What are Common Wedding Expenses?

B. Miller

Common wedding expenses, for those who are choosing to host a formal wedding ceremony and reception in which guests are invited, include items such as a dress; tuxedos for the groom and groomsmen; a catering, alcohol, and cake budget; rental expenses for the ceremony and reception locations; flowers and decor, just to name a few. Each person's wedding expenses may be different depending on their preferences for the day, the amount they have chosen to budget for the wedding, and the number of guests at the wedding or people in the wedding party. It is best to make a list ahead of time of expected wedding costs, and then try to set budgets for each category and attempt to stay within those budgets to avoid spending too much on the wedding.

The cost of a reception is usually the largest part of a wedding's budget.
The cost of a reception is usually the largest part of a wedding's budget.

Some of the most common wedding expenses surround the bride, the groom, and the bridal party. Even in a very small wedding, most brides will want to purchase a new wedding dress, as well as any accessories such as shoes, jewelry, or a veil to go with the dress; a groom will generally need to rent or buy a new suit or tuxedo. Some brides may also pay to get their hair and makeup done for the big day. The bridal party may choose to pay for their own dresses and tuxes, though sometimes the bride and groom will chip in for that expense, or offer a gift to the bridal party.

Flowers can make up a large part of a wedding budget.
Flowers can make up a large part of a wedding budget.

Renting an area for the ceremony and reception is another one of the most common wedding expenses; some couples can save money by getting married in a place such as a state park or even a friend's home if the property is appropriate fopr the ceremony. The items for the big day such as tables, chairs, linens, and place settings may also be needed, in addition to decor such as centerpieces, flowers, lights, or candles, to name a few. Food and alcohol are the other two most common wedding expenses.

The costs of engagement and wedding rings can be considerable.
The costs of engagement and wedding rings can be considerable.

Generally, a meal is served at most weddings; sometimes, couples offer brunch instead, which can be less costly. In addition, a cash bar or a limited bar serving wine and beer can also be a way to save money, rather than hosting an open bar with more varieties of liquor, which can be quite expensive. These are some of the most common wedding expenses for a basic wedding; if a couple wants a more elaborate, formal affair, there will be more expenses to factor into the budget.

A close up of a wedding dress.
A close up of a wedding dress.
Tuxedo rentals may be part of a wedding's cost.
Tuxedo rentals may be part of a wedding's cost.
A wedding that's held overseas will usually cost more than one hosted locally.
A wedding that's held overseas will usually cost more than one hosted locally.
Manicures and other cosmetic services can add to a wedding's cost.
Manicures and other cosmetic services can add to a wedding's cost.
People should determine their priorities when planning a wedding on a budget.
People should determine their priorities when planning a wedding on a budget.
Wedding cakes can be simple or elaborate, and the cost will depend on the size and type selected.
Wedding cakes can be simple or elaborate, and the cost will depend on the size and type selected.
Churches often charge a rental fee for wedding ceremonies.
Churches often charge a rental fee for wedding ceremonies.
Married couples typically send out thank you notes following their wedding to attendees.
Married couples typically send out thank you notes following their wedding to attendees.
Outdoor weddings are usually less formal and expensive than a church ceremony.
Outdoor weddings are usually less formal and expensive than a church ceremony.
A person can use spreadsheets to track and categorize their wedding budgets.
A person can use spreadsheets to track and categorize their wedding budgets.

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Discussion Comments

anon338245

Catering is probably where most couples spend a great deal of their budget on. It is possible to find affordable wedding catering though - don't panic!

tigers88

Using a wedding planner can add an expense but they can also be instrumental in helping you find good deals on other things. The money you save is likely to be far greater than the money you paid for professional advice.

We worked with a wedding planner and they got us great deals on a reception hall, a dress, catering, everything. This is their job and if you make it clear to them at the start that you are looking for deals they will plan around that.

nextcorrea

It can be a sobering experience when you are planning a wedding and you start to see how much money things cost. You want to make it your dream day and then realize that that one day will cost you tens of thousands of dollars.

My only advice is to be reasonable, have realistic expectations and realize that all weddings are greater than the sum of their parts. Maybe you spend less on a dress or on a cake or on wine glasses. That doesn't mean they day will not be magical.

jonrss

I had a pretty minimal budget for my wedding so I wanted to spend money on the things I thought really mattered and do everything else on the cheap. And when I thought about what really mattered I decided that it was mostly about the reception. You needed free, booze, good food and great music with a place to dance. So that is what I spent my money on.

We wore clothes we already owned, held the ceremony in a friend's backyard and did minimal decorating. It was basically like a great BBQ that also had a wedding ceremony at the beginning of it.

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