5 Tricks for Budgeting my Wedding

November 30, 2021  •  Leave a Comment

Sweet Beginning, Engagement, & Wedding Tips

A blog series to help every couple on their adventure to marriage.

By | Crystal Horton Photography

Peaceful moment in the parkPeaceful moment in the parkafter a wedding ceremony, the bride and groom pose by a brickwall, surrounded by leaves


Congratulations, You’re engaged. Excitement. Fear. Joy. All emotions hitting you at once. No worries, This whole things will be a fun roller coaster.

You are here because you want to do your wedding the correct way. The correct way is to keep a handle on your finance. Being blind to the cost of a wedding is one of the biggest reasons our countries divorce rate is so high. Yes I said the “D” word. But it’s a fact of the matter. I want to make sure you avoid any unneeded stress that comes with planning your wedding.

In news, books, and internet, marital surveys are gathered. You will read that finances are one of the leading cause of divorce.

My 5 tips summed up:

  • Know Actual Wedding Costs

  • Get a wedding loan or not

  • Tracking & Organizing

  • Time versus Money

  • Need versus Want


Groom waiting for the first lookGroom waiting for the first look

Actual Wedding Costs

Who reading this remembers the movies in school called ‘School House Rock’? What would they always say? “Knowledge is power.”

Knowledge of your wedding is the best power. Do you know what different aspects of a wedding can costs you? What can you splurge on? What can you save on? Let's find out.

Note, that these are not exact numbers. Different areas have different costs. And ultimately your decisions will result in different pricing points.

The biggest factor to these costs is your engagement length. The longer your engagement the easier it will be to pay for your dream wedding.

Now I'm not saying an engagement should last years. But, 18 months is a great number to work with. Vendors will still be available. And, plenty of time to budget your dream celebration.

reflection of the ceremony for a beautiful wedding momentreflection of the ceremony for a beautiful wedding moment

Estimated Wedding Item Costs for 2020

Wedding Bands/Rings $200-$3,000


Venue/Reception $3,000-$15,000

  • Table Settings

  • Venue Rental

  • Table/Chair Linens

  • Teardown/Cleanup


Food/Catering $20-$70/head

  • Wine, Beer, Liquor (Estimate 3 drinks per guest)

  • Centerpieces

  • Thank You treat/gifts (Estimate $3-$10/guest)


Ceremony $800-$2,000

  • Facility, Temple, Church, Synagogue, Ect

  • Decorations for Chuppah, Mandap, Alter, Chairs, Isle

  • Programs & directions

  • bubbles/rice/rose petals

  • Unity memorabilia


Stationary $200-$800

  • Postage

  • Save the Date

  • Invitations

  • Thank you cards


priceless and timeless makeup momentpriceless and timeless makeup moment

Hair & Makeup $200-$700


Florist $400-$3,000

  • Boutonnieres

  • Bouquets

  • Corsages


Rehearsal/Thank You Dinner $600-$3,000

  • Meal ($15-$35/head)

  • Maids/Groomsmen Gifts



Attire $600-$8,000

  • Tux/Suit Groom

  • Bridal Gown

  • Alterations

  • Veil/Hair Piece/Garters

  • Corset/Spanks/Bra

  • Crinoline (Underskirt)

  • Shoes


Cake $300-$2,000

  • Slice per guest ($2-$10/guest)

  • Cake Topper

  • Cutter & Server


Photographer $1,000-$10,000

  • Engagement Shoot

  • All day wedding photographer

  • All day photographer’s assistant

  • Prints or digital images

  • Wedding album

  • Wall art

  • Mother’s albums


DJ $500-$3,000

Up-lighting $300-$800

Videographer $600-$2,000

Ordained $0-$400

Wedding Planner $600-$5,000

Transportation $700-$3,000

Monetary tips for all professional $50-$100/professional

Don't feel like you have to get everything I listed. It's just a general check list that most of my weddings have.

