(Closed) How to spend wedding budget????

posted 4 years ago in Money
Post # 2
2203 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: June 2014

we spent the most money on our photographer by FAR. our photographer was 4.5k. we put our budget and guest count into a budget calculator on theknot.com and that worked pretty well for us. i don’t think you will be able to keep to your budget with such a high price for food- we had 100 guests, our food was around 30/person and our in laws paid for alcohol and we ended up paying around 20k. i agree that photography is a huge priority, but i don’t think you’ll be able to stick under budget with a venue that charges a fee just for holidng the event.

Post # 3
1288 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: August 2015


sunflower1214:  Venue, food and photographer where my main things. All of which are very reasonable in my opinon- I feel like $4k is alot for a photographer, but that may be because I’m getting a great deal since my sister is a photographer, and her friends are doing mine.

I’m doing all DIY centerpieces. I’m using fake silk flowers in the centerpieces because they’re cheaper, and I can work on them months before the wedding. My florist(just wedding party flowers) is someone who does it out of her home, and is extremely reasonable, esp. for the work she does.

Also, we decided we’ll buy a couple kegs, but if anyone wants mixed drinks, they can pay for them on their own. As for hair and make up, see if there is a makeup/beauty school in the area. They may be open on your day of, and cost a heck of alot less. You can always do a trial before you commit.

Post # 4
1678 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: May 2014

sunflower1214: $10K is doable, but you’ll have to have cheaper food and photog options. my venue was $1700, food was around $2800 (for 130 guests – we got a heck of a deal!), and a good friend of ours is a photographer – she did ours for $1000. my dress was around $1000 with alterations, and we spent $500 bringing in our own beer and wine…that’s a simple breakdown of our biggest expenses.  

Post # 5
4891 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: October 2014

Our budget was around $10K, and with everything paid for – we went just over that for everything.

Our venue for the reception and food were our big expenses ($6K) – and this was for about 220 people with a sit-down meal (2 options), 1 keg, lights around the head table, cake cutting, projector and screen for a slideshow, and pizza for late night munchies.

Our next big amount was for the band, which was $2500 and then the photographer, which was $1100.

My dress with alterations was under $1K, and it was great! Our cake was about $200 (sheet cake, and a 2-tier). Invitations (including stamps) was about $330. I DIY’d flowers with silk, and that was probably less than $200 for everything we did. Photobooth was $400.

I’m sure i am missing some things, but I think we did a good job. I wanted nice, but sacrified some stuff I didn’t care about (reception decorations, mainly). Everything turned out great and it was an awesome day.

Post # 6
992 posts
Busy bee

AT $150/person and a 75 person guest list, you’re already over budget with nothing but the meal…So unless you want to cut the guest list in half or increase  your budget, you’ve got to find a less expensive caterer.

Post # 7
7975 posts
Bumble Beekeeper

Guests (and you) will be most satisfied with tasty and plentiful food and drink. We are incredibly frugal people, and I bet food will take up most of the cost. We’re even being frugal with the food, but it adds up with all the people! I know a lot of people really like the fancy photography, but we really just needed someone for a few hours to take pictures of us and our families, so that cut down on that cost. 

Post # 8
901 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: November 2014 - 11/15/14-Vineyard

Really sit down and make a firm budget and guest list. We only wanted 50 people max but our “have to invite” list came out to 89. If you can try using the budget planner on theknot dot com. It helped me sooo much and I realized so much that I was forgetting about (favors, undergarments, postage, hair accessories, jewelry, decor, etc). You plug in your number and area and it spreads it out for you. Of course it’s fully customizable and you can add/subtract/edit at will. It was VERY helpful in the beginning. 

Post # 9
1252 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: May 2015

You and your Fiance should reprioritize what’s important. Your catering estimate alone is over your budget. 

Suggestions for cutting down costs:

  • Do your own hair and makeup or go to a beauty school and have their students do it 
  • Cut down on your photography budget by 50-75%. Ask for a la carte pricing. 4 hrs vs. 8
  • Can you host your reception at a restaurant? You’ll just have to worry about a food & beverage minimum. 
  • Make your reception a Sunday brunch. You won’t have to worry about alcohol as much since most people won’t really drink heavily during the day
  • Order flowers from Trader Joe’s, Wegmans, Whole Foods, Costco, Sam’s Club, or local flower wholesaler
  • Not sure if you have a wedding dress already, but there are some nice designs on Etsy for less than $600. David’s Bridal also sells nice, affordable dresses. Or you can buy a bridesmaid dress in white from Nordstroms for a few hundred ($100 – $300)
  • Ipod for music. Or hire a band near a college town for less $$$
Post # 11
928 posts
Busy bee

You’ve mentioned a $10k budget for:

Venue: $2,800 Food: $11k Photog: $4k. $18k already! And you still need to pay for celebrant, invitations & postage, dress & groom attire, beverages. Also optionals of cake, decorations, music, bridal party expenses.

You either need to change your budget or change your venue, caterer AND photographer. And I suggest you do a budget in a spreadsheet and really think about everything you want and the price. Do this before committing to your venue and caterer and then possibly not being able to afford anything else!

We wanted to spend $10k and ended up spending $14k, but still the least expensive wedding of my peers.

