Welcome to wedding planning season! The beginning of each year is one of the busiest times for planning out the big day because a 30-40% of all couples get engaged between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Eve. No matter when you get engaged, all couples start the planning process off with the same question: how much does a wedding cost? There’s no clear-cut response – but there are three major factors that can help you pin down an answer that works for you: where you’re getting married, what you *must* have, and how many guests you invite.
Where Are You Having Your Wedding?
According to Cost of a Wedding, the average amount spent on a wedding in the United States is currently around $33,306, and this number can climb even higher depending on where you’re tying the knot. Here are the average wedding prices from cities in the US:
Butte, Montana: $16,420
Jacksonville, Florida: $19,185
Phoenix, Arizona: $26,082
Kansas City, Missouri: $40,529
New York City (Manhattan): $53,626
The closer you are to a big city or an area with a higher cost of living, the more you’re going to shell out. This is because wedding vendors in these places have to factor higher pay for their employees, higher taxes, increased transportation costs, etc. into their costs.
Blooms Tip: Looking for some room in your budget? Get creative with ways to cut your vendor costs. Is there a wedding at your venue the day before yours? That couple may be willing to split the cost of rentals for chairs or drapes so the vendor will only have to pick them up and drop them off once. No luck? Ask your musically gifted cousin to play guitar at the cocktail hour so you can hire a DJ/band for four hours instead of six!
What Are Your Wedding “Must Haves”?
Now, start taking a look at the big picture. Will you be able to afford that stunning but pricey wedding dress you have your heart set on? First things first, you should start working out an estimate of the total funds you’ll have and hashing out who will be paying for what. How much can you and your fiancé realistically afford? Are your families going to contribute as well? Having these conversations early will help you create a realistic budget and save everyone a few headaches. From there, allocate how much you will spend on each aspect of your wedding – use The Knot’s breakdown as a guide:
Wedding Rings: 2-3%
Now that you have numbers to work with, it’s time to figure out what elements are most important to you as a couple. Once you get your “must haves” in place, you can set real limits for the other areas. If your favorite band is not in your music budget, are you willing to skip the videographer? If your dream venue is out of reach, maybe rent your dress instead of buying it! Keep in mind that you shouldn’t let traditions take over your budget if they don’t work for you. It’s perfectly fine to send out a beautiful Save the Date email if you don’t want to stick stamps on 150 envelopes!
Blooms Tip: Don’t forget that there are lots of ways to save within each category. One of our favorites is DIY flowers, of course! Creating your own arrangements and bouquets can save you hundreds. A bouquet that may cost $400 at a retail florist can cost only $100! Anybody can create their own arrangements – check out our blog and head over to DIY Flower 101 for inspiration and guidance!
How Many Guests Are You Inviting?
The amount of mouths you have to feed on your bid day has a direct effect on your venue cost, plain and simple. Starting to feel like you might have to file for bankruptcy just to pull off this wedding? Start minimizing the guest list. Here are some people who frequently don’t make the cut:
Friends you haven’t spoken to in the past six months
Ex’s or former flings
Work friends you don’t see outside of work
Anybody who is anything less than 120% happy for you
Remember when we told you to figure out who’s paying for what early on? This can come in very handy if you’re trying to scale back the guest count. If you and your fiancé are footing the bill entirely on your own, you should feel in no way obligated to accommodate the guests picked by anybody else.
Blooms Tip: Reign in your guilt to trim your list. Your wedding day is about you and the love of your life celebrating your new beginning. You should not start this journey together in major debt just because some people may or may not be offended that they weren’t invited!
What was your “must haves,” and how did you work them into your budget? Tell us below!