64 answers

How Much Did You Spend on Your Wedding?

Hi Mamas,

We are in the midst of wedding planning and I'm trying to get comfortable with the budget. I originally wanted to keep it below $10K but we decided to have it on a Saturday with ~130 people - so, the price has gone up (we're in the SF bay area). It is turning out somewhat traditional. I am doing a number of DIY stuff and other cost saving things (e.g. ebay ring and used dress) but it is still ridiculous. The wedding is important to me but I am having a hard time swallowing the price tag.

How much did you spend on your wedding?

What can I do next?

So What Happened?™

Thanks for all the responses! Especially those that spent a lot of money, lol! The average cost of a wedding is $27K (in NY it's $65K)!!! So pat yourselves on the back ladies ;) I spoke to my fiancee last night, reviewed all of our decisions and feel better. My first wedding cost $50 but my family was disappointed they weren't a part of it. We both want our families to be there, which ruled out the best cost saving strategies (low guest count, destination, weekday etc). My fiancee wanted to do dinner since he has a lot of family coming in from out of town. We are making our invitations, centerpieces (mostly from the dollar store) and favors. All our vendors work out of their homes and are the cheapest we could find. No decorations, save the dates or programs. We couldn't find a backyard or any other cheap building to use (the one state park that was available would have costed more!). Our venue is a (very beautiful) picnic grounds so it is BBQ buffet. I am feeling like we are making the right decisions for us - it's just crazy we have to spend this much to include our whole family for dinner. My fiancee makes 3x as much as I do, which is taking time to get use to (not that I want to spend more regularly but that we can handle some extra expenses). My parents are contributing and we will not be in debt. It's just bizaar how much these things cost!

I appreciate all the advice! I also appreciate no one bashing me for the high cost - it is easy judge other people's financial decisions...

Featured Answers

We spent around 25k. If I had it to do over again, I would have just done a destination wedding (which my friend did for under 8k). I just think of all the stuff that I could have used the 25k on instead of one party on one day.

3 moms found this helpful

Under 1000... we were very young and pregnant. It was very small.

I wish we had a nicer wedding. You wont regret it after. You will have such beautiful, special memories :)

2 moms found this helpful

My son is in the process of paying / saving for a wedding which is in april of 2013. It is at this point up to about $14000 they have aprox 220 guests. doing a sitdown dinner w/beer / wine. dj, photo and they are renting the center pieces. that does not include the dress, tuxes or fresh flowers or rehearsal dinner

we are paying $5000 her mom is paying $5000 and the kids (my son and his fiance are paying the rest)

2 moms found this helpful

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Back in 1994, my dad gave me $30,000 to spend on our wedding and told me that anything left over was my wedding present. Had I been a smart, savvy 40yr old (like now), I would have gotten married at the courthouse and treated my closest family and friends to lunch at a local restaurant. Instead, I was young and living in a dream and wanted my dream wedding. It cost $24,000. I ended up with $6,000, when I COULD have almost had a down payment on a house! Oh well, I DID get my dream wedding, but I think I would rather have kept the cash...

10 moms found this helpful

$111 for the licence. I eloped and bought a house.

9 moms found this helpful

Most people would choke at how little we spent at our wedding. There would probably be a post about how cheap we were. (If a potluck affronts you, quit reading!)

We had a very meaningful handfast ceremony eight years ago, and got married three years ago--nearly two years after our son was born, and frankly, because I had some health issues and we decided I needed to get on now-husband's health insurance. I know, not romantic, but we were pretty happy with the 'partners in life' arrangement we'd had going up until then. So, we decided to do a quick wedding. Our favorite pub opened an hour early for us and our friends. Because people knew our situation and our friends are pretty chill, we basically (re) exchanged vows and then people ordered their lunches and drinks.

So-- I am sure most women wouldn't want to go that route, but I think we spent money on the wedding license, two lunches and a bottle of Pere Noel. (And we insisted on NO GIFTS-- the best gift of all is our marriage certificate, signed by all our friends.) Kiddo attended on my back, in the pack, and the rest is history!

And yes, we have AWESOME, Understanding Friends!:)

9 moms found this helpful

$100 and we are still married decades later.

9 moms found this helpful

About $500, 3 yrs ago. If you think it's hard to swallow now, think how it will feel AFTER the wedding. Your thoughts will soon turn to all the things that money could have gone towards.
Congrats!

8 moms found this helpful

We spent less than $500 17 years ago. I decided it was more important to buy a house than have a big party, so the money we would have spent on a wedding went to a down payment on a house. (Being just out of college we didn't have money for both.) We had the wedding in the new house and it doubled as a housewarming party. I bought a used dress, my husband wore a suit he already had, we had flowers from my sisters garden, my sister baked a cake, my sister-in-law took pictures, we had simple food, and we had a good time.

8 moms found this helpful

$1,000

We had a great wedding. I planned it along with my Hubby, and we both had the same take on it.
To have something nice and small and private, while not putting ourselves or anyone into debt.

We had an Afternoon High Tea wedding. Therefore, we cut down on costs for a full meal, ie: lunch or dinner. We kept the invited guest list small. Only close friends and relatives. We had a friend, who is a professional Video guy, film our wedding. Another friend was the Photographer. We had it catered, and I worked with the Caterer, who also worked so nicely with me, to meet our budget. We had all the fixings for a nice "Afternoon Tea" reception. Food and drinks. No alcohol because that costs more. The wedding and the reception was held at the same place. At a person's very large and pretty yard overlooking the ocean.

