker than you’d imagine at first glance, but when you take into consideration everything from the bouquet to the flowers on each table, it doesn’t take long to get out of hands.

The traditional invitations that you will send to your guests through the mail are not the only factors you should be aware of when planning for this area of your budget If you have a bit more to spend. There are also other considerations to make such as table names, placeholders and ceremony programs.

To stay in line with the $15,000 budget, $1,000 is a pretty reasonable number for flowers and general decorations. That would break down to around $200 for the bride’s bouquet, $500 for floral arrangements and decorations. It’s also about $200 for invitations, thank you notes, and postage, as well $100 for the ceremony program.

Bouquets, Floral arrangements, and Decorations

The wedding bouquet itself is going to cost approximately $148 to $286. Floral arrangements for an average 100 to 300 person wedding add up to around $485 to $928. These prices will vary depending on where you live and what time of the year it is as well.

Light is another essential aspect to consider if you have a little more space in your budget for the venue. You can think about additional lighting such as chandeliers, texture lighting, and even a spotlight for your cake all for around $500 or more. All other basic decorations should comfortably fit into a $339 to $690 budget.

Ceremony Programs and Reception Menus

The cost for the ceremony programs will cost about $87 to $201. Count on spending between $82 and $216 on the lists for the wedding reception. That is a cost many can shave off by merely having a family member or friend, such as the leader of their church, perform a ceremony at no charge.

Table Name and Place Cards

You can pre-plan the seating arrangements, to ensure Aunt Suzie isn’t stuck sitting next to Cousin Jim, who accidentally ran over her favorite cat three years ago. Place cards will cost around $45 to $149.

Invitations, Thank You Cards, Postage, and Other Costs

Invitations for 100 to 300 people have an approximate value of $178 to $425. Add $66 to $153 to the shopping list, this time for your guest’s thank you cards. The stamps, envelopes, and other essential materials for mailing invitations and thank you cards will run you around $79 to $210 for a wedding of 100 to 300 people.

Photos and Videos

Capturing the magical moments in life seems to make everything better. A much substantial budget will allow you to afford professional quality media coverage of your special day better. That said, beware of going overboard, as you’ll see below, it adds up real fast.

Continuing with the $15,000 budget, up to $2000 can be spent on the photography and videography including extras. For around $1,500 you can find an affordable photographer and videographer as well fitting in $500 for a photo album and a few prints.

Renting a Photographer/Videographer

An often overlooked step of the planning is the cost for a photographer or videographer. In the case that your best friend, or even your Aunt Suzie for that matter, is a good shot with a camera/camcorder. Consider asking them to do you the honor of being your photographer. These kinds of favors can help keep you on budget. Otherwise, you’ll end up paying somewhere between $788 and $1,514 for a photographer, and another $1,277 to $2,409 for the videographer.

Wedding Photo Album and Prints

Ordering a wedding photo album from your photographer will be an additional $313 to $558. The average cost of photographs for a budget wedding is between $181 to $426.

Venue, Entertainment, and Extras

The place is the most significant expense in any wedding budget. With many favorite sites charging per-guest for food and bar service, as well as seating and even entertainment, the bill is going to eat up a significant portion of your budget.

Options for reducing the cost of venue and entertainment include seeking a cheaper site and off-setting the price of food and liquor for a larger crowd. Uncle Larry’s summer home might be just the place to look into if you’re lucky enough to have an Uncle Larry that is. A potentially significant portion of your overall wedding budget can be spent on the entertainment for your wedding despite the expense of the venue itself. Research plenty of acts and settle for the most versatile option that suits your overall wedding’s theme.

For a $15,000 wedding budget, approximately $8,000 could be taken up for the venue, entertainment, and extras. You’ll spend about $3,500 for the place, $500 for rehearsal dinner, $1,000 for the music or entertainment, $500 for a hotel and limo rental for the night, and also an additional $2000 for food and bar services.

Ceremony Officiator

A priest of ceremony officiator is going to add around $168 to $303 to your budget. Just remember, you could always have your best friend apply to be a wedding officiant and perform the ceremony for free.

Venue Rental Location

The price of the place is one of the few expenses that can make or break your overall wedding budget. For a wedding of around 100 to 300 people, you can expect to pay anywhere from $3,209 to $5,913 for a decent venue. Saving money on the place can open up more funds for other considerations such as decorations, food, photography and more.

Bar, Food Service, and Catering

Another of the most expensive aspects of your wedding is going to be the bar and food service category. If you’re wedding is on a budget, you will want to find the most affordable approach to feeding one to three hundred of your closest friends and family. Food service for a 100 to 300 person wedding costs around $4,270 to $8,575. Bar service is also an additional $1,878 to $5,341.

Using a catering service for your budget wedding will cost about $400 to $1,800. So, take some time to consider if you need full assistance, or if you can save some money for other aspects of your budget.

