Planning Your Wedding Budget

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Weddings come in all shapes, sizes and price tags. If you’re just getting started with planning your dream day, you’re probably curious about the type of wedding you’d like to have and how much it will cost.

For a wedding with three bridesmaids, three groomsmen, and a buffet for about 100 guests, wedding coordinators estimate that you’ll spend $6,000 to $10,000.

But the average wedding has a few more guests than that. Estimate a formal affair with 200 guests and heavy hors d’oeuvres costing as much as $12,000 to $15,000.

Why the big range between dollar signs? There are so many choices, and they run the budget gamut. Not only are there many types of flowers to choose from, but also the size and style of the bouquets, how labor-intensive they are, and whether you choose out-of-season flowers that must be special ordered or seasonal blooms that are plentiful and less costly.

It’s not easy to pin down a price on a cake either. How many people will it serve? How elaborate? Buttercream frosting or rolled fondant? Would you like a fruit filling? All of these choices can lead to bigger checks being written.

With our seemingly endless fascination with celebrity lifestyles, the bar has been raised and people’s expectations have become a lot higher.

A nice wedding can be put together for far less than the celebrities spend. If you want to, you can get married for $15,000, for $1,000, or even for less. It depends on what your expectations are and what kind of reception you want.

The reception, often the biggest expense, can be controlled by the time of day you choose. Which would you prefer — a morning wedding with a brunch reception or an afternoon wedding with light finger foods? For an evening wedding, will you choose heavy hors d’oeuvres, a buffet or a sit-down dinner?

One of the more popular options is to choose heavy hors d’oeuvres, but sometimes that can be more expensive than a served meal. The reason? You’re paying for more items and paying by the piece.

If you want to cut expenses on your food, the time of day you plan your reception is a big factor. The cheapest time of day is the middle of the afternoon. That’s not a time people are usually hungry, so they’ll eat less, and you can get away with serving less food.

Looking for other ways to cut costs?

Be creative and put your personality into it. Be creative in your thinking and pick one area of your wedding to really, really shine.

Keep in mind it’s possible to create a beautiful occasion no matter what you can afford. It’s smart to avoid going into debt for your wedding. You should not still be paying on your wedding when you start paying the hospital bills for having your first child.

Whether you spend $1,500 or $30,000, you’ll still be just as married.