(Closed) Is there supposed to be a set amount?

posted 5 years ago in Money
Post # 3
Member
2295 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: April 2013

The rule I have heard from Dave Ramsey (a conservative financial counselor who encourages paying cash and being debt free) is that a wedding should cost no more than about 50% of the annual income of the people paying for it, and that rule apples up to about $100,000 in annual income. He reached those numbers by figuring the average wedding costs around $25k and the average household income is about $50k. So both sides of that equation allow to scale up/down depending on location & cost of living. He is VERY encouraging of spending less than that, he’s just being realistic with averages and what the max acceptable (to him) is.

He also says if you are in a lot of debt, you should still get married and spend money on the wedding, but really scale back and try to do it under like $10k or some other smaller number (vs average). It is all based on your situation, not income alone.

Now, we aren’t paying for the majority of our wedding (about 70% is gifts from parents), but our wedding, honeymoon, and rings (all in!) are about 17% of our combined annual incomes. If you exclude honeymoon and rings, it is more like 12% of combined annual gross income.

We are a little bit older (28/29) and both have good careers, so that is what lowers the percentage. Our dollar amount spend is about average.

By the way, I love convos like this! It can be very hard when you first get planning to figure out what is reasonable and what you “can afford.” Seeing comps from others are helpful – just like with a house, where the generally accepted rule is a mortgage no more than 3x your income or no more than 25-30% of monthly take home pay. General ideas are good starting points to work up or down from when you’re new and overwhelmed.

Post # 4
Member
529 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: January 2013

I didn’t know it was a rule, I say just spend what you can afford.

Post # 5
Member
12635 posts
Honey Beekeeper
  • Wedding: November 1999

I don’t think there are any rules or guidance on this.  Spend what you can afford and what you’re comfortable spending.  I could afford a lot more than I’m actually paying, but I’m not comfortable with that.  So I cut it off where I was okay!

Post # 6
Member
14064 posts
Honey Beekeeper
  • Wedding: June 2011

I dont think there’s a set ‘rule’ for anything, except for the obvious don’t spend what you can’t afford to spend.   Our wedding was around 15% of our combined salaries.  My e-ring was less than 1 month salary. We could definitely have afforded more, but prefer to save heavily for the future and hopefully early retirement.

Post # 7
Member
1114 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: July 2013

Our budget is about a third of our combined salaries.  It’s coming from savings which we’ve spent a long time building up.  I’ve never heard of a particular ‘rule’ saying what you ‘should’ spend though.

Post # 8
Member
663 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: June 2017 - Vegas Wedings

You know, I think its interesting that there isnt some well known “rule” on how much a wedding should cost. Those wedding websites and magazines need to get on that one!

Were looking at $10K for ours, not including my dress which I already have and the honeymoon. We will be getting assistance from both sides and $10K is WAY below 50% our combined take home or either parents. 50% actually seems pretty high to me. But we are trying to pay off our student loans and get ahead on retirement.

Post # 9
Member
1030 posts
Bumble bee

I’ve never heard of a ‘rule’ – but it’s quite an interesting thought!

When we told our parents that we wanted to get married in just less than a year, they told us to reconsider so that we could save more. They said “weddings cost more than you think – you’ll never be able to do it”

I told them that instead of finding out how much it would all cost and then delaying until we could afford x amount, we should set y amount as our budget and fit it all into that – otherwise we’d just add more and more things and the wedding would get further and further away.

Having a set amount and sticking to it is definitely making us think outside the box more – I think I’m going to make our guestbook with old scrapbook stuff that I haven’t used – and it’s really giving me the guts to say to vendors “no – this is all we can afford and if you can’t do it then goodbye”.

Our wedding will come to around £17,000 – £13,000 of which will be paid for by the two of us. Our annual combined income is £42,000 so that’s 31%!

Although after tax we only bring home £32,400 – so it’s more like 40% of our total combined income.

Post # 10
Member
2782 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: October 2013

@the_future_mrs:  The rule of thumb for where I’m from is it should cost roughly $100 per guest, so 50 guests should cost roughly $5000, this estimate is only for the reception part, but it does actually include things like favours and center pieces. I think the reason is that typically a catered meal here is $50/person, you would have to adjust your estimate based on where you live.

Post # 11
Member
663 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: June 2017 - Vegas Wedings

@drummerbride:  Is that $100 per an adult? Of are children included in that rule of thumb? Where does ceremony costs figure into that?

Post # 12
Member
76 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: September 2012

There’s no rule, because what you can afford to spend depends on a lot more than just your income. Do you have debt? Are parent’s contributing? What are your monthly expenses?

The formula would need to be something like: your current savings + outside contributions + (whatever you can set aside per month x number of months to your wedding) = max amount you can spend

 

Post # 13
Member
8044 posts
Bumble Beekeeper
  • Wedding: December 2013

@the_future_mrs:  Not sure if there’s a rule per se. The Knot recently put a graphic out that surveyed 18,000 brides, and it showed the average wedding cost is around $27,000 and the average cost of the e-ring is around $5,000. Don’t know if that helps you!

We’re a bit different… we’re spending WAY more on the rings than the wedding. We’re eloping and just doing something really simple.

Post # 14
Member
4803 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: September 2011

There’s definitely not a rule of how much you should spend, because you might want a small wedding with just immediate family and super close friends, and there’s no need to throw more money at it than necessary just to hit some sort of limit. But if you’re having a big wedding it can be pretty easy to go overboard. The way we did it was a little different…we really didn’t set a budget, and my parents offered to pay for the venue and food, DH’s parents gave us a set amount (3k) which paid for our band and photographer, and we paid for the florist, linens, decor, cake, honeymoon and all that other little stuff that managed to add up crazy fast. Our process was basically figuring out what we liked, and then looking for the vendor who could get us that for the lowest price but had good reviews.

I think a good rule in general is to not go in debt for the wedding and honeymoon. For us, DH had enough in savings we knew that wouldn’t happen, but we didn’t want to go crazy with it or take advantage of my parent’s generosity.

Post # 16
Member
2782 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: October 2013

@Beautiful Bluegrass:  That’s for the reception, and it factors children and adults, I should clarify it’s not a ‘rule’ of how much you have to spend, it’s just the ‘rule’ of how much you should budget for when planning. The thinking is anything you would save on the kids meals would be factored into something else ultimately. 

It doesn’t factor in the ceremony. Most venues don’t charge for the ceremony if you hold your reception their, and most churches only ask for $100 so a ceremony here can be quite inexpensive. 

It also doesn’t factor in the bridal attire. 

 

ETA: And that’s not to say that it isn’t possible to do it for less then that, my MOH got married with 100 guests for $7000, but we’re looking at around $10k for ours with 120 invited guests. Technically we should be looking at $12k or more, but our venue is fairly inexpensive for the catering, and we aren’t having floral center pieces since i don’t like flowers. 

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