Wedding Budget

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

What’s the first step brides should take when planning their wedding?  Hint: it’s not hopping on Pinterest!  The first and most important step is establishing a realistic guest count and budget!  Sarah Chancey, Founder and Creative Mentor behind Chancey Charm is sharing just how to do that in the below video.  She is also covering why your guest count determines how far your budget can be stretched and how keeping your guest count smaller helps the wedding planning experience.

Steps In Planning Your Wedding

Get A Handle On Your Guest List And Budget

Wedding guests

When the first step in your wedding planning journey is setting a realistic guest count and budget, you are able to start the planning process on the right foot as you know just how much you have to work with when you begin approaching venues and vendors.  Below, you will find the average cost of a wedding in America, along with the average prices for vendor services.  Please note, these costs are based on a guest count of about 100 guests and a budget of about $30,000, which may be above or below what you have to spend.

How Should Your Budget Break Down?

If your wedding doesn’t fall in this sample price range, planning your budget from the perspective of percentages (see below) is a better fit.  This will also be helpful in planning accordingly to make room for your “non-negotiables” or elements of the wedding you are willing to splurge on.  Having your heart set on a particular venue or vendor may mean you have to adjust your budget.  If you notice the cost of your dream photographer is over the allocated amount you have to spend in that area, for example, then it will be imperative to find ways to cut back in other areas you may not be as passionate about.

Wedding budget 47601089_s


  • $1,000   Invitations and Paper Goods
  • $1,000   Transportation
  • $1,000   Ceremony Site
  • $750       Ceremony Music
  • $2,500   Flowers and Décor
  • $2,000   Gown
  • $2,500   Reception Venue
  • $750       Cake
  • $8,000   Catering
  • $2,500   Reception Music – Live Band or DJ
  • $3,000   Photographer
  • $1,500    Videographer
  • $3,000   Planner
  • $500      Miscellaneous (Favors, Welcome Baskets, etc.)

Total Costs: $30,000


  • 5%         Invitations and Paper Goods
  • 5%         Transportation
  • 5%         Ceremony
  • 5%         Ceremony Music
  • 5%         Flowers and Décor
  • 0%         Gown
  • 5%         Reception Venue
  • 5%         Cake
  • 27%       Catering
  • 5%         Reception Music – Live Band or DJ
  • 10%       Photographer
  • 0%         Videographer
  • 10%       Planner
  • 0%         Miscellaneous (Favors, Welcome Baskets, etc.)

Wedding collage

For more wedding planning tips, visit Chancey Charm’s blog and free wedding planning video series!

Looking for a way to help finance your wedding trip? Consider setting up a honeymoon registry as part of your bridal registry.

Sarah Chancey started the Chancey Charm journey five years ago with a clear vision and a strong desire to build a business she loved. Her business has since grown into a national brand, with planners spanning nine cities and counting. A huge component of her success is her unmatched knack for design. Her use of custom sketches and design boards in the luxury wedding planning process is something that developed naturally and helped her find her niche in the industry. Throughout the years, Sarah’s designs have been featured in several top-tier publications, including Martha Stewart Weddings, BRIDES, The Knot, Style Me Pretty, Once Wed, Southern Weddings, Bridal Guide and Weddings Unveiled, along with countless others.

For more information about planning a wedding, visit the website of Chancey Charm  for great ideas.

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

Putting a price on your wedding can be very challenging as you want the best of the best for the least amount possible. Here are our top tips for budgeting your dream wedding!

Tips for Budgeting Your Dream Wedding

Wedding Budget

Always over-budget

The first rule of budgeting for pretty much anything in life, but particularly with weddings, is to over-budget. What is your worst case scenario? What figure will make you recoil in horror when you add up the final numbers? Over-budgeting will allow you some wiggle room as some aspects of your wedding may be slightly more expensive than anticipated. It is also advisable to have a back-up fund saved for real emergencies so you’re prepared for any unexpected expenses along the way. Some couples use a honeymoon registry that can provide some funds, but in spirit of “not counting your chickens before they hatch,” you can’t rely on what you might get.

Work out who is contributing

Nowadays it is common for couples to fund their weddings on their own, however, you’d be surprised at how generous friends and family can be! Your parents may not foot the entire bill, but they may be willing to pay for specific things like the photo booth, band, or cake. On the other hand, perhaps your relatives are willing to foot the entire bill between them! Be careful how you phrase things, but ask your close family if they’d be willing to contribute to your big day, and you may be surprised with the results. Of course, if you are set on paying it all yourself, then more power to you!

