Before we get into a discussion on wedding costs, you need to know up front that this can be a very depressing area to think about. After reading this article, you may feel that there will be no way you’ll be able to afford your dream wedding. Let’s face it, weddings aren’t cheap. But if you’ve been following my article series on weddings, there is no reason why you won’t be able to have the wedding of your dreams at a reasonable and affordable cost.
I think it’s a good practice to understand what other couples pay for their weddings. It’ll help you develop your own budget because it’ll force you to decide what you both feel is most important to you. You may be shocked at some of the figures that some pay for weddings and say that there’s no way I’m going to be paying $1,500 for a photographer! Or maybe that figure is OK with you, but knowing how much it’ll cost for a photographer, you’ll know that you have to cut back in another area.
You may be wondering what all the fuss is about setting up a budget for a wedding. After all, how much can it really cost? Sure, you’ve heard that some will spend as much as a new car or a down payment on a house. But those must be the really, really extravagant weddings, right? Well, if you don’t prepare and stick to a budget, you could easily have a wedding that runs into those high end figures. But where is all that money going?
Based on the Wedding Report – a web site that reports on such things – your top three expenses will be your reception, the honeymoon, and your engagement ring. These expenses account for nearly 70% of the entire wedding bill. You’ll want to take a look at The Wedding Report web site as it does a great job of breaking down specific expenses within each category of a wedding. There is a free access level, but the various paid levels will allow you to get data based on your location – even down to the zip code. This can be very useful because wedding costs vary widely around the US.
Of course a big part of your actual wedding expenses are going to be tied to things like the size of the wedding, the scale of the wedding and the location. Needless to say, a wedding with 250 in attendance is going to cost you a whole lot more than a wedding in your back yard with 60 people attending. And a wedding in Chicago is going to run you a whole lot more than wedding in Boise.
If you really want to bring you wedding costs into line with what you are more comfortable with, you are really going to want to get into the smart consumer mode. Doing plenty of research early on can save you a bundle. Get out to the various bridal shows in your area and take plenty of notes about prices the vendors charge for various services. Then, call around to several vendors and ask them what the average prices are for the various services they provide. Most vendors will be more than happy to give you this information, including low end costs as well as what people are spending on the high end. It may be that a flower vendor tells you that the average customer spends $1,500 on flowers, but that they’ve had some who have spent only half of that figure. Armed with this information, you know that your flower budget (if you don’t go artificial and really save money) will be between $750 and $1500. Going to shows and calling vendors on the phone will also give you a good idea of which vendor’s pricing is out of line.