How To Plan a Wedding on a Budget + Wedding Budget Calculator: Wedding planning is a great and exciting time for engaged couples, but it can also be stressful when attempting to keep within a budget. Whether you choose an extravagant ceremony with a large number of guests or a smaller wedding with an intimate ambience, costs such as your location, catering, wedding apparel, and entertainment can quickly mount up. With the typical wedding costing $23,517 in 2022, it’s critical to walk down the aisle without going into debt.

Use our free wedding budget calculator to calculate your spending and determine if your dream wedding is inside or outside of your budget. You may even alter the costs of each category to see where you can save the most money on your wedding day.

Finally, we’ve included some suggestions for how to arrange a wedding on a budget. After all, you should only be concerned with tying the knot, not the price tags that come with it!

wedding drinks

Wedding Budget Calculator

From the dress to the venue, easily budget for every detail in your wedding.


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Average Wedding Costs Per State in 2022

The cost of a wedding varies greatly across the country. Getting married in a popular urban region with a bigger population usually equals higher wedding expenditures, however getting married in an area with a lower cost of living and fewer people can be less expensive. Also, keep in mind that transporting goods and services to your location may be more expensive in rural places. With our state breakdown below, you can find out the average cost of a wedding in your area.

Average Cost of a Wedding by State
Alabama $25,500
Alaska $24,037
Arkansas $21,800
Arizona $29,400
California $39,000
Colorado $30,000
Connecticut $41,000
Delaware $34,900
DC $40,600
Florida $30,600
Georgia $30,900
Hawaii $32,900
Idaho $19,800
Illinois $39,700
Indiana $22,800
Iowa $22,600
Kansas $22,400
Kentucky $23,900
Louisiana $33,900
Maine $33,500
Maryland $33,800
Massachusetts $43,600
Michigan $29,700
Minnesota $28,800
Mississippi $23,800
Missouri $26,600
Montana $23,000
Nebraska $23,300
Nevada $22,500
New Hampshire $32,100
New Jersey $53,400
New Mexico $25,600
New York $48,600
North Carolina $29,500
North Dakota $29,200
Ohio $29,300
Oklahoma $21,200
Oregon $22,400
Pennsylvania $35,900
Rhode Island $49,800
South Carolina $30,600
South Dakota $29,200
Tennessee $26,900
Texas $30,200
Utah $19,700
Vermont $38,300
Virginia $33,300
Washington $25,600
West Virginia $26,500
Wisconsin $27,800
Wyoming $19,800
Average Cost of a Wedding by State
Alabama $25,500 Montana $23,000
Alaska $24,037 Nebraska $23,300
Arkansas $21,800 Nevada $22,500
Arizona $29,400 New Hampshire $32,100
California $39,000 New Jersey $53,400
Colorado $30,000 New Mexico $25,600
Connecticut $41,000 New York $48,600
Delaware $34,900 North Carolina $29,500
DC $40,600 North Dakota $29,200
Florida $30,600 Ohio $29,300
Georgia $30,900 Oklahoma $21,200
Hawaii $32,900 Oregon $22,400
Idaho $19,800 Pennsylvania $35,900
Illinois $39,700 Rhode Island $49,800
Indiana $22,800 South Carolina $30,600
Iowa $22,600 South Dakota $29,200
Kansas $22,400 Tennessee $26,900
Kentucky $23,900 Texas $30,200
Louisiana $33,900 Utah $19,700
Maine $33,500 Vermont $38,300
Maryland $33,800 Virginia $33,300
Massachusetts $43,600 Washington $25,600
Michigan $29,700 West Virginia $26,500
Minnesota $28,800 Wisconsin $27,800
Mississippi $23,800 Wyoming $19,800
Missouri $26,600

A graphic lists what are most and least expensive states for a wedding in the U.S, to help when using the wedding budget calculator.

Wedding Budget Breakdown

For most couples, many wedding decisions will be made based on their budget, so it’s important to break down every potential cost and plan your finances accordingly. To make this part of the budgeting process a breeze, we’ve compiled a wedding budget breakdown based on average costs of wedding goods and services from Maroo, WeddingWire, The Knot, The Wedding Report, and Zola.

