Setting A Wedding Budget and Sticking To It (Part 1)
A quick input of my zip code into costofwedding.com and I learned that a wedding in Atlanta, GA with 100-200 guests would cost between $15,955 - $26,592.
HOLY MOLY! That’s a lot of cha-ching.
No wonder why the majority of responses when I ask engaged couples what’s most stressful about wedding planning is any variation of sticking to the wedding budget including:
“It’s still very difficult to get an accurate picture of what things cost and whether what I'm thinking is even possible given my budget.”
“Reviewing wedding publications tends to make me want to spend well above my wedding budget.
“Learning that everything I would like is substantially more than what I would like to pay and worrying about what other people will think of the decisions we've made for our wedding.”
“I have the hardest time justifying all the money and deciding where the allocate the most resources. I'm also struggling to know which ideas are just over the top and unrealistic.”
“Finding vendors within my budget who are professional and also have good reviews. I also get overwhelmed by all the DIYs I've taken on because I want to save money or because I want to make my wedding more personalized.”
April is Financial Literacy Month and what better way to apply financial literacy to wedding planning than answering these pressing questions and concerns about budgeting for your wedding.
This is going to be a two-parter! In this post, I’m going to break down some of the trending data on the most significant sources of wedding budget allocation for a typical wedding as well as provide a few resources to help you learn more about budgeting for your wedding.
Every year, The Knot does its Real Weddings Survey to find out how engaged couples are spending their money on their weddings. The most recent survey (2017) says the national average wedding cost is a staggering $33,391. Turns out that New Mexico is the most affordable market for your wedding coming in at $17,584 and Manhattan (as if this was a surprise) is the most expensive at $76,944.
According to the survey, “When planning the wedding, couples’ most important consideration is cost (72%), followed by the overall look and vibe (69%), and personalization: planning a wedding that’s a true reflection of who they are as a couple (64%).”
Here’s the breakdown per category in order from most expensive to least:
Venue - $15,163
Catering (Price Per Person) - $70 or ($7,000 for 100 people)
Reception Band - $4,019
Photographer - $2,630
Florist - $2,379
Ceremony Site - $2,311
Weddings/Event Planner - $1,988
Videographer - $1,912
Wedding Dress - $1,509
Rehearsal Dinner - $1,285
Reception DJ - $1,231
Transportation - $830
Ceremony Musicians - $761
Wedding Cake - $540
Invitations - $408
Groom’s Attire - $286
Officiant - $284
Favors - $252
Remember these figures are a national average and depending on where you live it could be higher or lower. Check costofwedding.com to get a more realistic breakdown of expenses in your specific area. You can even input some of your personal preferences for an even more true-to-your-situation breakdown.
CNN reported on wedding spending in its article entitled “Couples are spending a record amount to get married.” Its subhead, which drives me absolutely bonkers, is “Forget about the bride and groom: It’s all about the wedding guests these days.”
UGH! This could not make me more annoyed! Your wedding is about you and your love story!!!!!! Please please don’t forget that. You can personalize your wedding and enhance your guests' experience by focusing on your love story. Go here and sign up for my 5-day email series bringing you over 20 creative wedding planning ideas inspired by your love story! Let’s turn this trend around, ok?
Stepping off my soapbox now…
With a little prioritization and creativity, it’s easy to see how you may be able to peel back your wedding expenses to fit your budget.
But the first step is to know your budget! Before you do anything else, sit down with your partner as well as anybody who will be contributing financially toward your wedding and set a budget. Knowing your budget will make decision-making easier.
In part 2, I’m on video with the Budget Savvy Bride herself, Jessica Bishop of TheBudgetSavvyBride.com, and we’re going to lay out a plan for you about setting a realistic wedding budget, prioritizing your wedding needs and wants, how much wedding size contributes to your budget, wedding expenses couples often forget about, and so much more!