I'm ENGAGED! Now what… Budget question!

posted 3 years ago in Ceremony
  • poll: What was your budget range?
    $5,000- $8,000 : (16 votes)
    24 %
    $8,500-$10,000 : (4 votes)
    6 %
    $10,500- $15,000 : (12 votes)
    18 %
    $15,500-$20,000 : (7 votes)
    10 %
    $20,500-$25,000 : (9 votes)
    13 %
    $25,500-$30,000 : (5 votes)
    7 %
    $30,500-$35,000 : (5 votes)
    7 %
    $35,500-$40,000 : (3 votes)
    4 %
    Above $40,000 : (7 votes)
    10 %
  • Post # 2
    1124 posts
    Bumble bee
    • Wedding: September 2017

    My original wedding was estimated to cost over $65,000…..

    Which is why I trashed that idea and am doing a destination wedding!

    Good luck with the budget! 

    Post # 3
    1650 posts
    Bumble bee

    Depends a lot on location and size of guest list. $12,000-15,000 will not get you anywhere in NYC if you have a 80 person guest list. Probably goes a lot further elsewhere. 

    Post # 4
    2395 posts
    Buzzing bee
    • Wedding: March 2017

    No “under $5000” choice? Ours was way under that amount.

    Post # 6
    326 posts
    Helper bee
    • Wedding: July 2017

    I am in the exact same boat! Publically engaged and semi-planning as of last weekend. Fiance and I both work in the wedding industry, so we’re trying to DIY and get as far away from the industry as possible so it truly feels like OUR wedding and not work. Maybe even a DIY destination. Our current guest list is around 50 if everyone attends, and I’m aiming to keep it under 10k!

    Post # 7
    1843 posts
    Buzzing bee
    • Wedding: October 2018

    View original reply
    leelee93 :  Really it comes down to how much are you comfortable spending? $5k, $20k? whatever.  Sit down with Fiance and come to an agreeable number.  If putting the wedding off for another year helps you get to that number then do so…there’s no race.  Then do as much as you can to stick with that number.  There are several threads with respect to keeping in budget.  Don’t do what you can’t afford.

    Post # 8
    257 posts
    Helper bee

    Start by figuring out whether your budget is 12k or 15k. 3k is a big difference, especially at that budget range! If you’re unsure, go with the lower amount and you can upgrade/add on if the funds become available.

    Next, figure out your guest list. This was one of the first things we did after we got engaged – we talked through all the options (courthouse wedding with just us/parents, small intimate wedding – 20 or less people, slightly larger, 60 people, all the way up to what we had in the end, 110 people). That will dicatate the types of venues you can look at. It makes a huge difference – we loved a venue but it was slightly too small so we moved on to something else.

    Are you including your dress/his clothes as part of the budget? Mine wasn’t, so we had to tack that on afterwards.

    You’ll need to budget for the basics – officiant, DJ, flowers, decor, food/drink, service, gratuities, hair, makeup/nails, gifts for bridal party members, invitations… a lot of things will vary greatly from vendor to vendor. If its important to you, don’t cheap out on it. Food/open bar and DJ was SUPER important to my family and me and Darling Husband, so we didn’t skimp on those. I did a ton of DIY decor to save money.

    You’ll soon figure out what’s important to you and what you can do without!

    Post # 9
    67 posts
    Worker bee

    Congrats on the engagement! 12-15k is definitely a doable budget if you’re determined to stick to it. We are working on a 15k budget and so far have still been able to plan our dream wedding for about 90 guests. I’ve broken down our budget below, I hope it helps! And for reference we are getting married in a major metro area, so while it took a little extra work and flexibility, it’s definitely doable to get married on a budget in a big city!


    Venue: $4k (on a Saturday in the summer)

    Food & Alcohol: 6k (cocktail hour appetizers, dinner buffet, and wine/beer)

    Photographer: $1000 (we scored a great deal here by paying in full up front instead of putting down a deposit and paying the remainder later)

    DJ: $1000

    Flowers: $800 (our venue is outdoor, so it doesn’t need much additional decor – look for a florist who works from home or does it on the side. It’s more expensive to hire a florist who owns their own shop and has to cover those overhead expenses)

    Invitations: $150

    Table Decor: $150

    Cake: $500


    Post # 10
    1166 posts
    Bumble bee

    I’m having a Northern New Jersey wedding and I don’t think it will reach over 18K.  I’m honestly trying to keep it under 15K and it seems doable but part o fme thinks that I’m forgetting something lol.

    Anyway, Northern NJ is incredibly similarly priced as NYC and it’s doable with a 15K budget. 

    What confuses me though – I just cannot fathom a wedding under 5K.  I see that relatively frequently on here and I ask women how they’re able to keep cost down like that but no one has ever responded.  Can someone PLEASE explain this to me because my brain short-circuits whenever I read this, haha.

    Post # 11
    783 posts
    Busy bee

    My budget was$6-7k for a 65 guest count. 

    Photography, videography  & food were my main priorities. Day of the week (Sunday) flowers  & venue were much farther down the list & allowed me to save money. 

    Average wedding here is around $14-15k. Mine looked every bit as expensive as most be abuse I chose wisely where to cut corners & got really creative with budget. 

    Post # 12
    339 posts
    Helper bee

    what is your guest list size?

    Post # 14
    1203 posts
    Bumble bee
    • Wedding: City, State

    View original reply
    PrincessPeach13 :


    Mannnnn, even $18k is a near miracle in the NYC metro area.

    All of the $5kish weddings I’ve heard of have one  or several of the following features:  1- no hard alcohol, so only beer/ punch/ wine, or the couple was able to bring in their own.   2- buffet style food options  3- free/ almost free venues  4- TONS of DIY  5- talented guests/ friends who can do things like invites, photography, dj, makeup, clothing 6- smaller guestlists of mostly family (aka folks who don’t mind pouring their own drinks, hauling in an extra tub of ice, setting up/ breaking down the wedding) . 



    Post # 15
    3446 posts
    Sugar bee
    • Wedding: September 2017 - Poppy Ridge Golf Course

    Its expensive in our area but we got lucky with a friend recommended venue. Comparable venues here have $9k Fri/Sun and $12k Saturday minimums. 

    Guest Count = 54

    Venue $1500 – 6 hour exclusive use, decor, chargers, set up, DOC, bridal suite – no minimum except on Saturdays

    Food/Beverage/Service Charge/Taxes $4538.76 – cocktail hour appetizers, plated dinner, non-alcoholic drinks and open bar

    Dessert $238 – Nothing Bundt Cakes! 😄

    Photographer $1200 – 4 hour small event package, not available on Saturdays

    Hair $200

    Makeup $50 – I don’t wear the stuff, after a couple YouTube videos I’m fine with DIY

    Dress $258

    Shoes $65

    Reception Dress $59

    Suit $160

    Centerpiece Flowers $123

    Wedding Party Flowers – Future Mother-In-Law is taking care of it, no clue on cost

    DJ $0 – friend of Fiance but I’m sure he’ll give him a few hundred

    Officiant $0 – family friend of Fiance parents…but not entirely free since he invited a +1 for himself 😒 I’m sure he’ll be paid as well. 

    We’re not party people and none of our VIPs had a preference so Saturday wasn’t a priority. I like the relaxed vibe of an early Sunday. We could afford more but don’t feel the need. Wanted to stay under $7k, had an absolute max of $10k. I always give myself wiggle room in the budget, you never know. With family contributions we’re under the $7k but they weren’t expected. 

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