If it helps at all, here was our breakdown:

$7,800 for all inclusive venue/food/drinks (beer,wine,soft only) which was $120 per head 6 hr function time including holding ceremony there,

$1,600 dress/shoes/jewelery/purse,

$300 groom suit hire and tie/cufflinks,

$600 celebrant,

$900 photog (3 hrs only),

$350 DJ (was a friend),

$250 for (DIY) invitations/order of ceremony booklets and postage,

$500 flowers and other decorations incl guest book & instax photos,

$500 for hair/makeup incl trial and buying lipstick etc (WAY more than I was anticipating!),

$400 gifts for parents/friends who helped,

$300 cake,

$700 sundry things that add up!

Post # 12
3036 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: May 2015 - Walnut Hill Bed & Breakfast

You’ll never stay under 10 from the things you just quoted.

My “10k” budget:

Venue + overnight room (2 nights) = $2,000 

Photographer = $3,000

Food for 100 people = $2,000 ($20/person)

Flowers = $600

Dress = $500

DJ = $1,500

Cupcakes = $300 

Officiant = $100 

Luckily my dad is paying for those things. Anything over 10k is on me or my fiance’s family.

I’ll probably spend close to $1,500 on save the dates ($100), invites ($150), decorations($?), bridesmaid gifts ($200), hair ($65), accessories ($100), favors ($300), groomsmen gifts ($100). And that’s with being thifty and DIYing a lot…. 

Also, my Fiance’s family is paying for the videographer $3,000, rehearsal dinner $1,000?, & alcohol $1,000?.  Luckily we are able to bring in our own alcohol. We still need to “hire” bartenders though…. that’ll probably end up just being a couple of our friends.

We’ll probably be looking at $13,000 – $15,000. And I’m not sure I could have done it much cheaper without sacrificing a lot… 

Post # 14
213 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: September 2014

Take this with a grain of salt 😉 You can spend your money however you like, and I can only give opinions on what has worked for us.  We tried to stick to a 15K budget (ended up around 25K).  No matter how you slice it, weddings do cost something.  Though, I have to say, no regrets on ours at all.  SO – here’s what happened.  We made photography our top priority (5K).  Our venue was 9K (60 guests, they allowed us to bring in our own wine for a corkage fee, open bar for cocktail hour, free wine all night and after dinner, any non-wine drinks were at the guests cost).  Decor was another 4K (chairs, tenting), flowers were 1K, and the rest was misc. costs (musicians, officiant, invites, dress, rings etc.).

The best way to cut costs without sacrificing quality is your guest count.  I personally wouldn’t cut a good photographer.  Even though 10K isn’t the biggest budget in the world, it’s still a lot of money, and I’d be sad to see mediocre photo results of the day.  If I were you, I’d see if you can do an off-season wedding (some vendors offer a reduced rate for winter/early spring and/or Friday/Sunday weddings), see if you can get your guest count down to the essentials (we went from 120 to 60, and again, NO regrets on that one – we were able to have a partial open bar, and it didn’t feel like we were overwhelmed with people), for make-up, instead of hiring a MUA to come to you, what about getting your make up done at a make up counter like Sephora?  It’d cost you a buying two products, AND most MUAs work at counters 9-5 (so you wouldn’t be sacrificing that much quality)….

For catering – instead of having a full sit-down dinner, you do a later ceremony with a cocktail reception (passed hors d’eouvres or buffet style)?

Just some thoughts! Hope that helps!

Post # 14
285 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: September 2014

Our 10k budget for 50 guests (turned 12k budget including rings):

Venue (included food, setup, cake…) – $4500

“Bride” (dress, accessories, hair, makeup) – $2000

Photographer – $1200

Rings – $2000

Miscellaneous (Decor, officiant, stationary, gifts, favours, music, etc.) – $2000

Obviously our priorities were food, my dress, our rings.  Photographer was important but I didn’t feel the need to spend ridiculous amounts of money on the best quality photos.  If you can go somewhere in the middle I’d reccommend that.  Decor was DIY, all music was done with ipods, invitations were DIY and mostly hand-delivered.  I scrimped and saved everywhere I could except the big ticket items (food, dress, rings).

Looking back I loved every second of my wedding day and wouldn’t have changed a thing.  A lot of people commented on how beautiful yet down to Earth it was and I love hearing that.  It was hard work but weddings do NOT have to cost tens of thousands.  We could have spent less if we were willing to sacrifice even more.

  • This reply was modified 4 years, 3 months ago by  MissKayDee.
Post # 15
86 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: July 2014

These are a few of the tricks we used to save money:

Our photographer was 4k, but charged us 3k because she left at 8 pm instead of 10 pm.  There is absolutely nothing that happened between 8 pm and 10 pm that I regret not having on film.  I still have almost 7 hours worth of photography (with two photographer).  That’s PLENTY.

DIY Appetizers. I had our caterer give us a quote that didn’t include appetizers. I noticed Appetizers were costing the same amount as the actual dinner.  Instead I went to costco and bought a ton of nice cheese, grapes, strawberries, and crackers. I bought some wood cutting boards at Bed Bath and Beyond and baskets at goodwill. We had an amazing cheese and fruit display and it halved our catering cost.

We picked a venue that allowed us to provide our own alcohol. We had top shelf alcohol, nice wine, champaigne, and craft beer for about $14/person.  two bartenders all night were $300.

DIY’d flowers. Did email save the dates.  My sister designed invitations and stationary and we did online RSVPs.

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