After planning a wedding all on my own, and after helping with numerous friends’ weddings, I can confidently say that I have a good idea of the average cost of wedding decorations (and so much more!).
Now, there are all sorts of blog articles and advice out there about “how to save money on weddings”, but I struggled with finding people who I could relate to, and very little realistic advice.
So many people out there talk about having a wedding under $20,000 as “cheap”…
If you’re looking for how to save money on weddings, let me tell you, I had a full wedding for under $5,000.
Yes, it is possible!
When researching how to have a cheap wedding (but one that didn’t look cheap), the only advice I could find was to have outdoor BBQs and no receptions.
It was ridiculous the basic “advice” that I found, so, I figured that my experience could help a handful of my readers – whether you are going to have a daughter’s wedding in the near future, if you want to save cash on your own wedding, or if you have friends who are getting married!
Now, this article is not intended to give all my tips and tricks to savings. (It would practically be a novel!)
In fact, I have a series in the works to lay out all of the guidance I can give with saving for a wedding, and this is just one within that series!
Therefore, in this article, you will learn:
- The average cost of wedding decorations and other wedding expenses
- How your region determines the cost of a wedding (for all you USA ladies!)
- How to pay for a wedding – and how to save up for one
- How to start a wedding budget and track your expenses
Ready to get started? If you have additional tips, write them down in the comments so we can help each other out!
A Breakdown of Wedding Costs
Weddings. Cost. Too. Much.
The average wedding costs around $20,000.
That’s kind of a lot if you are a typical 20-something, new graduate, or don’t have thousands already saved up in the bank.
But, you’re engaged (or you know someone who is) and you’re planning a wedding. You have to afford it somehow!
For example, on average, Americans spend anywhere from $3000 to $20,000+ for fresh wedding flowers.
You may be thinking: “That’s a huge range. I don’t even have budget for the low end!”
How will you afford it? How much do you need to ask your parents for help? Should you take out a loan or use credit cards?
Let’s first start with the basics!
20,000($) is The Average Wedding Cost
Common Wedding Costs
This list is not exhaustive but includes the majority of the large expenses when planning multiple weddings.
Additionally, this is a list of averages. I’ve included ranges for everything I had found throughout my wedding planning, and does not include the most expensive options.
1- Dress: $300-$5000
Tips: Looking for a dress at the low end of that range? Go to consignment shops. I would avoid buying from sketchy websites due to the lack of quality. Remember that, to most everyone out there, a $1000 dress will look nothing different than a $10,000 dress.
2- Alterations: $20-$500
I was charged $20 for strap shortening and $100 to add beading to the bodice and a beaded belt. If your dress already fits decently well, you really don’t need a ton of modifications to it – no one will notice!
3- Accessories: $100-$3000
Again, people won’t know if you bought the $350 veil from the bridal store or if you got it from Amazon! Save your cash for better things like honeymoon excursions or a home down payment!
1- Dress: $40-$350
Tip: No one likes spending hundreds on a bridesmaid dress they will only wear once! Save your girls some money and buy a cute dress like this one for tons less than at a bridal store. I got my bridesmaid dresses for less than $40/each off Amazon and they were just as cute as any other expensive ones!
2- Accessories: $100
Tip: For my wedding, since I did a ton of research on how to save money, I bought all the bridesmaid jewelry from Romwe and got tons of compliments (which was awesome for $1 a bracelet!!)
1- Suit: $100-$500
I went with using a nice suit he already had. But don’t miss out on all the rental options out there if he doesn’t already have a suit!
2- Accessories: $50-$300
- Church: $0-$200
- Full-Day Venue: $1000-$8000
Be on the lookout for a venue that provides services like decorations, DJ, lighting or more. It will save you a ton in the end!
- Bridal bouquet: $100-$350
- Bridesmaid bouquet: $50-$125 each
- Boutonniere: $10-$40 each
- Garland/Floral Displays: $150-$500 each
- Centerpieces: $75-$300 each
I could not fathom spending so much on flowers, so I bought all fake flowers from Hobby Lobby and Michaels. (Only when on sale!) I managed to spend about $150 for all the flowers for the bridal bouquet/bridesmaids/boutonniere in total.
I also found garland, wreaths, and floral for centerpieces for awesome prices at these stores. Be sure to look at those options first!
(I have additional articles for saving on each of these categories – check out my “Budgeting” blog section for more!)
How to Avoid Overspending on Your Wedding
First, let’s review how much it will cost!
If you live in the Midwest, your costs will be significantly less expensive than in a large metropolitan city.
For example, a wedding photographer in Oklahoma costs on average $2500, while you could easily fork out $7000 for for a good photographer in NYC.
Venue prices change drastically depending on your location as well!
With this in mind, I’d advise making a list of all the large expenses (photographer/videographer, venue, dress) and contacting numerous vendors to find the best price.
And, don’t be afraid to negotiate!
Negotiating prices made a HUGE difference when it came to a photographer and a videographer!
For example, I contacted vendors and after looking at their package prices, asked for some changes to them, and I ended up getting great deals!
Some extra tips that I learned along the way!:
- BE HONEST WITH YOURSELF about how much you can afford. I set out to have an inexpensive, yet beautiful, wedding. But I knew I couldn’t have it at the most expensive venue, with the most expensive vendors. It is important to be realistic!
- DO YOUR RESEARCH, AND THEN SOME MORE. There are all sorts of ways to save money! I’ve included a handful on this article, but there are so many more tips out there – take advantage of them and make sure to not overspend!
What did you do to save extra money on your wedding? Do you have any tips