I found my dress at a wedding boutique, sale rack. But I LOVED it.
Our rings were bands. Which we both wanted. I am not a diamond person who wants rocks on my finger. I wanted a wedding band. Me and my Hubby's rings, matched.

A friend, who is a Florist, did my wedding bouquet and the flower decorations for our wedding. It was beautiful and just what I wanted. Again, all within our budget.

And we had our Pastor, do our wedding. And we gave him a good monetary amount.

All of this, was $1,000

7 moms found this helpful

10 years ago it was $49 plus my dress was $24. We were not, nor are we now hurting for money, I just didn't think it necessary. Oh yeah, my husband and I and his twin and bride were each given as wedding present $5000. We used ours for a down payment on a house, they used theirs to put a very small dent in their wedding day debt. Guess who's still married...

Congratulations and enjoy your marriage!

7 moms found this helpful

I honestly don't know because my parents paid for the food, but they insisted on adding things that we didn't ask for (or really even think about). My dress was $100. Both of our rings together were about $600, and they were custom made. Small stones. The flowers were $50 because we made our own bouquets and there were none for the guys. We had disposable cameras on the tables and the photographers only "worked" for a few hours. Plus, they were friends starting their business. Total was about $800 for all pictures printed and their time. Cake was $250 from a local woman who made cakes from her home. Our friend was starting his DJ business, so he did our reception for free. It was very inexpensive, very beautiful, and we had a great time!

6 moms found this helpful

Total, I think we spent $170. But we did do a court house wedding then a reception. Here is what we did to save money (mostly on the reception) We orginally rented a shelter house at a state park (it was $40) but it was an hour drive and my mom had me convinced that no one would drive that far. (I wish I wouldn't have listened) My parents have a huge place so they rented a tent and my aunt got a local church to lend us tables and chairs. My dress was a white prom dress i found at Deb's for $80. My dad is a manager at a restraunt and catered it for us.

5 moms found this helpful

Less than $200. Just enough for the clothes we wore. We eloped, my roommate officiated and we had our close friends as witnesses at a very pretty local park.

5 moms found this helpful

we spent less than 2 grand, but we got married in Vegas, on the Bridge of the Enterprise.

5 moms found this helpful

couple hundred bucks.
khairete
S.

5 moms found this helpful

Not much. We eloped in Tahoe and chose to spend the money on our honeymoon. Our wedding was on our dime and we didn't have much to spend. I have never regretted my decision. I'm just not a wedding kind of gal and I certainly can't see spending all that money on one day.

With that said, you should stick to a budget based on what you can afford, not necessarily what you want. We decided to elope because a small "immediate family" only wedding spiraled out of control very quickly and easily. It started to become more about a big party and less about joining our lives together in marriage.

The best advice I ever got about my wedding planning was one simple question... In 10 (or 15 or 20) years from now what kind of memories do you want to have of your wedding? Let that guide the decisions.

4 moms found this helpful

My first wedding was a "big" wedding and we spent well over 10k. My second wedding was a "destination" wedding and for four days for the 5 of us, it cost $2,800. We got married on a riverboat, had cake, white wedding dress, tux, our kids had matching dresses, we all (about 35 people attended) ate at a casino buffet afterwards. It was a fun time and I *felt* better not spending as much as I did on my first wedding. I mean, really, its ONE day and its over. The marriage is forever. Oh, check into having it earlier, lunch time for the reception, the prices are half as much as dinner. Good luck!

4 moms found this helpful

Hey J.,
I'm in the bay area too so I hear ya!
We eloped, spent about a thousand bucks, went to Tahoe.
Was it ideal? No. Did I miss having the big reception? Sure. But it was memorable to say the least. If we had a "real" wedding and invited the whole family it would have been way over ten thousand.
We spent the money on a down payment for our first home instead. That was 1992, so not a bad investment, right?
Good luck, whatever you decide!!!

4 moms found this helpful

We spent way more than we should have for just one day. Things I don't regret spending money on however were the rings (mine is a diamond band) and the honeymoon.
If I was doing it over, I would get married in the church then go on my honeymoon and when I came back have a big party out but where I was not paying $100 per plate for the same chicken they charge $20 for at a funeral:).

4 moms found this helpful

Lets' see: I think it was about $25 for the license and $60 for the judge to marry us. Afterward we took our witnesses out to lunch for maybe another $75. So all in all less than $200.

There would be NO WAY I would ever invest 10 K or more in a wedding. Ok, maybe if I were rich and didn't need the money... I can see it, if that kind of money is just your "slush fund" or "petty cash" because you are so well off.

I know so many marriages that suffer because of money, because these people live paycheck to paycheck and after 5 years they are still paying off the bills from their wedding... sometimes they will get divorced before the wedding is paid off...

We were pretty poor when we got married but we have been married for almost 10 years and still going strong, even after weathering some rocky years. We also ALWAYS stayed within our means, saved up everything we could, used credit responsibly, worked hard and we can now finally buy our first home. YAY!

So if you have the money laying around: great, go for it. If you don't, I would think twice if that big wedding is REALLY what you want or if the money would make a world of a difference for you if you kept it in savings and used to towards buying a home or baby stuff or bills 5 years down the road.

Good luck!