Average pre-wedding costs: 30% of your wedding budget

The preparation for your wedding can really define your big day. Make sure to start saving early so that you have the funds to splurge on things like your dream dress and suit, wedding rings, and planner. Check out these average estimates for common expenses couples have before the wedding:

  • Dress (including alterations): $1,631
  • Suit (including alterations): $450
  • Rings:
    • Engagement ring: $5,900
    • Her wedding band: $1,417
    • His wedding band: $558
  • Paper + postage: $430
  • Photography (engagement photos): $375
  • Wedding planner: $1,500

Average day-of wedding costs: 60% of your wedding budget

Most of your budget will be spent on services for your ceremony and reception. The biggest expenses like your venue and catering will eat up a sizable portion of your budget and generally depends on how many guests you’ll have. See the list below for all the expenses that make up your wedding day — and don’t forget about those gratuities!

  • Venue: $9,861
    • Reception venue: $9,261
    • Ceremony venue: $600
  • Catering (meal, sweets, etc.): $4,000
    • Cost per plate: $40
    • Cost of buffet (per person): $27
  • Bar/liquor: $2,300
  • Wedding cake: $500
  • Florals: $2,000
  • Entertainment:
    • Live band: $4,500
    • DJ: $1,000
  • Officiant: $300
  • Photography: $2,500
  • Videography: $1,799
  • Rentals (decor, tableware, lighting, etc.): $1,000
  • Transportation: $750
  • Paper (programs, placeholders, etc.): $130
  • Hair and makeup: $300
  • Wedding gifts and favors: $400
  • Gratuities: $1,200
    • Caterer: 15%-20% of expense
    • DJ: 10%-15% of expense
    • Photographer: 5%-10% of expense
    • Band: 2%-5% of expense
    • Videographer: 6%-10% of expense
    • Officiant: 15%-30% of expense
    • Driver: 15%-20% of expense

Average post-wedding costs: 10% of your wedding budget

It’s important to factor your honeymoon and other expenses from after your wedding into your budget. This can help prevent any sticker shock after the fact and keep you and your new spouse living in wedded bliss. It’s also good to budget for unexpected costs that may arise from your reception.

  • Honeymoon: $4,466
  • Photography (printed photos, albums, etc.): $150-$350
  • Paper (thank-yous): $150
  • How to Plan a Wedding on a Budget: 10 Tips to Save On Your Big Day

Planning a wedding on a budget is no easy feat, but it can be done without sacrificing your entire wish list. Follow these tips for ideas on how to stretch the budget for your upcoming nuptials.

1. Pick Your Priorities

When it comes to your big day, it’s important to focus on what will make you and your future spouse happy. Each of you should pick a few non-negotiables that are essential to a meaningful wedding day and ensure that those are prioritized in your budget. For example, the wedding dress and a live band might be important for you, while the food and the videographer might be more important to your other half.

Make sure to be realistic about how much of the budget you allocate to your top picks, but remember that you can compromise on other things that aren’t as important to create wiggle room in your budget. It’s also good to discuss your priorities at the beginning of planning — that way, you can avoid any disagreements later on and try to be flexible when making financial decisions for your wedding.

wedding table

2. Shoot for a Small Guest List

One of the most impactful ways to save money on your wedding is to have a small guest list. The number of guests influences the cost of things like your venue, catering, rentals, and transportation. And when you have a big guest list, your wedding bills can skyrocket. For example, the average catering expense for a 50-person wedding is about $2,000, but that cost doubles when you expand the guest list to 100 people.

Talk with your fiancé about who you’re inviting and try to set a reasonable limit on your guest list. If you’re having trouble coming up with a good number, list out all your desired guests and create a few hard rules to trim the headcount.

Here are examples of some rules to use:

  • No plus-ones allowed
  • Only close relatives receive an invite
  • Both can only invite 10 of your closest friends

Although it may be difficult to set rules for the guest list, it’s a fair way to efficiently cut down on your party without having to choose between individuals. If your guest list is untouchable, think about forgoing a bridal party to cut down on the costs of wedding favours, florals, and other services that come along with having bridesmaids and groomsmen.

3. Hold Your Reception or Ceremony at Home

Most couples end up spending anywhere from $3,000 to $11,000 on their wedding venue alone. But did you realize you can celebrate at home for free? If you have enough space in your own home or yard, you can save thousands by hosting your wedding somewhere that is already near and dear to your heart.

