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Budgeting for Your Wedding: What You’ll Spend, and Where

Updated: 4 days ago

From flowers to attire, music to catering, each aspect of your wedding should align with your vision – and your budget! Every dollar counts, which is why Vista 222 offers customizable packages – and practical advice -  to maximize your budget without compromising quality.

When creating your budget, consider the following seven categories: venue, food and beverage, flowers and decorations, attire, photography, music/entertainment, and miscellaneous. Remember to leave room in your budget for unplanned expenses: like any major project, a wedding will incur costs you don't anticipate at the start. But thorough planning means fewer surprise expenses.


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Here's a brief explanation of each category, plus some things to consider as you're planning:

 

Venue: Rental fees for the ceremony and reception space, additional fees for amenities such as chairs, tables, and lighting, security deposit insurance (if required), and any venue-related taxes or service charges. Helpful Tip: Book your venue well in advance to secure your desired date and talk to the venue about packages and amenities that can be tailored to suit your needs. Discuss customization options with the venue manager, such as adjusting the layout, adding personalized decor, or incorporating unique features of the space into your wedding theme.

Food and Beverage: Catering services for the reception, including appetizers, main course, and desserts, rental of dinnerware, glassware, and flatware, beverages such as wine, beer, and non-alcoholic drinks, cake or dessert options, and gratuity for catering staff (if not included in the catering package). Helpful Tip: Opt for seasonal and locally sourced ingredients to potentially save on catering costs. And, whether it's wine pairings with each course or craft beer selections to complement specific dishes, incorporating expert recommendations can elevate the flavors and presentation of your menu.

Flowers and Decorations: Expenses for floral arrangements and decorations, including flowers for bouquets, boutonnieres, centerpieces, and ceremony decor, rental or purchase of decorative items such as linens, table runners, candles, vases, ceremony backdrop or arch, signage, and other decorative elements, delivery and setup fees for decor items.


Helpful Tip: Prioritize your floral budget by focusing on key areas such as the bridal bouquet, ceremony backdrop, and reception centerpieces. Incorporate inexpensive greenery and filler flowers to stretch your floral budget further.


Attire: Cost of the wedding dress for the bride, suit or tuxedo rental or purchase for the groom, accessories such as shoes, veil, jewelry, and undergarments, alterations to ensure proper fit, hair and makeup styling for the bride.


Helpful Tip: Explore rental options for suits, bridesmaid dresses and accessories. Renting can be a cost-effective alternative, especially for attire items typically worn only once. Look for reputable rental companies that offer a wide selection of styles and sizes to suit your preferences.

 

Photography: Professional photographer's fee for coverage of pre-ceremony, ceremony, and reception, engagement photo session (if included in the package), prints or digital copies of wedding photos, and additional services such as photo albums or prints for family members. Helpful Tip: Invest in a professional photographer whose style aligns with your vision for capturing timeless and candid moments. Consider bundling engagement and wedding day photography packages for potential discounts.


Music and Entertainment: Cost of a DJ or live band for the reception, sound equipment rental (if not provided by the venue or entertainment vendor), ceremony musicians or soloists, and additional entertainment options such as photo booths or lawn games. Helpful Tip: Explore local talent or up-and-coming DJs or bands who may offer competitive rates. Discuss your music preferences and desired atmosphere with your entertainment provider to ensure a memorable experience for you and your guests.


Miscellaneous Expenses: Marriage license fees, transportation for the wedding party and guests, officiant fees or donations, wedding favors for guests, and any additional rentals or services not covered in other categories. Helpful Tip: Create a comprehensive budget spreadsheet to track all expenses and allocate funds accordingly. Prioritize essential expenses such as marriage license fees and transportation, and allocate a contingency fund for unexpected costs.

Next, let's talk about the actual budget and what percentage you should expect to spend in each of these seven categories. According to Brides Magazine, the average cost for a wedding in 2023 was $29,000. In 2024, it's estimated that couples will budget between $30,000 and $50,000 for a wedding.

We'll work sets of numbers on the lower end of that to show you those percentages translate to, dollar-wise. Remember, you're talking about everything for the wedding – your "all-in" cost. Your overall budget may be more or less than these numbers, but keep these percentages in mind.

For a $25,000 Wedding:

  1. Venue (35-40%): $8,750 - $10,000

  2. Food and Beverage (20-25%): $5,000 - $6,250

  3. Flowers and Decorations (10-15%): $2,500 - $3,750

  4. Attire (8-10%): $2,000 - $2,500

  5. Photography (8-10%): $2,000 - $2,500

  6. Music and Entertainment (4-6%): $1,000 - $1,500

  7. Miscellaneous Expenses (2-4%): $500 - $1,000

 

For a $35,000 Wedding:

  1. Venue (35-40%): $12,250 - $14,000

  2. Food and Beverage (20-25%): $7,000 - $8,750

  3. Flowers and Decorations (10-15%): $3,500 - $5,250

  4. Attire (8-10%): $2,800 - $3,500

  5. Photography (8-10%): $2,800 - $3,500

  6. Music and Entertainment (4-6%): $1,400 - $2,100

  7. Miscellaneous Expenses (2-4%): $700 - $1,400

 

Whatever your budget, every dollar you put toward your wedding should create lasting memories and an experience that is authentic to your love story. Contact us today to learn more about our stunning venue and customizable packages, and let us help you bring your vision to life!

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