(Closed) Budget: Your Estimate vs. Budget: Real Estimate

posted 6 years ago in Money
Post # 3
1583 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: November 1999

@NVMox2480:  Normally you put down a deposit upfront that varies in amount, but you can expect anywhere from 5-50%…for me, most of my deposits were 30%. Then depending on the vendor the balance is usually due 1-2 weeks before the wedding. A few of my vendors required a mid-payment as well.

Do you have a household  budget? Can you look at your expenses for the last few months to see if there are things you can cut out and put that money towards the wedding instead? You may be surprised at non-necessities that you spend your money on if you analyze your current spending pattern.

Post # 4
2295 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: April 2013

In my experience, vendors require a deposit up front (and I wouldn’t trust a vendor who didn’t have a deposit and a contract, I’d be nervous they weren’t going to show), and then the balance is due anywhere from 7 – 30 days before the wedding, with anything unpredictable (like bar tab) being estimated and then being settled at the end of the night.

How much do you have saved now? It’s really hard to give advice on how to save $21k between now and May unless we know what your income and expenses are. Is your Fiance contributing to the wedding? Can you cut back cable/satellite? Take on any extra work like cleaning homes or another job? That’s harder with kids.

I had originally been kicking around a budget of $20k in my head. I think we’re going to come in right under $22k (including everything except my rings and the honeymoon). Could have definitely done it cheaper but had a few splurges… but also cut back in some areas.

Flowers and linens – I’m doing silk flowers to MAJORLY save on cost and headache of DIY. Linens – you can sometimes buy them cheaper than you can rent them and then resell them. Just remember you have to be responsible for laundering, ironing, hanging, and putting them on the table/taking them off. The cost of rentals is more for labor than it is for the item.

Post # 5
499 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: September 2012

I paid for a lot of vendor expenses via monthly payments- even if it wasn’t an option, I would ask to see if I could send money towards my balence. No one says “no” and it helps you budget out your money more carefully and chip away at the totals owed. When my wedding rolled around, 90% of it was already paid for – I only shelled out a remaining balence for the florist and photobooth. Taking care of payments in installments helps to really alleviate the stress of paying.  Also, put any “extra” money towards the wedding like say a tax refund or any supplemental income either of you can make.

Post # 6
9575 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper
  • Wedding: September 2013

Most require a deposit, I would say 10-50% with the rest due a few weeks or a month before your wedding.  I only have one that has a second (mid-year) deposit and it is our venue.  A lot will let you do payment plans or pay whenever…but it will still be due before your wedding.

If you are trying to save money…I would rethink those flowers and linens.  What are you planning on spending on them if they are the bulk of your budget?

It would be very easy to cut back on the flowers by either cutting them significantly and doing something else instead.  Linens?  Go with basic ones.

No one will remember how it looked except you, they will remember how it felt.

Oh, and before I knew much about weddings or had done an research I wanted to spend under $10k.  Mine will be right around $20k (80 people) not including Honeymoon

Post # 7
1736 posts
Bumble bee

I thought I could plan my wedding for $10-$15K. Within the first month of that…we had spent $6K on a venue (not inclusive of catering or beverages) and I knew that the budget was going out the window. All in all, my wedding (for 140 people) cost about $50K. All of the vendors required half of the cost upfront and the remaining half of the cost two weeks prior to the wedding day. I wouldn’t change a thing though…it was amazing! 

Post # 8
753 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: September 2013

We originally thought we could have a wedding for $5,000 at a place (besides at a golf course or a back yard) where we can have the ceremony and reception. Nope, not even close, we’re at around $10,000. But we’re confident in the people we’ve hired and that we’re getting our money’s worth out of everything. So that’s nice. 


If we had been open minded to a golf course or a backyeard we probably could have been under $10,000. But no one in the family has a nice back yard and the anti-golf course thing is just a quirk preference of ours. 

Post # 9
2335 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: November 2012

When I first starting planning my 70-80 person wedding, I was thinking it would be around 10k.  I was sorely naiive and its going to be about triple that.  Even with the increase, I can afford the wedding so I’m proceding as planned.

If there is “no way” you can afford a $21k wedding, you have to cut things.  Vendors do expect a deposit when you book with them and the remainder is due by the wedding (usually 4 weeks to the day of, depending on the vendor).  Since it doesn’t sound like you’ve booked with many vendors yet, you still have time to change your gameplan and find new vendors that fall in your budget.

Post # 11
9575 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper
  • Wedding: September 2013

No vendor will complain about receiving money earlier from you.  Everyone I talked to was more than willing to accept payments if you wanted to do that, as long as it was paid before the wedding.

Post # 12
6124 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: August 2012



I made a post about my own wedding’s forecasted versus actual.

Our Destination Wedding elopement: forecasted $ vs. actual $


Basically we had all the money already sitting in the checking before we even picked a spot out.  My husband lowered his retirement contributions so that take home pay would build.


However, at a very minimum you two need to fully understand how much you are takng home and how much you are spending each month.  See if you’re over or under.  If you’re under, then that’s what you can save each month!

