Post # 1
I recently got engaged and all I can think about is how expensive everything is for the wedding! I have been to many weddings in the past couple of years, all different in price. When I think wedding day I think of it only being 5 hours and how crazy it is to spend $30 grand plus on one day! Of course I say this now, my thoughts might totally change when I actually start to plan for the big day! I was just curious as to see what other Bees thought is a good amount to spend on your day! I know its one of the most important days of our lives, but I def think we shouldn’t be putting ourselves in years of debt for it!! Some of my friends have spent at least $30 grand on their weddings and I think this is soo much! But like I said, I am not sure how much everything is going to cost! Is $30 grand the normal amount to spend these days? I plan on doing a lot of DIY stuff to help save! STD’s are easy I can just use Shutterfly and this way its much cheaper. But what are some other good ways to save?! How much is too much for a dress?! I think $2,000 for a dress is plenty to spend!! I’m sure we all watch Say Yes to the Dress, but their prices are just CRAZY! Who has $10,000 to spend on a dress you will never wear again! Let be honest, your daughter is not going to want to wear your dress when she gets married! Do you want to wear your mom’s? I know I don’t! What about these girls that get two dresses? For what?! For what possible reason can you come up with that you need two dresses?!
Don’t get me wrong, I want our day to be very special and beautiful, but how much is too much? I know all brides have different budgets, but I am just curious to see what everyone has to say. I mean lets face it, most of us don’t have a million dollars to spend on their wedding! And most of our parents don’t have the money to pay for our weddings either!
Thanks for any advice you can provide ladies:)
Post # 3
You should spend whatever is right for you, and forget what anyone else says or spends. The LAST thing you should ever do is go into debt for a wedding you can’t afford. Who wants to start a marriage saddled with a bunch of unnecessary debt?
30,000 is really high, much higher than average, but it also really varies by area and social group. Please don’t feel pressured to spend that much if you don’t have it or if it isn’t want you want. A wedding should be a reflection of your own financial priorities, not a contest to see if you can spend as much as your friends have. You can have a beautiful wedding at any price point. You can get a beautiful dress at any price too. It’s more about finding the right dress than anything else. A dress that cost 10,000 but doesn’t flatter your shape will look much worse than a $99 dress that fits you like a glove.
My suggestion would be to sit down and make a list of priorities. What matters most to you, food? Photography? Alcohol? Location? Then you make decisions about where to spend and where to save. For example, if you really want that incredible venue then maybe you compromise and have a beer and wine bar only. Or maybe you decide you want a full open bar, but you’ll go with a digital only photography package. Maybe you’ll have to choose between a full meal for 100 people or a cocktail reception for 300. Spending wisely on a few important elements will result in a more enjoyable wedding than if you had tried to spread yourself too thin and do EVERYTHING in a way you couldn’t sustain. Cut things like favors, video, transportation, or anything that you don’t really really care about.
You can definitely do it, don’t get overwhelmed. I’m having an $8,000 wedding and there’s not a single thing I would change about it, or that I wanted but didn’t get. If people want to spend 30,000 on their wedding that’s fine, but you should never feel pressured to do so if that’s not what you want. Good luck!
Post # 4
Hi Miss Bella,
I know this answer won’t help, but how much you spend on your wedding is really dependent on each individual bride.
One thing that will make a huge difference in the size of your budget is, who is paying for your wedding? We’re able to spend a lot more money on our wedding because my parents are paying for it. If just FI and I were paying for it, we’d really have to cut down.
That being said, there are venues, DJs, photographers, dresses, etc out there for EVERY budget. So no, you definitely don’t HAVE to spend $30,000. If are able to and want to, that’s fine, but it’s certainly not true that there is a specified amount that weddings “cost.”
And to be honest, I am not even planning on spending $2,000 on my wedding dress. Not that there’s anything wrong with spending that amount, but I am hoping to keep it closer to $1,000….and that’s just me personally.
And like you said, there are TONS of way to cut back—DIY programs, STDs, invites; silk flowers instead of real, serving your cake in half-servings instead of full (costs half the price), etc, etc.