4 moms found this helpful

My parents spent $13K for the site and we paid around $6K for everything else. We had 220 guests and food, open bar, and cake for that $13K. I wanted the $13K, but my mom wanted a wedding. I did spend a lot on my photographer, $2K, which I later learned in our area, is not a lot. At the end of the day all we have now is our photographs. We have them all around the house and we look at our album a lot. I don't know where my dress is, I think we had steak, I don't remember what the cake tasted like, or what the flowers looked like, but I did have roses because they were cheap. It's only been 6 years and all I remember is dancing and have a great time with family and friends. Find out what's important and what's not, and spend accordingly. A friend of mine had a grand affair at a museum in Baltimore, it cost them over 100K, and all I remember is being yelled at by staff for leaning on a wall, and the "show" going on for so long that we only had 30 minutes of dancing. Cocktail hour took 2 hours with no chairs so we had to stand the whole time, and dinner taking another 2 hours. It was beautiful and expensive and it was one of the worst weddings I ever attended.

4 moms found this helpful

Maybe about $800. We did not have a traditional wedding, but a home made affair with all our friends and family. It was perfect :)

4 moms found this helpful

Both of my weddings were garden weddings at friends or family's home. Only close friends and family were invited. Didnt spend more than 500 bucks on either of them and both were very fun and got the point across. We spent more on the honeymoon and furniture than the wedding.

4 moms found this helpful

Not much at all--mostly airfare. We eloped. :)

4 moms found this helpful

We got married 11 years ago, traditional, served fillets...about 90 people. All in, including 1k in roses, 5k. I spent about $80 on my dress. We spent $300 total on rings. We skipped a cake and did Italian pastries, had a cousin do the pictures, and had a friend play the piano as his gift. It was at a country club --the cheapest place I could find.

We did not go on a honeymoon.

Whatever you do, do not throw your money away on a wedding. It really should be the low point of any relationship.

I second the brunch suggestion. My brother did that and cut his bill in half. It was very nice, and then us young kids went out drinking with the bride and groom. It was a fun day.

4 moms found this helpful

Less than $2,000, and $700 of that was on flights home. :)

3 moms found this helpful

$50 :).

We did the court house thing. For our ten year anniversary (2014) we plan to renew our vows, but even then it won't be bad. We'll do a family only ceremony, pay for a nice dinner somewhere with everyone, and hubby and I will go some place great for the honeymoon we never had.

At least that's the plan!

My older sister is doing around $5k, but my parents bought her dress that was over $3k.

My younger sister I think it looking at more like $10-15k, and my parents bought her dress that was about $2k.

3 moms found this helpful

We spent around 25k. If I had it to do over again, I would have just done a destination wedding (which my friend did for under 8k). I just think of all the stuff that I could have used the 25k on instead of one party on one day.

3 moms found this helpful

You can get such a range on this question and there are so many factors that go into what the budget should be. Some parents pay all or part. Some people have big families. Some people have kind of wealthy friends who are used to a certain kind of party. Some people make a lot of money, others don't. We spent I think $25k or so but we had very good earning potential and no kids at the time and a paid for townhouse so no mortgage. I assume you already have a child so I'd think about your housing and college savings and future income potential etc to put in a realistic framework how much you should spend. I don't think a wedding should stretch you at all financially. If $15k doesn't, then seems totally fine. Lots of people I know spent in that price range and more. So it's not like you'd be a Kardashian wannabe if you go over $10k.

3 moms found this helpful

I live in upstate NY and got married 10 years ago...so I don't think that what I paid could be comparable to where you currently live. But, some cost cutting things that helped me...
1) used the table arrangements and linens provided by the reception hall
2) did not have an open bar...only beer, wine, and soda. If someone wanted a mixed drink, they paid for it themselves.
3) had a small "display" cake and sheet cakes (I had 275 guest..so a tiered cake would have been very expensive)
4) used silk flowers and my mother in law and I did all the bouquets, boutonnieres and flower arrangements
5) did not spend a ridiculous amount on the photographer. I found someone who was reasonably priced, did not offer all kinds of crazy things I didn't want, and didn't get in the way of me having fun at my own wedding to take a bunch of photos.
6) my brother in law made the programs for free.
Just a few suggestions...hope it helps and congratulations!

3 moms found this helpful

We spent about $3,000. However, the cake, some of the food, food preparation, food serving, entertainment and bridal party flowers were all gifts from various friends and family. I would have loved to have more decorations but I hit my budget limit. We had over 200 guests. I think you have to decide what would make you more comfortable-- your dream wedding or your dream budget. It is different for everyone. My wedding was in many ways not what I preferred, but overall it was a fun and happy time and I am glad I did not spend more.

3 moms found this helpful

About $2000 (in 1989).
We had 75 people at the reception.
My FIL was a member of the Masonic Lodge so we got the reception site for free.
I know people do it, but I hate the thought of spending an amount that would be a great down payment on a house.
Yes. have a nice party with some of your closest friends/relatives but don't go into debt and don't blow every cent you have.

3 moms found this helpful

My friends did a wedding with a "Neverending cocktail hour" which meant that there was no sit down dinner, lots of passed appys and a small station for Indian Food (the groom's ethnicity) and one for antipasta. It was great!! It was so much more freeing and much cheaper than the sitdown option. You can't cut corners on liquer but maybe a Friday night cocktail party could cut down your budget? In case you were wondering, we spend about 20k but my parents helped. I would never spend that kind of money on my own! I would just do a destination wedding!

3 moms found this helpful

We spent about $2500. $1500 for the rings that we purchased at Whitehall Jewelers when they were still in business and $500 on my dress and another $500 on miscellaneous things. We were members at a small church, no more than 30 members so most of the things we needed were contributed by members of our church. One of the members was a DJ so he did our music, the church allowed us to do the ceremony in the church and our pastor married us, the church paid for the reception space which was in a local hotel room (the hotel allowed us to bring our own food), the food was cooked by another church member, all we had to do was give her enough money to cover cost of purchasing the food. We asked another church member to video tape it. It was very low budget but at least we have some sort of video to remember the day by. Another gentleman did our pictures, he was a photographer in his spare time. My dress was off the rack at David's Bridal and we bought our own decorations from Hobby Lobby and Michaels. My cousin did my hair and my mother in law did my makeup. Another lady donated our wedding cake. We had a total of about 150 people at the reception.

