As a mother of 5 grown children (with 3 of them married), I am fully aware of the importance of knowing your numbers when it comes to planning a wedding. Every couple is different; all having difference expectations for the wedding day. I have photographed on top of a mountain after having been helicoptered up with 15 of the bride & groom's nearest and dearest, followed by a casual home reception. I have photographed a 300+ guest wedding on a plantation outside of Washington DC, complete with ice sculptures, a live band, and an 8 tiered cake. There is no right way or wrong way to create the wedding that fits you. The only thing that I have seen not work, is when couples don't communicate about their needs and the reality of their resources.
I have created this blog post to help couples navigate the 'joys & challenges' of the wedding budget. I hope it helps you as you plan for your day.
According to The Knot: The average wedding cost in the United States is $31,213 and Colorado's average wedding is $31,435- so just slightly higher than the national average.
So, first-off, we can recognize that this is a sizeable investment. Back in the 'good old days', couples went to the chapel and had a homegrown reception (usually in their parents' back yards or in the church hall) with great aunt Nellie baking the cake and everyone 'pot-lucking' the meal. Not anymore. This being said, it is incredibly important that couples look at their resources, who (if anyone) is assisting with funding the wedding, and have a realistic look at the timeline to make it all happen.
Here's a basic breakdown of what you can expect to pay:
Reception: 40-48 %
Wedding Planners: 10-20 % (Depending on the level of planning you require)
Photography/Videography: 10-12 %
Attire: 8-10 %
Flowers: 8-10 %
Entertainment/Music: 8-10 %
Ceremony: 2-3 %
Stationery: 2-3 %
Wedding Rings: 2-3 %
Parking/Transportation: 2-3 %
Gifts: 2-3 %
Miscellaneous: 8 %
Having photographed nearing 200 weddings, I find these numbers very key. There are 3 main areas that cannot be neglected:
1. Having a wedding planner to allow you to have the day you envisioned but also stay sane during the whole process. Planners are priceless!
2. Hiring an established professional to capture the memories of the day. When it's all said and done- that is what you have to hold onto.
3. Planning a party that the people you love will enjoy and remember.
The key is knowing you CAN HAVE the wedding you dream of, it's just keeping your priorities in line with the amount you need and the time you have to come up with the funds.
Personally, I have photographed many weddings where the bulk of the budget went into the location of the celebration & the photography- and couples found ways to DIY and trim where they needed to make it work for their smaller budget. I have had others that preferred an elopement with an elaborate time for photography followed by a killer honeymoon they would never forget. Overall, it is a matter of clearly stating your wishes and then balancing them with your future spouse's and then making those wishes fit into the numbers you can make happen without leveraging your souls in the process.
I hope this has been helpful to you. Please share it with anyone you know that is getting married or has children getting married. I'd love some feedback if you have any to share!