The best thing to do is think about how much you want to spend total, and then divide that amount up to how much you want to spend on each individual part of the day…you’ll have to prioritize, which is what I am having trouble with right now. 🙂
Post # 5
Also, some other ways to save money: consider doing candles for centerpieces rather than flowers. Be flexible about the flowers in your bouquet and stick to things that are in season. Limit the bar and ask your venue if you can bring the alcohol. Have a DJ instead of a band, or even consider doing an Ipod if you feel up to it. (I’ve been to great and not so great ipod receptions). Save on paper costs, you can get nice invitations for fairly cheap and people generally care more about things like food than paper. If not many people are coming from out of town, cut save the dates all together. Look for a venue which has a lot of natural beauty already, and you’ll save on decoration costs. Be flexible about everything. Consider restaurants, outdoor venues, and other atypical places in addition to hotels and reception halls- they may have better prices (but be wary of places where you’ll have to rent tables and chairs, that adds up!).
Post # 6
It can be shocking how much it costs to put on a “standard” wedding with the usual elements (you know, dinner/drinks/ photographer/flowers/ cake/traditional dress) … at least I am very surprised by how much things are adding up if you want a semi traditional wedding.
Originally I had imagined spending about $5k on the whole thing since I wanted a small intimate wedding, but it quickly became obvious that was not going to cut it for the style of event I imagined. We are looking at $10k plus for a very small wedding of about 40 guests. We are going for things that are nice, but by no means top of the line or super luxe. To me, that feels like a lot to spend on one day but not totally outrageous. I think it’s worth the splurge because we can afford it (sort of) and this is a once in a lifetime experience.
I think it’s fine and normal to stretch a little (financially) to get the day you want … meaning take some money from savings if you can and need to, but by all means avoid spending money you don’t have (take on debt to fund the wedding)… that’s never good.
Post # 7
first of all, CONGRATS on your recent engagement! what an exciting time in your lives 🙂
Sounds to me like you have answered your own question about budget…you are a budget bride and dont want to spend too much. but what is too much? that all depends on where you live, your and your FI income, your families willingness and ability to help/or pay for it all, and your tastes.
Personally i am a huge budget bride! my FI and I are doing everything on the cheap! ha! we are getting very limited help from the family.
the first thing we did was make a list of items needed/wanted for the wedding and then set a priority for all those items. for example our officiant was our #1 priority so therefore we are splurging there..extra donations to the synagoge and flying him and his wife in. but then we have things like flowers and decorations that are on the bottom of our list that we purchased online and at dollar tree (spent $120 for all flowers and decorations!). pretty much i am saying that you need to find out what is the most important to you and your FI about your wedding and go from there. make sure you refer back to that priority list before making any purchases for the wedding….that list will help you keep things in perspective.
Just remember what is important to you. what is important to us is to keep the meaning of the day alive! fun, love and celebration of combining two families and starting a new family! i cant wait for our entire families to meet and for everyone to have a good time with us during our first few hours of husband and wife. for us, the day has nothing to do with a designer gown and/or having the most lavish decorations and/or food and cake. but everyone has different priorities..so you just need to decide what yours are.
congrats and good luck!
Post # 8
Prettyflowers makes a good point: Your guest list is a HUGE contributing factor.
My guest list is pretty big right now, which is why my wedding is going to be more expensive. The easiest way to cut down on cost is to have a smaller wedding. As the other ladies mentioned, you have to decide what you really want and be confident in it. There’s nothing wrong with wanting to splurge (or save!) on your wedding day.
Post # 9
I agree that the guest list plays a big role…
However, you SHOULD spend what you can afford and you SHOULDN’T spend money just for the sake of spending it.
Post # 10
What you should spend on your wedding day is up to you and your FI. If someone wants to spend $10k on thier dress or $30k on the whole day, that’s really their place to decide and you can’t say it’s wrong for them. We have a pretty generous budget, but that doesn’t mean we’re going into debt over it. No fair judging, especially since planning a wedding is such a personal, emotional process.
Do what’s right for you and your financial situation. Set your budget early in planning and stick to it! DIY is usually a money saver for most people. Cutting back on flowers, etc too. For me $2k was a lot to spend on a dress, but we spent more in other areas.
