A Breakdown of a Wedding Budget

Engaged couples are preparing for the excitement of engagement season, and even though 2020 presented challenges to couples, 2021 presents new opportunities. While getting engaged is an exciting period of a person’s life, getting started on the wedding planning process can sometimes feel overwhelming. Wedding planning can seem overwhelming for many couples, particularly when it comes to finances. Knowing how money is commonly spent during wedding planning can alleviate stress and help you stay within your budget. ORO is an all-in-one platform that streamlines the wedding planning process for hundreds of wedding planners. To help you decide where to allocate your wedding funding, we compiled ORO’s data from wedding planners to create a wedding budget breakdown by percentages, arranged from most to least expensive.

Some wedding traditions may never change, but the truth is, every wedding is different. This can lead to wide variations in expenses. Still, deciding what percentage of the budget you may spend on each element of the ceremony can be extremely helpful. According to this calculation, an average wedding costs $34,000-35,000. It would help if you discussed with your soon-to-be spouse what things are most important, regardless of the percentages and amounts indicated below. Would you rather have the aesthetics on point, or would you rather the food be a priority? Getting on the same page about this will eliminate much of the stress accompanying the remaining steps.

Catering and Venue: $12,000+

The majority of couples’ wedding budget goes to this category. In my opinion, the most critical part of a wedding is finding a space for getting married and enough food for everyone to eat. Included in this 35% are the costs of renting the venue, hiring caterers, ordering food, and any associated rentals (such as chairs, tables, dinnerware, etc.).

Videography and Photography: $5,200+

Professional photography will be something that you will wish you had done your whole life. Nowadays, a videographer is often hired along with a photographer. A good rule of thumb is to set aside 15% of your budget for photographs and videos that are heirlooms.

Décor and Flowers: $4,200+

When you are talking with your florist, try not to succumb to sticker shock if this is your first time ordering flowers. Including bouquets, flower arrangements, and other decorations for the reception, your wedding budget breakdown probably includes approximately 12% flowers and decor.

Engagement and Wedding Rings: $3,500+ 

It can be challenging to estimate how much money an engagement ring and wedding ring will cost a “typical” couple. The price of an engagement ring can be determined by many factors: where it’s purchased, what materials are used, whether diamonds or other gemstones are included, whether the bands are wide or narrow, whether the ring is purchased in a set, and so forth. A wedding band for a woman and her engagement ring is estimated to cost around $6,000, while a men’s band will typically cost about $400. According to other sources, the total should be between $500 and $3,000. An average estimate of 10% of the total wedding cost would be a safe estimate for all rings.

Attire, Hair, and Makeup: $2,500+

The total cost of everyone looking their best will be around 7% of the wedding budget. The most significant part of this expense is the wedding dress, but this figure does include the groom’s tuxedo and fees for makeup and hair artists. 

Entertainment and Music: $1,750+

Live bands or DJs can be pricey, but this is one area that you do not want to cut corners on and end up with subpar music. You should budget about 5% for entertainment.

Officiant and Wedding Planner: $1,000+

Perhaps the two most important people at your wedding, besides the bride and groom, are your wedding planner and officiant. An experienced event planner keeps everything running smoothly and eliminates the stress of planning for a happy couple. One ensures your marriage is legal. You should budget 3% of your overall budget for both.

Transportation: $700+

Transport costs vary depending on where and how big your wedding is, but a 3-4% ballpark figure is reasonable. In addition to transportation for the bride, groom, wedding party, and guests, if applicable, the cost of the hotel shuttles.

Stationery: $700+ 

They’re worth every penny for their work, and professional stationery is an artist in their own right. Save the dates, invitations, menus, place cards, ceremony programs, thank-you cards, and of course, envelopes should all consume 2% of your budget.

Wedding Cake: $700+

Some couples can fit the cost of their cake into that 35% we mentioned earlier for venue and food. You should allocate an additional 2% in your budget if it is not. 

Advice for Your Wedding Budget

Planning your wedding budget can be a challenge if you don’t consider these tips. Keep sane and avoid pitfalls by following these tips. Additionally, you may save yourself a lot of money. It is important to remember that money comes from one of the other categories if you want to spend more on one area than is suggested. It may be worth investing in that dream dress, and you may be able to skimp on the stationery costs. Ultimately, it’s about what matters most to you.

Use a Spreadsheet

Organize your spending to follow it at every stage. With an Excel spreadsheet, you can create a breakdown of every aspect of the wedding budget. It is also possible to use the SUM feature to calculate your expenses automatically.

Know Who Will Pay for What

Not having this conversation during the planning process is one of the biggest mistakes couples make. Ensure you discuss where each part of the wedding’s budget is coming from.

Possible Hidden Costs

The chance of a surprise cost or hidden expense exists no matter how hard we try. Having extra money set aside just in case is a smart idea.

Downsizing the Wedding

Saving money is easy if you know where to look. Among the options you have are inviting fewer guests, changing the venue, and reducing flowers and decorations. The cost of nontraditional weddings is often less than that of traditional weddings.

Though they can be customized depending on each couple’s preferences, these wedding budget breakdowns can help you determine what you should spend on your wedding. Getting your wedding budget as close to your expectations as possible is an essential step in wedding planning, making the occasion as fun as possible.