like if it was really expensive, what made it that way?

Im just trying to get a ballpark of things for future reference and know how much we need to save.


We are spending about $20,000.
$11000 of that is food and drink. $100pp is the average price where we are so this is about normal. We could have done it a bit cheaper ($9000) at a place that did not allow tastings, or much more expensive at alot of other places. That is for pre dinner drinks and finger food, entree, main (choice), dessert, coffee and chocolates.
Another thing that is expensive is the dress, if you let it be. Unfortunately I fell in love with a 2009 dress, so I can’t find it secondhand or discounted anywhere! My suggestion would be don’t tempt yourself with the brand new dresses, go for one from last season and get it secondhand at a bargain price.
And don;t get sucked into having things just because the wedding industry says you need them.

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16 Responses

  1. Frank C

    2009 Dec 21 1

    Your photographer and wedding photos will be one of the most expensive purchases you will have for your big day. There are countless websites featuring gorgeous artistic bridal pictures from a wide array of photographers. Many times it is easy to get your heart set on a photographer, only to discover they want to charge you a small fortune for their services. Isnt there any way to get around the huge price tag when it comes to getting quality photographs?
    References :

  2. stsis

    2009 Dec 21 2

    I had 100 guests, a photographer, a reception and dinner at a country club, limo, decorations, wedding dress, tux rentals, flowers and cake for $5500, paid for by my parents.
    I found a country club about 15 minutes away that was a few years older but had lovely gardens that gave us a rate of $19 a person including a 1 1/2 hour reception with appitizers, and a sit down dinner (filet , fish or chcken options). I found a country store (more a touristy spot known for homemade goodies) do my cake and surprisingly flowers too for $500. Photos were $600 for about 200 4×6’s and one 20 page album of 8×10’s and a disk to reprint. Dress was $500, I lucked out since I am a size 10 and they had a sale on overstock’s.

    Today I think you can shop around for the best deals more then ever. Alot of times you can find stay at home mom’s that used to be full time photographers, or pastry chefs etc that are wanting extra money. If you don;t mind used one time you can find an excellent deal on wedding dreses.

    I recently went to a cousins wedding. They did not have a big budget. They rented a room at a art museum for the reception for $250, had family make food, got pictures and video for $500. She wore a pre-owned dress for $200. For about $1000 they had a nice event.

    I personally think anyone going over 6-7k unless they have alot of money to blow is not wise. They day is so stressfuk and goes by so quickly, money is better spent on things you can enjoy long term!
    References :

  3. melouofs

    2009 Dec 21 3

    Typically, the catering for the reception is the most expensive part of the day. Our wedding was about $15-20,000, but about 1/2 of that was transportation for us and our families to our destination.
    References :

  4. SquiggleJay

    2009 Dec 21 4

    Food and alcohol are the biggest expenses. Depending on the venue, the place where you live, the food you serve and the extent of the bar, prices can vary greatly. In this area (South Bend, Indiana), the average caterer charges about $20 per person for the meal, and about the same for a full bar. We chose to have our favorite restaurant cater our reception which ended up being closer to $13 per person, and we are supplying our own alcohol. Not all venues allow outside catering and alcohol, so you’ll have to check. Cutting back on the alcohol served (having only beer and wine, or having one or 2 signature cocktails, etc.) or cutting out booze completely can save you a ton of money (anywhere from a few hundred dollars to a few thousand; depends on your situation), and having "light refreshments" (i.e. hors d’ouevers) or a picnic style meal, instead of a full meal can save you even more! The key is figuring out how much you can afford to spend, then making the most of it. Once you’ve figured out how much you can comfortably afford to spend, be it $500 or $50,000, decide what your non-negotiables are, the things that you won’t compromise on. For us, it was the food! We decided that alotting almost half of our wedding budget to feeding our guests was well worth it for a buffet from our favorite restaurant. We could have gone with fried chicken from the local grocery store deli or the typical midwestern polish buffet, which would have cut our food tab in half, but well-fed guests are happy guests, and we wanted something a little more original and YUMMY!

    P.S. The average U.S. wedding costs $25,000.
    References :

  5. Mrs. B

    2009 Dec 21 5

    Well, when we were originally planning our wedding, the entire event was costing around $10, 000 for a guest list of about 100 people. However, due to some issues in the family, we ended up eloping to Vegas and spent about $2500 instead.

    For the big wedding, the biggest parts of our budget were the catering, the wedding planner, the dress. Everything else was pretty small. My dress was $1000, the catering was $1200 and the wedding planner was $900. Our venue was $600 and the cake was $500. We were having our flowers done really cheaply by a local grocer, and the photography by a family member who just happens to be a photographer. The invitations were about $300, and everything else was really inexpensive.
    References :

  6. creativeconcept

    2009 Dec 21 6

    It depends on what your thoughts are. As a wedding planner, I like to provide my clients a "Dream Sheet". This allows my bride to to visualize her dreams and I give a best possible scenario as far as budget. At that point we create a "Reality Sheet" this incorporate my brides dreams and my alternatives to her list that match as closely as possible.

