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I am getting married in less than 100 days, or at least that’s what Wedding Wire tells me.  It’s enough to freak the bejeezus out of me.

Wedding Wire is my ‘go to’ wedding planning website when compared to The Knot.  Check out the head to head comparison between The Knot and Wedding Wire here.  When we started planning the wedding earlier this year, we sat down and talked about our values and what was important to us for our wedding.  We were both clear that we did not want to go over budget, and that this was a “MUST” for both of us.  We agreed that we would have to sacrifice some things here and there to achieve the goal of not going over budget.  The budget we set was $25,000, which is higher than the average back I think in 2011 or 2012 when I wrote the post How Much is that Wedding in the Window? but lower than the average cost of a wedding in 2015 according to Wedding Bells, which is a whopping $30,717.  I think $25,000 is generous already and ideally, my secret target was less than $20,000 but it looks like that won’t be happening for us.

We are having a destination wedding though it’s considered large for a destination wedding, with about 50 people in attendance.  We are not having a bridal party to keep things simple but have a few friends who will give speeches for us.  We do have a cute ring bearer and flower girl though.

Here’s a breakdown of the numbers so far.

Ceremony Costs- $885

This includes the officiant, the ceremony music (a musician), decorations for the aisle and the arch (flowers).  The ceremony venue is included in the cost of the reception venue as it is the same location.

Reception Costs- $10,500

It is around $9700 for the rental of the venue, the food and drinks (estimating about three drinks per person) and the gratuity and this includes refreshments and snacks during refreshment hour.  We are just serving wine, beer, and soft drinks instead of having a full bar, mainly because we would have to hire a bartender and this would be an additional cost.  We have been to many weddings where it was just wine and beer and soft drinks served and it was just fine.  Besides, trying to figure out a ‘signature cocktail’ would probably tip our wedding-decision-making-scale to the excess.

We added a Photo Booth later on because well, it seems like it’s a ‘must’ at a lot of weddings now, and we weren’t having any other entertainment so thought it would be a good idea.  I think I spent hours and hours to find ways to do a DIY Photo Booth courtesy of A Practical Wedding, but I realized that it would be much more work than I thought it was (first off, needed to find a tripod, an automatic shutter clicker thing-a-ma-bob, a background, and a photo printer).  I think that making it DIY would have probably been more than the actual cost of the photo booth, which is around $350 for two hours.

We also bought some table cloths for $125, which is actually about 50% more economical than renting it.  Of course, that would mean that the table cloths would need to be laundered, but it’s not a big deal for us.  Besides, we can try to sell it on Craigslist later on.

Renting a projector and a screen for the slide show will cost about $100.

For dinner music and dancing music, we opted to use an iTunes playlist instead of hiring a DJ.  We don’t have many people attending the wedding who like to dance (probably only my wild friends), and we personally don’t like to be the centre of attention.  There’s an app called The WeddingDJ which I am going to buy and try, and it divides your playlists up into different aspects of the wedding, for example, ceremony, dinner, and dancing and also adds in the transition between the songs so you don’t get that awkward silence between the songs.  It is $10.99 on the iTunes store.

Stationary- $100

We have already spent $45 on place cards and stickers for our favours.  We used Vistaprint.ca and it has been great to create a customized look for the wedding invitations.  For our Save the Dates, we opted out on sending save the dates and used Paperless Post, where you can send free ‘virtual’ stationary by email.  I guess it’s virtual, it looks like paper except it’s on your computer screen.  We did about half wedding invitations by paper and half by Paperless Post.  For the paper wedding invitations, most were hand delivered to save on postage and of course to give a more personalized touch.  We have about $50 allocated for the Thank You cards, which we will be printing out and mailing to people that have attended our wedding.

Wedding Favours- $300

Initially, I wanted to spend less than $100 on wedding favours.  However, given that it is a destination wedding and our friends and family are flying all the way to our destination to witness our marriage, it’s a better idea to show them our appreciation for how far they have come and the time they have taken off to spend with us.  It is a two part wedding favour with a package of coffee and home made lip balm or a box of treats.

Flowers and Decoration- $250

The flowers for the aisle and the wedding arch are already included in the ceremony venue.  The bridal bouquet, boutonnieres and corsages will be delivered to the venue.  Also tempted to save money here by doing silk flowers but ended up going with the real thing as I love the smell of flowers and we thought it would be nice to have real weight on the bouquet, rather than tossing a light bouquet of silk flowers.  For the centrepieces, we will be doing submerged flowers with floating candles with fresh flowers (that we will find ourselves).  My friend just got married and gave me her floating candles helping out at her wedding, which is great!

Photographer- $2200

We are not opting for a videographer (though many people have given unsolicited advice and say I should get a wedding videographer) but would like quality photos.

Rings and Honeymoon- $4700

We already did have our honeymoon earlier in the year in South East Asia, but since it is a destination wedding we will include this as our honeymoon part II.  Our rings were a total of $1250 with the majority going towards my ring which has small pave diamonds along half of the ring (it matched the engagement ring).  This also includes our flights and accommodation for the duration of our stay in our destination wedding location.

Bride and Groom and Flower Girl and Ring Bearer Attire and Accessories- $600

I bought my wedding dress online for $150 and alterations cost $150.  The veil is $20 and is also purchased online.  The groom will likely wear his own suit (though he hasn’t decided yet) and will wear a coloured tie.  We are budgeting $100 for flower girl and ring bearer attire.

Make Up and Hair- $340

This includes make up and hair for myself and make up for the mother of the groom and mother of the bride.  I have tried to do my own hair before and tried to do my own up-do but it was a disaster.

Post Nuptial Brunch- $1050

Finally, we are hosting a post nuptial brunch the next day for our guests to enjoy some delicious breakfast before every heads back home.

Readers, how was your wedding budget?  Was there any area in your wedding budget that you wished you spent less or more money on?

Article comments

Cheryl says:

@Young – Oh you guys will probably be fine! We opt’d for an open bar because it was $35/per person for 4 hours and included everything up to top shelf, just not premium liquors (ie, 40 yr old scotch @ $110/oz) or it was $9 a drink. You guys will probably be fine with offering beer and wine.

Oh! We will be in Hawaii around the same time as you, we fly in to Hawaii in 106 days!

The shuttles was a huge logistical nightmare, and our guests were over an hour late for our ceremony because they didn’t send a shuttle large enough for our guests. I said I didn’t need room for golf clubs, so they assumed we weren’t shuttling the amount of people I put down and sent a shuttle that held 5 people less then I booked for. They refused to leave because it was unsafe and told my guests it was my fault because I lied about the number of guests. Such a nightmare! It was the worst part of the wedding for sure!

Cheryl says:

Your budget looks good.

We blew out budget out of the water. We budgeted $20k for our DW in Vegas and our final number came in at 41k that included everything but our honeymoon.

The biggest thing I would’ve changed was keeping it on the strip, it would’ve saved us $2500 in shuttle costs and probably would have been cheaper if I would’ve settled on something less luxurious, which hubby was pushing for as well.

Might I ask where you are getting married or did I miss it in another post?

Young says:

@Cheryl- I’m worried our budget might go over too, but we have about $4000 before we hit our max budget. The potential it can exceed is from our guests drinking alcohol haha. We are getting married in Hawaii! 🙂 Geez $2500 for shuttle costs, that sounds like a logistic nightmare too!