Planning for the Cost of Your Dream Wedding

Paying for Wedding

Your wedding is going to be one of the best days of your life and the months of planning leading up to the event will be filled with excitement and anticipation. However, your wedding can also be expensive. The average nuptials cost around $30,000 for couples in 2023. Prices vary based on location, season, and personal choices like wedding size. Couples will also spend more if they take a honeymoon vacation after the event. 

Before you start meeting with caterers or trying on dresses, estimate the costs of your wedding. Here are a few common elements of weddings and their estimated price ranges to help you set a reasonable budget. 

The Major Costs of a Wedding

Planning a wedding is difficult because there are so many moving pieces. You might discover unexpected costs when you want to add extra decorations or give special gifts to your wedding party. This is why it is so important to plan your largest expenses ahead of time. This can help you stay within budget when other costs occur.

Here are a few of the most common expenses associated with weddings and their average costs. 

Venue

The venue is one of the biggest costs you will take on for your wedding. The average couple spends $12,800 on their wedding venue, but the actual cost can be higher or lower depending on your event. The more people you want to invite, the larger the venue you will need, and the more you will spend on average.

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Fortunately, there are ways to save money on your venue. Shop around to different locations to get a price range. Consider having your wedding on a less popular day, like a weekday, when the venue is likely to offer a discount. You can also get married outside of peak seasons, when venues may be available for cheaper. You might still be able to book your dream venue without blowing out your budget. 

Catering

There are two ways to look at wedding catering costs: as an overall budget line item or on a price-per-person level. On average, couples spend $4,000 on catering for their weddings. These costs include food, hors d’oeuvres, desserts, and alcohol. 

When meeting with caterers, decide whether you want a plated meal for your wedding or a buffet setup. Buffets are significantly cheaper and average $27 per person, while plated meals average $40 per person. Bar service at weddings usually costs around $15 per person.  

Along with saving money by opting for a buffet, you can also consider having your wedding at a different time besides dinner. Some caterers might offer a discount if you do a breakfast or brunch wedding. Your guests might also drink less during these early morning hours. 

Wedding Cakes

Wedding cakes are also an essential part of any reception for most couples. They often have a different line item that stands apart from the catering and dessert budgets. The average wedding cake costs around $540, but you could pay more if you have a large wedding and want a cake that is large enough to feed all of your guests. Wedding cake costs can also increase if you buy a groom’s cake that is separate from your own. 

You can save money on the cake by purchasing a small one just for you and your partner while providing other desserts for your guests. 

Attire

The dress is one of the most important aspects of the wedding. Most brides spend between $1,800 and $2,400 on their wedding dress. Additional attire costs include the groom’s suit or tuxedo, which costs $100 to $199 to rent on average, and any dresses or suits worn by the bridesmaids or groomsmen if you decide to pay for them. 

You can cut back on your attire by asking your bridesmaids and groomsmen to cover their attire costs. Some members of your bridal party might not have the finances to afford this, so be careful when pushing this expense onto them. 

Brides can also save money on their dresses by looking into resale websites and swap groups on Facebook. Your dream dress might be cheaper than you think. 

Photography and Videography

On average, hiring a wedding photographer will usually cost a couple around $2,000 for wedding photography and $2,300 for videography. Opting for just a wedding photographer, but skipping on professional video, is a way to save money on your wedding. 

You’ll also be able to choose from a variety of photo packages before your wedding. Prices will vary based on the package size and how long the photographer is at your venue. Opting for a shorter photoshoot time can save you money but you also don’t want to limit the number of photos you have of your big day. 

Flowers and Decor

Couples spend around $2,200 on flowers for their weddings, which accounts for up to 10% of the total wedding cost. Other decorations can also drive up your overall costs but are essential for adding ambiance to the venue. 

Turn to local bridal buy and sell groups to find affordable decorations from couples who’ve already had their big day. You can also choose seasonal flowers from local florists who might offer better deals. This is a great way to support local businesses while also potentially saving money. 

Additional Wedding Expenses To Consider

While the venue, catering, and attire are some of the biggest expenses associated with weddings, smaller costs can add up. Keep these expenses in mind when you’re setting a budget so they don’t cause you to spend more than you expect. Here are a few additional expenses to factor in. 

Music and Entertainment

DJs cost around $1,700 for a wedding, but some couples spend up to $4,500 on music and entertainment. If you don’t want to spend a lot of money, designate one of your friends or family members as the official DJ. You can create a wedding playlist and hook it up to the venue’s sound system. Your honorary official wedding DJ can cycle through a variety of songs on the list throughout the night. 

Invitations and Stationery

Couples spend $530 on average for wedding invitations, save the dates, and other stationery. While formal wedding invitations are beautiful reminders of your big day, you can save money by opting for digital invites. Some couples send digital save the dates that link to their wedding website and then send paper invitations later on. This allows for a happy compromise while helping the couple save money. 

Wedding Rings

Most couples spend around $5,500 on the engagement ring; however, this is only one part of the total ring purchase. You will also need to set aside money for the wedding rings. 

Some couples feel like the expense is worth it because the rings last forever. While the wedding is only one day, you will have the rings to remember your nuptials for the rest of your life. 

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Simply enter a symbol and the number of shares you own, and you’ll see a potential loan amount that we can fund quickly.

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Tips for Budgeting and Saving for Your Wedding

You don’t need a large budget to create the wedding of your dreams. Look at your finances and decide how much you are willing to pay for the wedding before you ever start shopping for dresses or visiting venues. You and your future spouse should have a clear goal of what you want to spend and stick to that amount. 

Look into wedding budgeting apps or create a spreadsheet to keep up with your budget. Start saving money as soon as you get engaged or begin discussing marriage. During the planning period, you might want to cut back on other expenses so you can put more money toward paying off your wedding. Now is a great time to cancel unwanted subscriptions or commit to eating out less often. 

One option to pay for your wedding is to apply for a stock loan. These are loans based on the shares you own of publicly traded companies. The stocks work as collateral securing the loan. Applying for a loan through this channel could give you the money you need to pay your wedding vendors and cover other expenses. Use the stock loan calculator to see if you qualify for a loan today.

With the right planning, your wedding day can be unforgettable. Consider all of the expenses ahead of time so you aren’t surprised by the costs once they start to accrue.


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