Making decisions on wedding costs

This entry is from our Expert Guest series where wedding and honeymoon professionals share their best tips on creating memories that last a lifetime….

Weddings are pricey. No matter where you are getting married, or what kind of wedding you are planning, you are going to spend some money. There are a ton of resources that can help you with planning and budgeting- one place to start is

On this site, you can get the big picture. How much does a ‘typical’ wedding for 150 guests in your geographical region cost? It varies greatly across the country. Where I am, in Fort Worth, TX , it’s approximately $30,000.

Wedding decor costs add up

Photo credit: Beatbox Portraits

Geographic Location + Number of Guests + Style of Wedding = Wedding Budget

Basic logic says: If you have a smaller guest count, you can spend more money on the look, feel, sound, and taste of your wedding. The ‘fun stuff’.

If you get lost in the Pinterest wedding rabbit hole, you probably have BIG ideas for your wedding. You see a photo of a ballroom ceiling covered in hanging tulips and you are blown away. You must have it. The price tag is rarely on these photos, though, and often, your big ideas just aren’t affordable. You may find yourself deciding between a big guest list and an elaborate wedding – from the décor, to your dress, to the 12-piece jazz band.

Making decisions on wedding costs & priorities

Making Budgetary Decisions

Let’s assume you have your date, venue, and caterer picked out. Everything is pretty much lining up with your initial wedding budget. You are about to get to the ‘fun’ part of wedding planning: the pretty stuff…flowers, lighting, linens, dove gray Chiavari chairs that you just can’t live without. This is where the difficult decisions start to come into play. You have spent over half your budget already, so how do you decide exactly where to spend the rest?

As a wedding planner, I can say with certainty that there comes a time in every couple’s planning process when they see the budget start to grow past their comfort zone. Some roll with it – ask their parents for more money, maybe, or start to tap into the credit card available balance. Other couples really dig their heels in – they sit down with their budget spreadsheet, they call their planner panicking, they make tough decisions about what stays a part of the plan, and what gets nixed.

My first response when I have these conversations is usually, “What does your guest list look like?” The quickest way to cut money from the imploding budget is to cut down your guest count. Maybe you have to draw a thick line through your softball team, your office friends, and your freshman dorm pals that you haven’t seen since…well, freshman year.

Do the wedding math

The Realities Of Wedding Math

Here’s some Trust-Me-I’m–a-Wedding-Planner-Math:

  • Food/beverage cost at a high-end hotel ballroom: $200/person
  • Food/beverage cost at a moderate hotel ballroom: $70/person
  • Food cost for a BBQ caterer to bring the food and serve it buffet style: $20/person

See where this is going? If you want a fancy ballroom wedding at $200 a head and you have 250 people coming – your MINIMUM at this hotel to host your reception will be $50,000. That fee doesn’t include the tax, tips, cake, décor, etc. It does include everything the guests will use to eat and drink (glassware, tableware), which is an upside of hosting your reception at a hotel venue.

If 50k is blowing your mind – consider cutting a quarter of the guests right off the top – boom, you’re down to around $37, 600.

Where wedding dollars go

Where The Wedding Dollars Go

If you have a firm number for your wedding budget, count on half of it going to the venue rental costs, basic rentals like tables and chairs, food, beverage. The other half of your money will be allocated to photographer, videographer, florist, DJ, musicians, dress, cake, etc.

Basic logic: if you have a set amount of money and it’s divided among 250 people, you will have less to allocate to each wedding vendor category. If you have the same set amount of money and it’s divided among 80 people, you have more money to spend on the other wedding vendors – ie,“The Fun Stuff”.

It can be overwhelming for sure! Champagne dreams, beer budget…you know the saying.

Help When You Need It

For easy-to-obtain help, we talk about budgets, vendors and all things wedding on The Big Wedding Planning Podcast.

It’s like having a wedding planner (or 2!) in your earbuds whenever you want. One of the questions we get from listeners most often is regarding how the wedding budget breaks down. Everyone’s issues are specific, but the overriding factor remains: Weddings are expensive. Good luck out there, yall!

Help finance your wedding & honeymoon dreams with a honeymoon registry from Honeyfund.

Bio: Chrissy Matthews Event (CME) offers custom planning packages, specializing in Luxury Month Of Wedding Coordination. CME specializes in custom “month of” planning packages. This service is perfect for the clients that have already lined up a venue and vendors and have already begun designing their event CME steps in 4-6 weeks out and takes over, acting as an advocate for the clients and a lead contact for the vendors and venue team.

Christy proudly serves as a partner, advocate, and project manager for clients and expertly guides wedding days minute by minute, from start to finish. 