You can also ask parents or friends if they’re willing to let you use their home or outdoor space for your nuptials if you don’t have your own space. Whether you use your own or someone else’s home, you’ll save a lot of money on your wedding and be able to easily visit your venue for a trip down memory lane later.

4. DIY With Friends and Family

The cost of professional wedding goods and services like fancy invitations, live music, or a wedding cake all really add up. Consider tackling some of these yourself to stay within your budget. Instead of having a stationer create elaborate paper invitations, try creating your own at home and hand addressing them to save a few hundred dollars.

You can even ask friends and family to help you out with these DIY tasks. Additionally, if you have a close friend who can bake and decorate a delicious cake and another who is an amateur DJ, ask them if they’d be willing to contribute to your wedding. Let any willing wedding volunteers know that they can forgo a gift since they’re providing a good or service for your special day.

5. Compare Vendors

When planning for any big purchase, it’s important to compare prices for goods and services from different vendors. Get a few quotes for all your projected wedding expenses, from the big-ticket items like your venue and catering to the smaller expenses like hair and makeup. By comparing price quotes, you can choose to go with whatever works best for your budget. If you have a particular service that you like, you may consider negotiating the cost or inquiring about special discounts (e.g., military discount, teacher discount, etc.).

Don’t forget to evaluate each vendor and their services before committing, too. You’ll want to be sure that you’ll receive the best quality for what you’re paying, so take advantage of free tastings or read up on customer reviews so you know you’re getting the most bang for your buck.

6. Get Married in the Off-Season

Another tip to save big on your wedding is to get married in the off-season. Although any given wedding season runs from late spring to early autumn, it’s important to be aware of the most popular months for people to get hitched. The Knot reports that October is the most popular month for weddings, with September and June following close behind.

Try setting a wedding date outside of these months because you’ll be able to save more on your venue and other vendors when they aren’t so in demand. If a popular month is the only time of year that works for you, try holding your wedding on a weekday or a Sunday to take advantage of better deals.

7. Buy Flowers in Bulk

Flowers can beautify any wedding ceremony and reception, but they also cost a pretty penny — couples can spend between $700 to $2,500 on florals for their big day. If elaborate floral arrangements aren’t a big priority at your wedding, ditch the florists and buy your flowers in bulk. Wholesalers will give you a much better price for your wedding day blooms, and you can design your own bouquet and arrangements to your liking.

8. Go Paperless

Many modern couples rarely communicate with their friends and family via snail mail, so why start with your wedding? Ditch the paper invitations and save on postage by opting for something free and digital.

Try using a platform like Canva or Paperless Post to easily make a free wedding invitation online and email them out instantly. You might also consider creating a wedding website that details all the information your guests will need for the ceremony and other celebrations.

9. Skip the Wedding Favors

When friends and family attend your wedding, they’re mainly there to celebrate your love — and maybe get a free meal out of it, too. Most guests won’t remember or even have the favors from your wedding a year after the event, so don’t spend on them if your budget doesn’t allow for it.

The average cost of wedding gifts and favors comes in at about $400, and this can vary based on your guest count. So, forgo the favors and keep that money in your pocket. You can use it for other wedding expenses or put it toward the travel budget for your honeymoon instead.

10. Remember, Time Is Money

Although you may want to dance from dusk until dawn on your wedding night, it’s better for your budget if you keep the celebration short and sweet. The longer your wedding, the more you’ll generally need to pay your vendors for their time.

For instance, most venues will have a curfew that you’ll need to abide by or else you’ll get charged a fee. Other vendors like caterers, bartenders, or your photographer may also be charging by the hour, so it’s best to stick to your agreed upon time so you don’t pay extra. Keep in mind that the party doesn’t have to stop, and you can always make plans to keep the fun going at an alternate location.

Planning a meaningful wedding on a budget doesn’t have to be an impossible task. Consider using the Mint app to start saving early and make sure you have the funds to splurge on some special touches for your wedding day, and use our wedding budget calculator to keep your wedding budget realistic all the way up to and after your big day. If you’re finding that wedding expenses are coming in over budget, try out our tips to save money on your wedding so that you can focus on celebrating your love.

Sources: Brides | The Knot 1 2 3 | Maroo | The Wedding Report | WeddingWire | Zola


The post How To Plan a Wedding on a Budget + Wedding Budget Calculator appeared first on MintLife Blog.

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