I think this is going to always be hard to answer because different people prioritize different aspects of their weddings, and are going to be willing to spend more in certain areas than others. I am not married yet, but I have found that our expenses are creeping up. I didn’t set out with a specific budget in mind, but was hoping to keep the wedding somewhere around $15K for 150 guests. I figured if we could keep the venue to the $10K my parents have generously agreed to put towards our wedding, that we could get the rest for somewhere around $5K…who was I kidding???
Places that I have cut corners:
1. Season. I am getting married at a waterfront venue in late March. My venue is more expensive, even starting in April. This way, I can have a Saturday night wedding at a beautiful venue for a huge savings. We wanted to get married more quickly anyway in hopes of starting a family soon. I am also finding vendors are willing to be a bit more flexible because they aren’t busy at that time of year, so I have picked up a few other discounts then too!
2. Flowers. I would definitely talk to your florist about less expensive options. My high school job was working in a flower shop, and flowers were pretty high up on my priority list. I *could* have DIYed the flowers based on the skills I have from then, but it was a priority to me to not have to do these things in the days before my wedding, nor take care of set up day of. Do a mix of floral and non floral arrangements. All of my flowers put together for bridal party, family, ceremony decoration and centerpieces are $1500. Yours sound high…and I live in an expensive part of the country.
3. Dress. I bought my dress and David’s Bridal and it was super reasonably priced. I could not have mentally justified spending more than $500 on a dress. Plus, I plan on buying my veil and slip etc. on Amazon for a tiny fraction of the cost. I think Bride’s always look beautiful, and so it is not somewhere I am willing to throw a ton of money.
4. Photographer. I am getting just a single photographer and doing a first look and taking family photos about an hour and a half to two hours before the ceremony, and letting the photographer leave shortly after the cake cutting. Instead of a videographer, we are just going to ask friends and family to shoot video of some of the more important parts of the wedding and share with us after. I would like to put together a 10 to 15 minute highlight reel of the wedding afterwards from our professional photos and our amateur video.
5. Cake. I ordered a one tier cake, that we will put on a cake stand, and having sheet cake in the back. We are serving the sheet cake as dessert.
Transportation for guests. We will have a large number of out of town guests, and we are going to be providing school buses as transportation from the train station and our hotel block to and from the reception. It is a splurge because people can provide their own, but I want my guests to have a great experience at my wedding. And the total cost for the school buses should be less than $1000. Very much worth it!
Good luck and happy planning:)