Wedding Budget & Finance & Cost, Oh My!

November 30, 2021  •  Leave a Comment

How to have a Smooth Wedding Day Series

Wedding Budget & Finance & Cost, Oh My!

Focused on the bridal bouquetFocused on the bridal bouquetWedding gown is in the background of this wedding bouquet that has sunglowers, gerber daisys, and greenery through out


Have you been to a wedding? Ever helped a couple plan? Did you ever hear any talk of the cost?

If you have ever experienced a wedding, you know weddings are not cheep. And the cost of these weddings, is for a good reason. Fact is, quality and experience doesn't come cheep. And, gambling the value of a wedding vendor or detail is a high risk decision.


There are so many little things that go into a wedding. You have to choose vendors like a reception location, a planner, a dj and so forth. What you don't realize is you have to calculate the small things. Do you need lunch the day of? Are you getting bridal party gifts? Is there a special decor or moment that you need extra equipment for?


If you have never viewed real numbers for a wedding, you are about to have a giant shell shock. Again, not every person will pay the same amount for certain aspects of their wedding. But this should give you a general idea of where you want to divide your dollars. You may decide to trim the guest list, and up the quality of the photographer. I say that's a good choice! Haha.


The real numbers


According to online statistics by



2017 average wedding costs were around $27,000.

Then in 2018, the average jumped to $44,000.

Did you gasp for air reading that? Remember, these numbers include both low income weddings and the Hollywood lavish parties.

I was only a little shocked at the number, but also not surprised. Weddings are an important aspect to a couple. Its one of the largest celebrations a couple get's to experience.


Don't worry yourself too much. This should be more of an eye opener. Give you a good estimate of what you want and or what you can expect for your dream wedding. Doesn't every couple deserve the wedding of their dreams?


Knowledge is power


Knowing what you are getting into is the smart move. Knowing what you plan on spending, or what you need to spend is great! And, be sure to talk to your fiance about the wedding finance. They may have a different number in mind. It is healthy for your relationship. You should compromise because this is a wedding for you both.


Why a Budget is Healthy & Smart


Some individuals think they don't need to talk about where their money is going. They assume it's their hard earned dollar they should get to choose. To a point that is true, but you are about to go into a partnership. Keeping secrets is disaster waiting to unveil. Over spending and the stress of how to pay is not a good way to start a marriage. As the saying goes, to decide not to decide is to decide. But since you are here, that doesn't apply to you.


But why should I care about my wedding budget?


  • It Empowers you to know what is good quality versus cheap. If a photographer is only $1000, versus another who is $3000, you might wonder why. Why is one only charging $1000? Do they have insurance? Do they have quality equipment? Will they still be in business when your wedding arrives, or will they claim bankruptcy. (Update: as of August 2019, this is a sad popular truth for the Dayton, Ohio area. A few photographers have claimed bankruptcy. And!!! They did not have to deliver photographs captured from the weddings.)


  • Keeps you mindful of what you can afford. No one wants to say, ' you mean i could have purchased the pair of jimmy choo shoes?!' or ' we could have added an extra wall canvas for our home?!'


  • Assists with deciding which aspects of your event are most important. wouldn't it be great if you had an extra few hundred to add white glove dinner service for your guests?! Personal tip here; it adds a much higher experience for you and your guests.


  • Prepares you for any unexpected life, or wedding, hiccups (unemployment/unresponsive vendors). Unemployment was a sad reality for myself. I was lucky because my husband and I were very finance aware. Loosing my job only changed a few decisions.


  • Eliminates stress that comes with sticker shock after meeting a vendor you love.


  • Prepares you for interviewing professional vendors and venues. you won't book a vendor that you can't afford.


  • But Most of all….. It prevents you and your future husband or wife from getting into a very large argument. You don't want to debate about what you want, don’t want, or where your money is being spent at a vendor meeting.


What the Cost of a Wedding looks like.


I know this is not for every single person because. We are all different. We all put different values on different aspects. Someone may value a Beanie Baby while someone else will value a Postal Stamp.


These numbers are to give you an idea. Help you get a base of where you should aim for, to save for, or where you desire to spend your hard-earned dollar.


If you have already made a wedding list, you already know what you value the most. Those are going to be the things that you will want to hire the top notch quality for.


Don't have a wedding list? Follow this link. It will help you design the perfect wedding.


Want a super quick answer? Most people, in Ohio, spend the most money on reception hall, Photographer, or Honeymoon.


TIP & TRICK: Time Vs Money.

