Your 30,000 Wedding Budget: Where Should the Money Go?

Updated 03/02/15

Annie McElwain Photography

One of the hardest, yet most critical, wedding planning decisions you need to make is deciding on a practical wedding budget. Already have yours figured out? Congrats! Now you need to know how to spend the money you've got.

While it's definitely more fun than setting the budget, sticking to your planned expenditures can be a real hardship for many couples. That's where we come in. We've already shared our best advice for divvying up your 15,000, 25,000, and 40,000 wedding budgets, so now we're breaking down the details for couples that have 30,000 to spend. And for couples that are working with a different budget entirely, visit our wedding budget tracker tool to calculate your own custom wedding budget and track payments.

Dress & Style: 3,900

Based on your budget, you have 1,800 to spend on your dream wedding dress. Before you shop for your accessories, like a headpiece, veil, shoes, and jewelry, keep in mind you should spend no more than 600 total for these add-ons. Before you book your hair and makeup for the big day, remember you 600 budget here includes any trials, too.

And don't forget about your groom! He's got 300 to spend on a tuxedo or suit, so he can look stylish on the big day. Plan to spend no more than 600 on the two rings you'll both exchange after your nuptials.

Paper Products: 1,200

You should plan to spend about 900 on your wedding invitations and thank-you cards. If you need some inspiration, check out the BRIDES stationery shop, where you can customize your perfect suite. While you're there, take a look at ceremony programs, escort cards, and menus, since you have a generous 300 to spend on those details.

Ceremony & Reception: 16,500

Book a ceremony venue that costs no more than 300, and plan to spend an additional 300 on any officiant fees or donations. Always dreamed of walking down the aisle to the sound of live music? Book a vendor that costs about 450. As for your reception, this is where the bulk of your budget will go. Your venue, including any rentals, food, service, beverages, and bartenders should run you no more than 12,600. Add in an additional 600 for your cake and 2,250 for a great band or DJ and you're on your way to a memorable evening.

Accommodations & Transportation: 900

Get yourself to and from the wedding in a limo or car rental that costs about 450. Then, when the party is over, cozy up to your groom in a hotel room for about $150. Don't forget your guests, though. Book transportation to and from the venue for 300.

Flowers & Décor: 2,700

Your bouquet should cost no more than 225, which will leave you with another 300 to spend on all of your bridesmaids' arrangements. Find boutonnieres for all the guys that will cost about 90, and then spend 30 on petals for the flower girl to toss.

You've got 420 to spend decorating your ceremony space, which includes any altars, chuppahs, or aisle runners. As for your reception d°cor and centerpieces, select a look that won't break your 1,635 budget.

Photo & Video: 3,600

Your wedding photos will last you a lifetime, and with 2,100 to spend on a photographer you'll have an album of beautiful memories to cherish for years to come. If you're planning to have a videographer on hand to record the ceremony or reception, you can spend an additional 1,500.

Favors & Gifts: 1,200

Your attendants have done so much to help your throughout the wedding planning process, so with the 600 you have to spend on them, gift your 'maids and groomsmen with a thoughtful token. When picking favors to hand out to guests, remember you have about 300 to spend. And if you want to thank your parents for their support, you have another 300 to put towards any gifts.

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