DJs, MCs, and Musicians

Hiring a DJ or MC for your big day will set you back approximately $585 to $1,030 on the ol’ budget. A great place to cut corners on your budget is the musicians or band that you hire for entertainment. If Cousin Jim’s group isn’t too shabby, why not give them the honor of performing for your wedding guests? For which they will more than likely come at a discounted price compared to the $424 to $843 that you’d otherwise pay.

Rehearsal Dinner

Hosting a rehearsal dinner can be a pretty significant expense to look over. It’s going to cost you around $466 to $919 if you plan on feeding 100 to 300 people.

Hotel and Limo Rental

A decent wedding suite is going to run around $224 to $424 for your special night, but it’ll be so worth it. Also, renting a limo for the big night will put you out about $351 to $750.

Wedding Cake and Desserts

Look to spend between $334 and $609 on your wedding cake and any extra desserts you want to go with it. To save a few dollars, encourage your guests to bring pie, you be sure to provide the ice-cream.

Wedding Planning Hacks for a $5,000-$15,000 Budget

Pulling off a $5,000 to $15,000 wedding can be a bit of a challenge. It’s easy to get your heart set on far more than you can afford. So, while it is more than possible to have your dream wedding, it will require cutting some corners.

Some great ways to reduce the cost of your wedding are finding a free event location, possibly your Uncle Larry’s summer home, or even a nearby park. You can also forego a bar service and have a self-serve alcohol station set up if you’d like to save even more.

Another consideration to make is whether or not you need a limo and a honeymoon suite for the night, if not, then you have an extra $500 to stick into your budget somewhere else.

A $15,000 wedding can be very tastefully done, even at times appearing to have cost twice as much. The main thing to keep in mind when working with this sort of budget is that you can afford everything you need. If you don’t splurge on any one section, you’ve got it made. Instead, spend rationally based on a combination of you and your spouse’s needs and wishes.

Budget Summary

No different than with any other budget size, you’re going to have to think outside the box and cut a few corners if you want to fit all of your most desired features into your wedding. Below are is an example of how you can maintain a full-blown wedding for less than $15,000.

  • Attire: $2,000
  • Wedding Rings: $1,000
  • Jewelry: $700
  • check Flowers: $1,000
  • check Invitations: $250
  • check Entertainment: $1,000
  • Spa: $300
  • Venue: $2,500
  • Food: $1,500
  • check Photography: $1,750
  • check Wedding Suite: $500
  • check Limo: $300

Total: $13,000

Looking at this example, it is more than possible to make your $15,000 wedding a reality. Even more, you could still apply another $1,750 into your budget. So, if you’d prefer to add engagement rings into the equation, or pay for a larger venue, feel free to make those adjustments!

Average Budget Wedding

The average wedding in the U.S. costs slightly over $25,000, and for a significant event, you will spend every penny of that and more. The average price of a full-blown wedding in the U.S., for over 300 people, is between $60,000 and $100,000. Crazy, I know. It’s the equivalent of spending enough money for buying a small house.

Planning a wedding is not a financial plan to take lightly despite the size of your budget, especially when every dollar counts. For the sake of this section, we’ll approach each topic as if we were planning for a wedding of 300 plus guests.

The $15,000 (plus) Wedding Budget

With a budget of $15,000 or more, you can do a lot more than others. This level budget includes everything from more guests and a much more excellent private venue including better food and even a bar service to buying a designer gown and ring and renting a limo and a wedding suite.

However, a solid financial plan is still necessary even when going “all-out” on your wedding budget. You want to create a memory no one will ever forget, but you don’t necessarily want to go into debt for the next few years while doing it. For the sake of not unintentionally tripling the $15,000 budget, I’ll break down you for in each section just how much money you should think about earmarking for those particular expenses.

Attire, Accessories, and Jewelry

For those with a decent bankroll set aside for the wedding, attire, and accessories can be taken to a whole new level. From being able to afford a designer gown, to paying for bridesmaids dresses and a sharper tuxedo. There are a lot of options unavailable to those on tighter budgets.

With this budget, $3,500 is an excellent number for attire, jewelry, and beauty. That means you’ll have around $2,000 for a dress and tux, $1,000 for rings, and $500 or so for the bride’s hair and manicure.

Wedding Gown and Bridesmaid Dresses

One of the most expensive purchases of a luxuries wedding, is, of course, a luxurious wedding gown. Despite that it will be worn only once, this purchase comes with a price tag of between $1,802 and $3,004.

If you are working with a larger budget, perhaps you will decide that you want all of the bridesmaids to be wearing color-coordinated outfits. If this is the case, you will need to consider outright paying for the bridesmaids’ dresses at around $150 to $200 a pop.

