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How much did you spend on your wedding? What did you skimp & splurge on?

Posted by on Mar. 12, 2013 at 3:12 PM
  • 39 Replies

Couples Spend HOW Much on Their Wedding?!

by Maressa Brown

wedding cashLike it or not, the cost of living just keeps on skyrocketing, and right along with it is the cost of starting a life with someone you love ... According to the annual "Real Weddings" survey from and, the average amount spent on a wedding in 2012 was ... (go on, guess!) ... $28,427. Yup, that looks about right. Oof. They note that grand total is the most dough couples have spent on all aspects of their Big Day in the past four years.

But really, that shouldn't exactly come as a surprise to anyone. The price tag on anything and everything wedding-related has always been inflated, and now, thanks to wedding culture getting even more crazed (gee, thanks, TLC and Pinterest!), it seems to be even more so. This very "Real" bride knows the reality of attempting (key word!) to stick to a wedding budget all too well.

When my fiance and I first started planning and drew up our budget, I threw out some roundabout, ballpark numbers for various aspects of the wedding from a wedding website. I guessed we would spend no more than X on rings, Y on photography, and maybe Z on the DJ/percussionist. I thought we could get away without many flowers -- other than the bridal party bouquets -- at all, and I didn't expect to even have to think about some aspects (like lighting and linens). Ha, silly naive, newly engaged me!

While we've tried our darndest to stick to that original plan and also cut corners as much as possible, there is a LOT involved in a wedding you simply didn't see coming. You learn a chuppah costs more than you bargained for, because it actually needs to be constructed in your venue. You realize you really would love to have a videographer or you fall in love with a gown that's $500 over your estimated budget. You find out loved ones will be seriously offended if there's no rehearsal dinner/transportation provided to the venue/extra albums for the parents ... or whatever.

More from The Stir: 12 Wedding 'Rules' Every Bride Should Feel Free to Break

Sometimes, sure, you're just falling victim to the Big Wedding machine, but then others, it's a matter of getting what you pay for. Sometimes, you're dealing with getting nickeled and dimed, because that's the nature of the beast, but other times, you find you can negotiate or pare down the florist's or the planner's proposal and actually get somewhere!

It boils down to picking your battles. Prioritizing what you're willing to spend bigger on. What you need, what you don't. And ultimately, you might just throw your hands up and say, "It is what it is!" But whether you spend $27K, more, or less, as long as you've done what you can to make the day your own, I'm convinced: Every well-thought-out penny spent will be worth it in the end. 

What wedding aspects did you skip and splurge on?

by on Mar. 12, 2013 at 3:12 PM
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Replies (1-10):
by on Mar. 12, 2013 at 3:26 PM

yeah I am not a big ceremony type person, my wedding was a justice of the peace wedding, in jeans and a daytona bike week shirt, with green mother, and my bestfriend and her husband were the attendees, and the reception was thrown for us at the local Amvets. course that marrige only lasted 3 months.....the man I call DH and i are not actually married, and probably never will be. we cannot see spending the money on pomp and circumstance to get a peice of paper that says we love each us jadded if you want.

by on Mar. 12, 2013 at 3:32 PM

My wedding was $150, we decided to spend money on a honeymoon rather than ceremony.  $150 covered licence, JP, a corsage, silver rings and the certificate.  We spent $2000 on a month in New Orleans.

by Bronze Member on Mar. 12, 2013 at 3:35 PM

We got married at the court house and then 2 months later had a party.  We did all the food and music.  I think total we spent less than $600.00.  

by Bronze Member on Mar. 12, 2013 at 3:48 PM

My wedding was so long ago,even then it was over $5000. When, my oldest got married in Aug. 2010, she and her finance went over the hill and to the tip of the mountain. She paid $73.65 per person for 210 guest. Her total price not icluding gown,and rings was between 30,000-35,000. She was 35, and she also planned over a year. I must say,it was a gorgeous wedding! But,to be fair,my 2nd oldest dd got married in my home,I think I paid maybe $1000, and it was also beautiful,! It's what you van offord.

