How much did you spend on your wedding? Or planning on spending.

posted 4 months ago in Wedding Related
Post # 32
Member
2372 posts
Buzzing bee

We spent around 10k on a smaller wedding. That covered my dress, his suit, makeup, food and drinks, the venue for the reception, the photographer, flowers, and rented furniture. 

I ordered the flowers online and made my own bouquet – it was absolutely gorgeous. We got some dried lavender from friends and decorated tables with that and greenery. I made 2 wedding cakes and a cheesecake with blackberry sauce. I did my own makeup and hair and I really, really regret that. I wrote the entire ceremony, which took place at a gorgeous waterfall in the forest, and then we drove to wine country to a mansion we rented on airbnb. People still talk about the flowers, the cakes, the waterfall, the mansion with the incredible view. Our photographer was a splurge and we did get some great photos from her. 

We spent more money on my ring and the honeymoon (3 weeks in Japan and the Phillippines) and I’m so glad we did that. I wear my ring every day and I absolutely adore it, and our honeymoon was incredible. 

I have a really large extended family. A few of them are upper middle class to wealthy and had some lavish weddings. As a guest, I really don’t think it was worth it. For example, my cousin’s wedding was 80k and honestly I did not enjoy it 80k worth. The venue was fine, the food was fine, the music was fine…but she could have spent 20k and it all would have been equally ok. In the end, it was the same as every other wedding that I barely remember. I don’t care about the quality of the food for one meal or if I have to buy my own alcoholic drinks for a few hours. I care when the couple does something that is special to them and full of their own personality. For example, I remember the couple that brought in African dancers because the bride studied traditional African dance. I remember the couple that set up karaoke because a lot of their friends were singers. One couple made shortbread cookies shaped like teapots and flavored with different teas, another brought in a supermarket cake with a cartoon character on it because the groom’s last name was the same as this character. None of these weddings were especially fancy or expensive, but they were all far more memorable than the lavish ones were, and I had a better time. 

Post # 33
Member
13646 posts
Honey Beekeeper

I think what many also fail to take into account is how much that money could be worth to them in 18+ years when they are ready to pay for college or retirement. That 30-40K wedding actually has a huge opportunity cost. It could be worth 3-10 times that amount if invested left to grow! 

We had more than enough to pay for our own wedding, but considered putting our savings to work for us from the beginning way, way too important an advantage to sacrifice. Had our parents not very generously co-hosted our wedding, we would have done something extremely intimate and inexpensive. 

It’s unfortunate that couples think they have to host in the same lavish style as their parent or grandparents generation might have when it was generally older, more established, or financially independent people footing the bill.

That’s not to say that it’s not ultimately the responsibility of an independent couple to pay for their own wedding. But I wish more couples would think twice before spending this kind of money. Unless they are debt free, have an emergency fund, are contributing enough to savings and retirement accounts, have sufficient insurance coverage, and are on track for goals I’d argue the vast majority can’t truly “afford” it. This is not what the wedding industry wants you to think about of course. 

Post # 34
Member
357 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: January 2018

Approximately $6K on my first wedding in 1999

 

Approximately $6K on my second wedding. In 2014

 

Approximately 2.5K on my third wedding in 2018

 

So altogether my 3 weddings don’t reach the average

Post # 35
Member
86 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: March 2018

We spent about $30k for ~130 people and about $11k on our honeymoon. Even with that, I was still trying to DIY stuff and cut the budget where I could.

We married at 33 and 34, paid for it ourselves, didn’t have debt, but still don’t own a house at 36 and 37 (though that’s a whole other story with me not wanting to commit to one place). 

It’s such a personal decision. For me, I really value the memories of the experiences that I prefered to have when young (rather than waiting until I was older and more stable to spend the money). 

But, PP are right when they mention the value that that money could have accrued toward my son’s college fund.

I loved everything about my wedding (and honestly wish I would have sunk another $800 for a videographer), but it is wise to think everything through and determine your priorities before committing to a budget. 

Post # 36
Member
192 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: July 2022

We’re going to end up spending somewhere between 50-60k when all is said and done. We are older, in our 30s with established good careers, two paid off cars, investments, and a home already, plus kids, and huge families who we are inviting, so it’s what works for us. We won’t have any debt from it, but aren’t emptying the bank either – we’re still taking our annual family vacation a few months before the wedding, and our living isn’t taking a hit from it. That cost includes everything including hair/makeup/nails for bridesmaids and things for groomsmen, but not our rings or honeymoon. Our criteria was that we wouldn’t have debt from the wedding or anything else, and we wouldn’t feel major financial pressure from it. 