Want to save extra cash? Are you a crafty person? Save a few hundred dollars on your bouquet. Make a forever keepsake. Even package your own thank you treats. Borrow a slip for under your dress. Have the groom/men buy a new suit. For the rehearsal consider going back to a house and enjoying a fun backyard grill out. 


DON'T skimp on your photographer or reception hall. I'm not just saying this because it's my opinion. I'm saying this from experience. Photos are the last thing you will ever have from your wedding. And Reception hall is huge. Guests will spend almost all day there. My example: I photographed a wedding at a pole barn. Couple was told a year before there would be AC. Arrive day of, the only "AC" was two giant cow fans blowing air around. Everyone was melting.


The Average Couple's Budget List


Below is an average cost of what couples will spend on each item. According to the their national survey found that: The average wedding cost for 2018 was: 33,931

The values broken by category are as follows.


Reception Venue: $15,439

Photographer: $2,679

Wedding/Event Planner: $2,002

Reception Band: $4,247

Reception DJ: $1,292

Florist/Décor: $2,411

Videographer: $2,021

Wedding Dress: $1,631

Groom Attire: $283

Wedding Cake: $528

Ceremony Venue: $2,382

Ceremony Musicians: $797

Officiant: $286

Catering (price per person): $70

Transportation: $856

Favors: $245

Rehearsal Dinner: $1,297

Engagement Ring: $5,680

Invitations: $386

Hairstylist: $123

Makeup Artist: $102


BUT....What about my Budget?


I don't know. What is your budget? This is hard for anyone to say what you can or can’t afford.

And I'm not going to throw a number at you. But, lets think of a few points that could help.


  • What's the Length of your Engagement?


  • Monthly Income (per person vs couple)?


  • Expected Monthly Bills?


  • Number of Guests?


An Actual Bride's numbers!


To give you an idea of what to expect, I’m going to use one of my very best girl friends who recently married. I’m going to call her MB. She is down to earth. Has a great full time job. Her fiancé has a very promising full time job in the finance world and they have been engaged for over 12 months. They selected an October wedding date. They are also doing a merged religious wedding with modern touches.


Here is what she had to say:

“We (her and groom) talked about what the max we could/would spend. Came up with a guest list and then found a venue to hold that many. Then we said from there, we have an upscale venue, so we need good quality in everything else. We also picked photography as a priority expense, so we have quality, timeless, memories. If catering wasn't included, we would have picked that as our second priority. That will be experiences for the guests.”


So here is their original list and budget break down:

  • Overall Budget $10,000-15,000

  • Venue $10,000 (includes catering and bar)

  • Photographer $3,500

  • Dress $700-$1,000

  • Decorations (centerpiece vases for fresh flowers) - $240

  • DJ $1,000

  • Flowers $500-$700

  • Cake $500

What number looks nicer? $15,000 or $1,205?

Wait 1250? where did that number come from? Break down the 15k by 12 months and you get a monthly budget of $1,250.


Now that is a number almost anyone can handle. Also having 12 months to plan is a huge help! Giving yourself 12 months to budget means you can afford a nicer quality wedding. That in the end means, you will have nicer photos, and better memories for you to look back upon.


No one wants to say, 'wow look at this crummy photo.' or 'Ugh, look at the flowers and center piece, I wish we would have...'


TIP & TRICK: Work backwards.

Still don’t know what your budget should be, work backwards! Decide what your flexible income is a month and multiply that by the number of months you wish to be engaged. The average is 12-17 months. Here are a few written out examples to make calculations easier.


$500 x 8mo = $4,000     |     $800 x 8mo = $6,400        |    $1,400 x 8mo = $11,200


$500 x 12mo = $6,000     |     $800 x 12mo = $9,600     |     $1,400 x 12mo = $16,800


$500 x 15mo = $7,500     |     $800 x 15mo = $12,000     |    $1,400 x 15mo = $21,000


$500 x 18mo = $9,000     |     $800 x 18mo = $14,400     |    $1,400 x 18mo = $25,200


In the end....


Remember one thing. This is a very special celebration in your life. This specific celebration, with this person, will only happen once. You will be sharing these memories for a lifetime.


Don’t break the bank.

Nothing beats a good quality.

When it comes to your wedding and it’s photographic memories, don't go cheap, search for quality.


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I’m love capturing precious moments from my client's wedding photographs. I also love learning and sharing knowledge and experience. I'm always interviewing actual brides and professionals.

Remember you deserve the best photos. And, you deserve the best upto date knowledge.

Be confident in your wedding decisions and you will never regret anything.


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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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