how did you decide on your wedding budget?

posted 3 years ago in Money
Post # 3
11772 posts
Sugar Beekeeper
  • Wedding: May 2013

I have a VERY expensive e-ring, so we decided to have a cheaper wedding (15K).

Then we decided to have a VERY small wedding that we wouldn’t even need to save for (our wedding/honeymoon were paid for by our tax refunds and part of DH’s bonus–about 7K combined)

We stuck the rest in a house fund!

But we also got married in a super cheap area! So a formal luncheon with 42 guests only cost us 4K!

Post # 4
941 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: April 2015

I made a list of everything I wanted in a wedding then started doing some research to see how much things realistically cost.  You just need to think about what you need and/or want and go from there based on what you can afford. 

Post # 5
3735 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: September 2014

@champagnetoast:  Hi there. I’m in a boat similar to yours where money isn’t an issue but we’re not going to go crazy for one day. So we worked the problem backwards. We saw venues we liked and once we figured out prices and weighed the good vs bad, booked what we wanted. For instance, one deciding factor was venue price. We could do a lovely manor house in the country and rent every single thing out (down to forks and spoons) for $12K BEFORE food OR spend that same money on a wonderful oceanfront mansion before food OR we could go a bit more modest and still get oceanfront but they’d throw in tables and chairs in exchange for a little less posh of a setting. So, we went for the less posh setting but hired a high end caterer to ensure our guests leave full and happy.

I am betting that you’ll take a similar course only because you can. I had a modest budget to begin with but once I saw what things cost and we figured out what we wanted and were willing to pay for, that budget tripled.

I say, reverse engineer the budget and learn something in the process!

Post # 6
649 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: May 2012

My parents offered to give us what they paid for my sister’s wedding ($10k), my in-laws offered to match that, and we wanted to contribute at least what our folks were contributing. Our max budget was $30k(which excluded rings and honeymoon) but spent closer to $23k.

I think our starting point was looking at venues/catering and working from there. That was by far the largest part of our budget, so whatever had leftover we distributed to other areas, starting with what was most important (ie, photography was the highest priority, and flowers were the lowest, so we allocated $$ for photography first).

Post # 7
284 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: February 2014

We’re in a similar situation as you guys in that money wasn’t a constraint. We started by talking with each other about what we want our wedding day to look like. Then we shortlisted 3 venues that would meet our wants/needs for the day and got pricing and availability from them. After that, we talked to both of our families and they offered us a set amount per family. It was a given that we would be spending above what they were giving us, and that they were essentially contributing to the overall day.

After we knew how much they were contributing, and what kind of wedding we wanted to have, we subtracted the two numbers to see what our contribution would need to be. While we could have spent more and we could have spent less, we’re happy with our final budget because it allowed us to get everything we want and eliminate the unnecessary components (for us that was ceremony programs, cocktail napkins, etc). Also, it left us with money for a down payment on our first home which we intend to buy shortly after the wedding,a nd enough for a “rainy day” cushion without dipping into our investment and retirement accounts.

Post # 8
12884 posts
Honey Beekeeper
  • Wedding: June 2011

There was no budget.  I basically spent money where I thought it was worth it and tried to save where I didn’t care as much, then added it all up at the end.

Post # 9
667 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: October 2013

Well, if you can’t afford $75K, then yes, you have a budget. My wedding ended up being significantly more than that (more than double) and we operated pretty much without a fixed budget — just what seemed reasonable for the particular item. So assume you have a budget of $75K or whatever and use the Knot’s budget to get a guideline. Unless you actually have no ceiling, sorry, you have a budget.


Post # 10
143 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: July 2015

We came up with a figure that we were comfortable with spending and then did a rough outline/budget estimate of what we wanted. Luckily these were roughly the same. 

Post # 11
1721 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: May 2014

We started looking at costs before we got engaged and decided that $20k seemed like a reasonable budget…but then we fell in love with our venue, which is by far our biggest splurge. Looking at costs now, we are hoping to come in 30k or (preferably less!) but when it came down to it that was a more realistic budget for our area than 20k.  We do have a seperate savings for a house, FI we could buy this year, but I convinced him to wait so we aren’t stressing planning/saving for the wedding/honeymoon while paying mortgage payments…luckily he agreed.

Post # 12
4827 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: June 2013 - Upstate NY

@champagnetoast:  I decided on what we could do after having a frank discussion with my parents and FI and plugged that number with guests into’s budget creator. I also asked local brides what to expect (my area is super overpriced) and went from there.

$25,000 did NOT go far here!

Post # 13
1869 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: May 2013

I would say pick a number that you think is reasonable…. since you said $75K was not maybe something like $50K? then I would take off at least $10,000 for all the extras things and start figuring out your price range from there along with your expected # of guests


for me I knew that I was looking at spending about $40,000 on just the reception for about 150 guests so I knew that I had about $200 per person (bc 40,000 divided by 1.3 (average cost for tax and service in our area) = $30,000/ 150 p = $200 pp)

so when I went looking at venues I then knew to look in that range

basically the same with vendors — I knew what my total number should be so when my photo guy was about $1000 more than I wanted to pay I knew that was coming out of flowers….


Even though your budget is a higher budget than most girls its definitely still a budget… with a wedding of 150- 200p you will find that $75K isn’t all that much (depending on where you live of course)

Post # 15
348 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: May 2014

My parents are gifting us 15k to use for the wedding… we decided that was our budget. His parents then told us they are gifting us 10k – we added that in to our budget. We only decided to add 3k of our own money when his parents stipulated that they want us to pay for immediate family’s flights our of their gift (we were already planning on giving everyone $200, just not $500!).

We could choose to take that use that money for whatever we wanted, but we figured that our parents would probably be happiest if we used it for an awesome 1 week family vacation celebrating our love. So that’s what we’re doing. We are also choosing to keep our guest list at immediate family only. It’s not worth the money/time/hassle for us to have everyone we care about there. That’s our choice.

@champagnetoast:  we also live in a city where houses start at about $1m, so we can’t buy a home any time soon anyway. 

Well, 20% down on a house that’s 1M is 200k. I think it’s important to recognize that every dollar you spend on a wedding is one dollar you’re further from your goal of buying a house. So if you pay 50k for a one day party, you’re going to have to put that house on hold for however long it would take you to earn that 50k. That’s why we aren’t adding much to our wedding fund. Every single thing I put in my budget I had to ask “Our we willing to wait x more time to achieve our other goals. Are flowers worth it?” Only you and your FI can make that call!

Post # 16
728 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: October 2014

I always knew that my parents were going to pay for the wedding and they basically gave us a $20K budget however we are going to end up spending closer to $25K and they have agreed to help us with the extra $5K. I feel so very lucky to have parents that are able to give us the wedding of our dreams so that FI and I can focus on saving for a house/family!


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