My husband and I just wanted to get married so we didn't focus on the actual wedding expenses, our goal was to do something small at the time and have a bigger wedding when we could afford to get what we wanted. But we had so many people contribute, it turned into a bigger wedding and seven years later, we are still together. Don't stress over providing everything for everyone. One of the things we are proud of is that we didn't go into our marriage in debt. That is one of the fastest ways to end up in divorce court. Make sure whatever you pay for is worth it and does not cause you two to fight or be tens of thousands of dollars in debt down the road. You want to start off with a clean slate. Don't be afraid to ask people to contribute too. It's supposed to be about you two so people should be more than willing to help in anyway that they can. Good luck.

3 moms found this helpful

Now I can picture you like Steve Martin from Father of the Bride :D
Well, the point of the wedding is that you are happy, not stressed out. The points are you two love each other. My mom told me that don't spend all your money in one night, because marriage is after the wedding reception and it costs a lot.
My father was very extreme, he was like ( sorry for this vulgarity, but that's what he said), why we spend so much money in making people's poop.
He was right though. I know many brides wants to use great gown, but what people notice in wedding isnt the gown brand tag but the glowing face of the bride.
Back to ur question:
In 2007, we had 1500 people( not because we are rich but because you have to invite everyone, neighbors, colleagues, that's the culture. Those who are invited will take their families). We spent $8000 for all: food for 1500 people, decoration, wedding gown, tux, MC, car, invitation card, wedding ring. So for one guest, we spent 5 dollars to give him 8 kinds of food. I can't believe how expensive it is here :((
Don't worry. Your marriage will still be a happy marriage even without grand wedding celebration. Celebrate it when it hits golden marriage years, celebrate when you have pass all the tests.

3 moms found this helpful

$4,000 max. I really don't think it was that much, though. It has been 15 years, so I can't remember how much as closely as I used to.

We used one of those "all inclusive" chapels (not a "location" wedding like in the islands or anything... just a chapel that included photos, a pianist, and a venue for the reception on site... all for one price.) We had a really small wedding--literally, the chapel only seated about 30 people. Almost exclusively the immediate families on both sides, plus 5 or 6 very close friends that we basically consider family.

I did not buy a used dress. I got what I wanted--which was NOT a princess styled dress. I opted against a train.

We didn't have any attendants. My dad wore a morning suit styled tux that matched my husband's and gave me away. My husband didn't have anyone stand up for him. I didn't have an official maid of honor.
Looking back, would it have been nice to do all of those things? Maybe. But it was SO much simpler and easier not to. And cheaper. We spent a decent amount on a forever remembered honeymoon trip a few months later and I wouldn't change that for anything.

If I had someone hand me $20k to spend on a wedding and I could go back in time and spend it on my wedding--- I wouldn't. I would use it for a downpayment on our first home, and be that much further ahead than we are today. No doubt in my mind about that.

If you can't swallow the price tag, do NOT feel obligated to keep things you are willing to part with, just "because". This is the age of "do what YOU want"... and not stick with tradition for tradition's sake. Make it work for you.

Here's what the bulk of our wedding funds went to:
1) chapel/pictures/pianist/reception (all inclusive, except for the simple non-meal items offered that were catered by the same folks who did the cake).
2) Dress (and alterations----which in retrospect, I wouldn't bother with having had the alterations--it added $100 to the cost and I could have worn it without them by ordering a size smaller and losing 2 lbs beforehand).
3) Flowers (these weren't much, but I had a huge bouquet/piece to carry full of roses--remember, this was 15 years ago when people carried a cascade, not a small little wrapped stems bouquet--and I had tons of fresh flowers on the wedding cake itself)

End result: Still married (happily) 15 years later... and am glad we didn't do the "more traditional" put-us-in-debt-for-the first-5-years-of-your-married-life styled wedding.

ETA: One way you might consider (not sure how brave you are) to save $ is to find a non-professional to do the cake. A very good friend of mine just hosted her parents 50th wedding anniversary. She is a counselor at a high school. She hired students in hospitality and cake decorating to make the cake. It was a lovely tiered cake, and tasted wonderful!! Ridiculously cheap, compared to "normal" wedding cakes.

3 moms found this helpful

I spent about $1500 back in 1971. This was the dress, hall with finger food and toast, flowers, cake, and invitations. Hubby wore his military uniform, paid the priest $25 and honeymoon as we drove across country to his duty assignment in Tucson.

We are still married and we have renewed our vows at the 20 year mark via a neighbor priest in our living room.

The wedding is a symbol of the future and not the marriage. So enjoy it but don't go overboard. Keep some of the money for a down payment on the house or a vacation in a year or two. Be reasonable and enjoy your future life together.

the other S.

3 moms found this helpful

The reception venue is your biggest cost. Ours was under 5,000. We really didn't want some dog and pony since it was our second wedding. Then again even my first wedding cost around 5,000.

Ours was a Saturday evening which put it at 50 a plate. We kept the flowers under 300, my dress was 100 (pure luck) , heck I spent more on my daughter's dresses since they were my bridesmaids.

I did luck out that one of my friends is an amazing photographer. Amazing in she takes great pics plus knew how to do all the pictures on the cheap.

