Wedding Budget Breakdown: How To Plan Your Costs

A wedding is more than just the cake or wedding dress. Instead, dozens of tiny elements work together to form an elegant event. Creating a wedding budget breakdown helps you plan each piece to ensure you give every aspect the investment needed to match your ideal dream wedding.

Learn what to consider for your costs and how to break down costs for a wedding.

Key Takeaways:

  • The average wedding budget in 2022 is $27,000.
  • Create a list of priorities and research vendors in your area before starting your budget breakdown.
  • Invest enough in each element to ensure the event is fun and memorable for everyone involved.

How to Set a Wedding Budget

Your wedding budget is an investment in memories and worth every penny you spend. Each piece of your wedding adds to that beautiful celebration of the next chapter in your life. Use these guidelines to determine the budget you have to work with.

How Much Do You Have?

Start with looking at what you have in savings and what family or friends are contributing to the wedding. You can use savings, part of your income, and gifts. Generally, >parents pay about 52% of wedding costs, and couples are responsible for 47%. Then friends and family gift around 1% of the costs.

However, this cost breakdown is changing as parents pay for more of the wedding than parents did several years ago. Good news for you, as your parents might be willing to help out more to ensure you get that wedding of your dreams.

What Do You Want?

You probably already have a Pinterest board of ideas or a list of must-haves. Time to break out that list and prioritize what’s most important.

Is your dream to have a destination wedding? Then put that at the top of the list. However, if your goal is to include all family and friends with a 100+ guest list, you should prioritize the guest list when setting your budget.

Research Prices in Your Area

Wedding expenses shift drastically depending on where you are and where the wedding will be. While online wedding budgets will give an estimate, you’ll want to look at the cost average in your specific area. For example, New York City weddings can easily cost $77,000, while a wedding in Montana only reaches $21,000. Destination weddings need some of the largest budgets but can also be the most exciting and exotic.

Set a Maximum Budget

Once you know what you have to spend and how much most essentials cost, you can choose a maximum budget to shoot for. For a general idea, the average wedding in 2022 costs $27,000.

Establish Your Guest Count

Now that you have a set budget, you can estimate how many guests you can invite within that budget. Small weddings typically have a guest count of under 50 people. Medium-sized weddings have a guest count of between 50 and 150 guests. Meanwhile, large weddings have a list of over 150 attendees.

Break Down Other Costs

You have your guest count and budget. Your next step is to break down that budget between all the essential items to ensure all your elegant wedding elements receive the attention and budget they deserve.

A Complete Wedding Budget Breakdown

Here’s a breakdown of all the essential costs of the wedding to help you create a good wedding budget that matches the importance of your big day.

1. Location and Transportation

Average cost: $11,600 starting

The wedding and reception venues are the frameworks for your wedding day. Do you want a traditional church wedding, or is it your dream to walk down an outdoor aisle surrounded by fresh spring flowers? Each venue will have a very different cost. Destination weddings will cost the most, averaging around $35,000.

On average, the venue and catering will be 40% of your budget.

In addition to renting a spot for your wedding, you want to plan comfortable yet classy transportation to get your wedding party to the event and then whisk you and your partner away after the reception. The cost of transport ranges from around $900.

2. Attire

Average cost: $3,300 starting

A luxury wedding dress costs between $2,000 and $4,000 from a designer boutique. Alterations cost an additional $300 to $800 to ensure your gown complements you perfectly.

Hair and makeup cost between $150 and $600, depending on the style and intricacy of your style.

3. Vendors

Average cost: $7,600 starting

Your vendors help your wedding event run without a glitch. Here are a few essential vendors you’ll want to have to help you with your wedding:

  • Officiant
  • Wedding planner
  • Florist
  • Photographer
  • Videographer

4. Food

Average cost: $4,350

Food costs will vary drastically between couples because the price depends on the number of guests you invite. The average couple ended up spending $4,000 on catering. This cost breaks down to $40 per person for wedding catering or $27 per person for buffet-style food.

One of the most important food costs is your wedding cake. This delicious work of art will be the center of many photographs. In the US, the average wedding cake costs $350, with some couples spending over $1,000 on their cakes.

5. Entertainment

Average cost: Starting at $1,200

When you hear “Canon in D,” you instantly picture a bride floating down the aisle. A slow rendition of “At Last” might bring that memorable first dance to mind. What songs do you want to define your wedding?

Carefully select a band for the wedding and a DJ for the reception to set the atmosphere of your wedding. The >average wedding DJ costs $1,200. Meanwhile, a >live bandwill cost $4,500 on average.

In addition to music, you might hire a painter, rent a photo booth, or even a magician to keep the reception lively.

6. Stationery

Average cost: $2,160

Elegant wedding stationery is another element that depends on the number of guests. Generally, wedding stationery is 8% of your total budget. So, the average $27,000 wedding would have a $2,160 stationery budget. This budget would be higher for destination weddings that require more inserts with activities and information and may be lower for small weddings with a few close friends and family.

Wedding stationery is more than just traditional wedding invitations, though invitations require most of your stationery budget. The total stationery cost breakdown includes:

7. Other Items

Average cost: $241 for party favors and $300+ for extras along the way

You’ll need to plan for dozens of small items, plus costs that will pop up along the way. So, keep some money on the side to cover these costs. Some expenses you can expect are party favors, a wedding license, and décor.

Plan to spend $241 for party favors, plus any extra you want for splurging on fun small touches you wish to add along the way. By reserving a miscellaneous fund, you can pick up that stunning centerpiece you saw online or switch up table linens without worrying about going over your budget.

Create an Event to Remember

Your budget helps you plan for all the essential elements of your big day to create a memorable event you’ll enjoy reliving through images, videos, and stories. Shine Wedding Invitations can help you design that day with elegant wedding stationery that accents your décor and brings attention to your event’s most important details.

Explore our luxury wedding invitations to find a look that reflects the elegant theme of your wedding.