Wedding Tux and Groomsmen Tuxedos

The groom will end up paying around $248 to $413 for his tux. One expense that you may not want to skip out on, with a larger budget, is footing the bill for the groomsmen’s suits. Also, a tux is about $100 to $200 to rent if you prefer to have your buddies cover their costs. Having all the guys together and matching for the big day is a once in a lifetime thing.

Aside from the gown and the guest list, jewelry may be one of the chief concerns of the bride and groom. With less to worry about financially, some genuinely incredible opportunities exist; several thousand dollar engagement rings, two thousand dollar wedding rings, beautiful necklaces, bracelets and more.

Engagement Rings and Wedding Rings

One of the most expensive items of any wedding, let alone a more extravagant one, is the engagement rings. For her, an engagement ring will range from $4,000 to $6,676 while for him it will be half that price, if not less. The average price of wedding rings ranges from $1,121 to $1,868 for her and between $683 and $1,138 for him. As with engagement rings, these prices will vary greatly, depending on where you’re shopping and what sort of metals and stones you’re buying.

Earrings, Necklace, and Bracelet

The price for a pair of wedding-worthy ear-rings is around $338 and $563. A brides’ wedding necklace will run you about $508 and $846. A high-end wedding bracelet comes with a price tag of between $491 and $818.

Beauty and Spa

As I mentioned before, if you have any room to play with your budget, any room at all, there is no excuse for cutting corners in the beauty and spa department. The bride not only deserves this special treatment, she KNOWS she deserves it. So, fellas, do it! You’ll thank yourself later. For the sake of keeping your budget in-line, a lot no more than $500 for the bride’s beauty expenses.

Hair, Nails, and Makeup

A hair-do for the bride will cost about $60 to $100, while her nails will be around $50 to $84 as well. Make-up for the big day costs around $60 to $100. If the bride visits an upscale spa, expect these prices to be doubled or tripled.

Flowers, Decoration, and Invitations

Decorations such as table pieces, accents for the aisle, and a gorgeous bouquet for the bride will add up. If you have a bigger budget, to begin with, three to five thousand dollars might not be such a bad price to pay for creating the perfect atmosphere.

$1,500 to $2,500 should be set aside for flowers, decorations, and invitations for a wedding of 300+ people. This accounts for $1,500 to $2,000 for flowers, including the bouquet, $500 for invitations, and $500 to $1,000 for decorations.

Bouquets, Floral Arrangements, and Decorations

The brides’ bouquet ranges in price anywhere from $281 to $468. Additional floral arrangements will add up to somewhere between $795 to $1,325. If you’re working with a pretty decent budget, you’re going to want to explore such options as full lights for the ballroom, ambiance lighting, and candles. The lights can easily cost upwards of $2,000 or more. Depending upon the theme, general decorations for a large wedding will cost $631 to $1,051.

Ceremony Programs and Reception Menus

One of the biggest considers to make in this category is the actual invitation cards themselves, and there are so many options it’ll make your head spin. Invitation cards for a bigger wedding will cost anywhere from $383 to $639. The wedding ceremony programs will run around $246 to $410. Receptions menus for your large wedding have an approximate price range of $314 to $523.

Invitations, Thank You Cards, Postage, and Other Costs

If your budget is allowing for you to pull no punches, then be prepared to set aside two or three thousand dollars for everything from reception menus, invitations, thank you cards and the postage that goes with them. A pleasant reminder to send out to your friends and family of the fun time, and an excellent way to show how much you appreciated their attendance, is thank you cards. These pleasantries will cost you anywhere from $219 to $365 for a more massive wedding.

Place cards and table names for a wedding of 300+ will cost approximately $215 to $358. Between $257 and $428 is the average cost of postage for a large wedding, including the necessities such as stamps and envelopes.

Photos and Video

Photos and videos of your wedding event are two things you’re not going to want to skip out on if your budget allows for it at all. Though a bit on the expensive side, you’ll be glad you spent the extra cash when you’re sitting back for years to come and reminiscing with your friends, family, and spouse.

Plan on budgeting around $3,000 for photos and videos of your wedding. You’ll need roughly $1,000 for a photographer, $1,000 for a videographer, $500 for an album, and $500 for framed prints.

Renting a Photographer/Videographer

One of the priciest considerations to make is which photographer or videographer you will higher for the big day. Expect to pay between $1,528 and $2,546 for a videographer and around $1,891 to 3,151 for a photographer.

Wedding Photo Album and Prints

Ordering a photo album from the photographer or videographer will run you approximately $578 and $964. The photographs will cost an additional $293 to $489 if you want a few of them framed.