I know I will not put more than 5,000 into my daughter's wedding, maybe I am mean like that but since she was 14 I told her she gets a check and a ladder. I would advise using the ladder and putting the check towards a house. :p

3 moms found this helpful

We married and honeymooned in Kauai, Hawaii. The entire trip was more than the wedding itself but neither of us regrets the fairly expensive vacation/honeymoon we had in the process of getting married. For us that was the entire point - seven days of unplugging and focusing on the future while having a grand time. The beach wedding cost approximately $1200, including my dress and hair, flowers, my husband's attire (shirt and shorts), photographs and DVD with all photos, champagne, ukulele player, dinner afterwards at a local nice restaurant, marriage license, etc. We had no guests except for the officiate, his photographer son, the ukulele player, and four local fishermen by happenstance. It was low key and what each of us wanted for our second wedding. It was only about us and for us so we were happy with the results. Definitely don't spend so much that you squirm. Being married (and potentially homeowners and parents) takes money and savings later on. You should enjoy your day but keep it in perspective in the grand scheme of things. Good luck and many well wishes on your special day.

2 moms found this helpful

$1500 approximately.
Dress was rented, $100 or so. Shoes, veil, jewelry amounted to maybe $75. Obviously not designer or anything, I don't care about that, but I looked nice.
Church building rental, chairs and tables: free. If I were to do it over, I would have probably chosen something different, like a beach or something, but it was fine.
Food and linens: $700. We did a catered lunch after the wedding through a local restaurant, it was the nicest restaurant in that small town and was a delicious meal. Luckily my hubby and I both worked at the restaurant and therefore got a killer deal on the food! We also made our own cheesecakes for the dessert and just had to buy the ingredients and pans for them.
Cake: Free, my aunt made it.
Flowers: $500
Decor: Free to us, my mother in law did the decor and it was probably a few hundred out of her pocket
Odds and ends like a guest book, marriage license, took up the rest.

It wasn't glitzy...I actually laugh a bit when I think about it. The town my husband is from is a farming town and pretty much everyone at our reception was in flannel, blue jeans and big belt buckles. The person who married us was wearing a bolo tie and cowboy vest (his church vest, I am sure). But it was inexpensive, the food was good, we looked nice and darn it, people were so generous. I could not believe how many people I barely knew that turned up to support our families, and the people that traveled from afar to see us. Happy memories!

Congratulations on your upcoming wedding! Don't forget, though, that it is the marriage, not the wedding, that is the important part ;) The wedding is just a day.

2 moms found this helpful

Under 1000... we were very young and pregnant. It was very small.

I wish we had a nicer wedding. You wont regret it after. You will have such beautiful, special memories :)

2 moms found this helpful

Mine was no more than $5000. We had Jason's Deli cater out, no liquor except for champagne, and we had the reception at a club house where my MIL lives.

2 moms found this helpful

around $6000. at Christmas time. DC suburb. for about 80 guests.

draw up or find pictures of what you want your wedding memories to be. try to incorporate as many of those things as possible. You could spend millions of dollars on the day, but if the key elements of how you envisioned your day being are missing, what is the point?

One way to save money is to hold the reception at a restaurant. The tables and chairs are provided. Most will have some colored linens to work with your color theme.

My after Christmas wedding:
We were married in the little white church down the street - $100 donation
Reception at State Troopers Gathering hall $500
Caterer - $1000. (deviled eggs, mini quiche, pigs in a blanket (mom about died! :) ), other comfort foods)
Photographer - $500
Centerpieces - (torte dish with a votive and holiday poppouri) $100.
Decor - white gazebo with garland and lights $100
Tables, chairs, linens - $500
Christmas trees 13+ for $25!
Dress - $300
2 Bridesmaid dresses $400
etc...

2 moms found this helpful

25 years ago, $6000 to $7000. I had my mother's wedding! She invited everyone in Texas and we all know how big Texas is!!!

My daughter is "almost" engaged so we have been talking to her about what we are willing to give to her. We have settled on $15,000. Anything over is on her and her boyfriend. Less, she gets the $$$.

If I had it to do over again, I would NOT have a big wedding. You don't know everyone and its a pain in the butt. I told my daughter if you keep it small, you can get more bang for your buck and keep more cash.

I don't think she is listening! She has these "grand" ideas. I just keep telling her what her budget is! I sure hope she takes me seriously because I'm not kidding!!!!

2 moms found this helpful

We spent about $10,000 including the honeymoon. We had a pretty big wedding, about 230 guests, and it was fairly traditional, but I felt like I was trying to find every deal I could, even at that price. We paid for most of it ourselves and although I would have loved to have one of those giant extravagant looking weddings I see on TV ;) the most important thing to me was actually getting married! Yes it is an important day and yes, possibly the most important day in your life thus far, but in the end, it's about the marriage, not the wedding. So, do what you can do and be happy about it. SPend the big bucks on the stuff that really matters to you, which is different for everyone. I personally refused to have plastic plates or silverware (which some people didn't understand) so I made sure that I found a venue or caterer that would give me that. I loved my dress but it only cost $400. It worked out well since it give me extra money to spend elsewhere.

Have fun though, and congrats!

2 moms found this helpful

my parents gave me a budget of $7000. I had a nice wedding. I spent the most on the photographer ($2000). I needed nice pictures. My dress was only $500 including the shoes at davids bridal. We had the ceremony and reception at the church I worked at so I got a discount for that. We had a small pasta restaurant cater. Hired a DJ for I think around $400. The rest went to all the smaller details like flowers, and other random things like that. It is possible to keep it under $10,000. If we were to ever renew, I would do it small on the beach at sunset. Not have it in a church that I worked at (didn't even have windows in the building).

