Bridal Budget 101

Finances can be stressful when it comes to planning your forever. The first step is communication between you, your spouse and all involved parties.

Do you want your parents (or grandparents) to be involved? When it comes to paying for wedding costs, decide on a target budget and go from there. Determining your budget will help you decide on a direction for venues, photographers, decoration, and everything that comes with wedding spending.

Keep in mind, everyone’s budget is going to be different. One couple is going to focus on décor while another couple might want a fancier venue. Depending on what you’ve decided for your overall budget and theme, the price breakdown will vary. The average wedding breakdown can be found in our latest publication of Black Hills Bride.

Typically, the three largest expenses are going to be ceremony site and venue for the reception, a professional photographer/videographer, and catering. Traditionalists who share their vows in a church might pay less than couples who choose to be married on a fancy boat or at a ranch. A couple of other things to consider with venue costs: are you going to hold both at the same location, and would you like a more laid-back ceremony and fancy reception (or vice-versa)? Catering generally starts at $17 per plate and can go up to $25 or more. Alcohol services can be provided by select caterers, as well. When it comes to photographers, it can be hard to fork over that extra buck. You might ask yourself, “why pay for a simple photo that anyone can take?” Photographers are artists. They’re going to capture your day in a way no one else can and put a timeless stamp on it. Each photographer is going to offer something different to consider – a free engagement session, longer coverage on the wedding day, complimentary photo album, video packages, and more. Professional photographers charge anywhere from $1,100 to more than $3,000; the average hovers around $2,000.

Don’t Forget these Expenses!

Gifts for your wedding party

While not required, a nice gift for your bridesmaids, groomsmen, and all involved in the wedding party is a great way to show your appreciation for their support.


It’s easy to forget about the little things, but stamps add up fast. If you’re inviting 100 people, for instance, think of the stamps you will be needing for the save-the-dates, official invites, thank you cards, and RSVPs. That’s already $220!

Rehearsal Dinner

It may seem insignificant, but this event is definitely a cost to keep in mind. Some people opt for small, informal gatherings the night before; choosing this route might involve having pizza delivered while you set up the reception site after your rehearsal. Other couples choose to host a more formal dinner as a pre-celebratory event that includes a smaller group of close friends and immediate family.

Written by Sarah Richards