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Example Wedding Budget – Real-Life Figures

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Amanda who is our founder of Married To Be, is sharing her wedding budget for when she got married.

She was a bride on a budget too and even she managed to blow it (several times!). She was wondering how she can help the brides who are having a wedding on a tight budget and are struggling.

She can’t claim to be an expert in having a wedding under $5,000 or even under $10,000. But she managed to have an amazing wedding with a full sit down meal and drinks for less than the $28,000 average cost of a wedding.

example wedding budget

$17,000 wedding budget

Today you are getting to check out the actual facts and figures that Amanda spent on her wedding day.

She ended up spending $17,000 on her wedding.  She also has to admit that her original wedding budget of $12,000 was unrealistic too.

She tracked her wedding budget using the beautiful little white book for her wedding planning.

Real wedding budget example

Amanda thought she would share the original amount she budgeted for her wedding, because it was a bit unrealistic. She wanted to include these amounts so she can explain why the amounts she budgeted were unrealistic.  

This might help you when you start drawing out a budget for yourself.

Amanda had put together a rough idea of what she expected to pay, and it came out at just shy of $12,000. The major things she under-budgeted for were food and alcohol. Getting that estimate right for 83 guests is a hard task to be fair.

Below is Amanda’s wedding budget where she shares her final costs and why they were different from her estimates in some cases.

  • Ceremony – including celebrant, was $500.
  • Reception – was the biggest chunk of the budget with food & drink coming in at over $7,000. She had a minimal venue hire cost, which helped keep the cost down. The wedding venue allowed her to BYOB for a $2 corkage fee, which saved her a lot of money.
  • Wedding photographer – for $1,650, which was great value for a wedding photographer.
  • Wedding dress – was bought at a sample sale and was half what I budgeted for at $945. So splashed out on a veil which was $270.
  • Bridesmaid dresses – came to nearly $300 on the budget, but that is a bit misleading. That was for patterns, fabric and notions. She was lucky enough to have her Maid of Honor’s mum make her dress. Her sister (another bridesmaid) got hers made by a dressmaker. They also wore their own shoes.
  • Suits – The boys hired their suits for a total of about $500.
  • Hair and makeup – was only budgeted to spend $200 but ended up spending $630 on a hair and makeup artist. But that included cuts and colours in the couple of months prior in this total.
  • Wedding rings – she really had no idea what to spend. Amanda’s now husband is a toolmaker/engineer by trade, and made his own with titanium (clever!). He spent $70 in materials (enough to make a lot more than one ring). Amanda’s ring was around $1,200, and she felt that was a good price, since she had to find a very specific shape to fit around her engagement ring.
  • Flowers – she spent around $600 on flowers. Amanda made her own wedding reception centerpieces which kept the cost down. This is something she would spend more money on if she did it again as they didn’t turn out like she wanted. She had estimated $500 for everything (bouquets, buttonholes, centerpieces), but spent the $600 for just bouquets and buttonholes. .
  • Entertainment– this was one of her priorities, and her and her partner had a specific singer in mind. He was available, and charged $1,000. Money well spent, guests danced all night and he was a true professional, able to read the crowd and play good music.
  • Stationery – her Maid of Honor designed her stationery as a gift, and so her costs of $750 were for printing, envelopes, postage and materials.
  • Transportation – was pretty affordable too, at $300 for the day. A couple of boxes of beers and petrol vouchers for our drivers.
  • Miscellaneous -she spent $500 on miscellaneous things like their marriage license, gifts for the bridal party, gifts for friends who helped set up, baking supplies for the wedding favors and family.
wedding budget sample template

Final thoughts

It’s essential to have a wedding budget. Even if you get it wrong (like Amanda did) – it helps to plan out how much things might cost. Even looking at the figures she had down in the estimate column – she can’t believe that it somehow added up to $11,960.

Ignoring your wedding budget early on is going to cause stress later on – when you realize you literally cannot feed your guests and have to uninvite people you’ve already invited.

Tracking what you’re spending and how much is left is important. Hopefully this real wedding budget example helps you when making your own.