2 moms found this helpful

Just under $3800. This included the invitations/thank you cards, dress, shoes, hotel, plane tickets, rental car, wedding bands, appetizers, steak and lobster dinner, beer and wine, wedding cake, officiant, disposable cameras, photos and photo albums. We had a destination wedding at a waterfront restaurant in FL and only invited 35 people. No flowers and no professional photographer. (Full disclosure, we actually got married in a courthouse a few months prior to this ceremony because my husband was about to be deployed overseas.)

I like to think that everyone had a great time. Hubby and I sure did. And it was so nice to start off married life without debt.

Really, the biggest way to trim the costs and get what you want is to trim the guest list. If your parents or his parents are willing to chip in, then you should definitely take them up on their generosity. That's great that you are doing a lot of DIY stuff. You should go to costco.com and see all of the wedding stuff they have available. I've heard of people who did a "Costco wedding" and saved a bundle -- invitations, flowers, filet mignon, appetizers, cake, booze, etc all purchased from Costco.

Best of luck to you, and CONGRATULATIONS!

2 moms found this helpful

My son is in the process of paying / saving for a wedding which is in april of 2013. It is at this point up to about $14000 they have aprox 220 guests. doing a sitdown dinner w/beer / wine. dj, photo and they are renting the center pieces. that does not include the dress, tuxes or fresh flowers or rehearsal dinner

we are paying $5000 her mom is paying $5000 and the kids (my son and his fiance are paying the rest)

2 moms found this helpful

Between 5K and 6K for everything, I think. We had around 100 people at an outdoor wedding and fairly relaxed dinner reception with beer and wine and a dj, but it was eight years ago and in MT where things are much cheaper.

1 mom found this helpful

Such a fun question-- congratulations!!
We were married almost 8 years ago and we also live in the Bay Area. We had a church wedding and reception at my parent's home. Nice food, a live band, good drinks, about 125 people. My Mom made my dress and also bridesmaids dresses but charged the fabric to the wedding account. Tuxes were cheap to rent, relatively. Cake was made by a friend, favors were simple...... Honeymoon was separate.
Total spent was $20,000.
It was a total blast. I loved every minute of that day!

1 mom found this helpful

I think it all depends on your priorities! You should spend an amount that makes you comfortable and gives you and your guests an experience you will look back on fondly. I got married in downtown Manhattan 7 years ago and spent about $90K, which sounds ridiculousbut was actually not much given the location. I would do it again in a minute, but we are a financially stable couple and it didn't stop us from buying a house or doing other things. Seven years later I still have guests who tell me they enjoyedmy wedding more than their own!

1 mom found this helpful

My wife and I spent $900 on the wedding and her dress and all the decorations. My MIL didn't have any money to spare so my wife and I paid for it all. I was a senior in college and was making $2 hr. The $900 was mostly my savings, the rest was my wife's savings.

When my two daughters were about middle teen years (16 or so) they came to me and asked me how much I was going to give them for their weddings. After thinking about it, I told them I'd give them $2500 each. If they wanted to spend less, they could pocket the change. If they wanted more they were going to have to come up with the money.

I ended up giving both daughters $3000. One spent it all and put some of her money in the pot and one spent less lavishly and took part of the money and put it in the bank.

I would think you could have a nice wedding and reception for 130 people for $3500 to $5000. But you can't pay $5000 to rent a hall and stay with in a budget.

Lobster and filet mignon are highly desirable, but rotisserie chicken will work. BBQ will work too. A friend had BBQ smoked brisquette and rolls I smoked a whole hog for our 25th anniversary. Our guests loved it. It cost $400 to feed 125.
Fruit bowls are inexpensive, IF you (your friends) do them yourself. Silk flowers, plain table cloths are very inexpensive compared to real flowers and silk table clothes. I had a friend make the cakes. A small tiered one for the show and a nice chocolate one for the grooms cake. And a white one for the guests that didn't like chocolate.

Good luck to you and yours.

1 mom found this helpful

My parents paid for our wedding so I don't know the exact numbers but 180 people... sit down dinner.... in NY... $25,000ish.

1 mom found this helpful

We spent about 7000, in the Bay Area, for about 125 people.

1 mom found this helpful

7 years ago we had 125 people at a sitdown reception, with steak & chicken, in the suburbs of Chicago. I expect the prices here are comparable to the Bay Area. We had a live Arabic band and a dj, a videographer who captured everything but was a crappy editor (added embarrassingly cheesy graphics & music), and a great photographer. We also had a string quartet & a small ensemble to sing at church (but only paid $500 for that because the choir director knew that we were on a tight budget but the music was so important to me.)

It was $50/person. My parents chipped in $10k, my husband's parents matched that, and we paid $5000 for our San Diego honeymoon.

My sister also got married in Chicago, but had over 250 people, at a much fancier locale, and ended up spending about $60k. YUCK!

Suggestions for saving money:

Instead of professional singers, violinist, etc, try to get a soloist or 2 from your local high school.

You can make your own programs VERY easily.

Alternate between candles and flowers on the tables (every other table has flowers, the rest are candles.)

ETA: Just read your follow-up. in my opinion, you can save some $ by skipping favors. I know very few people who think they are necessary, and even fewer who have actually gotten favors that are worth the expenditure.