  • This reply was modified 3 months, 2 weeks ago by vintageb77.
Post # 37
Member
761 posts
Busy bee

Our wedding was about 40K total for 60 people; about 12K of that came from my SO and me. We had originally budgeted to pay up to 20K ourselves, which was on top of my parents offering to pay for the catering and venue. After we postponed in 2020 and then had to reduce our guest count, my parents offered to also pay for all of the rentals, florals, etc., which we had planned to pay for ourselves originally.

So my SO and I ended up paying for our attire and rings; hair and makeup for the women; the photographer; the DJ; guest transportation; the paper products. We didn’t travel for our honeymoon, though we’ll probably take a trip sometime down the line and treat it like a honeymoon (we aren’t big travelers, so maybe that will motivate us to plan something eventually).

Relatively speaking, compared to similar weddings held in the area, our biggest splurge was likely the extra staffing we hired. We hired people to do pretty much everything because we weren’t interested in DIY, and we didn’t want our friends and family working for the wedding. It was totally worth it in our opinion and our parents’ opinions. Everything was coordinated so well, no one was stressed or running around or trying to keep track of anything – we just showed up and enjoyed!

The venue itself was on the pricier side as well, but it was gorgeous and worth a visit on its own. Lots of outdoor and open-air space for our guests to sit and walk around. Plus the booking included a planner / DOC, who was excellent.

Overall it was a wonderful experience, and I can’t think of anything I would have changed at this point. My SO said it was perfect; better than he thought it could be. And we got so many compliments from guests about everything – our ceremony, the venue, the food, the DJ.

BUT – it was still only one event and one day, so the reality is that we would not have done it this way if we had concerns about affording it. We could have easily found a less expensive venue and photographer. We could have done more ourselves. We could have found places to cut costs without our guests really noticing much of a difference. Our ceremony would not have changed besides the location. 

So the two big things to consider for us were that 1) my parents’ contribution allowed us to have a wedding we would not have wanted to fund on our own and 2) we did not choose the wedding over any other major expenses that would have otherwise taken precedent.

We just finalized a house purchase this month, and the wedding didn’t affect that because we were still ready to provide the 20% downpayment ourselves. We are in our early 30s with good, stable jobs, no debt, no plans to ever have kids, and plenty of remaining savings that we will be distributing into emergency funds and investments of some kind. The money that we and my parents put towards the wedding was money that we would not have readily put elsewhere.

Post # 38
Member
20 posts
Newbee
  • Wedding: August 2020

We spend under 5k for our wedding. We made sure we had good food and photos. You don’t have to go into debt to have a nice wedding.

Post # 39
Member
1435 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: June 2016

~45K for ~115 people in a domestic wedding ‘destination’, and some of that covers costs for hotels for friends / family members for who cost would have been prohibitive for their attendance.

We then had a second reception in my DH’s home country and spent ~5k on that. I loved both weddings and both had their pros and cons.

For us, spending that much made no material difference on our standard of living or our timelines to financial goals. So it felt worthwhile to us and we had a fabulous day and no regrets spending that money. However, if our financial situation had been different our wedding budget would have been the first thing slashed.

Post # 40
Member
2312 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: March 2019

We spent $30k for 350 people

Post # 41
Member
535 posts
Busy bee

We spent about $45K for ~90 people, including our Honeymoon in Hawaii, bachelor/bachelorette, bridal party gifts, parents gifts, etc. Biggest expense was the venue with catering and bar, that was about 25K.

However, your OP is backwards. You ask the average cost of a wedding in order to set your budget. That’s not how a budget works. Decide how much money you have and what you can afford to spend, and that is your budget. Whether that is 100K or 1K. 

Post # 42
Member
82 posts
Worker bee

We started thinking we could get away with a $25k wedding..ended up about $65k AUD. I mean part of me is like ugh…the things we could have done with that money! But it was a really beautiful day with 90 guests.

Post # 43
Member
343 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: July 2017

We set a budget of $12,000 and we stuck to that exactly, this included absolutely everything except our honeymoon. We had 120 guests at a sit down dinner but there weren’t a lot of frills (which I was totally ok with). If I could change anything it would be to try to find a way to spend even less.

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