How to Determine Your Wedding Budget {Colorado Wedding Planner}

You’re engaged! Congratulations!! It goes without saying you’re probably feeling all the feels that come with engagement season.  Excitement, love, elation, and perhaps a bit of overwhelm.

‘We’re engaged to be married.  I love you. I’m committed to you. We’ve made it official.  Now what?’

Now’s the time to decide three things which are almost holistic to each other.  Budget, guest count, and venue.

But the big determining factor which determines the other two is your budget.

How much are we willing to spend on our wedding?

According to the average cost of a wedding in America is roughly $35K.  Now that can vary depending on demographics you’re in and the types of vendors you choose.  But know that on average across the U.S. that is what is being spent on a wedding.

So how DO we determine our budget?

Determine Who’s Paying

Stephanie Secrest Photography

Traditionally, the bride’s parents pay for the wedding and the groom’s parents pay for the rehearsal dinner.  The bride and groom pay for each other’s wedding bands and the groom pays for the getaway vehicle and honeymoon.  The bride and groom also pay for gifts for their bridal party, family, and other significant participants Day of.  In our modern era, we often find that brides and grooms are fiscally able to foot the majority of the bill whereas their parents and perhaps grandparents will cover costs of a certain vendor.

We recommend taking the first weeks of engagement to speak with those key players to see who can cover what bill or if you two are able to cover that on your own.

Determine How Much You Can Afford

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Alright, let’s get real here. If you’ve been pinning a lot of wedding goals and planning your wedding via Instagram, then you should expect a very big budget to achieve that ‘perfect’ look.  Chances are that photographer was a higher end photographer, the gorgeous florals were roughly $5K and there was a significant amount spent on draping + decor.

Know that it is totally possible to create a perfectly Pinterest look but it may not have all that decor or it may be with a newer/more affordable photographer.

Once your budget is set, you need to look at what you really can afford and what you should expect to spend on each category.

Check out this helpful link to figure that percentage out: Wedding Budget Calculator

Guest List

Colorado Wedding Planner
Kayla Adams Photo

Now that you’ve got your budget cemented, let’s take a look at who you’d like to invite!  The smaller the guest count, the more smaller your wedding bill is.  The larger your guest count; the larger your wedding bill is.

Why is that? Well, on average, one should expect to spend about $100/head at least per guest for venue, food, and beverage.

A wedding meal usually begins at $25-$35 depending on your location. Then you need to calculate the beverages which can add to about $10-$15 per head.  Table linens, centerpieces, candles, napkins, desserts, favors, etc all add up into that guest count, too.

Often times, the wedding budget will determine the amount of guests you are able to invite.  But sometimes the wedding guests will determine the wedding budget because you just can’t leave anyone out.


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Ridgewood Films

Now it’s time to look at your venue.  Are you wanting to be married in a church? Perhaps you’re more of the gorgeous historic mansion type.  Or you’re looking for a rustic mountain venue.  Are you wanting to be married in a big urban city or are you okay with getting married in a more rural location?

The venue type and location will play a role on it’s cost and can add some variables to determining your budget.

Also, do you want a venue that provides table, chairs, and linens? Do you want chivari chairs or are you okay with banquet chairs or even plastic folding chairs?

Determine What’s Important

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Sonja K Photography

Is that the venue? the photographer? The florals? The food? Some folks will Budget more on a vendor category that is more important to them, and spend less that’s a little less important. However, you may decide that you want EVERYTHING! That’s okay, too, however, know that THAT can place an impact on your overall budget, too.

Date & Time of Year

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Christine Glebov Photography

While this is not the case with every venue, many will offer discounts for off-season wedding dates (roughly November-April) and for less popular days of the week.  For example, if you are okay getting married on a Monday in March, you are more likely to get a discount on your venue (and sometimes vendor!) prices.  However, if you are wanting to get married on New Year’s Eve, you may be paying a pretty penny.

Most of the time, the overall budget will determine the who, when, + where.  But if you’re able to, and decide that one or all of these is more important and finances aren’t an issue, go for your heart! This is, after all, a day about the two of you and we want to create your dream vision!

If you are looking for other information on what to do now that you’re engaged, check out these blog posts!

10 Things To Do Now That You’re Engaged

Three Tips For Choosing Your Wedding Party

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