Okay, time for some tough love. My average wedding while I was a wedding coordinator was $17,000, and I simply received that amount for the venue, tables and chairs, linens, the dinner catering, and the bar tab. For those couples who wished to add music, photography, desserts, decorations, and any other
basic wedding niceties, you could be looking at a minimum of another $10,000 added to your budget. The Knot actually stated that the typical modern wedding averages $35,000. My jaw dropped reading that article, actually. For G and I, this *clap* was *clap* not *clap* an *clap* option.
When G proposed and we began our engagement and journey into wedding planning, one of the first things we did was sit down and realistically draw up a budget. We began by setting a maximum amount we were willing to spend ($10,000) and a goal amount of which we wanted to spend ($7,500). I use the word “wanted” extremely loosely because it physically hurt both of us to fathom spending even $7,500 on 8 hours of our lives. However, a wedding was our/my dream — “I’ve planned over 70 couples’ weddings, shouldn’t I get my own?” — so we worked to set items in stone to not overdo our budget.
As we listed the things most important to both of us, we also did research on those items in order to predict their expense. Photography was my biggest want, as photos are the pieces of the wedding you truly keep for years afterwards. Photography also happens to be one of the most expensive parts of a wedding — who knew, right?! Being married in the church was also important to us as it is where we met. Unfortunately, our church charges close to $1,000 for a ceremony on its grounds. So once we covered photography and a church ceremony on our budget, we had a little over half the $7,500 goal left in which to cover food, venue, music, clothing, etc.
Suffice it to say the first few rounds of attempting to budget brought a lot of tears and curse words in front of our spreadsheet.
“They want to charge us how much per person for a taco?”
“They have to be joking that it’s $13 per table linen!”
“So that DJ provides only three hours of music for $1200 and doesn’t bring his own sound system?”
“Why are weddings so expensive?!”
Continuing to write our budget line item by line item, there came a time at which we simply had to draw the line.
I am a huge fan of those beautiful sequin linens and the thought of having one for a sweetheart table was enticing. So enticing. I kept thinking of the photo opportunities, of how perfect seeded eucalyptus would be lying across the rose gold coloring, of how gorgeous the overall look would be… Then I looked at every website I could find who carries such a linen piece as well as called rental vendors on them. Guess what? I could use $75 for one linen on a whole case of other types of decorations. It was an easy decision with the price tag in front of me.
I also have always loved the idea of a globe guest book. You know, a cute antique globe with all our loved ones signatures able to sit in our future living room? Perfect, right? Not so much when the cheapest one we found (of worthy-enough quality) was over $60. Nope, I decided to spend that additional little “pocket change” on other necessary pieces of our wedding instead.
When it comes down to it, you have to know where to draw the line.
With the money I could have bought that rose gold sequin tablecloth, I instead found an amazing deal (TableclothsFactory.com) and paid for an order of 32 linens for all our tables. That $75 fulfilled half the cost of these linens, and now we do not need to worry about renting ivory tablecloths for double the price of what we purchased. Plus, a friend has offered to borrow a beautiful striped ivory cloth for our head table which can be decorated just as beautifully as the sequins.
And for a guest book, I opted for a more functional and less expensive option: a calendar. Confused? Hear me out. I bought a large calendar from VistaPrint for only $12 with our engagement pictures littered across its pages. My plan is for guests to sign their names on their birth dates, thus so functional and still a spin on a traditional book. I was happy to have found this inspiration on Pinterest!
By and by, my main points when it comes to your budget are these: figure out the essentials, save for the necessities, research high and low for various options and best costs, and know where to draw the strike-through on an idea that simply doesn’t fit the bill.
Your wedding is about the marriage, after all. Why spend a down payment on a house for only eight hours of your life? There’s no reason to create unneeded stress following your wedding when you should be enjoying the beginning stages of being husband and wife.
I’m curious, are there certain aspects of your wedding you felt were high necessities on the budget? If so, what were they? And was there a time you had to draw the line on a wedding piece you deeply wanted but knew wouldn’t truly be missed in the long run? Please feel free to share in the comments below or DM me at @uncorkingpeonies on Insta. I’d love to hear what trials you have been through or are going through when it comes to your own budget.