wedding budget template

Save vs. Splurge | Wedding Planning Budget Tips

First things first. Before you get into the full swing of wedding planning, I recommend setting your budget. The wedding industry has transformed drastically over the last decade, so it can be challenging to know where to set your budget. For example, weddings can run as low as a $2,000 or less if you go the courthouse or true elopement route. Meanwhile, the sky’s the limit for large weddings. It’s hard to find a solid average for wedding budgets in 2022, although it seems to fall between $20K-$30K. 

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Your wedding style, location, and guest count are the biggest factors in setting your budget. For instance, you could reasonably make a $10K elopement work with travel, attire, food, and photography for the two of you. For a small, intimate wedding at a scenic venue, you could expect to spend between $10K-$20K. Most large, luxury, and all-inclusive weddings tend to run upwards of $30K.

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So, with those markers in mind, here’s a general starting point for separating your big-ticket items:

Venue
~30-40% 

*This percentage may be much higher if booking an all-inclusive venue—similar to adding in catering, alcohol, décor, and lighting percentages.

Catering, Cake, & Alcohol
~20-25%

Wedding Entertainment, Band or DJ
~10%

Rings & Couple’s Attire
~10%

Photography & Videography  
~10-15%

Flowers, Lighting, & Décor 
~10%

In addition, don’t forget to account for these wedding planning budget details if applicable:

  • Officiant fee
  • Honeymoon budget 
  • Stationary
  • Wedding party & couple’s gifts
  • Rehearsal dinner 
  • Hair, makeup, or other beauty services
  • Wedding planner fees 
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To set your budget and adjust your percentages accordingly, determine your priorities as a couple. What to you envision for you wedding day? Most couples splurge on experiential aspects of their wedding day. Items like décor, reception flowers, lighting, party favors, linens, and rentals fall a bit lower on the list.

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Here are the top 4 wedding splurges for couples in 2022:

Wedding Photography & Videography

Visuals are the only way to vividly preserve your wedding day memories. Often, the photographer and videographer catch moments that you miss while you’re caught up in the moment—after all, you can’t be in two places at once. Most couples prioritize photo and video services because they want a professional they can trust to beautifully document the day so they can relive it for years to come. The décor fades away, but your photos can last forever.

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Reception Venue

If you don’t want to go all out on flowers and décor, the best way to cut those costs is by selecting a unique venue that has an aesthetic appeal built in. And it doesn’t have to be expensive! You can also pick a stunning outdoor venue with views of the mountains. Your venue sets the backdrop for your wedding aesthetic, so it’s important to choose wisely. You don’t want guests feeling overcrowded or uncomfortable.

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wedding planning budget template

Catering & Drinks

Food plays a huge part in the overall experience. Good food and good times all go hand in hand! Offering a signature cocktail or unique dining experience is an easy way to elevate the overall wedding experience for you and your guests.

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DJ or Entertainment

We’ve probably all witnessed how a good (or not-so-good) DJ can make or break an event. A DJ helps the reception move along seamlessly from one event to the next. A phenomenal DJ has a knack for keeping your guests laughing, engaged, and out on the dancefloor. However, if you just rely on a playlist and a sound system, that will create a lot of work for you. An experienced DJ knows how to the read the room and adjust events and music choices based on your guests’ reactions. It’s an often overlooked but vital part of your wedding day experience.

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Visit johnmoler.com for more wedding resources. Connect with John here for more information on engagement and wedding photography services.

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