Things that get forgotten are Rehearsal Dinner and Tipping the pros.


wedding reception hallwedding reception hall

First To Get a Loan or Not

I veto this idea. But I can see the perks. If you are good with finances, you can choose to. Many couples want a shorter engagement. Means less time to save and pay for your celebration. The quick solution; get a small, short term loan.

Remember that a loan, just like credit card, will have interest and you will be paying extra.

If you are considering this option here are some pros and cons to think about before you bring this up to your s.o.




  • Another form of debt on your credit

  • Starting marriage in debt

  • High interest rate depending on the office

  • Wedding may cost more than the loan amount

  • Regret when still paying for your wedding a year later

  • Can affect the chances of getting a home loan.



  • Get everything you desire for your wedding

  • raise your credit score

  • One single bill, rather than having seven bills for each vendor you hire

  • A year or more to pay off your wedding

  • Pay all your professionals upfront

  • No confusion with several late fees or missed payments

  • Less Stress when tracking and organizing and budgeting

  • All bills in one place


a gift from the bride for the groom, a pocket watcha gift from the bride for the groom, a pocket watch

Tracking and Organizing

This is my favorite tip. Being aware of what you have. Know what you need. Accountable for your wedding stuff. You will look like you know what you are doing. How to track your wedding:


  • Paper Planner

  • Or use a cell phone app

  • Wedding Email

  • Sign up for a free google or yahoo email.

  • Avoid WEDDING SPAM to your regular email.

  • Keep all wedding emails in one place.

  • Wedding Binder

  • Contracts at your fingertips

  • No contract and no receipts, no proof of purchase or accountability.

  • Accordion File

  • Old school but works with the limited contracts if you don't want a binder

  • Free Checking Account

  • Keep your wedding budget completely separate.

  • Don't spend your wedding budget on coffee.

  • Attend Bridal Expos

  • Find wedding pros. Get pricing. Get ideas.

  • Blogs/Magazines/Bridal Classes

  • Learn from other's experience.

  • Get great recommendations.


Dayton Art Institute Engagement session evening sunDayton Art Institute Engagement session evening sun

Time versus Money

convert these words into DIY or Buy. Not everyone is left brain. Some of us are more creative and can create amazing things with our hands. Warning, DIY can be more as expensive than buying it out right. And people with money, know that time is way more valuable than money.

Also, go down the rabbit hole and look up “pinterest fails”. It’s funny, but on a serious note, it’s so bad!

Here are some of your Pros and Cons on DIY or Buy:


Need versus Want

This is one of most difficult things you will do for your wedding. Deciding what you need versus what you want. One of the most important ways to stay within your budget.

Purchasing something you want or purchase something that you need.

Types of things a wedding typically Needs:


  • Food

  • Drinks

  • Entertainment (DJ/Band)

  • Attire

  • Venue


Types of things as a wedding Want:

  • Popcorn Machine

  • Candy Table

  • Alcohol

  • Elaborate Decorations

  • Bird/Butterfly Release


Peeking at the maids finishing their detailsPeeking at the maids finishing their details

Every couple is different and even each person in the relationship is different. While you think something is a need, someone else might see it as a want. Blurring that line is what will cause you to lose sight of your budget and ciaos will ensue quickly.

Tip: Every time you see a detail or item for your wedding ask yourself a questions. “Will my wedding still have meaning and be beautiful without this?”

Your wedding will be beautiful. Your celebration will be spectacular. Keep in mind the before the wedding and the after the wedding. You have been happy before your wedding. You will be happy after your wedding.


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If you are serious about the quality of your wedding photographs, send me your questions, or date. I only accept 30 weddings each year.

What makes me a different kind of wedding photographer? Let me share the intimate details of how losing my job in the middle of planning my wedding, defined me as a photographer. Focused on not just stunning images, but the experience of a lifetime for you.

You know 30 weddings a year is not many. But, that is because I give more than digital downloads. I deliver an unforgettable experience. Pick the perfect wedding photography package and experience from one of my specially designed packages. 



Crystal Horton Photography

1729 Red Clover Dr., Lebanon, Ohio 45036 


[email protected]

Captivating Wedding Photography in Dayton, Cincinnati, and Ohio Tristate




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