Wedding planner in elegant venue

Prioritise each area

Though you want your wedding to be perfect in every way, it is likely that some things will matter to you a little more than others. Prioritising the important things will save you hundreds in the grand scheme of things. Let’s say you write things out in order of importance and it looks something like this:

Food > Hair and Makeup > Band > Cake > Flowers > Dresses > Suits > DJ > Stationery > Favours

You may want to go for the best of the best for food and save on your favours. Of course, this is a rough guide, but it will help you work out where you want to allocate more funds.

Enlist the help of friends and family

We can recount plenty of weddings where the Great Aunt is a master baker and offered to make the cake, or the Uncle is a graphic designer who produced amazing wedding stationery. Talented people are all around us and can save you so much money! Many will offer to help you for free or for a fraction of the price of industry professionals. Proceed with caution though; make sure you have seen a portfolio of your friend or relative’s work before hiring them, as you don’t want any rifts before the wedding!

Wedding reception

Haggle where appropriate

Haggling is a skill, and part of that skill is knowing when NOT to do it! For flat-rate suppliers like photographers, stationers and cake designers, we wouldn’t suggest negotiating with unless they offer. You may get a good deal on hair and makeup if you employ artists to style over three people. Individual favours in bulk like macarons, cake pops, mini bottles, and flip flops can also be found at a great price the more you order. There are some deals to be had but proceed with caution.

 Learn when to save and when to splurge

Tip 3, prioritising, will help guide your personal save and splurge meter. However, it’s useful to know where you can get high quality for much less and where you should invest for a bit more. We at Better Together Weddings always recommend you go higher end for photography and videography. This is because a great photographer will produce work that lets you relive the day over and over again. That’s priceless! On the other hand, you can save on wedding cakes as you can buy ready-made sponge tiers to stack and dress yourself for as little as £80 in total. Get savvy!

Wedding in marquee venue

Do some research

So often, couples have a very fixed idea of what they think things cost and are shocked by the reality. A prime example: tents or marquees are not cheap! For some reason, marquees and tipis are framed as an inexpensive option as opposed to traditional wedding venues. Perhaps this is because, at their core, they are just giant tents! When you take into account all of the extras needed for tipi/marquee weddings (i.e power generators, luxury portable loos, heating, lighting, furniture, etc), you’ll find that tipi/marquee weddings are about the same price as traditional venues. Do your research and you’ll have a much clearer idea of what things really cost.

Put Pinterest into perspective

We at Better Together Weddings love Pinterest! It really helps you visualise and collate your ideas. Suppliers also find it incredibly useful to have your vision in one easily accessible moodboard. That said, Pinterest is also guilty of displaying some of the most beautiful and expensive weddings in the world. It doesn’t tell you that the 15 tier wedding cake you saved is £15k. There’s no note to tell you that the 20 ft wall of white flowers is £100k. Your wedding can still be beautiful, but let your suppliers help guide you on how far your money will go.Putting a price on your wedding can be very challenging as you want the best of the best for the least amount possible. Here are our top tips for budgeting your wedding!

Do It Yourself

There is truth in saying that DIY can work out far cheaper for you, particularly in areas like stationery and favours. Every bridal magazine has great ideas for what you can make yourself with relatively cheap materials. What DIY does spend is time. So. Much. Time. Set aside part of your schedule every week to get stuff done, but if it is too overwhelming, stick to professionals.

Wedding planner

Hire a wedding planner

Shameless plug? Maybe a little, but it is true! Even though wedding planners are considered an extra expense, we actually make the management of your budget a lot easier. Not only can we help you allocate a percentage of funds to each section appropriately, but we can monitor your spend so that you don’t go over budget. We are also connected to some amazing suppliers we work with on a regular basis which means we can haggle the best price for you.

Better Together Weddings is a professional wedding planning service based in the North West. Headed by Debbie Rainford, we have won The Wedding Industry Awards Best Wedding Planner in the North West title two years running. Debbie is an expert at creating a bespoke, luxury wedding that is personal to you as well as wowing your guests. For a tailor-made service, do not hesitate to contact us! Check out our website at

Cover photo: Copyright Better Together Weddings – Chantal and Aaron – Will Hey Photogra

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