Jessica
Dedicated May 2017

What is your starting and ending budget? Any unexpected costs that surprised you?

Jessica, on April 6, 2016 at 9:27 AM Posted in Planning 0 83
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I just got engaged 2 weeks ago and we are trying to get married in Sept or Oct of this year. I have inquired with over 100 venues and still cant find anything remotely in my budget when all said and done. We want to stay between 5000-7500 with an absolute max of 10,000 for the entire wedding. We dont have help from parents and are doing it ourselves. Were you able to stay in budget? What were some unexpected costs that I should prepare for?

83 Comments

  • Nonna T
    Master April 2014
    Nonna T ·
    • Flag

    How many persons? What area are you in? Fall is really a prime time to get married and you are not leaving much time to save up.

    We targeted around $10k for the reception of about 100 guests. We were able to get an off season rate at the end of April in Michigan. We came pretty close to that.

    Please change your avatar for more responses Smiley smile

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  • Alyssa
    Expert June 2016
    Alyssa ·
    • Flag

    Our budget was 15k when we first started planning and once we started booking vendors and details we are about 23-24k with everything. Costs I didn't think about was postage, how expensive professional make up is, and how expensive flowers are! Honestly we've been able to stay in budget since we realized how we were naive about certain vendors. It's all about deciding what vendors are most important to you. FH didn't want a videographer and still doesn't, but it was important to me. I've bought bridal party gifts over the past year and now that I am assembling gifts I'm realizing how good I did casually shopping on clearance! It's doable. Just have to host the wedding you can afford!

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  • Celia Milton
    December 2019
    Celia Milton ·
    • Flag

    If you cannot find anything close your budget, then you need to rethink what you're doing. I'd love to have a BMW, but I can't find one in my budget. I have a Scion.....

    For starters, you're going to find a severe lack of available venues for Sept/Oct 16. It's prime season and most venues have been booked for a year.

    In my area (ny/nj) you can do 25 guests at a beautiful restaurant with great food and wine, get a dress, a bouquet, a bout, a musician and invites for 5000.00. Or close.

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  • UnderTheJuneWillows
    VIP June 2016
    UnderTheJuneWillows ·
    • Flag

    We wanted to stay at about 18K (includes rings and honeymoon). Our guest list grew from 120 to 154. Rather than tell people no or exclude those we do want there, we decided to bite the bullet. We are 80 days away and it looks like we will be around $22,500, depending on how many actually RSVP and attend. This number is based on 100% attendance. Unexpected costs?? I did so much research prior that not much was unexpected...I guess the $10 a bottle corkage fee for wine.

    • Reply
  • Space Princess
    VIP April 2017
    Space Princess ·
    • Flag

    Start budget 7k ... Still at 7k .guest list grew from 100 to 120. Beginning cost 5714 now it's 6489. Ask what is included in with meal ask if non-alcohol drinks are included.

    • Reply
  • Debra
    VIP May 2016
    Debra ·
    • Flag

    Our max budget was $20,000 with a guest list of 350. My parents contributed half of our budget. FMIL unable to contribute, and FH's father is deceased.

    I am currently about $4,000 under budget. This is assuming 100% acceptance for RSVP's. Since I have already received several declines, and expect more since my deadline is still a couple weeks away, I will likely be under my budget by approximately $5,000 when final counts are in.

    ETA: Our venue has an $8,000 minimum food/beverage cost. However, there is no fee to rent the venue itself if you use their catering. They also provide 3 votive candles per table, a square mirrored tile per table, all table linens/napkins/skirting, all tables & chairs. Consider finding a venue that includes these types of items to avoid having to rent or purchase your own.

    I have saved a lot on centerpieces because of the candles/mirror tiles the venue provides. I bought all my vases at Goodwill/thrift stores averaging $0.75 each. The florist is doing my centerpieces for $10 each.

    My dress alterations were much more expensive than I thought. I had purchased the dress on sale for a great price (under budget). I splurged on a veil that I loved, but would have been out of my price range if the dress was not on sale. Had I considered the cost of alterations at that time I would probably not have splurged on the veil. I suggest you factor alterations into your total dress budget.

    DIY is sometimes more expensive than buying - and more time consuming - so be sure you research the costs of DIY vs. buying before making a decision.

    What type of venues are you looking at? Do you have a general idea of the number of guests you plan to invite? A smaller guest list helps you stay within your budget, and also gives you more venue options.

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  • Celia Milton
    December 2019
    Celia Milton ·
    • Flag

    I am not understanding 350 people.

    • Reply
  • OnceUponAChambers
    Expert September 2016
    OnceUponAChambers ·
    • Flag

    Postage. That's been the biggest thing so far-I was so excited to find our invites for about 36 cents a piece but then realized that stamps cost more than our invites!

    Oh, and shipping adds up! I'm so used to AmazonPrime that ordering from anywhere else I forget, lol.

    More may come, but I would say those are big ones to watch out for.

    • Reply
  • Hollyberry
    VIP October 2016
    Hollyberry ·
    • Flag

    Have you thought about pushing it into the winter more? You may have better luck with price and availability for most venues.

