How Much Should I Budget For My Wedding?

So, if you are reading this blog post, chances are the initial “OMG I’m engaged” has started to wear off and the “OMG I have to plan a wedding” has started to kick in.  Fear not my friend.  You are not the ONLY person who has asked me this question.  Up until now, I’ve always answered “Well, that really depends on a number of things…” I could always sense that the person asking the question was not so satisfied with that answer.

Here is my formula

Geographic location + Number of Guests + Style of Wedding = Wedding Budget

First off, I recommend you take a look at a website called The Wedding Report. This site is chock-full of information widely used by Wedding Professionals around the country to help us understand our industry.Now, you may not care about all that info if you are not a wedding professional and you may not want to pay for a membership to this site, so Here’s a little hint. If all you want to know is the average cost of a wedding in your geographic area, you can go to The Wedding Report’s Home Page, enter the zip code, select the city or metro area you are getting married in and the site will display the average cost of a wedding in that area.

What’s an average wedding?

  • About 125 Guests
  • Reception venue is likely a decent hotel or restaurant
  • Start to finish no more than 6 hours
  • You are using whatever chairs, tables, linens that come with the venue (no special rentals)
  • Meal options are likely Chicken, Fish or Veggie
  • Beverages: Beer, Wine, soda, juice and champagne for the toast
  • Flowers are modest and whatever is in season
  • Inexpensive photographer

According to the Wedding Report, the average cost of a wedding in the Boston-Cambridge-Newton Massachusetts area  is $37,253.  That is AVERAGE people.  There is nothing too over the top about that wedding.  

Your wedding budget relies heavily on the number of guests that will be in attendance. Why? Because the RECEPTION (Food, Alcohol, Venue, Rentals) will make up at least HALF of your BUDGET.  

Bottom line. Be realistic.

My Advice?

After looking up the average cost of a wedding in your area, create the GUEST LIST.  Here’s how I suggest you do that.

  1. You and your future spouse should each create 2 guests lists.  You should each have an A-List and a B-List. Your A-List is the most important people (immediate family, closest and dearest friends). Your B-List is a Wish List (people that you would love to invite, but can easily take off the list if your budget get’s too high)

  2. After you have each created your A & B List. Sit down together (preferably on a weekend evening over a beer, wine, whiskey, tea or whatever beverage you like) and go over your lists together.  Chances are there will be a lot of duplicates, so put them into a spreadsheet and omit the dupes. Chances are that one or both of you will have some sort of judgement over one or some of the names on each other’s list.  Try not to judge, but rather respectfully request that those names be added to the B-List.

  3. Your parents.  If you find it totally necessary to ask your parents for their own guests lists, go ahead and do so but just know that this could open up a can of worms for you.  My advice is that if your parents are not paying for the wedding, you do not need to get a list from them. They may have some requests and if there is room on your list, then add their suggestions.  If not, their requests get added to the B-List.

  4. Once you have your venue and get a good estimate from the venue on the total price based on your A-List, you will know whether or not you can invite the people on your B-List.

I hope that was helpful.  Drop me a line below and let me know your thoughts or questions.

Happy Planning!!



Purple and Yellow wedding inspiration

What seems like an odd color combination at first, turns out to be quite the pairing.  To inspire out-of-the-box color combinations, here's a look at how purple and yellow can make a impact together. Top:  Cake, Centerpiece, Bridesmaid Dress

Middle:  Escort Card display, Shoes

Bottom: Flower girl, Groomsmen, Dessert Favors





Boho Wedding Inspiration

Thinking of summer days and music festivals has me craving all things boho.  Gather Moroccan runners, colored glass and bronze metals to transform your wedding into a bohemian affair to remember.

Top:Invitations, Moroccan lanterns, Centerpiece

Middle: Aisle Runner, Hairpiece

Bottom: Place setting, Gold puff, Dress




Neon Inspiration

Neon is huge this Spring and it's not just for runways.  Just a touch of neon to your wedding makes a big statement.  Here are some ideas on how to incorporate the punchy hues.  Don't miss the DIY neon vase instructions on Refinery 29.

Top: Gown, Shoes, Cake

Middle: Invitation Suite, Bouquet

Bottom: Chair, DIY vase, Wall installation




Pastel Wedding Inspiration

Do pastel colors and Easter go hand in hand for you like they do for me?  I'm a big fan of the bold, bright color trend this season, but have an equal respect for soft, feminine pastels.  With Easter coming up this weekend, it couldn't be more perfect timing to give some love to pastels.  Have you completely crossed over to the bold side or do you still have a long lost love for these soft hued babies?  

Top: Bridesmaid Dress, Nail polish, bouquet

Middle: Invitation, macarons

Bottom: Eggshell votives, heels, Centerpieces




Succulent Inspiration

I've been coming across so many great uses for succulents lately.  They were a big trend last year, and are showing no signs of going anywhere.  From hanging terrariums to DIY wreaths and place card holders, these ideas go beyond the norm.  Will you be using succulents in your wedding decor?  How?

Top: Bouquet,  Centerpiece

Middle: Wreath, Favors, Cake

Bottom: Ornaments, Bridal dress, Place card holders




Banana + Mint Inspiration Board

Today I wanted to put a twist on traditional color combo, yellow and green.  By muting the usual tones to banana and mint shades, we end up with a look that is a bit retro, a little vintage, yet still a very modern via the unexpected usage, i.e. mint dishware, banana bound books, and a nontraditional bridal gown.  What do you think? Any other color combo's you'd like to see twisted?

Top: Bouquet and Books, Plate

Middle: Bedroom, Invitations

Bottom: Shoes, Bridal Dress, Typewriter

Joie de Vivre!



Nautical Inspiration Board

This weeks inspiration board is inspired by my husband and my close friends, Sloane and Samantha... Who, recently got engaged!  That's them in the pic. Aren't they a cute couple?! Both originally from Michigan, Sloane grew up sailing with his father on the great lake, while Samantha was raised in a small lake front town.  Their love for each other and the water blossomed when they moved across country to Laguna Beach, California.  There, Sloane lead all of us on fun sailboat excursions about the Pacific ocean.  Samantha and I had plenty of girl chats about how their "one-day" wedding would look, and there was no doubt it would have a nautical, yet elegant theme. As soon as I found out they were engaged, I was on the computer collecting inspiration.  I decided to put together this board dedicated to them and their sailing past.  Congratulations Sloane and Sam, this one's for you!

Top: Atlantic-Pacific, Eylander Photography, Style Me Pretty, Love and Lavendar

Middle: 100 Layer Cake, Troy Grover

Bottom: Style Me Pretty, Wedding Chicks



p.s. I just love the idea of mounting guest signed paddles in your living room :-)

Confetti + Sparkle Inspiration Board

With New Years Eve just a day away, I've got confetti and sparkle on the brain.  Sounds like a great wedding theme to me.  No not just your typical black, gold and silver color palette.  2012 is going to be a great year and, with a future so bright, we must have color... lots of color!  Nothing says happy like bright colorful confetti, and if there's one day to sparkle it's your wedding day.  What do you think... Does this board get you in the mood to party? Top: Glitter Guide, The Knotty Bride

Middle: Somewhere Splendid, Asos, Confetti Systems

Bottom: Modern Cupcake, Etsy

Happy New Year!