I’d make a priority list of what you want most, what your FI wants most, and what you both want least. For us that meant investing a lot of money on photography, but skipping the live band. That will hellp you set your budget.
Congrats and good luck!
Post # 11
You all made really great points! A friend at work told me about this website and I think it is sooo helpful!! Thank you all for your awesome advice and well wishes! I am sure we will be talking a lot more over the next year or so until I get married!! Thank you all again:)
Post # 12
We are spending as little as possible.. I know our wedding day will be one of the most improtant days of our lives, but we can’t justify spending 10s of thounds of $$ on it. Here is what we have spent so far. We are having 120 guests.
Venue(ceremony & reception)-2000
Dress(including bra and crinnie)-600
Table linens (24)-85
500 paper napkins- 17.25
288 pc of cutlery- 13
240 plates- 40
240 cups- 33
3 tier cake and grooms cake- 300
Photographer(including prints)- 500
So far that is a little under $4000. My mom got my dress for me so that is a little less that we have actually spent. We still have suits and flowers to get, but that is all. So we will be in the 5000 range.. See you dont have to spend 300000!
Post # 13
Congratulations on your engagement!
I Think that budget can depend on a lot of things. It depends on who is paying, where you are getting married (DC and NY are more expensive for example), how many guests you will have, what type of wedding you want, and most importantly how much you are comfortable with spending on your wedding (or having your parents spend). I think what you should do is first ask your parents if they plan on giving you any money for the wedding. You could also ask his parents if you think they might be able to help as well. Once you get a number from each party then you can start looking into what you can afford. If you guys are paying for the wedding yourselves then I would sit down with your fiance and have a discussion about what your expectations are and how much you feel comfortable with. Once you have made that decision you will have a more clear idea of how many guests you will be able to have, what type of wedding you can have (formal/semi formal/casual) and what you will be able to incorporate. A lot of wedding stuff is just extras that you can do without and there are a million ways to save money!! In terms of the dress you can look for sample sales, trunk shows, online, etc. Believe me you will be able to find a dress for under $2000! My dress was $845 because it was a sample from last season that was 50% off! Also, weddings in high season are more expensive than those in the off season. Its also more expensive (in some cases) to have a Saturday wedding at night. Having a daytime wedding or a Friday or Sunday wedding can save a lot of costs!! A lot of things can be DIY. And this site will definitely help you with that! I have already gotten so many great ideas from this site! Another thing that can save money is having the ceremony and reception in the same location because it will save on transportation costs and it will also make it so that you only have to pay 1 fee and so that your vendors wont have to travel to 2 different places. My biggest advice is to do LOTS of research. Seriously, you may think youve found a great deal, but sometimes if you keep looking there is something even better out there! And lastly, just because you have known someone to spend $30K on their wedding does not mean that you have to do that too!
Post # 14
We are hoping to spend less than 5k, but you should do whatever feels right to you. I about died when I saw Disney had weddings STARTING at 20k…really? Who would want to spend more? But that’s what they feel comfortable with.
Post # 15
vistaprint.com is a great way to save money on paper goods. sign up for their email list and they will send you specials. you can basically get everything for free, all you need to pay for is shipping.
Post # 16
- Wedding: June 2010 - Ceremony - First United Methodist Church; Reception - My parents' house!
I really do agree, it is a personal choice. When we first started out, $20,000 was our target amount, then it crept up to $30,000, and now it’s looking more like, well, the $50.000-$60,000 range. I would have shot myself in the foot a year ago had a began with that price. My parents would have murdered me.
In my experience, things have just added up– a $6,000 dress, $6,000 flowers, $2,000 on a dj, not to mention astronomical photography costs, plus catering, rentals, etc. I would love to be able to plan a wedding for $20,000 or even $10,000, but I have failed.
My best advice is to spend whatever you can afford to spend, and just stay true to yourself and your choices. Don’t set yourself up for failure by trying on $5,000 dresses when your maximum dress budget is $1,000. Your wedding will be beautiful and wonderful whether you spend $1,000 or $300,000. Just make it about you guys and it will be great. 🙂