Brides on a Budget

The budget is one of the key elements to weddings. Guests may only see beautiful flowers, a memorable ceremony, and a put-together reception space, but the budget makes sure that all of those elements are present in the first place. One of the first steps in setting a budget requires talking to your spouse about how much the two of you are willing to spend. It’s also important to discuss the budget with the other people sharing the costs so they know what their contributions will be.

piggy bank cake

It also doesn’t hurt to think about a budget-less wedding so you get a feel for your tastes and to have the wedding you want. Getting close to your dreams with a few substitutions makes for a more fulfilling wedding then one that excludes ideas all together, because they’re too expensive. When you reach an amount that works, prioritize vendors that consume more of your budget to set the stage for other things you may or may not be able to afford. And so you can choose the elements that you really like.

Typically, the average person spends $194.00 per wedding guest and on average $26,984.00 overall. Ok, so you may know what a budget is, but deciding on one that is right for you can be tricky. I understand that brides want to have dreams come to life, but be economical as well, and it is possible. Make a list of everything you want to include in a spreadsheet to figure out how much each will cost. Just remember, this a rough estimate. Know that your biggest expense will be venue and catering. And keep in mind that whatever you think your total amount will be, it will be more. Just be prepared.


Here is a breakdown of usual wedding facilities and average costs:

  • Ceremony site: $1,393
  • Reception venue and rentals: $12,124
  • Reception band/DJ/ceremony musicians: $4,384
  • Photographer/videographer: $3,783
  • Florist/décor: $1,988
  • Wedding gown: $1,099
  • Invitations/favors: $573
  • Wedding cake: $540
  • Catering (cost per head): $61
  • Wedding day transportation: $667

Now that you have the totals, who pays? Traditionally, the Groom and his family pay for:

  • Bride’s bouquet, mothers’ corsages and boutonnieres
  • Gifts for the groomsmen
  • Honeymoon
  • Liquor
  • Marriage license
  • Fee for officiate
  • Rehearsal dinner
  • Transportation for himself and groomsmen

The Bride and her family pay for:

  • Gifts for the bridesmaids
  • Your gown and accessories
  • Bridesmaids bouquets and groom’s boutonniere
  • Stationery
  • Music and entertainment
  • Photography
  • Reception
  • Rentals
  • Transportation for you and your bridesmaids
  • Videography
  • Wedding planner

negotiate budgets

Weddings may be expensive, but you ultimately make the final call on the prices you can afford. Gather information about a company before you speak with them so you are ready to talk about the prices and not get caught off guard. Don’t be afraid to ask vendors for discounts, tell vendors that other places are offering you a discount, or to walk away from a bad negotiation. It’s your wedding day, so don’t settle for any negotiations you aren’t completely satisfied with. If you make smart decisions that are best for the type of wedding you want, you can’t go wrong!