Congratulations, you’re engaged! This is one of the most exciting, romantic and fulfilling times of your life. Enjoy it! You’ll revisit these feelings and memories often. Imagine the great bedtime stories your proposal and wedding day will make for your children!
Sometimes, there’s a lot of stress associated with planning your wedding. With open communication you’ll keep disagreements at bay. In order to keep the stress to a minimum, create and discuss a wedding budget with the key players that will be paying or helping you pay for your wedding (i.e. groom’s parents, bride’s parents, the bride and groom). Often times, the bride and groom pay for the wedding themselves with little or no help from parents or relatives. I cannot put enough emphasis on how important it is to establish a wedding budget. You’ll thank me later 🙂
Once you and your fiancé have agreed on the total affordable amount you can spend, then you should begin planning your dream wedding within budget. According to The Wedding Report, the average US wedding costs $25,000. Knowing your budget and where to utilize your funds will help you pay for the necessities and some possible wishlist items too.
Approximately 48 – 50% of your total wedding budget will be spent on your reception. This applies to your catering, venue, wedding cake, cake cutting set, alcohol and champagne flutes for the bride and groom. Lets break this percentage down a bit further.
The average wedding cake costs $600 for 100 guests. The more intricately detailed the cake is, the more expensive it will be.
Most venues do not charge a rental fee if they provide catering services. However, if catering is from an outside company, a venue fee can range from $750 – $3600 to rent the space. Most rentals include basic tables and chairs.
Catering is always charged per person. Buffets range from $34.99++ and above depending on the menu you select. Plated dinners range from $54.99++ and above. Other variations are family style meals and buffet stations. These prices vary across the board and depend on the catering company. You’ll often see catering prices listed as ++. Gratuity (often 20% -24%) and local sales tax will be added to the listed price.
4% should be allocated toward your ceremony. Most couples choose to have their ceremony and reception at the same venue to save time and money. But, some couples prefer a church ceremony. That’s OK! There’s a slight difference in what you’ll pay for the ceremony.
If you’re having a church wedding, your ceremony budget should cover the church or temple’s rental fee, your wedding officiant’s donation, altar(s) boy donation and/or gift, altar flowers and decor, pew decor (if any) and a sand ceremony or unity candle set. Most churches also charge a musician or organist fee to hire a designated person to play processional and recessional music for your ceremony.
Many venues have the space for you to hold your ceremony and reception at one location. Most places charge a small fee to cover the setup and breakdown labor incurred for the ceremony. You will still need to cover your officiant’s fee or donation, wedding music, aisle decor, and a sand ceremony or unity candle set. Sometimes, the DJ may play the processional and recessional music at no additional cost as long as they do not need to set up additional equipment. Do not assume all DJ companies will provide additional services for free. You’ll need to ask and discuss logistics with your DJ.
10% of your budget will be spent on you – i.e. wedding dress, veil, shoes, accessories, hair and makeup and your groom’s tuxedo. Thankfully, the groom’s tuxedo rental is often free with a minimum groomsmen rental.
10% is applied towards your beautiful wedding flowers and decor. Your wedding flowers include the bride’s bouquet, all of the bridesmaid’s bouquets, the groom and groomsmen boutonnieres, the corsages for the mother’s and grandmothers and additional boutonnieres for the fathers and grandfathers. Decor may include linen (unless your venue provides it), chair covers, chiavari chairs, and rental items fall into this category.
10% for music includes your DJ and/or a live band or both. Some DJ’s include uplighting and dance lights in their packages. These types of packages are great because you’re able to provide more decor without spending too much extra money.
10% should be the minimum investment for Photography and Videography. They are the two most important vendors you’ll hire to relive your wedding day. You don’t necessarily have to hire a videographer. However, they capture live moments that a photographer cannot. Your memories are priceless!
3% for Stationery includes your Save the Date Cards, wedding invitations, announcements and thank you cards.
3% is a small investment for Transportation. I loved that one of my Orlando clients rented a Mercedes Benz instead of a limo or Rolls Royce. Hertz has always provided our clients with luxury cars at affordable prices. A car rental is a great way to save money. Instead of spending $300 + on a limo or Rolls Royce for a minimum of three hours, you’ll spend a fraction of the cost on a car you’ll have for at least 24 hours. A trusted driver is usually pretty easy to find within your inner circle of friends or family that is not in your bridal party.
We’ve covered the basics of the wedding budget. Other fees to consider are the Hidden Fees that some vendors may charge you. A cake cutting fee is a pretty common one. Yes, a venue may charge you to cut your wedding cake. Some fees are as much as $6 per person. Sounds like you’re paying double for your wedding cake, right? Insurance is another fee that most couples never expect to pay. Some venues and churches require that you purchase a separate liability insurance to protect them and your guests and can cost upwards of $200.
We hope these tips help you plan your dream wedding. Happy Planning! Need more help? Ask the Planner!