The love of my life and I got married just outside of Atlanta, GA where the average couple shells out anywhere between $21,956 and $36,593 for a wedding (from The Wedding Report). Paying the equivalent of a house down-payment was not on our agenda! The total for our wedding (including our bling, a buffet-catered reception, a beautiful festival center venue, ceremony site, gifts, and all other associated costs) ran us just around $7,500.
According to The Wedding Report, the average US couple spends $26,000 for their wedding - sans honeymoon! This nationwide average doesn’t take into account larger expenditures spent on wedding fêtes thrown by relatives of the bride or groom with much deeper pockets. However, (this should set you free) knowing how much people spend on a wedding and knowing how much a wedding costs are two very different things. Your dream day does not have to cost anywhere near that amount - even if you’re in the middle of a major city.
The final tally of your wedding will depend on three key factors:
- Resources you have at your disposal
- Work from first the standpoint of what you have available. Such resources may include personal finances, highly reliable vendor connections, dependable friends who’ll contribute their time + talents, other-contributed funding, and online resources.
- Cost-effective wedding websites can help greatly. For instance, GetWedforLess.com allows brides and grooms to find top-rated vendors with the most competitive prices - saving time, money, and some stress. The Budget Savvy Bride is a great resource with tons of inspiration.
- Regarding flexibility on expectations:
- This is where making a list your negotiables and non-negotiables is crucial. Are you flexible on the type of reception and vendors? Will the reception be “dry” or with alcohol? In a decorated hall vs. pricey grandiose venue? Will you have a simple cake or one decked out in sugar art? Are you willing to order centerpieces, flowers, and other supplies online or in bulk? Do you need a high-end cinematographer or can anyone with the skill to record and deliver raw footage suffice?
- Regarding budget flexibility:
- There’s usually a difference between what couples have available to spend and how much of it they’re willing to part with. Will you be willing to shift money budgeted for the reception in order to buy that dress you tried and instantly knew was “the one?”
- Wedding costs have a way of getting out of hand when we have the “need to please” syndrome. Unless one is a bridezilla, the last thing we want to do is offend people who are trying to help. When suggestions are made that will inevitably increase costs, reply with a cordial, “If we had the money to spend on that, we’d consider it. However, we don’t.” Be OK with leaving it at that.
Lastly, here's a nifty tool we found online that allows your to customize your expected expenses: Wedding Cost Estimator. Try it out!
Until next time...