by Bronze Member on Mar. 12, 2013 at 3:54 PM

It was 28 years ago this month. We pretty much scrimped on everything, having $1000 to work with. (I was freelancing and sweetie was a broke grad student). I got a very lovely vintage dress from a thrift store, my husband found his tux (with tails) at a used clothing shop, we bought our rings at a jewelry store that was going out of business, (we "just happened" to be in the neighborhood doing other wedding business, they "just happened" to have two matching ones in our sizes), ordered our invitations mail order, (postage was the real expense), had the wedding and reception at the church (free except for a janitor fee). Paid for the liscence and physicals. Our pastor got a small cash gift as did the organist.  My uncle baked our cake as his gift to us as well as getting flowers from a friend of his (single apricot roses with ribbons for the bridemaids and a wreath of miniature roses and small ivy as a headpiece for me). A family friend took our pictures and we only paid for picture processing. We gave him a small cash gift as a thank you. My folks took care of the food for the reception and the boutineers for the men. Everything was lovely. Friends and family came in from all over. We honeymooned off season within driving distance for $6 a night.

by on Mar. 12, 2013 at 4:11 PM

I spent roughly $2500 for the dress, wedding, and reception. We didn't have the photographer for the reception, so that saved a bit. I went with a caterer I knew personally (won't do that again, she was crappy at it, skimped because she was giving me a deal)

I also had a sheet cake for my cake instead of a big cake for everybody.

by Member on Mar. 12, 2013 at 4:31 PM

We spent probably $2500 on everything. My family cooked (brisket, beans, and potato salad. Yumm!), my grandmother made our cake, she was a cake decorated for 30 years, but it actually fell while we were taking pictures. Lol! So we just had to bottom layer, and we still had leftovers. My grandmother has always "cooked for they army" lol. All in all it was a beautiful day but I would have been just as happy with going to the jp!

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by on Mar. 12, 2013 at 4:35 PM
$5,000 my parents paid for it. Didn't have alcohol or a limo.
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by on Mar. 12, 2013 at 4:35 PM

$2000 out of pocket-majority of it was on my gown/headpiece and flowers. What did we skimp on? The reception. We just had a potluck gathering in the church basement. Why? Cuz we had planned to renew our vows @ 10 years and have the 'big party" then...wanted to focus on the wedding when we got married (but we've been married over 13 years and still haven't had that big renewal party-lol...shooting for 15 now since we're past 10)

by on Mar. 12, 2013 at 4:38 PM
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18 yrs and 3 months ago, we paid $1500 for our wedding and reception, and $800 of that was for the rings alone.  Invitations and printed napkins were $75.  His aunt was a seamstress and made all of the dresses (I paid for the pattern and fabric, lace medallions, sequins and pearls -- $75.)  We paid for 2 tuxes ($120) and got the 3rd free (for him and my two boys).  I bought artificial flowers to match the colors/theme of the wedding (around $50 ) and a friend made beautiful arrangements for free.  We utilized the seasonal decorations (Christmas) for our church decorations, with my dad adding pine boughs and birch candleholders from trees in his own yard for the church windows and the reception hall.  I utilized family talent for the minister (an uncle), music (cousins and aunt), and reading (cousins.)  An uncle videotaped the wedding for us.  One of DH's friends was a photographer and did our formal and informal pics for $200.  My mom spent a few hours cutting tulle and making the wedding favors (simple 2 Hershey's kisses wrapped in silver and tied with a dark red ribbon) and putting a ribbon around each set of eating utensils.  We purchased the food in bulk and on sale and made our own reception food for around $125:  veggie tray and dip, 3 kinds of cheese balls and crackers, meatballs in three kinds of sauce, potato salad, macaroni salad, layered Jello salad in Christmas/wedding colors, buns and meat & cheese tray, punch, and I am a cake decorator so I made and decorated the cake myself (around $50 for materials.) 

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