Unfortunately, not all of us can afford to have a lavish $50,000 to $100,000 wedding (nor should we, because that’s a sizable down payment in Vancouver and the cost of an entire home in many parts of the United States).  According to The Knot (perhaps not the best source of credible wedding advice since The Knot seems to condone lavish weddings), the average cost of weddings is now over $28,000.

One of my closest friends is getting married in 2014 and I have had the opportunity to be somewhat front and centre in terms of her decision making for her upcoming wedding.  It has been a great opportunity to see how the wedding budget can actually be adhered to, and how there can be compromise or sacrifices in terms of what to spend money on with a finite budget.  I am sure that the owners of this blog will have some great input as well in terms of where they are spending their wedding budget 😉 (A heartfelt congratulations, guys!).

Here are the usual “necessities” for a wedding:

  • Where to Spend Most of the Wedding Budget?
  • Suits/ Tux
  • Rings
  • Venue
  • Flowers
  • Photography
  • Make up and Hair
  • Bridesmaid & Groomsmen attire
  • Cake
  • Food/ Catering
  • Drinks
  • Decorations
  • Band/ Live Music/ Music
  • Wedding favours

My friend has been trying to stick to a smallish budget for a wedding of around 100.  I’m not sure how much the total budget is, but I have had the opportunity to go wedding dress shopping and help with decision making for make-up.  She was thinking about saving $200 to $300 on hair and makeup by going with a less experience make up artist and stylist.  Looking at the portfolios of the make up artists, I could definitely see a difference between more experience and less experience.  It made me think about what I would focus my money/ budget on if I were to get married (uh….one day hahaha).

Related: The Cost of Weddings – Yours and Everyone Else’s!

Personally, I would spend the wedding budget on high quality:

  • Photography (I’ve seen some amazing wedding videos and some fantastic wedding photography- this is something that you will have memories of for years to come so I think it makes sense to splurge on this)
  • Drinks (I would do an open bar or close to an open bar, let’s face it, people have fun when they are drunk- but of course, safe drunk!!)
  • Food (I think that good food is a must.  I heard of someone who served hot dogs at their wedding, and although this is cute, it might feel tacky for guests)
  • Cake (I have a favourite cake that I have been enjoying for years and it would be fantastic to make it into a wedding cake one day)
  • Makeup and Hair (again, it goes back to the idea that photographs last for years and good make up and hair can make a great photograph!)
  • Venue (Although it doesn’t have to be a fancy schmancy place, this inadvertently becomes the area where most of the wedding budget goes to)

Related: How Much is That Wedding In the Window?

I would try and save money on:

  • The wedding dress (Instead of spending $1200 to $2000 on a wedding gown that will be kept in a box) I would try and go for the custom made mail-order dresses online.  They will only set you back around $350 tops and some of them look amazing.
  • Decorations (can people really tell nowadays whether something is from the dollar store or not?)
  • Flowers (flowers are expensive… perhaps there is no way to save money on flowers I guess.  One could try and opt for less expensive flowers, such as succulents for a winter wedding)

According to an article by Petapixel, Brides most often regret not spending more money on photography.  Ironically, brides most often regret not spending more money on flowers, and at the same time, many brides regret spending so much on flowers.  Guess it depends on the person!

Related: Destination Wedding vs Traditional At Home Wedding: Which One is Cheaper?

Check out the chart below from Petapixel for a breakdown of wishes and regrets when it comes to wedding budget spending:

It makes sense to try and save as much money as you can, because it is one day.  However, it is one day for the rest of your lives together!  Definitely a cause for celebration I suppose


Readers, what would or did you spend your wedding budget on?  Any regrets?


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