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It would be amazing if the first step in planning a wedding was actually cake-tasting or searching for your dream gown, but before the real fun can begin, step one is determining exactly what you have to spend on the big day. But even nailing down that number is only half the battle — you also have to figure out what to spend where. The costs go beyond the obvious items like flowers and food, and you don't want to head off to your honeymoon knowing you're over budget because you forgot about the transportation bill! To help demystify the details, we broke down a $25,000 budget below. If you have less (or more) to spend, visit our wedding budget tracker to calculate your own custom wedding budget and track payments.
DRESS & STYLE: $3,250
Lucky lady! There are tons of gorgeous wedding dresses for less than the $1,500 you should budget for your gown — but don't forget that this figure also needs to take alterations into account. As for the other bridal style accoutrement, budget around $250 for your headpiece and veil, another $250 for shoes, accessories, and jewelry, and around $500 for hair and makeup — including the cost of trials and tips. Your hubby-to-be? He gets about $250 to cover the cost of his tux. And, finally, set aside $500 for both of your wedding rings.
PAPER PRODUCTS: $1,000
Between inviting your guests to the big day and thanking them for sharing it with you, budget $750 for your wedding paper suite. That doesn't include your escort cards and ceremony programs, for which you can budget $125 each.
CEREMONY & RECEPTION: $13,750
Clearly, this is where you'll spend a bulk of your wedding budget! For the reception, set aside $250 for the ceremony site and another $250 to cover the cost of the officiant. Plan on spending no more than $375 for ceremony music whether you want to have your DJ set up early or hire a string quartet to play you down the aisle.
As for your reception, the venue, any rentals, service, food, beverage, and bartenders should account for about $10,500 of your budget. Your wedding cake should come in around $500 and you have $1,875 to keep guests dancing all night long to a band or DJ.
FLOWERS & DECOR: $2,251
It's easy to go a little crazy on your wedding flowers, but budgeting about $188 on your bridal bouquet, $250 on your bridesmaids' bouquets (divided by the number of girls in your entourage), $75 total for boutonnieres, and $25 for flower girl petals will get you off to a great start! Your bigger ticket items — ceremony decor like an aisle runner or chuppah and reception decor and centerpieces — shouldn't set you back more than $1,713.
PHOTO & VIDEO: $3,000
Definitely don't skimp on photography or videography. The day will blow by but you'll cherish the memories forever — it's cliché but entirely accurate!
FAVORS & GIFTS: $1,000
With a $25,000 budget, plan to spend $250 total on favors for your guests, $500 on gifts for your bridal party, and the remaining $250 on gifts for both sets of parents if they contributed to your wedding day.