Bridal Consulting Specializing in the San Francisco Bay Area

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Wedding Budget Basics

Breakdown of a typical wedding budget

This is a wedding planning budget and does not include honeymoon, rings, or gifts for the bridal party. The figures below are the average suggested amount to spend on each category determined by the industry. These numbers are approximations so you can allocate more money to one area at the expense of another area of spending.
Budget chart
Reception 45%
Including reception site, rentals, food, alcohol, cake
Ceremony 3%
Including ceremony city and officiant
Wedding planner 10%
Flowers 8%
Photography and Videography 12%
Attire 10%
Including clothing, accessories, hair, and makeup
Invitations and Stationary 3%
DJ or Band 7%
Transportation and Accommodations 2%
Total Budget 100%

How to maximize your wedding budget

Major money saving tips

The wedding reception accounts for approximately 45% or more of the wedding budget and is in general the single most expensive component. Reducing this cost can have the most financial impact on reducing your wedding budget.

Consider the following ways to reduce reception site cost:
  1. Avoid Wedding High Season (typically June through mid Oct, Valentine’s and Winter Holidays.)
  2. Avoid holding your reception on a Saturday. Consider a Sunday wedding instead. Friday night weddings are also becoming very popular.
  3. Avoid dinner-time peak rates. Consider a late lunch or even a brunch.
  4. Avoid major cities. Venues in densely-populated areas tend to have high rates due to increased demand for a limited supply.
  5. Avoid popular venues that might not have an incentive to work with your budget
  6. If your wedding size is small, opt for a small venue or one that has a small room for rent. Apart from dwarfing your small wedding, a large ballroom will have a high rental fee or a steep catering minimum regardless of your guest count. Remember, they could book the ballroom with a larger wedding and make more money.
  7. Hold it at a unique location. Consider a museum, a small theatre, a botanical garden, etc… instead of the more traditional and typically more expensive choice of a restaurant or hotel.