How Much Does A Wedding Cost?

Four couples were willing to share their budgets to help you make your own smart money-spending decisions. The key? Splurging on what's important to you (and downgrading on the sly)

Updated 07/15/11

Priority: Venue

Lucia & Phil, Villa Del Sol, Fullerton, CA, 250 guests

"We originally wanted a destination wedding in Hawaii or Mexico, but it would've been too much to ask our large families to travel there," says Lucia. "Instead, we found a venue with a destination-wedding ambiance, so guests would still feel like they were taking an unforgettable journey with us."

The Budget

Reception site fee and catering

$12,465 - 48% of total budget

"Villa Del Sol had the island-like atmosphere we were looking for. To enhance the reception's destination feel, we asked Café Hidalgo to create a travel-inspired menu incorporating the cuisines of Mexico, Argentina, and Brazil."

Ceremony site fee and officiant

$0 - St. Barbara Catholic Church, the bride's childhood parish

Photography

$4,000 - Christine Farah

Gown

$1,200 - La Sposa

Alterations

$150

Veil

$100 - Crowning Glory Designs

Accessories

$230 - Purse, floral hair accessory, and bolero from Etsy

Shoes

$80 - Jeffrey Campbell

Hair and makeup

$1,000 - For Lucia, her mother, and her four bridesmaids

Groom's attire

$300 - Express

Attendant gifts

$500 - Hairpins, mirrors, and personalized gold necklaces for the bridesmaids; clutch from Etsy for the maid of honor; ties for the groomsmen

Stationery

$900

"I made all the wedding stationery myself through my graphic design studio, Dlsh Design."*

Flowers

$2,306 - Green Leaf Designs

Ceremony décor

$50 - Assorted candles

Reception décor

$500 - Vases and candles from Ikea; fabric for the cake table; cake topper from Etsy; world map for the escort-card table; paper for the escort cards

Music

$1,325 - Six hours of DJ service

Rentals

$700 - Café lights and uplighting

Cake

$0 - Gift from a friend of the bride

Total

$38,319

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