    To answer at least part of your actual questions: For unexpected costs I'd say it depends on what you want to do. Gifts for our BP was more than I thought, just because I love them and want to buy them everything I've ever pinterested. And transportation. And stamps.

    • Reply
  • Kels
    Master August 2016
    Kels ·
    • Flag

    The cost of rentals are expensive. Nicer chairs can run over $10 a piece.

    Farm tables were $75 a day in my area.

    So it may be more affordable to choose a venue that includes all the tables/chairs you need.

    Linen and China rental is also expensive.

    You may need to rent a bathroom trailer if your venue does not have bathrooms.

    You may need a generator for an outdoor venue.

    Florists are more than I thought they would be. So I'm cutting way back on flowers. At first I wanted to DIY but everyone has recommended against it.

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  • Margaret
    Super July 2016
    Margaret ·
    • Flag

    I tried to stay around $25k... double that-plus now, but that includes rings and honeymoon. We are also paying for all BM and GM expenses.

    • Reply
  • MrsSA2B
    Expert April 2016
    MrsSA2B ·
    • Flag

    Biggest sticker shock was our original quote for flowers. Awesome company, and thank goodness they had a tiered estimate! High end was 1/4 of our "starting" budget, yikes! How much it costs just to rent certain venues - gorgeous spaces, but wow!

    • Reply
  • Swin.
    Master June 2016
    Swin. ·
    • Flag

    We have 150 guests and our budget originally was 5-7k, which we were hoping included the honeymoon. As in 5k for wedding and 2k for honeymoon. (poor naive babies.)

    Now, we are looking at about 12.7k (including honeymoon). But that should go down a little bit, just with getting something 20 bucks cheaper there, and forty cheaper somewhere else, etc.

    I DO live in Utah, which I think may be a cheaper place to be married? (at least it seems so based on other people here who have 150 weddings), and we are LDS aka no alcohol, which always brings down costs. But yeah, just be realistic with yourself. 1200 venues don't exist. Well, they do, but you probably won't love them as much as another one.... Also DIY is kinda overrated UNLESS you are already super crafty so keep that in mind!

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  • OG Kathryn
    Champion May 2016
    OG Kathryn ·
    • Flag

    Remember gratuity and sales tax, that's 24% for my venue. That adds up FASSSSSSSSST.

    • Reply
  • Katie
    Master October 2016
    Katie ·
    • Flag

    We were so naive when we first started our budget. Once the price tag shock hit we had to seriously buckle down and figure out how we were going to afford the day that we wanted. Our initial budget was $10000. That was when we had planned to have an 8 month engagement. We pushed back our date so we could save more and now have a 18 month engagement with a total budget of $24K and we get to go on a dream honeymoon now.

    • Reply
  • FutureMrs.McElveny
    Savvy September 2016
    FutureMrs.McElveny ·
    • Flag

    Our starting budget was $10,000 but we are only at a little over $5000. This is what we have so far:

    Venue- $1295 for 3 days (Including the cost of 3 kegs)

    Catering-$1,100 for 300 people(Family friend owns a catering company)

    Photography-$600

    Dress-$800(including veil, headpiece, and shoes)

    Suit-$250(including shoes)

    DJ-$500 for whatever hours we need (FH cousin-professional DJ)

    Hair&Makeup-$65

    Cake/Cupcakes-$100(for 300 from Friend of family's business)

    Flowers-$120(3 BM, Mine, 8 Bouts.)

    Invites, STD, RSVP-$175

    Decorations-$200 (Easy wine bottle centerpieces)

    All we have left is the gifts for our families and the wedding party.

    A lot that helped us was having resources. It doesn't hurt to ask around and see if any of you family friends are licensed caterers or photographers. I agree though, this is kind of a time crunch. I don't know how prices are in your area, but they aren't very expensive here.

    I wish you the best of luck! I hope you find what you're looking for!

    • Reply
  • S&P
    Master January 2017
    S&P ·
    • Flag

    How/what/how are you feeding 300 people for $1100? That's 3.67 per person. You can't even get a meal at McDonald's for that.

    • Reply
  • FutureMrsML
    Super August 2016
    FutureMrsML ·
    • Flag

    My starting budget was $10,000 and my ending budget is $16,000.

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  • MsKellie
    Super October 2017
    MsKellie ·
    • Flag

    Our starting budget was $35K and our ending budget will be about $45K. We didn't have a good understanding of how much catering could cost, because we didn't realize there were minimum headcounts for Fridays and Saturdays. We also estimated about $135 per plate and found they were more like $150. Once we started speaking with venues and getting quotes we realized we would just have to save more and make more sacrifices leading up to the wedding to have what we wanted. (150 guests, Saturday evening in October, Connecticut). You need to be realistic in expectations, know the costs for your area, and decide to either scrape by for longer and have a longer engagement or revise your plans to fit your budget.

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  • OG Kathryn
    Champion May 2016
    OG Kathryn ·
    • Flag

    MSkellie- Where in CT are you from!?

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