The Wedding Budget: Getting Started

Wednesday, March 29

Wedding Budget: How To Get Started

Photo by Esther Funk Photography

All too often couples are not fully aware of what a wedding costs until after their wedding day, and then the reality sets in. Finding out your expenses after your wedding is not a good plan; unless you have a money tree growing in your backyard! (..and if you do, please tell me where I can get one!)

Money is the leading stress of most marriages. The reality – you and your partner won’t be immune to this unless you have a good plan in place with open and honest communication. Word of advice: please don’t start your marriage with a load of wedding debt.

How can you avoid this common pitfall? Planning and budgeting. To help you get started, let’s look at a wedding budget breakdown.

Wedding Budget Breakdown

The following is a general guideline for a wedding budget.  I say general because every couple prioritizes differently and will choose to allocate funds according to what they value most. Always budget high to leave some wiggle room for those unexpected expenses – cause there will always be those!

  • RECEPTION 45-50% – This includes the cost of food, cake, alcohol, staffing, venue rental, any rentals such as linens, table & chairs, taxes, and gratuities. The are many variables when it comes to a venue; the size of your wedding will determine your options and the kind of space you are looking for. It can range from $500-$3500 depending on the aesthetics of the space, location and indoor versus outdoor. Caterers charge anywhere from $20-$100/guest depending on the logistics and venue. If you are looking to have a wedding cake, you can expect to spend $300+ depending on the size and details.
  • PHOTOGRAPHY & VIDEOGRAPHY 1015%  – This includes the cost of the services, as well as any required photography location permits, editing, albums and prints. The price ranges between $2000-$6000+ each for a good Photographer and Videographer. You should always do your research and sit down with the photographer and videographer to learn more about his or her style. You are spending a lot of time and money on your wedding, and you want to have it captured well so you can have memories for a lifetime.
  • WEDDING PLANNER & COORDINATOR 10-15% – Depending on the types of services provided, size and details of the wedding, the price average range is any where between $1500-$10,000. Packages are all customizable and based on the needs of the couple. You are investing a lot of time and money into your wedding, don’t leave your day to chance. Hiring a good Planner and/or Coordinator will ensure you can enjoy your day.
  • ATTIRE 10-15% – This category includes wedding dress, alterations, foundation garments, wedding day hair & make-up, groom’s tuxedo, gown cleaning & preservation and going away outfits. Wedding gowns can start at $1500+ and suits $500+ depending on the designer and details.
  • FLOWERS & DECOR 7-15% – This includes all flowers and decorations for the wedding. The costs for this will vary depending this size of the wedding party and the decor details. Wedding Party florals can start at $600+. Decor is dependant on the venue, if it’s indoor or outdoor, and the number of guests and details. You can expect a range between $35-$150 for a table of 8, depending on the linen and chair choice, plus delivery fees. You will also need to add the additional costs of centrepiece, florals, candles, etc.
  • MUSIC & ENTERTAINMENT 8-12% – This includes any costs associated with having a Disc Jockey or band, as well as any performers. Typical DJ packages start at $600+ and go up depending on what is needed. eg. ceremony, reception and dance.  Musician costs vary based on the number of instruments, number of artists needed and the length of time, but can start roughly at $400+.
  • STATIONARY 25% – This includes Save the Dates, Invitations, RSVP cards, Thank You notes, Postage, Wedding Programs, Menus, Place Cards, Guest Book, etc. There are many variables with stationery, as it depends on the selection of paper, design details and shipping. Prices can range from $3-$6/invitation, plus postage.
  • TRANSPORTATION 2-3% – This amount would include transportation for the wedding party, guest shuttles or parking attendants. Shuttle fees are typically an hourly rate of $150-$200 depending on the size of vehicle needed. 
  • CEREMONY 2-3% – Marriage license, officiant fee, church donations, musicians, accessories such as unity candle, ring pillow, etc. Marriage licenses are $100; Pastors and Officiants are around $150-$350 depending on the services. 
  • GIFTS 2-3% – Gifts to the groomsmen, bridesmaids, honor attendants, flower girl, ring bearer, both sets of parents any anyone else who has a role in the wedding. On average couples tend to spend around $50-$75 per person in their wedding party.
Wedding Budget Breakdown

Photo by Modern Pixel Photography

Now that you have an idea of some of the expenses, sit down with all those that are paying for the wedding and make a plan. Decide in advance what your total budget will be, and list the expenses that are personal to your wedding. Create a spreadsheet and keep track of ALL of your expenses.

A Wedding Planner Can Save You Money

Hiring a Wedding Planner can really save you money. Here’s why you should seriously consider hiring a Planner:

  • Budgeting may not be your strong point.
  • Getting married is an emotional time, causing you to make emotional decisions which will add to the costs.
  • Time may be limited making it difficult to keep track of ALL of your expenses.
  • Pricing around is may not something you want to do or have time to do.
  • You need an accountability partner that is neutral.
  • Self-control spending may be an issue when your vision is big.
  • You may not know all the little areas where you can save money.

A Wedding Planner can help you create a budget and stick to it. (Transparency is key…no hiding expenses!) A Planner can save you money by negotiating prices on your behalf; and won’t make emotional decisions. Many couples tend to make emotional decisions in the planning process, costing them more money in the end. And those DIY projects? Sometimes doing it yourself ends up costing you more!

A good Wedding Planner will be honest by telling you what is realistic and what is not – showing you how to get the most out of your budget. Remember, this is what they do best! They may also have access to some vendor discounts that would not be available to you otherwise.

Contact Sharon Webb Events to learn more about the services offered. We can chat about your wedding details and any worries you may have, and create a personalized package to fit your needs and budget.  Let’s Chat!

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