What Is a Good Wedding Budget?

A good wedding budget will depend on various factors but ultimately should come down to what you can realistically afford while still having the wedding of your dreams.

You’ll need to consider the size of the venue, the number of guests, the wedding’s location, and if you want a dress code.

In the United States, the average wedding cost is $20,000, excluding the engagement ring.

For smaller weddings, the cost averages around $10,000. For large, budgets can be as high as $50,000. It all depends on what you want to include.

So, what is a good wedding budget? Let’s get into it.

What Is a Good Wedding Budget?

Cost Breakdown: What Is a Good Wedding Budget?

It can be overwhelming to consider how many things you need for your wedding to go smoothly.

On average, most weddings have the following expenses (which I listed with recommended budget allocation):

Possible Wedding Expenses Average Budget Allocation
Wedding Venue 30%
Catering 23%
Band / Live Music 13%
Wedding Rings 7%
Photography 7%
Alcohol 7%
Flowers 7%
Videography 6%
Couples’ Attire 6%
Wedding Planner 5%
Lighting and Decor 5%
DJ 4%
Guest Entertainment 3%
Transportation 3%
Stationary 2%
Other 5%

I know that’s a lot, but there are some ways you can minimize personal expenses.

Take Advantage of Wedding Packages

Many venues offer “all-inclusive wedding packages” that include catering, live entertainment, venue space, decorations, and sometimes room and board for the night. These packages can look expensive at first glance, but they’ll mean you won’t have to worry about half the things on the list above.

Packages can help you keep track of your budget. Spending a large chunk of money in one place can be stressful, but it can help minimize the “little things” that add to a more significant dollar amount. It can also take a lot of stress off the wedding planner, whether that be yourself, your family, or someone you’ve hired.

Some all-inclusive weddings can be as little as $1,000 when planning a destination wedding. However, these packages don’t include your stay or the flights, so be careful when scouring for “low price tags.”

All-inclusive weddings can cost as little as $7,000 for small weddings and $50,000 or more for large weddings because many venues charge per guest.

How Many Guests Are Too Many?

The budget of your wedding can drastically vary on the number of guests you want to attend. The number of invitees can change the venue size, the amount of food you need to cater, and wedding favors.

But what is a good wedding budget for differently sized weddings? A small wedding has 50 guests or less, a medium wedding has around 50–150 guests, and a large wedding has over 150 guests. Small weddings average about $10,000, with large weddings averaging over $25,000.

It’s crucial to send RSVP cards and stick to your established deadlines. Keeping track of how many “yes’s” and “no’s” you get is essential to maintaining a budget because it will tell you how many place settings you’ll need, how much to cater, and what size venue to rent.

Do not invite more people than you want to attend. Being surrounded by family and friends on your special day is beautiful, but you need to keep your expectations realistic. Don’t invite 200 people if you only have the budget for 150, even if you think 50 of the invitees won’t RSVP.

Similarly, don’t send 150 invitations that include a “plus 1” if your budget is 150 guests. If everyone says yes, you could end up with 300 guests!

How Much To Spend on Wedding Favors

Most weddings have favors that guests can take home to remember you and your special day. Deciding on wedding favors is something you and your partner should agree on early in your budgeting process.

On average, wedding favors cost around $3 a guest, with small weddings averaging under $300 and large weddings averaging over $500. Wedding favors for the wedding party tend to be more elaborate and expensive.

Wedding favors don’t need to be big, flashy, or exciting. Some couples save money by making DIY favors themselves (though it does take more time), while others offer personalized cloth napkins, drinking glasses, or even engraved bottle openers.

If you have a friend in an art trade, contact them to see if they can do a bulk order for a discount. That way, you save money and support a friend’s business!

Wedding Budget Mistakes To Avoid

We’re not all perfect, and that’s okay! When you’re excited, it can be challenging to keep track of a budget. I’ve put together the top three mistakes I see new couples make when budgeting for a wedding.

Not Keeping Track of Spending

Losing track of your wedding spending can be disastrous for you and your credit score if you don’t plan on paying for everything in cash.

If you’re interested in using a credit card, you should check out which cards offer deals and cash back on items common for weddings, such as frequent flyer miles and online purchases.

No matter the route you choose, it’s a good idea to have a separate account to save and spend money so you can keep your wedding finances in one place.

Inviting Everyone and Their Dog

I know I would have loved to invite over 500 people and have a massive, blow-out Hollywood-style wedding, but I had to stop and think…do I even know that many people?

Joking aside, wedding guests can get expensive. I’ll never tell you who to invite to your wedding, whether you want to prioritize friends over family or vice versa, but I am telling you to choose a set number of guests and invite people accordingly.

Not Being Realistic

I want you to dream big for your wedding, but I don’t want you to end up disappointed when you can’t have everything from that dream. Setting realistic goals with your partner is crucial to keeping to your budget and avoiding disappointment. You shouldn’t have to go into debt to get married.