You’ve decided to get married. Congratulations! But here comes the hard work.
Planning weddings can be a real headache, and if you don’t take the time to sit down and plan out the costs beforehand, things can quickly spiral out of control.
You have to remember that while weddings are an incredibly special event, it is also just one day and not worth plunging into deep debt over. Therefore you must consider the wedding cost breakdown against your desired budget to see how everything can fit.
The average wedding cost in the US in 2022 was $30,000. That’s huge, but don’t be disheartened. You are definitely not expected to lay down that amount for your big day.
A handful of high-net-worth couples will spend millions on a wedding compared to thousands of couples that will only spend around $10,000. But a million is a lot more than $10,000, so these expensive weddings can significantly raise the average.
You need a wedding budget breakdown so you can see exactly how much you should expect to spend and whether or not it fits in with your budget. If it doesn’t fit, you can start to look at ways to trim down the wedding costs to make it affordable.
By doing this, you can enjoy your wedding day, safe in the knowledge that your bank manager isn’t going to be hounding you on a daily basis.
With that said, let’s look at what makes up the overall cost of a wedding ceremony and everything else surrounding it.
There are lots of facts and figures available online that vary from survey to survey, so for each item on the list below, we’ve taken a figure somewhere in the middle.
Engagement rings should absolutely be factored into the wedding budget since they are a high-ticket item.
You should expect to pay around $1,800 for a wedding planner. Wedding planners tend to have tiered service packages ranging from a budget option to a premium service.
An often overlooked aspect of a wedding. You may be lucky enough to have the bill footed by your party guests, but you should not expect this. And the results are clear, men certainly like to splash out on a bachelor party.
Also often overlooked, these additional parties can soon add up:
The venue is usually by far the most expensive cost, and the price can vary wildly depending on where you choose and whether or not you have the ceremony and reception in the same place.
Kitting out the wedding party in suitable attire is not cheap. And while it is commonplace to have groomsmen and bridesmaids pay for their own dresses, you are typically expected to pay some of the costs.
You must think about how you plan to transport the wedding party to and from the ceremony. Remember, if you have multiple venues lined up, these costs will greatly increase:
Another large outlay is the food. Although, you can save by going down the buffet route or by choosing prosecco instead of champagne:
Your guests need to be entertained so you will need to splash out on a DJ or live music. If you want extras like photo booths and games ,don’t forget to factor these into the budget:
Wedding décor can be greatly decreased in cost if you choose an alternative to fresh cut flowers. And many couples are opting to go the DIY route to decorate their wedding to save even more.
Here are the rest of the priced components that go into wedding planning. You’ll notice a generous emergency budget is included. This is to account for unforeseen expenses that pile on top of your overall wedding budget.
While you may think you’ve got all your wedding costs covered there’s always something unexpected that crops up. For example, last minute dress alterations, wedding vendors cancelling, or late additions to the guest list.
The above figures are loose average wedding costs and your wedding may be significantly higher, or cheaper. However, unless money is no object, you should always take plenty of time to plan out the cost of a wedding.
Start by determining what your max budget should be. Then create a wedding budget checklist.
Write down everything you need to pay for and assign wedding budget percentages or amounts to each item. Then, as you go through the planning process of your wedding, revisit your budget often to ensure you stay on track.
If it looks like you’re going over budget, look at areas where you could potentially save money. For example, downgrading the wedding transport or opting for a less expensive meal option are all ways to trim down wedding budgets without making it look cheap.
Finally, make sure you and your partner are on the same page when it comes to budgeting. Ensure you both know how much money is assigned to each area and make a pact to stick to it. This will help avoid any disagreements or arguments about where the money is being spent.
The biggest outlays for most weddings tend to be the cost of hiring the wedding venue, the engagement ring, and booking entertainment such as a band. Floristry and the photographer are also two of the highest costs.
You can expect to pay between $6,000 – $12,000 for a sit-down wedding meal, with $8,000 being the average cost overall.
Wedding expenses such as pricy wedding favors, elaborate invitations, an excessively large wedding cake, and additional extras such as a photo booth and gin or candy bars, are largely unnecessary.
Hiring a high-end car for short trips to and from the wedding venue can also be considered unnecessary.
The word “wedding” makes weddings expensive, and vendors, unfortunately, tend to add a premium onto a service if it is for a wedding. This is because a high level of service is generally expected, more so than if it were for a different type of celebration.
$15,000 is a good wedding budget if you plan to keep things simple with a relatively small guest list. You can easily save money by going the DIY route, purchasing pre-loved where possible, having a buffet dinner, and choosing an unconventional wedding venue such as someone’s backyard.
Remember, weddings only last a single day. Debt can last for decades so do you really want this kind of memento after the last champagne bottle has popped?
All it takes is some careful planning and self-discipline to create an ample wedding budget breakdown that enables you to have the wedding of your dreams without spiralling into debt.
Check out our other articles on The Groom Club for extra budgeting tips.