We all know the big day can come with a big price tag but what you decide to prioritize can make a huge difference in how far your budget goes. In 2021, the average wedding cost has been between $29K-$31K. Obviously this is influenced by many things; where you are, how many people you invite, what kind of venue do you want, etc.. The best way to keep your budget down is to have a budget. Our friends over at PopParties created this handy dandy worksheet to help figure out how much you can spend on your wedding.
There are two kinds of cost when it comes to weddings: the fixed costs and the price per person.
Fixed Wedding Costs
These are the costs that don’t change depending on how many people are invited such as:
Gown and tux
Reception Venue Rental or Tenting Costs
Venues are usually the most expensive element of a wedding. Most couples will spend between 40-50% of their wedding budget on the venue alone (Source: Weddingstats). The type of venue you choose can dramatically affect the cost.
True or false: Having a wedding in a park is less expensive than having a wedding in a museum.
FALSE. A little surprised? This is because museums (and most other inside venues) already have the infrastructure in place to seat people, serve food, have flat surfaces for dancing, etc. If you wanted to have your wedding in a park, you would have to pay to bring in and set up all those things, and it still might rain on your big day!
Price Per Person Wedding Costs
The price per person costs are the costs that are dependent on how many guests you invite. For every guest you invite, you have to pay for their food, their drinks, the staff to serve them, and potentially each plate, fork, and glass! These costs can sneak up on you, having a per person cost of $15 for the meal doesn’t sound so bad until you remember that you invited 100 people! That’s $1500 for the dinner alone.
Alcohol and other Beverages
Printed Materials like invitations, menu cards, and programs
Rentals: tables, chairs, plates, flatware, and glassware
Wedding Planner Fees
The second biggest offender for high wedding costs is the price of food and drinks per person. According to the Knot, the average wedding catering price per person is $68. When you multiply that by 139, the survey’s average number of guests, you’re facing a food bill of $9,452, at least. That sounds like a lot, but consider that this covers the cost of ingredients, labor to cook and potentially transport the food, servers, and cleanup. There are some clever ways that you can reduce this cost.
Buffet saves the day!
Consider having a buffet style wedding, including a charcuterie station as an appetizer for your guests. You can even have a selection of small desserts rather than an expensive large wedding cake to decrease your food costs even further. Some couples are choosing to have a fake, elaborately decorated wedding cake for show and feeding sheet cake (cut out of sight) to their guests. Having a buffet or cake alternative will reduce your cost of labor significantly, as you won’t need as many servers.
Invitations, programs, and menus are expensive and can feel wasteful when you start to think about how much paper gets used to make them. In the digital age it has never been easier to go paperless, saving you money while also helping to save the planet. There are countless services you can use to send out digital invitations, and you can even make digital programs and menus that are accessed by scanning a QR code, bringing your wedding into the twenty first century.
Wedding costs can add up quick, but being mindful of how you can save gives you a lot of freedom and flexibility in the end. Being able to save on the big things for your wedding gives you more room to splurge on some of the other things, such as getting a fun wedding band or going all out with beautiful flowers. If there are some things that you have in your dream wedding that you can’t imagine going without, don’t skip them! It’s your special day, and you deserve to make sure it feels memorable.