Life in Transition

Navigating Personal Finances During Life Transitions

Wedding Budget

I finally finished tabulating how much I ended up spending on my wedding.  I spent a grand total of $7565.41, which is less than $100 over my $7500 budget.  I was really scared to add everything up, since in the weeks leading up to the wedding, I felt like I was doing wedding related shopping every day, and a lot of things were a lot more expensive than I expected.  Here is the chart of our budget and actual expenses:

Category Budgeted Actual Difference
Attire $900.00 $1,074.18 ($174.18)
Dress   $718.68  
–Alterations   $280.00  
–Hair, Makeup   $61.50  
–Fabric Tape   $14.00  
Reception $3,000.00 $3,406.77 ($406.77)
–Tent Rental   $2,356.55  
–Food & Drinks   $225.70  
–Decorations   $319.76  
–Flowers   $154.76  
–Wedding Cake   $350.00  
Ceremony $1,000.00 $741.32 $258.68
–Chair Rental   $605.13  
–License   $36.57  
–Basket & Pillow   $56.45  
–Decorations   $43.17  
Bouquets $500.00 $383.00 $117.00
Bridal Party Gifts $150.00 $161.51 ($11.51)
–Groomsmen   $107.06  
–Bridesmaids   $54.45  
Rings $350.00 $129.13 $220.87
–Groom   $44.95  
–Bride   $84.18  
Photography $1,300.00 $1,400.00 ($100.00)
Stationary $300.00 $269.50 $30.50
–Save the Dates   $24.39  
–Guestbook   $47.00  
–Invitations   $97.27  
–Programs   $60.00  
–Postage   $40.84  
Total $7,500.00 $7,565.41 ($65.41)

The chart does not include expenses that other people have covered or services offered as a gift, whic is why some of the line items look really low.  I did not include neither the $1200 cost of the venue nor the portable toilet (I’m estimating those to be about $200), since my parents-in-law decided to cover those expenses in exchange for upgrading to a roomier tent.  My husband’s parents also bought all the alcohol.  They stuck with wines that were less than $8/bottle and purchased a keg.  I’m estimating that alcohol totaled around $200.00.  You probably also noticed that the overall food cost I listed is really low.  I decided to have a dessert reception, and some friends and family volunteered to bake something.  I’m not exactly sure how much all of the ingredients for the brownies, cookies, fudge, chocolate covered strawberries, etc. costed.  Overall,  I think that  after including all these costs, overall the wedding was still under 10K.

I spent a lot less on decorations than I had expected. Since the ceremony venue was outside in a beautiful setting, I didn’t really need to decorate.  For the reception, I borrowed a lot of things from my mother-in-law.  I went with a vintage decorating palate, since lot of her candle holders, vases,  cake stands, trays, and other house decor were more ornate.  Flowers usually cost an arm and a leg, especially my favorite flower, the peony.  I cut down flower costs by using silk flowers for my bouquets and buying  individual stems from a wholesaler to create simple center pieces.

I definitely experienced a lot sticker shock for the tent  and chair rental.  The wedding venue required a tent and required you to use a certain rental company.  I don’t know how the rental company compared to other ones in terms of price, but I know that the general consensus is that tents are expensive no matter where you get it.  Overall, I spent about $3000 on rentals alone!

Overall, I am really pleased how my sub-10K wedding turned out.  I definitely  proved to myself that I could  have a beautiful wedding on a budget.

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9 thoughts on “Wedding Budget

  1. It’s weird how wedding spending can’t be tracked easily because there are so many parties involved. My parents told us they were going to give us a certain amount of money for the wedding and they did, but then they decide to take on some additional expenses because they wanted to upgrade or whatever, like you said. I can’t even estimate what my MIL spent in the reception we had in CA because I didn’t do any of the research and prices are so different there than where I planned the other reception.

    I looks like you did a great job! Some under, some over, but it didn’t get out of control.

  2. Wow looks like you did good with your budget!

  3. Omg… that’s awesome. A dessert only reception is intriguing. I may look into that. My BF wants a taco truck -____- Not sure if that will happen!!!!

    How did you guys spend so little on the rings? Are they just wedding bands? Sorry, I’m new to wedding planning and stuff since I don’t plan to have a wedding for another 4 years or so. But I’d like to know as much as possible before I start planning! Your budget sounds ideal but I know it will be a lot of hard work.

    • For my husband’s ring we bought the cheapest tungsten ring that we could find on the internet. He’s not the type to get anything flashy. For my band, I went to every jeweler in town to find the cheapest 10K white gold band I could find around Christmas time, since there’s always a ton of sales around then. I really wanted an eternity band at first, but we decided to upgrade later in order to save some money right now.

      My friends all suggested having a taco truck too since the wedding was on Cinco de Mayo.

  4. AverageJoe on said:

    I love the line by line budget. This will help people in the midst of planning a TON! It’s often during wedding planning time that people pick numbers out of the air.

  5. Looks like you are doing well. Just one thing, make sure you spend extra money so those you are closest to can enjoy the wedding. I have a sibling who saved big money, but close family and friends were helping with everything while the leisure acquaintances enjoyed the fruits of everyone else’s labor. We were all so tired by the end…and not because of partying. It would have been worth having someone else worry about the decorating, someone to manage food/drinks, cleanup etc. Enjoy!

  6. You stuck to your budget pretty well. That’s awesome that you still had a beautiful wedding on a budget, I think a lot of people go overboard with wedding costs.

  7. I love that you have all the costs and budgeted amounts tracked like that. It sounds like you did a really good job with all the preparations and getting good deals.

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