Thursday, October 6, 2011

Wedding Cost Estimator + My Wedding Budget

In the many hours I've spent googling wedding stuff, I found a really cool Wedding Cost Estimator tool.  The website has polled women all across the country about their wedding expenditures, and used their responses to create a wedding cost calculator that factors in your location.

Click to go to the calculator

Just enter your zip code, answer a few questions, and with just a few clicks the tool will spit out a cost estimate for your wedding that you can print or export to an Excel spreadsheet.  Here's my estimate based on the info I put in:

Click pic to enlarge

It's nice to get an idea of what other people are spending, but let me just say there is NO WAY that I'm spending $38,000 on a wedding!  Here's a detailed look at my budget so far:

Attire & Accessories $1,823   
I'm limiting my dress, veil, and shoes to $1000 max.

Beauty & Spa $350  (Hair Service $140 Makeup Service $117 Manicure & Pedicure $93)
My hair alone will probably be about $200 because I'm definitely getting extensions; I'm not sure about the price of make-up yet but I know I can get a mani/pedi for much less than the estimate through Groupon.  I'll stick with the overall estimate of $350.

Entertainment $1,372   
I will have a DJ, not willing to pay more than $500 for that, but I'm sure I could find one cheaper than that through family connections.  

Flowers & Decorations $2,280 
(Boutonnieres, Corsages $147 Bridal Bouquet $152 Bridesmaid Bouquets $197 Ceremony Decorations $244 Ceremony Flower Arrangements $310 Flower Girl Flowers $94 Flower Petals $96 Reception Decorations $298 Reception Flower Arrangements $361 Reception Table Centerpieces $381)   
I'm considering getting flowers from Costco to make the bouquets myself.  My fiance's mother has access to archways and columns that can be used to decorate the ceremony.  I LOVE these centerpieces, and I'm definitely going to try to D.I.Y or ask my aunt, who arranges silk flowers, to make it for me.  I can also make some smaller version of the floral centerpieces to decorate the aisle, like in this photo.    Overall, I think I can get the floral/decoration costs down to $1000-1500 using all real flowers, or much cheaper by using the silk ones.  

Gifts & Favors $993  
Haven't thought about gifts for the parents or my wedding party yet, but the wedding favors I've seen that I like are about $3-4 per guest. I'll round the estimate up to $1000 although I'm pretty sure I'll be way under that.  

Invitations $853 
I plan to use either a template from Download and Print ($25) or find one I like at Vistaprint . Either way, I will use Vistaprint to print out the invitation sets and maybe add some ribbon or something to personalize it myself, so I estimate about $250, plus about $150 (?) for postage.   

Jewelry $5,687
My fiance and I talked about his wedding band and he does not expect it to cost over $1000, if that.  I've heard that the bride is responsible for buying jewelry for the bridesmaids, so if I do that I guess maybe $300 for jewelry for me and all of the girls.

Photography & Video $5,770
I don't want a videographer.  I've found a few photographers with wedding day packages at around $1000-1500 and engagement photos for $500 or less.  Let's just say $2000.

Transportation (limo rental) $513 
I haven't fully thought this one out yet, so I'll just say $500.  

Venue, Catering & Rentals $18,161
 (Ceremony Accessories $209 Ceremony Location $1,719 Ceremony Officiator $401 Hotel Room for After Reception $515 Reception Accessories $206 Reception Bar Service $2,240 Reception Food Service $4,404 Reception Location $4,898 Reception Rentals $1,378 Rehearsal Dinner $1,506 Wedding Cake/dessert $685)   
I've narrowed it down to 2 venues.  One is about $2500 just for the ceremony and reception site with ceremony chairs.  I would need to rent everything else, find a separate caterer and wedding planner/coordinator.  I found one planner who has a catering service said they could create a nice wedding at this location for my budget of $7000-8000 including food.  The second venue I'm considering costs only about $1300 for the ceremony and reception site, and has a catering package for $50 per person that includes linens, chairs, plated dinner with Hors d'oeuvresdrinks (non-alcoholic), and cake cutting.  I'm budgeting $500 for the cake.  I'm still on the fence as to whether or not I will have a bar at the reception.  I'm not sure about the cost of a ceremony officiator so I'll use the estimate from the cost calculator.  Overall, my goal for this area is $8000.

So my grand total is $16550!!!! Wow things add up so fast! 

My goal is to get it down to $12000 (I would love to get it to $10000), and as I do more planning and thinking about what's most important to me, I'm sure I'll be able to trim some costs.  

Am I forgetting anything? Anyone else planning a wedding or already married? Share your wedding cost or estimate in the comments!


  1. That's a really cool tool. In the past I have experimented with making my own calculators. One of the recent ones is the website price estimatepage which allows you to calculate costs of building a website.

  2. My friend Wedding reception is held in the main hall. The place was gorgeous and perfect for a wedding.

    Event Planning for wedding

  3. Your website is really cool and this is a great inspiring article. Pickering Limo


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