Venue, Entertainment, and Extras

Depending on where you plan to be married, keep in mind that some cities are far more expensive to host weddings. If you live in a large city and you or your spouse are from a smaller town, you’d do well to consider hosting it there instead. Either Way, be aware that many venues will charge per-quest to cover food, liquor, and seating costs. Be sure to shop around and find the perfect place that you both love, it’ll be worth the effort.

Hiring a band or solo artist for your wedding is a great touch if you can afford it. The rates for renting a professional DJ or booking your favorite wedding band can be well over a thousand dollars. However, if you want to go all out, it will be well worth it in the end.

All factors considered, the venue, entertainment, food, drinks, and alcohol combined will cost you more than any other aspects of your wedding. Allow around $3,000 to $5,000 for these costs. However, for a much larger wedding, these factors alone could easily exceed $8,000 to $10,000.

Ceremony Officiator

Expect to pay between $241 and $401 for the officiator of your wedding ceremony if it has a large crowd. Some officiants will perform wedding ceremonies for a donation.

Venue Rental Location

The venue location for an upper scale wedding will cost approximately $4,334 to $7,223. Budgeting less than $5,000 for this section may at first seem a fast-track for sabotaging your wedding, but remember that looks can be deceiving.

Renting a park for the afternoon, with pavilions and facilities included, can save you thousands of dollars. Throwing a smaller wedding with a significantly reduced guest list will allow you to slash your budget substantially.

Bar, Food Service, and Catering

For a bigger wedding, bar services will run around $4,148 to $6,914, and food services will run about $6,230 to $10,384. Hiring a catering service for your upscale wedding will cost you anywhere from $4,000 to $13,000.

Remember, the price ranges quoted in this section are based on the costs of weddings with 300+ guests. If you’re having a smaller amount of guests, these expenses won’t be so severe.

DJs, MCs, and Musicians

The right DJ or MC can make your wedding experience one to remember for everyone in attendance. A professional DJ or MC for a large wedding is available for around $751 to $1,251.

Another costly decision to make is the love music; whether solo artist, band or ensemble, this will end up costing you around $1,010 to $1,684 for an audience of over 300 people.

Rehearsal Dinner

The rehearsal dinner for your wedding of over 300 guests will range from $680 to $1,133. When working with a $15K budget, there is plenty of room to account for this practice run.

Hotel and Limo Rental

A hotel room or wedding suite will run about $376 to $626. The higher end limo rental service will cost around $612 to $1,020. So, if you want a ride to the penthouse, earmark several hundred dollars for it.

Wedding Cake and Desserts

Between the wedding cake and other sweets that you’ll feed your guests, the average cost is around $542 to $904. $500 or $600 should do it for a group of 300 guests.

Wedding Planning Hacks for a $15,000+ Budget

Fitting in all the best options are not going to be a cheap task. However, with a bit of proper planning and financial forethought, you can indeed do it for $15,000 to $25,000. If you have a larger budget, you will be able to afford an even more magical wedding day for sure.

The secret to a $15,000 wedding budget is going for a unique yet affordable venue, possibly with food and bar included. It is also essential to find the best deal on the music. Taking your time with these two factors can save you thousands of dollars. Consider keeping a grand or two more by creating a playlist of you, and you’re spouses favorite songs. You can rent a PA system for a couple of hundred dollars.

Likewise, consider renting a sailboat on the coast for the day with your very closest friends and family. There are also options like taking a cruise with just the two of you. All of these ideas are also capable of offsetting significant costs and providing a highly memorable wedding day.

Budget Summary

If you have a budget of $15,000 or more, you can afford just about anything you want for your wedding. That said, you can still blow your budget without blinking, so you’ll have to be even more careful than with smaller budgets.

  • Attire: $2,500
  • Wedding Rings/Jewelry: $2,500
  • Invitations: $500
  • check Entertainment: $1,500
  • check Spa: $500
  • Venue: $3,000
  • Food: $2,000
  • Photography: $2,000
  • Check Hotel: $500
  • Check Limo: $500

Total: $15,500

If your budget is a hard $15,000, you can shave $500 off by skipping the limo or using a cheaper photographer. If your budget is slightly over $15,000, you can still add a few more dollars to any section you feel needs it.

Pulling Off Your Wedding on Budget

So, there you have it. No matter what you’re wedding budget happens to look like, where there is a will, there’s a way. In other words, you should have no problem outlining and agreeing on all of the wedding’s finances. Just put your head together and have a good time. If you find like the idea of a wedding planner, the average full-service wedding planner costs up to 5K. Another idea to consider is the use of an online wedding planning checklist to help get your ducks in a row.

Find out how much the average couple in your neck of the woods spent on their wedding, including the number of guests that attended. Also, read about these wedding budgeting mistakes to avoid. Whatever you do, don’t let the stress of planning a wedding and accounting for the budget get to you. A marriage is a sacred thing, and the wedding day should be too.

Happy engagement and best wishes for a beautiful wedding!

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