An honest look at the average costs for a wedding with 120 guests.
The happiest day of your life should be a day you've always dreamt of, not a nightmare for your bank account. With many hidden fees, pricey trends and pressure to have a fun, Instagram-worthy celebration, your wedding budget can be especially tricky to manage.
One of the most common challenges couples face is budgeting, says Jamie Rapavy, wedding specialist at Columbus Bride & Groom. She suggests considering the importance of each aspect of your wedding, allocating your funds accordingly and leaving room for unexpected splurges, fees or ideas.
One of the bride's top priorities might be the dress, which can easily reach five figures ... though the average is about $1,500, says Ashley Stephan of Ashley Stephan Weddings & Events. But that's not a bride's only attire expense: Both planners agree that accessories—including shoes, veil, undergarments and jewelry—will cost about $500.
In contrast, you can budget about $150 to $200 for a suit or tuxedo, though Rapavy points out that you can bring that cost down if your groomsmen rent from the same shop.
Another top priority might be flowers and décor; depending on the season and your preferences, you can plan for around $2,500.
Reception venues can be tricky to estimate based on what's included in the total cost. An average rental might cost around $3,000, says Stephan, plus $50 to $70 a head for catering. And if you're at a venue that includes food, drinks, linens and the like in your quote, a safe budget would be $8,000 to $10,000. Regardless of what you pay, you should plan for the venue, food and drinks to take up about half of your total budget, says Stephan.
Factor in other vitals, like stationery, music, photography and an officiant, and you're looking at a final price tag of about $22,000 in Central Ohio, says Rapavy. Looking to bring that down? The No. 1 way to trim your expenses is by culling the guest list. Rapavy has another tip: Many couples today resell décor and other items after the big day to mitigate cost.