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Taking great honeymoon photos

Photo credit: Deborahann Photography

This entry is from our Expert Guest series where wedding and honeymoon professionals share their best tips on creating memories that last a lifetime….

Should Taking Photographs Be An Important Part Of Your Honeymoon?

You have just celebrated your beautiful wedding day! The music has stopped and you have said goodbye to all of your guests and all of those photographs!!!! I guess that is enough to make anyone exhausted and totally ready for a honeymoon! Do you really want to be taking more photos? I say absolutely! There is something so special about honeymoon photos so let’s talk about some reasons why and how to capture the best images!

Tips For Taking Honeymoon Photos

Capture the beauty of your honeymoon locale

Photo credit: Deborahann Photography

What Is The Benefits Of Bringing The Camera Along With You?

I am sure after 10 hours of being photographed on your wedding day, you may feel like you need a break from photographs. You probably have chosen one of your most favorite places in the world to celebrate, rest, relax and just spend every waking hour for a week or however long you can escape totally together!! It is usual paradise for sure! Whether your trip promises sun and surf, snowy mountaintops, or breathtaking cities, you will want to pack your camera for sure! Capturing these beautiful memories will truly be something that you will be able to look back on for years to come.

If there are children in your future, they will absolutely enjoy looking back on their parents and laughing at the hairstyles that you chose, your clothing, your sweet kisses for sure, and everything else about your honeymoon that you were able to capture.

Factor the landscape into photos

Photo credit: Deborahann Photography

What Type Of Backgrounds Should One Look For In Taking Great Photos?

Landscape images are always gorgeous, but there are times during the day that you will truly get a better picture than other times. Morning sunrises are always one of my favorite images. Check on when the sunrise is and then choose a place where the sun is framed along a pretty area. i.e. over an ocean, maybe a pretty mountain range, or whatever is attractive to your eye. Show up about 15 minutes beforehand and then start shooting. Sunsets are magnificent, so be sure to find out from the concierge at your hotel where to capture the best sunsets! I would arrive about 30 minutes before the actual time it sets in order to really enjoy each stage of it. And do lots of shooting!

Taking flattering shots with people

Photo credit: Deborahann Photography

How To Best Capture Attractive Photographs Of Each Other Or Groups Of People

This is a subject that can be pretty tricky. When going out in the middle of the day be aware that the sun will be very high overhead, so it is not the most ideal time to take photographs. (Keep in mind here that it is different when shooting landscape, anytime is fine for that!!!)

Most of the time you will see raccoon shadows under the eyes of your subject! Whenever possible try to save the portrait time together until about an hour and a half before sunset.
This is called the “golden hour” which is a photographer’s dream hour! It is when the sun is much lower in the sky and the sun starts to cast that dreamy golden light! That is the perfect opportunity to grab some amazing photographs.

I know people always think that positioning your subject to face into the sun is correct, but honestly it is not the ideal position. They will have trouble opening their eyes and it will cause lots of squinting. So my suggestion is to backlight your subject. Just turn them so the sun is behind them and try and catch that pretty sunglow as it frames their hair.

I also recommend incorporating many people into your photo gallery such as your concierge, maybe your waiters at different restaurants, and new friends that you happen to meet! And please do not forget all the pretty details to photograph! Look around, you will find so much PRETTY!! Capture it all! (Beach chairs, umbrellas, drinks, sand and surf, fishermen and the list goes on!!)

Incorporate local color into your photos

Photo credit: Deborahann Photography

What To Wear For Some Pretty Photographs

If you all have been through an engagement session you probably already know how this works! My advice for my couples is to wear soft and neutral colors. It will create soft and dreamy pictures – I promise! Especially if you are on a tropical island and are doing beach photos, this is perfect! No matter where you are, just keep in mind not to wear any clashing patterns with each other.

Should You Hire A Professional Photographer On Your Honeymoon?

I think that is a totally individual decision. It’s a really cool idea, but I don’t really think it is necessary. There are always people around that are more than willing to grab hold of your camera and snap a few pictures for you.

I truly hope that you will incorporate beautiful fun memories as an important part of your special honeymoon! Enjoy every moment!!

Don’t forget to set up a Honeyfund honeymoon registry.

Bio: Deborahann is one of The Bride Worldwide’s most talented wedding photographers. For more wedding planning advice from Deborahann as well as our other talented wedding vendors visit our website at

BRIDES: Visit our website to reserve your complimentary copy of the Wedding Planning E-Book PLUS you will receive a mini vacation stay in Orlando, Las Vegas or Mexico on us.

To learn more about Deborahann Photography, visit:


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