What Is The Big Deal?

January 5, 2010

Everyone knows that weddings take time to execute, anywhere from 8-12 months of planning.  I’ve also heard that an average sized wedding costs $25,000.  Now that I am pausing to think about it — what really is the big deal?  And where does all that money go?

If you’ve seen TLC’s Say Yes To The Dress, you know that the gown can cost up to $10,000 or more.  But that can’t be normal.

So, I googled “Wedding budget breakdown” and this is the first post that I found.  It lists the big ticket items of a wedding and the estimated percentage they will take of your total wedding budget.

  1. Reception — 45%
  2. Photography/video — 10%
  3. Flowers — 10%
  4. Ceremony — 7%
  5. Entertainment — 5%
  6. Attire — 5%
  7. Cake — 2%
  8. Transportation — 2%
  9. Invitations — 2%
  10. Misc. — 12%

Taking the average budget of $25,000 then the breakdown is this.

  1. Reception — $11,250
  2. Photography/video — $2,500
  3. Flowers — $2,500
  4. Ceremony — $1,750
  5. Entertainment — $1,750
  6. Attire — $1,750
  7. Cake — $500
  8. Transportation — $500
  9. Invitations — $500
  10. Misc. — $3000

Wow, speaking purely from my untrained eye, those guests must be eating very well.  And what exactly is the “entertainment?”  At this very early point in time, I cannot imagine using up this budget (though I’m sure I can manage if my mind is put to it ;).  This begs the question, what do real people spend/expect to spend on their weddings?

On a different note, should Pups be our ring bearer?


10 Responses to “What Is The Big Deal?”

  1. Jessica Says:

    No, your puppy should not be your ring bearer! I don’t think the church would allow it.

  2. Jessica Says:

    Entertainment usually refers to a band that you hire. Oftentimes, receptions have a MC that kinda directs how the night goes, introducing the band, cake-cutting, etc.

  3. Jessica Says:

    Oh yea, for the reception, think of it like this:

    $2,000 for the venue
    $7,200 for food (120 people x $60, not sure if this includes tip or not)
    $1,350 drinks and bartenders
    $ 700 cake and cutting fee

    Just giving an estimate! You have to remember, places often charge a premium when they know it’s for a wedding.

    • Holy cow $60/person for food! Not sure if my friends deserve that kind of class treatment ;). Just kidding – I can’t wait to start tasting. Definitely no fried chicken/bbq (one of H2B’s cousins had that).

  4. Liz Says:


    Ok, now that I’m done with the CAPS LOCK. Amish and I planned our wedding on a budget. I didn’t understand why the word “wedding” had to make everything a gazillion times more expensive. We planned our wedding for ~70 ppl total for ~$11K.

    Also, suggestion. Go sign up on theknot.com if you haven’t already. They provide a very helpful and comprehensive checklist, as well as budget planning spreadsheet to help you figure out when to do things and how much you should spend given your overall budget and approximate number of guests. You should set your date and budget before you do anything else, because it’s very easy to go over budget as soon as you start scheduling consultations.

    And sure, you should use your pup as ringbearer if you want! Just be prepared for silly/fun mishaps =)

    • Thanks for the suggestion! That’s awesome you enjoyed your wedding planning, I am hoping it will be a more fun than frustrating task. Wow, you did really well on your budget. At the moment I’m still apprehensive about how it can cost so much but I’m sure I’ll realize it soon enough.

      I’m going to have to sit down and really hash out the budget with my parents. They’ve agreed to pay for it but we’re still discussing the exact amount. My dad’s the type who will need a spreadsheet breakdown.

  5. Jessica Says:

    So I actually googled dogs as ringbearers and found that it may depend on whether or not the church will allow it (someone said something about how from a Christian point of view, dogs aren’t on the same level as humans…blah blah that sort of thing), and other things to consider are:

    – Can the dog stay calm during the ceremony?
    – Is there someone who will be willing to watch the dog before/after the ceremony?
    – Will the dog be able to listen to instructions easily (remember, someone will have to tell the dog to sit or come/go when it’s time to bring over the rings)?

    The jist that I got was not to get your hopes up, but it doesn’t hurt to ask. By the way, do you have to do anything in particular since it’s a religious wedding? Donny had to take lessons since they were having a Catholic wedding…

    • Haha, Pups the ringbearer is just a fun idea I’m throwing around. She’s a cute substitution since there are no little girls in my life to do the job. But yes, she can probably stay calm as long as there are no other dogs in the vicinity. And she does know how to “come” very well. Not so good at “stay.”

      Also – Pups is pretty humanoid to me. Just look at those eyes! Something must be going on in that noggin.

  6. Cindy Says:

    Usually the food/beverage/reception will be at least 1/2 of your budget. The photographer will be the next big ticket item. TheKnot is a perfect wedding planning resource and that’s how I started off planning my budget. Kenny and I have a $30K budget for about 180 people. I can talk to you more about the budget if you’d like.

    If you go on my delicious bookmarks website (it will be on my Facebook profile), you can see all the links I saved under the tag “wedding.”

    Also, I highly suggest hiring a wedding planner, even if she’s a DOC (day-of coordinator) or a partial planner or she will help you plan the whole thing… I’m not sure if you will have your wedding back in Dallas or where you live now, but a planner is absolutely essential if you’re planning a wedding long distance or even if you’re doing it right in town.

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