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What is the Average Budget for Your Wedding?

Updated on July 22, 2018
VVanNess profile image

Victoria is a stay-at-home mom, author, blogger at Healthy at Home, and educator. She currently lives in Colorado with her family.


As wedding trends come and go, we see some that should stay and plenty that should go. We see weddings moving back into more vintage themes with weddings reflecting earlier times like the 1930's and 40's with gangsters and flappers. Some even just go with the older dresses, older china patterns, and lots of lace.

The DIY revolution is also upon us as couples all over the world are making their own invitations and purchasing a mixed assortment of dishes from thrift stores and secondhand stores. As brides strive to make their weddings more unique, the one trend that must come to a halt, and soon, is the ever growing wedding prices.

In 2000, and even as recently as 2013, the average cost of weddings was anywhere between $40,000 and $70,000. This number may seem ridiculous, but as the cost of all of the various areas of your wedding slowly climbs higher and higher, these numbers start adding up quickly. As recently as 5 years ago, wedding photographers were asking upwards of $3,000 to $5,000 for their services on the day of the wedding, not including wedding photographs after the big day.

Wedding flowers could easily get up to $10,000 depending on the type of flowers you ordered, how big and extravagant y our arrangements and the sheer number of bouquets and corsages you purchased. This is one area where it's easy to get out of control very quickly. The wedding cake could cost up to $1,000 or more, and wedding catering was crazy. Caterers in general ask for around $60 to $75 a head, and then like to talk you into all sorts of extras.

I know DJs that asked up to $5,000 for their services. However, all of these costs don't include the dress, the venue, rentals, videography, alternate music choices, and all of the little details. See how it all adds up fast? Thankfully, up and coming brides and grooms seem to be wising up to what the wedding industry is doing and just 5 years later, the average wedding costs dropped to $20,000 to $30,000. Honestly, I still think that this is ridiculous and I think that we can get your costs even lower!!

Your Wedding Budget

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The Scam

The majority of brides that call me for help have a story that includes,

"The first venue that we visited said that it would cost us $40,000 just for the location rental but that they would take care of everything for us. We hadn't really wanted to spend that much. We were thinking the budget would be a lot less for the whole thing."

Granted, this $40,000 rental fee that most "wedding venues" are asking for doesn't include your photography, your flowers, your cake, your catering, your officiant, or even your music. This is just the rental of the building, with bonuses like a room for the bride and groom to change in, and the availability of all of your other wedding needs without having to go search for them.

So much for the venue taking care of everything for you... Then they slide in the fact that if you want to rent the venue for your wedding, you have to pay the required $13,000 catering minimum. Oh, by the way... That's already $53,000 just for the building and the food for your wedding. You haven't even considered all of the other areas of your wedding yet. This is just one example of the many calls I get from frustrated brides every day.

"They told us that we wouldn't find a better deal anywhere else, that this was what everyone would charge us. They said that weddings were really expensive. I had no idea. It's way over our initial wedding budget, but my fiance' just wants to go ahead and sign the contract. What do we do?"

Couples easily get fooled by these same statements everyday and end up paying WAY more than reasonable in all areas of their weddings. There's absolutely no reason not to be able to have exactly what you want on your wedding day on a $10,000, $5,000, or even a $1,000 budget.


The Belief

I know what you're thinking. I hear it so often.

"Victoria, I have no interest in hamburgers and hot dogs on paper plates in my backyard."

I realize that's the common belief when talking about saving money. I hear it all the time, but mostly from parents. It's just not true. Honestly, nothing in your wedding should cost even $5,000. Nothing. Not a single area. If you sat down and did the math, you would see this. What service can a DJ possibly perform for you that would be worth $5,000? Using the same technical setup he uses for everyone? Downloading specific songs for your wedding? He likely has everything on CD or digitally already. His time? The total 3-5 hours that a wedding usually lasts? My point.

What about the cake? Do you really think the ingredients for a cake that feeds a 1 inch by 3 inch slice of cake to roughly 100-300 people really costs the baker $1,000? What about the few hours she puts into decorating your cake? Here's a great one! What do you really think it costs the fancy wedding locations to let you use a room or two in their fancy building for your wedding? Do utilities really cost them $40,000? If so, they are in desperate need to renegotiate their bills? Of the hundreds of weddings they have per month at the location, and thousands per year, do you really think the rent for the building and the salaries of those cleaning and sitting at a desk booking activities are that high? Nope.

I've been to way too many wedding conferences where you get to hear vendors get up and speak to the crowd and tell other vendors that they can charge exorbitant prices because brides and grooms don't know any better. You just tell them that this is what these kind of things cost for quality services and they'll pay you whatever you want. Exactly. Be smarter than the wedding vendors.

The Truth

I have helped numerous brides and grooms ever the years to save thousands of dollars and keep their wedding budgets below $15,000, $10,000 and even $5,000. My own wedding was $700 total, and I made sure to publish every step of the way so that others could see how we did it and how to do so themselves!

I certainly didn't have hamburgers or hotdogs in my backyard.

You simply have to do your research. We had our ceremony off of a cliff overlooking a lake and the Granite Dells in Arizona. We had our reception in a beautiful clear and stained glass surrounded church. I had beautiful personalized invitations, handmade flower arrangements, beautiful custom decorations, a trail mix buffet, professional catering, professional photography and videography, a hair and makeup artist, a beautiful designer wedding dress, a beautiful custom wedding cake, and even linen and furniture rentals. See below for some pictures.

You'll have to check out my series of wedding articles here on Hubpages for great money saving tips on all areas of your wedding. You just have to be creative and do your research to get these kind of deals and I can help. Start with some of these links:

How to Save BIG Money on Your Wedding Dress
Unique Wedding Venues - Don't Limit Yourself to the Ordinary

You truly can have the wedding you desire without having to spend big bucks for it, and you can still have all of your little fun details, like candles, twinkle lights, and petals. Follow my profile and you'll have access to all of the tips and tricks you need to have your perfect day for exactly what you want to pay for it.

I even have a book published that gives you 300 plus Ways to Make Your Wedding Your Own.


Now that you know the truth about saving money, don't be one of those that spend $20,000 to $30,000 on your wedding unless you really want to. There are so many options available to you to have an out of this world wedding without having an outrageous budget to accompany it.

Be creative with your wedding venue, and you'll be surprised at the prices available. make your own invites or choose the right company to create them for you. Ideas like this are where your are going to find the right budget for your wedding. And it helps to sit down and create your ideal budget ahead of time so you don't get caught in the wedding trap like everyone else.

You can do it! I have faith in you, and there's nothing you can't accomplish if you put your mind to it. Feel free to ask me any questions and I'll do my best to help you out!

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© 2013 Victoria Van Ness


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    • VVanNess profile imageAUTHOR

      Victoria Van Ness 

      4 years ago from Fountain, CO

      Very nice! There are too many couples out there that don't realize that they don't have to spend $30,000 to have a beautiful wedding.

      I'm glad your daughter found a way! Thanks for the comment!

    • Sherry Hewins profile image

      Sherry Hewins 

      4 years ago from Sierra Foothills, CA

      I agree. My daughter had a beautiful wedding for under 5000.


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