    Budgets can range from high to low on various factors such as:

    1. # of guests
    2. Location (Outdoor vs. Indoor)
    3. # of Wedding Party participants
    4. Reception logistics
    5. Wedding Gown
    6. Floral design (specifically types of flowers)
    7. Menu ( buffet vs. formal dinning)

    Weddings widely range from $8k – $100k +
    References :

  7. Lauren B

    2009 Dec 21 7

    My wedding is in May of next year and we have all the big ticket items paid for. We estimate that the total cost will be around $15,000 with my fiance and I and both of our parents covering the costs. The Reception and Ceremony Location include the food, 5 hour open bar and DJ for $8000 and its a place we really love, our photographer is $1000, the cake is going to be made by my aunt who is a professional pastry chef, my dress was $750. That’s pretty much the big ticket costs. I suggest finding out what you really want and whats important to you. Some women want a fancy designer dress or an extravagant cake. Others want to spend a lot on photos to preserve the memories of their day. The cost will really reflect whats most important to you for your special day. One suggestion I will make about the cake and photography: ask around colleges that specialize in pastry arts or photography, you can get really great talent at a great price because they are just starting out. I am a pastry chef and I loved the experience when I was first starting out of making cakes for weddings and I didn’t charge as much as high price bakeries. whatever happens Good Luck!
    References :
    Personal Expierience

  8. stamper

    2009 Dec 21 8

    About $25,000. It was worth it though.
    Your biggest expense is typically the reception venue/caterer.
    Nearly half of the above total was for our reception.
    Other most costly things are, photographer, DJ if you get a good one, videographer and flowers.
    Everything adds up very quickly though so try to find great deals ahead of time and think outside of the box when it comes to decor.
    I didn’t really try to budget anything, I knew what I wanted and decided by that. Yes there were somethings I wanted but couldn’t justify spending the money on those things so I had friends or family help with those things.
    My sister’s boyfriend went to school for videography so he videotaped it for me with my camcorder. I have a nicer one with editing features and what not so although I didn’t hire someone it came out awesome, better than expected. The videographer I wanted was $2500 and just couldn’t bring myself to pay that much money for a short video.
    I also didn’t hire a photographer, my Uncle has done it for 20 years as a hobby and does beautiful work. I didn’t want the typical photos though…. I hate posed pictures. I love candids and in the moment photos so this wasn’t a big deal to me, although it is for many people.
    My flowers were $1600 for my bouquet and toss bouquet, 4 bridesmaids, 4 groomsmen, corsages and bouts for parents and grandparents and ceremony helpers, 2 large candelabras, 18 centerpieces, unity arrangement and flower girl petals, as well as the flowers on my cake. I had roses.
    My attire was about $1500 total, maybe a little more.
    I made my invitations but I think they ended up costing about $400. Yes, I could have had them done for that price but not what I wanted so…
    Cake was $600, a little over actually, but that was for a four tier cake all different fillings and flavors as well as three cheesecakes.
    Limo for 12 hours was $795 plus a $300 tip for the driver.
    Photobooth rented with attendant total was $1295.
    My DJ was $1200, haggled him down from $1800. (He was absolutely worth it though!)

    Well I could go on but you really have to decide what you want and your biggest priorities. Set and total budget and work from that.

    Good Luck!
    References :

  9. Buddy

    2009 Dec 21 9

    First off let me say I’m from a large family, I have 15 siblings. My mom has 14 siblings, my dad has 17 siblings. My wife is also from a large family so the cost came from this part of the wedding.
    I wanted my wife to have the wedding of her dreams and do what ever she wanted. Because of a large family I never expected my in laws to pay for our wedding. So I had 38 thousand set aside for our wedding which cost 40 which my in laws did pay for the difference. I believe it may of been more but they won’t tell me and it’s been 30 years.
    So we had 10 bridesmaids – ushers, ring barrier, flower girl, matron of honor and best man. 3 limos, flowers, wedding cake, food, photographer, open bar, the civic center for a hall. Gifts for the bridesmaids and wedding party. The dinner the night of rehearsal for the wedding party. Wedding rings, but there was one part of all of this that was priceless and still is, the love I have for my wife, no amount of money in the world could ever pay for that!
    Have the size wedding that you can afford. Call places to check price range and get and idea what it might cost you. Talk to some one that just had a small wedding and get ideas from them. Make it your special day, and you’ll cherish it for ever!
    References :

  10. brwneyes

    2009 Dec 21 10

    Weddings just cost alot. Here is an idea of breakdown of some of the things we spent:

    $15,000 for venue-included food, open bar, tables, linens, and cake for 100 people
    $2,000 or so on photographer-not including any prints, just pictures on a cd and 8 hours of time.
    $850 on DJ
    $1500-$2000 on dress, shoes, bras, veils, alterations
    $1200 on flowers

    I could go on…

    Check this site out.
    References :

