So, you're planning a wedding.....YAY!!! This is one of the most exciting time's in someone's life. From the moment you get engaged, there is instantly something to talk wedding about. I found myself constantly answering the same questions... “What's the date?” “Where will it be?” Some stay engaged for a longer period of time, while others (like me) have everything booked within two months! No matter how you plan, there is one thing that drives the entire wedding planning process, the big word that many do not like to talk about... money.
In 2017, the average wedding cost in the United States was $25,576. Couples, on average, spend between $19,182 and $31,970 but, most couples spend less than $10,000.
One of the first things a newly engaged couple should do is sit down and discuss their budget for their wedding. Let's face it, weddings are expensive! Don't just start going to look at venues then realizing there is no way you can afford them. That will make you dislike wedding planning rather quickly. Another thing to discuss is the guest list count. This will determine how big or small your budget will need to be.
Living in Illinois, we know that Downtown Chicago is an option for some. However, we also need to remember that a Downtown Chicago wedding comes with a BIG price tag! Not only is a Downtown venue much more expensive (let's face it, you're paying to be Downtown!), your vendors can come with a higher price tag as well. The setting can be a big cost factor.
Here's a basic breakdown of what you can expect to pay:
Reception: 48-50 percent
Ceremony: 2-3 percent
Attire: 8-10 percent
Flowers: 8-10 percent
Entertainment/Music: 8-10 percent
Photography/Videography: 10-12 percent
Stationery: 2-3 percent
Wedding Rings: 2-3 percent
Parking/Transportation: 2-3 percent
Gifts: 2-3 percent
Miscellaneous: 8 percent
After determining your budget, the key is to stay on budget! There are many ways to budget for your wedding: an excel spreadsheet, a separate bank account, The Knot Wedding Budget Calculator, or the Wedding Wire Budget Planner. Another thing to think about are the hidden costs and extras. This can include overtime costs, tips, service fees, trials (remember, these may not always be free!), and gratuities. Keep these things in mind when writing out your budget. Other ways to stay on budget is to print your own invitations, go simple on your decor, and use in-season flowers.
In the end, wedding planning should be fun and not put you in debt for the next five years. No matter how big or small your wedding is, the only thing that matters are the people that are there to love and support you on your big day!