1 mom found this helpful

Wow, compared to many people I know, I did great. But reading these posts makes me think I spent a fortune!
We got married in Orange County (Dana Point) and spent $20,000 for 160 people. The bulk of that was in the location (including all food, cake, wine, beer, all tables, chairs, linens, etc) and in the photographer.
I opted to go with less expensive vendors for the DJ, florist, officiant, a string quartet for the ceremony + cocktail hour, cheap dress, etc. For my centerpieces, I got fishbowls at Michaels and filled them with sand, seashells and a pretty candle. Way cheaper than flowers. At the time I was planning my wedding, my roommate was also planning hers - we split the cost of the fishbowls and both used them. She put floating rose petals in hers.
Skip all extra paper goods, such as Save the Date cards and programs at the wedding. They are unnecessary and add a lot of extra expense. If you have a friend who is a talented musician, have her play during your ceremony; if not, use the DJ and you don't need a separate vendor to play.

Anyway, I always told myself I was only getting married once and, while I didn't want to break the bank, I was fortunate enough to have in-laws that paid for most of it so I was able to get the things I wanted. I have several friends that spent in the $25-35,000 range and a cousin that spent $75k!

1 mom found this helpful

Interesting reading all the responses. I wonder if the time has something to do with it? Of course, being in the Bay area, things are naturally going to be more expensive. *I LOVE that area by the way. But I wonder with all the bride/wedding type shows on TV now that it's a bigger business?

And gosh, I really can't remember details, since it was almost 24 years ago now! We were did quite a bit very simply, had over 350 people and I think everything was about $5000 back then. My husband and I paid for a lot of it at the time, since we were both late 20's and working. But both sets of parents helped out in different ways.

My husband's sister got married 6 months before us and it was a very formal affair, with a sit down dinner at an exclusive country club. I also believe that my mother in law took her to Kleinfeld's in NYC to get her dress. I've never asked now that the show is on TV, but I remember her saying that it was an appointment only bridal store in NYC.
I went to this little town, about 45 minutes away and picked a gown off the rack, by the very same designer that my sister in law's. And it was a current design because I found it in a bridal magazine at the time. I paid $500 for my gown.

We literally had a buffet dinner, mostly prepared by family members! One of my brother's was the manager of a restaurant, and actually got good deals from some of his vendors. And one of his friends came in and did the carvings on the watermelons and helped make the buffet presentation very nice. My mother in law, made 40 pounds of German Potato Salad!

My mother and I hit close out sales and found little baskets that we filled with mints and little bud vases that we used for center pieces. A friend did the cake.

And my brother, the same one who worked in the restaurant, was working on a career in the music industry. He was able to get 'THE' hot local band at the time to play our wedding for just $100 per band member.

I did spend the 'most' at the time on a good photographer. As Victoria said, once everything is done, all you have is the pictures.

I guess, now that I've tried to remember and typed it out, that I spend the money on the things that were important to me. So think about it like that. And think about your contacts and networking. Don't be afraid to ask for favors if you know anyone that can help.

Good Luck and enjoy it. Don't stress yourself out, or try not to! ;)

1 mom found this helpful

Around 10K for 60 guests. After reading responses, it sounds like a lot but it was perfect and just what we wanted. Beautiful mountain setting, lots of flowers (pricey), and fabulous sit down meal. Things add up quickly.

1 mom found this helpful

Around $4000 for 80 people. We had our reception in summer with tables around the pool at my parents' farm. We had fairy lights everywhere and candles in mason jars on the tables. Gardenias everywhere. We borrowed the tables and chairs. We had a buffet catered by a local girl I knew, and my father's friends were the barmen for a favour. We served champagne, beer, wine, juice and soda. We had a string quartet play for canapes and champagne before we moved on for dinner. Local teenagers were dressed to be waiters.

We did our own flowers, my mother made the bridesmaids' dresses, and we borrowed the wedding cars. We did the music ourselves.

It was really beautiful.

1 mom found this helpful

We spent about $15K. Honestly, I lost track at the end. We had about 125 people.

We saved on the photographer (a friend of a friend but a total pro - she was just starting out so she was a bargain but we couldn't afford her now), a DJ instead of a band, using the yacht club that my FIL was a member of for the reception and getting member pricing on the bar, our rings and my dress were inexpensive, the chapel we used for the ceremony didn't charge much, and for centerpieces, we did hurricane glasses with candles and fall decor instead of fresh flowers. We found a florist who worked miracles with our budget and kept the wedding party very small so we didn't need a ton of bouquets and boutonnieres.

I used to work in the food industry and have a lot of foodie friends so the one place that I didn't skimp was the food. We had passed and stationary hors d'ouvres, a plated dinner of beef tenderloin or salmon, and a cake from the best wedding bakery in my area. We actually kept the cake reasonably priced by picking a simple but elegant design and then having the florist top with flowers (one price for the whole flower order) instead of having the bakery provide the flowers, which added to the per-serving cost and was many time what the florist charged.

Decide what's important to you and spend there, save on the rest. For some friends, a live band makes a wedding and they don't care if the dinner has green beans from a #10 can, so they spend on music. For other friends, the reception location is the most important and they spent on a beautiful setting with a perfect view and cut elsewhere.

1 mom found this helpful

We got married in 2001 and it was over $30k (rehearsal dinner, wedding, and honeymoon). We did not go into debt over it and felt comfortable with the cost. I would do it again in a second. Spend what you feel comfortable spending.

1 mom found this helpful

Sorry to say, but my DH and I married in 1998. We live in the Foothills of CA, had around 110 guests and spent over 10,000 for our wedding. We did a traditional wedding with a string quartet, dinner, drinks and a DJ. IMHO our wedding was lovely, but yes it was costly. We don't regret spending the money, but sometimes I think that was the beginning of our longstanding debt. Good luck to you and congratulations Hope you can work it out.