Post # 13
130 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: May 2013

So I calculated out that you’re spending about $263/guest which is about what we’re spending on our wedding.  So I definitely think it’s doable especially since we’re on the same timeline (yay for May 4th weekend weddings!) but I can’t be certain since I don’t know any personal information (income, living expenses, etc).  The only difference that I can see is that most of our budget went to venue and catering…not florist and linen.  What I’m doing to save money on our floral budget ($3500) is doing all the ceremony decorations myself.  We’re having a church wedding and I’m doing pomander balls for the aisle using fake hydrangeas.  I have to say that that alone is saving us about half of what it would’ve cost us to use our florist for pew clusters and we plan on reusing them at our reception.  I’m sure if you look hard enough and are willing to do DIY things, that you can cut back on costs if you really feel like you might not be able to make the budget before your wedding day.

And to answer your question, all of our major vendors are booked and each required somewhere between 10-50% with most requiring around 25%.  All of the remaining balance is due at least 2 weeks before the wedding and some vendors required payment(s) at certain intervals before the wedding.  Best of luck to you!

Post # 14
170 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: July 2013

I’m having awedding with 120 guests for under 10,000 i don’t have my final numbers yet but from the quote we have gotten that’s where we will be in the end. Also it’s important to note my mom is taking care of the caterer and his parents are taking care of the liquor (open bar) so that saves us a lot of money, otherwise we are paying for it ourselves essentially I never set a budget though just trying to keep it at a minimum

Post # 15
111 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: May 2013

Vendors asked us for 25-50% deposit. The only payment we had to make in full upfront was our ceremony site.

I think it’s wise for a couple to spend way less than their current savings on their wedding.  You don’t want to start off your marriage with a huge bill.  There are bigger expenses down the line like a house and kids.  Plus God forbid there are any emergencies before the wedding.

I do completely understand budgets spiraling out of control.  We thought it would cost $20K wedding for 100 people but now it’s going to be $30K for 150 people.  That’s with trying to make the wedding as cheap as possible.  Thankfully, this is below our means.  If we didn’t have much money saved, we would just have a small, simple 10 person wedding or elope.  Family & friends would understand and wouldn’t want us to blow our savings away on 1 day.  You can always have a vow renewal later when you can afford a bigger reception.

If that’s not an option, cutting the budget as much as possible would be the best decision.  Maybe you could try buying linens from another bride and then resell it after your wedding.  You could DIY your own flowers (huge cost savings).  You could also cut down on the amount of flowers used.  Non-floral centerpieces only or use floral centerpieces for only 1/2 or 1/3 of your tables.  Honestly, a significant cost for our wedding are our bridal party (gifts, flowers, hair, makeup, nails, etc).  A smaller bridal would be substantially cheaper.  A cocktail or dessert reception.  Or change your wedding to an off day like Sunday or Thursday might save some money.

Best of luck to you!  Remember it’s just one day =)

Post # 16
1348 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: January 2014

I budgeted for 10k. At the moment it looks like i’ll be under budget =D

As pp’s have said, vendors usually require down payments, then the final payment just prior to the wedding. If you can’t swing that amount of cash, then it’s time to start thinking outside the box.I’m not sure how far along you are in your planning, but there are some things to help make it cheaper.

Flowers and linens are not neccessary, so if that’s the biggest chunk, scrap them! If you MUST have them, look into silk flowers, or make your own flowers. Linens can be rented, OR, look into venues that have them as part of a package deal. Honestly, nobody will care if there are no table linens.

In the way of venues, try looking for ones that allow outside catering. Seriously, there’s no way in hell i’m paying $200 per plate for someone’s food. Especially when I can go to a nice resteraunt and book out a room, pay $25 per head and have everyone just as happy or hire a caterer for $25-40 per head. Also look into wineries or vineyards, as often they don’t charge hiring fees as they make their money from the alcohol. Local halls are usually very well priced and have tables, chairs and a kitchen on site. We hired a nice room for our e-party for $100

Caterers are usually expensive. We looked into a few different styles, but are going with a buffet spit roast, because it is $25 per head and has SO much food! Plus it goes with our laid back atmosphere. When you look at venues ask who they usually use. Don’t be afraid to be different, there was a gourmet pizza place we looked at, very cheap but we liked the spit roast better.. Consider having a brunch, afternoon tea or dessert reception, the cost will be much less (you could even DIY your own dessert reception, and it would cost a TINY amount).

Decor will be very much DIY, as will music.

Photography is something I don’t want to compromise on, but if you’re ok with it look at some local colleges. Students will usually do it much cheaper. Same can be said for hair and make up, and caterers too!

Jasmines bridal is a great option for wedding dresses.from what i’ve read.

I believe mayors marry people for free, but check that out as it may be different in your area.

Do heaps of research! There are some things we won’t compromise on, but everything has a price and I refuse to put myself in debt for a wedding (especially when it seems we’ll be able to have our perfect wedding for under 10k).

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