(Closed) What comes first?

posted 6 years ago in Money
Post # 3
514 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: June 2013

@sweet5k:  Well we didn’t exactly establish a budget, but I would say that you should figure out what is most important to you: for example, if you love good food or you have a specific vision for what your reception will look like, then start with what the venue will cost and find ways to cut back later if need be. If the music, photographer or flowers are at your top, maybe you should see how much the one you really love costs and find a venue that is less expensive. I think that the venue and photographer are at the top of most people’s lists (those photo’s will be with you forever and the venue will really enhance the pictures). I do think that 50% is probably accurate for food/drinks and the price of renting it, unless that is your big splurge.

Post # 4
668 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: April 2013

I tend to agree with @swisea01:  Figure out what is most important to you and focus your attention (and finances) there. For example, my parents contributed about $10000 towards the wedding, give or take. They let me know this amount pretty early on so I knew what I had to work with. Anything above that was my responsibility to pay for. It’s an awkward conversation that you just have to have. Find out where your parents stand so you can understand what you have to work with.

For me, I knew I wanted good food, a good photographer, and people to have a good time. So I skimped a little on the venue, well actually I just got a little creative and saved a ton of money. If you look outside the box you can find amazing things that don’t cost an arm and a leg. I never used a formula to calculate what things should be costing. But here’s how it all broke down, roughly… When it’s all said and done our wedding, with everything included is about $15000 total.

My main priorities: Appetizers, meal, cake, beer and wine for 75 guests:  30%

Photographer: 20%

Band: 15%

Venue: 10%

Dress: 9%

Wedding rings: 9%

Decorations, flowers, linens, and other incidentals: about 7%

Post # 5
101 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: October 2013

There’s no reason that you can’t have an expensive photographer at an inexpensive venue or an inexpensive photographer at an expensive venue, and the same is true for all of your wedding expenses.  

We looked at all the budget percentage guides too, but numbers are going to be very different.  Our venue is way more than 50% of our budget, but that includes the ceremony and reception space, all of the food, linens, chairs, etc., and some entertainment for the guests.  Our photographer is 10% of our budget.  Everything else is probably less than the suggested percentage.

I would recommend that you have a general idea of how much you want to spend and how many people you want to invite, then start looking at venues.  You don’t want to fall in love with a place that will be way too expensive or way too small, but you can shop around within a general range and see what you like.  Once you get an idea, you can adjust your budget accordingly.  For example, if you find somewhere you love that’s slightly more than you expected, you can cut costs elsewhere (vendors, decor, etc.).  Alternatively, if you find several places you like and aren’t dead set on one, you can pick the cheapest and splurge on something else.

Post # 7
668 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: April 2013

@sweet5k:  I think you should stay true to yourself and your beliefs. If your parents want to have such a strong opinion about what you should be spending then they need to be more upfront about what they are able to contribute. You should check out a book called “A Practical Wedding”. I can’t recommend it enough! Helps keep things in perspective!

Post # 8
12247 posts
Sugar Beekeeper
  • Wedding: May 2013

I think 50% sounds about right! Our budget for our formal luncheon wedding and night out clubbing (except my dress) was 3k. We’re spending about $1500 on the caterer!

Post # 9
960 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: July 2013

@swisea01:  +1

@RiverBride13: +1 


Definitely find what works for you for mine the Venue/Food/Drink is about 66% of my budget. 

We trimed other places to make it work because for us our tops were:

Good Food

Open Bar

Music/Dance Floor Space


We originally had about the 50% rule but the dance floor space was crap due to the size of the room. So we upped it and cut back everything else 🙂

Post # 10
8576 posts
Bumble Beekeeper
  • Wedding: October 2014

I think it’s very situational, based on exactly how & what you want your wedding to be.

If having all of your family & friends there is important, then start there – look for venues that can accomodate your guest list size.

We are planning things in this order :

– set a date

– determined guest list size

– determined we wanted an outdoor location

– determined we wanted a sit down dinner reception, followed by open bar & dancing

Food is also important, but that will come later.

Post # 11
1651 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: August 2013

For me it was:

– Guest list (determines which venues you can have)

– Season of wedding

– Photographer (because people like photographers, DJs, bands, DOCs, have fixed market prices and it doesn’t whether you’re a big or small wedding)

– and THEN venue and everything else

I much preferred a cheap venue and good vendors like an amazing wedding planner and florist than a pretty venue but then no money left for all the other things

Post # 13
808 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: March 2013

I agree with having the budget talk with anyone contributing….then you might make a list of the 3 things that are most important to you and Fiance.  THat helped me set priorities.  Since food, drink and venue were my top 3, it made sense that our reception was 75% of the budget. It also helped me not overspend on things that weren’t high on my list.

I picked the date first, then did a rough guest count, then went in search of venues.  I knew I wanted a venue where we could pick our own catering and booz, so that helped.  After venue, I picked my other vendors, because I knew how much  I had left roughly to spend.




Good luck




Post # 14
1181 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: August 2013

We set our budget first then looked at all the venues.  We did it this way because there are a ton of vendors for every little thing that you will need and one of them will most lilely fall within your budget.

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