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

Updated 11/29/19

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 your $600 budget 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, while you'll have a generous $300 to spend on ceremony programs, escort cards, and menus.

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 bridesmaid's 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 decor 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 you 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 toward any gifts.

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