Your $15,000 Wedding Budget: Where Should the Money Go?

At a loss for how to spend your $15,000 wedding budget? We're here to help.


Photo by Harwell Photography

Planning your dream wedding takes a lot of effort—from finding the perfect venue and selecting your wedding dress to crafting your invitations and tasting countless cakes, you should be prepared to make tons of decisions. But the first decision you absolutely have to make (after saying "yes", that is) is how much you actually have to spend on your big day. But that's not all. Once you have a budget to work with, knowing how to divvy it up to cover all of your wedding-related costs can be a challenge in and of itself. While this may sound completely overwhelming, have no fear. After reading, and creating, tons of resources on how to handle the dreaded wedding budget, we have all the expertise needed to help you make sense of it all.

While we've already explained how to use a $25,000 wedding budget, we're breaking down the details for couples that have $15,000 to spend below.

$15,000 Wedding Budget Breakdown
 Photo by Emily Roberts/Brides

Dress and Style: $1,650

With $900 to spend on your wedding dress, you'll be happy to know we have an extensive slideshow of beautiful gowns, all under $1,000. Get inspired by our favorite designer picks, but remember that this number should include alterations, too. Plan to spend $150 on your headpiece or veil, another $150 on shoes, accessories, and jewelry, and around $300 on hair and makeup, including any trials. But don't forget the groom. He should spend $150 on his tuxedo or suit. As for your wedding bands, you should spend a total of $300 for both.

Paper Products: $600

Plan to drop $450 on your wedding invitations and thank-you cards. Need help finding the perfect customized suite on your budget? Head here for inspiration, and while you're there, remember you have $75 to spend on escort cards and menus and an additional $75 for ceremony programs.

Ceremony and Reception: $7,950

You'll need somewhere to get married, so plan to set aside $150 for the ceremony location fee. And, of course, someone needs to marry you. You'll be spending about $150 on officiant fees. Always dreamed of live music for your walk down the aisle? You've got $225 available to put towards a string quartet, pianist, or harpist.

Your reception venue, including rentals, food, service, and beverage charges should amount to no more than $6,300. If you spend the suggested $300 on your wedding cake, that means you've got $1,125 to spend on an awesome DJ or band.

Accommodations and Transportation: $450

And don't forget, you need a way to get to the ceremony and reception, too. You have about $225 to spend on a limo or car rental. You should also spend about $150 on guest shuttles, which will transport friends and family to-and-from your venue. At the end of the night, you'll want to wind down in your hotel room—book a space that costs about $75 for the night.

Flowers and Décor: $1,351

First and foremost, you'll need to select your bridal and bridesmaids' bouquets. You should spend about $113 on your blooms and $150 total on your 'maids arrangements. Boutonnieres should run you no more than $45, and the flower girls' petals should come in around $15. As for ceremony and reception décor—including floral arches, chuppahs, aisle runners, and centerpieces—you've got $1,028 to spend however you'd like.

Photo and Video: $1,800

You'll cherish your wedding photos and video for years to come, so don't skimp here. Find a photographer that will capture your big day for around $1,050 and plan to spend about $750 on videography.

Favors and Gifts: $600

Remember to thank your entire wedding party for all of their support and hard work with a meaningful token. Spend about $300 total here, and another $150 on any gifts for your parents. As for favors, plan to spend $150 total on any end-of-the-night treats you want to hand out.

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