How Much Should That Cost? A Breakdown of Your Wedding Budget

Wedding rings next to money

It’s no secret that weddings are expensive. After all the plans have been made, the rings have been slipped on fingers, and the “I do’s” have been said, the average total wedding cost is around $35,000. This total cost will vary, of course, depending on where you get married, how many people you invite, what day of the week you have it on, and any other number of factors that go into planning a wedding.

Although you may have an idea of what the average wedding costs, you may not know what each budget item breaks down to and what percentage of your budget you should be allocating toward the venue, food, alcohol, etc.

After the newness of the engagement has worn off a bit and you’re finally sitting down to plan, you’ll need to have a good idea of what each budget item costs so you can know exactly how to budget and determine how many guests you can invite.

Let’s break down the average costs of each item in your wedding budget.

A chalkboard with a list of things to consider for a wedding budget

The Wedding Venue

The wedding venue is likely going to be the biggest piece of your wedding budget pie. The average cost to rent a wedding venue is around $13,000, but couples can spend anywhere from a low end of $5,000 to a high end of $25,000.

Catering

One of the most important parts of your wedding is the part where everyone gets to enjoy a meal together. The average cost of catering at a wedding is around $70 per person (or about $10,500 total for a wedding of 150 guests), but couples can spend anywhere from a low end of $25 per person to a high end of $100 per person.

Alcohol

To really get the party started at the reception, you’re going to need a few drinks. Alcohol can get pricey with open bars or having a signature cocktail, costing couples around $2,000 on average (although costs can be cut if there is a cash bar option or if the couple elects to just serve wine and beer).

A bride's wedding dress being tightened by a friend

Wedding Attire

Looking gorgeous on your wedding day is a must, but it’s going to cost you—around $1,300 for the average bridal gown and around $250 for the average groom’s attire. Brides can spend anywhere from $600 on the low end and upwards of $10,000 on the high end. Grooms can spend anywhere from $150 on the low end and upwards of $500 on the high end.

Hair Styling

If you choose to get your hair done professionally on the big day, you are looking at an average cost of $100. The cost could be more, however, if you have your stylist travel to your venue.

Flowers

Flowers are a way to beautify your wedding venue, but they’re also an essential part of the bridal look. The average cost of flowers at a wedding is around $2,000, but couples can spend anywhere from a low end of $250 to a high end of $5,000.

A man plays the guitar at a wedding reception

Music

Where there’s a wedding, there must be music. The average price of a wedding DJ is around $1,000, but couples can spend anywhere from a low end of $500 to a high end of $1,500.

And what if you prefer a live band to a DJ? That’ll cost you about $4,000, but couples can spend anywhere from a low end of $2,500 to a high end of $7,000.

Wedding Favors

Wedding favors are customary at most weddings to give your guests a token of appreciation for attending and bringing you a gift. You can expect to spend around $250 on wedding favors, should you choose to provide them at your wedding.

Photographer

Everyone wants to remember their wedding day perfectly, and thanks to the skills of a hired photographer you can have that day in a series of snapshots. Hiring a professional photographer to document your wedding will cost you on average about $2,000, which will most likely not include engagement photographs.

Samples of a wedding cake at a tasting appointment

Cake

One of the best parts of a wedding is when the wedding cake is being passed around to everyone. So what will that set you back in your wedding budget? The average wedding cake costs about $500, but couples can spend anywhere from a low end of $225 to a high end of $1,000.

Wedding Officiant

You can’t get married without someone to make it official. You can expect to pay around $200 for the average wedding officiant, but couples can spend anywhere from $0 on the low end (if you ask a friend!) to a high end of $500.

Invitations

Even in today’s digital age we’re still sending out real paper wedding invitations to friends and family to let them know when and where the event will take place. The average cost of wedding invitations is around $400, but couples can spend anywhere from $250 to $1,000. Keep in mind, however, that this cost does not include save the dates, which are common for couples to send out before the wedding invitations.

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