  11. Stiffler

    2009 Dec 21 11

    We are spending about $20,000.
    $11000 of that is food and drink. $100pp is the average price where we are so this is about normal. We could have done it a bit cheaper ($9000) at a place that did not allow tastings, or much more expensive at alot of other places. That is for pre dinner drinks and finger food, entree, main (choice), dessert, coffee and chocolates.
    Another thing that is expensive is the dress, if you let it be. Unfortunately I fell in love with a 2009 dress, so I can’t find it secondhand or discounted anywhere! My suggestion would be don’t tempt yourself with the brand new dresses, go for one from last season and get it secondhand at a bargain price.
    And don;t get sucked into having things just because the wedding industry says you need them.
    References :

  12. YouWish25

    2009 Dec 21 12

    If I can get away with spending 18K at the most, I’ll be jumping for joy! I live in a very expensive area of the country, I come from a somewhat traditional background and I have a large family. So, having a inexpensive wedding is going to be a challenge.

    More than likely are catering bill is going to be the most expensive thing. It will probably be about $10,000-$12,000 for food, drink, linens, the space, the waitstaff and the centerpieces/decor for about 130-150 guests. Where I live (Connecticut), the cheapest wedding plate seems to be about $75 WITHOUT 6% sales tax and 18% mandatory gratuity. If you do the math, that’s $93 with everything included, which is certainly not cheap! But, there isn’t much else we can do. And for the record, the most people spend about $100 (not including tax/tip) on a wedding plate around here. If you say you spent $100, no one bats an eyelash. The look at you and say, "Well, that’s about the going rate. That’s normal"

    It isn’t all too common to have a backyard wedding here and I personally never envisioned my wedding that way. Plus, even renting a space here is going to be costly. I looked into a really love, huge empty hall on the beach. The cost to rent the place was cheap. However, then you had to hire an actual police officer (from the town where the hall was located). In addition, you need all kinds of additional permits to serve liquor or hot food. It just seemed like too overwhelming and costly in the long run.

    Other than that, I’ll probably send about $1,200 on the DJ, $2,500 on the pictures, $1,000 on the dress and lets on even start to add the tuxes, the stationary, the tips, the transportation, the bridal gifts and all the stuff.

    How much a wedding costs depends largely on where you live. Someone said above they couldn’t dream of spending more than $7,000 on a wedding. Well, I beg to differ. Where I live, it would be very difficult to serve 150 guests a decent dinner and have a somewhat semi-formal, no big frills reception without spending more than $15,000. The cost of living here is just so different than other parts of the country, just look at how inflated our housing prices are! I’m going to be really lucky if I can pull off this wedding for less than 18K.
    References :

  13. Allie

    2009 Dec 21 13

    maggie sottero gown, hotel ballroom and catering, red roses for all flowers, pearl and diamond jewelry.
    Origional budget was for 15,000. I brought it down by doing the flowers and all stationary myself I only spent $240 on all flowers including vases, ribbon, florist tape etc. this is a huge savings from the estimated $800 that it would have cost for a florist to do it all. my dress was second hand, found online for only $300, The previous owner never wore it as it was the wrong size. because I had such huge savings I could spend the money where it really mattered to me, the Photographer. I found the top photographer in town and spent $1800 on the package, well worth it. I did the favors myself, wrapping mints in tule tied with curling ribbon is a tradition in my family, and a cheap on at that. I made the cake with the help of my mother, a 4 tiered wonder with layers of devils food and angels food cake with a cherry filling. fitting in with my black red and white colour scheme
    References :

  14. Amy

    2009 Dec 21 14

    There are so many factors in your budget.
    High wedding season for your area, saturday or sunday wedding, location, etc. etc. Your personal budget, your future husband’s, are any parents contributing? So many things.
    I would say spend the most money on venue rental, catering and photos. We started with a budget of $25,000. By the time we were walking down the aisle that figure had doubled. I have seen gorgeous weddings done for way less. One of our friends had a beautiful wedding in spring 2008 for about $5,000
    You should go to
    References :

  15. nova_queen_28

    2009 Dec 21 15

    The cost is currently sitting at about $16,000.
    I do consider that really expensive (thats just a bit less than I paid for my car!). BUT I also know that I am not spending nearly as much as some people do for a wedding.

    The reception is the most expensive part of it. I am having a buffet dinner on a Saturday for 150 guests with full open bar. Food, cake Centerpieces, Favors, Decorations and gratuity are adding up to $11k. Thats nearly 70% of my budget right there and I found a venue that is very affordable for our area (Central PA).

    The ceremony will be $800 which includes the church fee, license, officiant, ring pillows, and unity candle.
    DJ $775
    Flowers $650 (bouquets, bouts & corsages – we are not using flowers in the centerpieces or at the church)
    Attire $1,500 – including wedding gown, tuxedo rental (5), bridesmaids dresses (4), Flower girl Dresses (3), and Ringbearer outfits.
    Photography $1,100
    Stationary $600 – includes engagement announcements, save the date cards (we have ALOT of travellers), invitations, RSVP cards, Thank you cards and postage for all.
    References :

  16. Ramhat L

    2009 Dec 21 16

    look online to see some interesting ideas 🙂

    References :

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