The Wedding Budget: All the dirty details.

Below are the promised details for my wedding budget that I posted on Tuesday:


  • Save the Dates: $0
    We plan to email a picture of us from our engagement shots holding a sign that says “Save the Date!” to all of our close friends and family.
  • Invitations: $300
    Our goal is to spend no more than $3 per invitation. We are planning to purchase 90 invitations for 150 guests. Recent Brides: How much did you spend per invitation?
  • Thank you cards: $85
    This budget actually may be free or significantly less because I have a lot of swagbucks Amazon giftcards I can use to buy thank you cards!
  • Stamps: $200
    We haven’t decided whether to do an invitation RSVP via letter, postcard or email, so that could factor the cost of stamps. We also aren’t sure how many gifts we will get, so this may be more or less than $200.  Recent Brides: How much did you spend on stamps?
  • Guest book: $15
    I have a clever idea for a guestbook, but I’m not ready to share this yet. :) Gotta keep some mystery!


  • Music: $0
    My cousin plays the violin and graciously has agreed to play during our ceremony. We will get him a gift, but that is included in the Gift category below.
  • Officiant: $0
    My uncle is a pastor and has graciously agreed to marry us. Same as above, we will get him a gift, but that’s included in the Gift category.
  • Decorations: $0
    The venue is so gorgeous that I don’t think we will need many ceremony decorations. However, these will be included in the decoration category below.
  • Rings: $350
    J and I agreed to buy each other’s wedding rings, so he has factored my ring into the groom’s budget using either his parent’s money or from his regular monthly paycheck.
  • Marriage License: $60
    Standard cost for NC, I think? I looked it up but haven’t done any more research.
  • Ceremony Location Fees; $0
    Don’t be fooled, this is not free, but included with the reception venue costs. Thankfully we chose a place where both ceremony and reception will be held! It will be a beautiful outdoor ceremony in a garden with an arbor.


  • Venue: $2825.50
    This cost includes: ceremony grounds, ceremony arbor, beautiful gardens, 200 chairs, 25 round tables, 6 rectangle tables, large party tent, use of groomsmen room and bridesmaid room before the wedding, and a kitchen. Recent Brides: I’ve been told this is a large amount, how much did you spend on your venue?
  • Food: $1,700
    This category may go up since food is sooo expensive. However, we have a family friend who has offered to gift us her catering skills and wait staff and we’d just pay for the price of the food: $1,600. The food will be just light hor’dourves since the wedding will be in the afternoon.
  • Drinks: $300
    Sadly, no alcohol will be served at our wedding. :( This is for a couple of reasons: the cost (so expensive!) and the venue requires a licensed bartender to serve it, which probably won’t happen. However, it is an afternoon wedding and all of my friends and family will understand so it isn’t a big deal.
  • Cake: $275
    I haven’t really looked into cakes yet; this category will go towards a fancy cake or just a table of delicious desserts.
  • Music: $0
    We are going to use our iPod to play songs, mostly old timey jazz. We aren’t sure whether we will have a “couple’s first dance” because we don’t want to mess up the music to play a song and don’t really want to put the money into a wedding DJ or a band. We will need to find some speakers, so there could be a cost in that.


  • Bouquets: $350
    Who knows who much flowers cost! I have yet to research good flowers for the season and cost.
  • *Reception Flowers: $500
    I really need to review the flowers and reception decoration costs. Our wedding will be in April and we have a gorgeous cherry blossom tree in our yard that we may use for a lot of the decorations.
  • Cake Table: $0
    We will put the bridesmaid bouquets around the cake.
  • Reception decorations: $50
    Ok this may be combined with the Reception Flowers section, but I also have some great DIY ideas up my sleeve for decorating. ;)


  • Engagement Photos: $0
    My sister will take these for free! However, I will probably give her a thank you gift using either the Gift category money or out of pocket.
  • Bridal Portraits: $0
    My sister will take these for free!
  • Wedding Photographer: 1,900
    This was the category that meant the very most to me, which is why it’s almost 20% of our wedding cost. However, I found a photographer who will cost $1,800 and she’s absolutely fabulous.
  • Videographer: $0
    We will see if we can borrow a video camera from a friend to film the wedding and reception.


  • Wedding Favors: $50
    I have a lovely little idea for the wedding favors but I’m not ready to share this yet. :)
  • Gifts for Bridesmaids: $250
    I have five bridesmaids, so $50 each is acceptable I think. My goal is to get them a $40 gift and then factor a few dollars for wrapping paper and cards.  Recent Brides: What did you give your bridesmaids as a gift? Did you give your Maid of Honor an extra gift?
  • Gifts for Groomsmen: $0
    J and his family are in charge of this!
  • Gifts for readers, shower hosts, etc.:  $200
    I already know of 10 friends and family members who are helping us in some way (hosting showers, in the ceremony, etc), so I think this category will have to increase as well. I will reevaluate in a little while. Recent Brides: How much did you end up spending on gifts for helpers/hosts?


  • Dress: $500
    I know what you girls are saying… but I am determined to find a dress for $500 or less!!!
  • Shoes: $50
    Since it’s an outdoor wedding, I’ll probably end up wearing flats or wedges.
  • Accessories: $50
    I am hoping to borrow a veil from a friend, so this category includes any make-up and jewelry.

Okay! That’s all. I promise not to talk about my wedding for a while. :) If you have planned a wedding or have any suggestions to any of my categories, please let me know!

*Instead of using a florist, consider delivered flowers from online.