What is a reasonable budget for a wedding?

Question by arwen18: What is a reasonable budget for a wedding?
I want it to be formal. Any ideas on cost cutting options, and possibly things I can do myself?

Best answer:

Answer by Woods
Depends on your income. Beautiful wedding can be done for less than $ 10,000 by resourceful people. Others think they need $ 100,000 to pull of their wedding. Stick to your budget, the amount you can reasonably afford, and you won’t go wrong. Remember that you are trying to “compete” with other brides, but create your own special day in your own way.

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3 Responses to “What is a reasonable budget for a wedding?”

  1. Messykatt says:

    Nobody can possibly give you a number for this, because the details that we’d need to know are missing. Do you have an estimated guest list size? Are you aiming for an evening event with dinner and dancing? What do you mean by “formal”?

    There’s a ton of cost cutting ideas out there, like DIY invites and centerpieces, but the biggest contributor to overall cost of event is the size of the guest list. If you’re thinking you have $ 5,000 total wedding budget and you want 150 guests, you won’t be having dinner and dancing unless you cut that list in half, and then you still need to be very budget conscious.

  2. Tim says:

    If you want a formal wedding, it is going to be very expensive not only for you, but all the guests.

    A formal wedding means that everyone will be in tuxedos and evening gowns which are very expensive.

    It also means a plated sit down dinner which will probably cost you between $ 50 and $ 100 per guest.

    If you want to save money, I suggest no having a formal wedding.

  3. amyhpete says:

    I am going to assume that you want an evening wedding with dinner and dancing, the wedding party in formal wear, several attendants, and the guests dressed up.

    1. Figure out how many guests you will have. This will drive everything from the venue, to how many attendants and ushers you need, to, really everything. Venue for ceremony — are you religious or not? If you or your families are members of a place of worship, often the ceremony there can be for a very reasonable price. See what ceremony decor you can borrow – yards of chiffon, candles — some venues keep these in storage.

    Music. Do you have a friend who can DIY with a playlist and speakers? This might work for both ceremony music and reception music. Do you have talented friends who can provide live music? My wedding was semi-formal and outdoors, and we had a brass quintet from the local college provide ceremony music, which was really beautiful.

    Food. If you don’t have hundreds of guests or require an exquisite menu, you can actually have tasty, wonderful food from students at a culinary school or beginning caterers or chefs who need some experience, for a discounted price. They will try harder as they are trying to make their career, and will be more flexible with your preferences. Sometimes buffets are less expensive; sometimes a plated meal, because they don’t have to make the huge volume of food, is less expensive. Look at all your options and prepare to negotiate.

    Reception location. Think outside the box. Sometimes a hotel will give a discount if you will have a number of guests staying there. The local events center is generally not too expensive. What about a theater, or really any big space? I went to one reception in an airport hangar that was very elegant!

    Your dress. I had mine made by a seamstress, and it was modeled after the dress Caroline Kennedy wore when she married Edwin Schlossberg in 1986.


    If you have a dream dress, you can certainly get the bones of it from putting together two to three patterns from the fabric store. If you require a showpiece with thousands of beads and shiny things, or an unusual cut, or a thousand tucks and shapes, then having it made is not for you. If you dream of something simple, though, you can have it made just for you, and avoid the markups of the bridal stores.

    Dresses for your girls: I would highly suggest you pick a color (or two) get a swatch, unless it’s obvious like black, and let the girls pick their own dresses. Maybe ask them to take a photo and send it to you for approval before they buy it, but let them pick something they love that is flattering on them, within reason. You can dictate long, tea length or short, or something like that. They will then be happier to get their own dresses if they know they may wear them again, and they will feel beautiful on the day. You can get them matching costume jewelry and accessories, and they don’t need matching shoes. Just ask them to get black or other neutral colored pumps. They’ll look and feel great, and it can all be affordable. You don’t have to do all the shopping. They might find a great bargain or sale item that’s gorgeous!

    Guy clothes — you can always negotiate with the men’s shop on tux rentals OR you can similarly ask the guys to wear their own dark suits. If you’re in a population where the men will own at least one good suit, they will also look good, be well-fitted, and feel good. Maybe you get them new shirts and matching ties to go with them. You might also save money at the shop if you get the basic black tuxes with black ties and cummerbunds. It looks classic, goes with everything, and are always in stock. They might charge you less for that.

    Cake — Again if your taste is classic and not over the top or trendy, you can have an elegant cake without spending a fortune. Our supermarket makes delightful, yummy cakes — you don’t have to go to a trendy bakery. On the other hand if you have a local “cake lady” you might also get an exquisite cake for not that much money.

    Favors — skip them. No one cares. Brides agonize over the favors and usually they get thrown away.

    Flowers — talk to the florist about what flowers will be in season and easy to get at the time of your wedding. Don’t get fixated on must-haves like orchids or a certain kind of rose. You can have beautiful fresh flower bouquets.

    Drinkies — there is much debate about whether it’s tacky to not have an open bar. A great compromise is to have a couple of kinds each of red and white wine, light and dark beer, and one signature cocktail, instead of the bartender making every kind of mix and shot all night long.

    The biggest savings comes from limiting the guest list to those near and dear who wouldn’t miss it for the world.