Updated

Sorry to say, but my DH and I married in 1998. We live in the Foothills of CA, had around 110 guests and spent over 10,000 for our wedding. We did a traditional wedding with a string quartet, dinner, drinks and a DJ. IMHO our wedding was lovely, but yes it was costly. We don't regret spending the money, but sometimes I think that was the beginning of our longstanding debt. Good luck to you and congratulations Hope you can work it out.

Updated

Sorry to say, but my DH and I married in 1998. We live in the Foothills of CA, had around 110 guests and spent over 10,000 for our wedding. We did a traditional wedding with a string quartet, dinner, drinks and a DJ. IMHO our wedding was lovely, but yes it was costly. We don't regret spending the money, but sometimes I think that was the beginning of our longstanding debt. Good luck to you and congratulations Hope you can work it out.

Updated

Sorry to say, but my DH and I married in 1998. We live in the Foothills of CA, had around 110 guests and spent over 10,000 for our wedding. We did a traditional wedding with a string quartet, dinner, drinks and a DJ. IMHO our wedding was lovely, but yes it was costly. We don't regret spending the money, but sometimes I think that was the beginning of our longstanding debt. Good luck to you and congratulations Hope you can work it out.

1 mom found this helpful

We got married 15 years ago in Wisconsin (70 guests), so our numbers are not at all comparable to what you are planning. I think it ended up about $7000 total. It would definitely have cost more, however I already owned a suitably elegant off-white dress and we had the ceremony in a lovely little old building owned by the city ($75 rental fee, pick up the key the day before, set up and clean up yourself). We had flowers which were locally-grown--maybe more expensive per flower, definitely more restricted in terms of what would be available for that time of year, however it was important to me that we supported local agriculture. A photographer and a video person were both important--photographs for their lasting value, video so we could send a copy to my inlaws (husband is African, so most of his family could not attend). Now, something seems to have gone wrong with the video, so we don't have the audio any more--thank God for the photos!

As others have said, the key is to get clear on YOUR priorities and let those priorities determine where you spend the money. Do your best to enjoy the process and particularly the day!

1 mom found this helpful

We spent about $5,000. I hired a photographer friend, we did our own music, I worked at Steak and Ale, so we got the prime rib and sides for cheap. I hired friends from work to serve food/drinks, my mom is a florist and cake decorator so she did our cake and flowers, centerpieces, etc. We made out really well!

1 mom found this helpful

We spent $10,000 on our wedding 8 years ago. We got married in Sacramento at a winery with a wonderful sit down meal. It was an amazing wedding and our friends told us that it seemed like a Million dollar wedding. Congratulation and Good Luck on your special day!

1 mom found this helpful

I had an Alfred Angelo wedding dress from a nice bridal boutique here in OKC. I think it was about $500 with alterations. That was $20 years ago too.

I spent about $100 on flowers and they were done by a friend who was gifted at making arrangements. I had flowers on the white lace fans. They were not huge, a lot of the fan actually showed. The guys had a single flower in their lapels.

We also bought our tux's at the nice place in Stillwater that rented tux's to all the fraternity's and students for special occasions. We bought them for $5.00 each piece. The jackets were $5 and the pants were $5 also. My hubby actually paid $30 for a second tux jacket that had coat tails. He wanted a traditional jacket for later use and a more ornate one for the wedding.

So the guys all had their own tux's, the girls dresses we made. They were peach lace over a taffeta lining. They had a dropped waist and a deep V neckline. Sort of like Gunny Sax style. They took about 2 hours to make, cut out to hemming. They were very easy. We had an assembly line making them, the last one was finished about an hour before the wedding, 20 minutes before the wedding I was standing in line at Walmart getting my daughter a strapless bra. Seriously. I got to the wedding 10 minutes before it started. We started 15 minutes late.

Then for the reception we had cake and nuts and mints. That is all. We did open gifts. I think it was fun, but it took forever.

My FIL had a professional camera with the drape over it. The pictures were kind of over exposed so the nice ones we do have were done by a friend who brought her own camera and took a lot of shots of us taking pictures too.

What I would change...

I would have made the dresses earlier so that I would not have to stay up half the night sewing on the eve of my afternoon wedding. I would have still made them. They were very pretty. Similar dresses at the bridal shops were a couple of hundred each. The fabric, pattern, and all the notions was less than $100 total. They were what I would have looked for if we had bought them. They were perfect.

Flowers were nice, I liked them and I offered her $100 for making them. She didn't take it. I helped another friend a few years later and the groom to be bought a couple of flower books at Hobby Lobby and we sat and figured the instructions out. Their flowers were very ornate and gorgeous. They get made by someone who didn't know how to make them until they had instructions.

The tux's. I loved that we bought them. My hubby had to choose pants that were several sizes too big. His mom took them up and she sewed very well. They fit wonderfully when she was done. Then he got to wear the tux, both coats too, to different occasions later on. The still actually has both coats and the pants. They still fit, or close to it. The sides are adjustable up to a few inches.

The food. My FIL made my multi layered cake and decorated it. It was beautiful. He came home from the Kentucky School for the Deaf early and made the cake a couple of days before. He decorated it the night before the wedding and transported it. The food, I just can't imagine paying for everyone coming to get a meal. I think that is such a waste of money. Why in the world do people expect to eat at a wedding reception. That's odd to me. We have the wedding in the chapel then go in the gym or cultural hall to the reception. It's no big deal.

We had about the same amount of guests you are expecting.

1 mom found this helpful

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