There are many many options when it comes to planning a wedding. Some of them you will need, others you will want and some you simply can not afford. Every couple’s needs and wants are different. As are their priorities. I’ve talked before about how to create a realistic wedding budget and how many factors will influence your specific costs and the specific wedding-related products and services you include in your plans. Regardless of these, every couple will have a wedding budget. 

What is a wedding budget? 

A wedding budget is a study of the range of what wedding products and services cost in your area, balanced against your tastes, inspirations and fantasies. Factored by the number of guests you choose to invite.

A budget is: 

  • €/$1 Million
  • €/$50,000
  • €/$25,000
  • €/$7,500
  • €/$3,000

A budget is not: 

  • … is not throwing a dart at a target.
  • … budget is not the total amount in the parent’s bank account or your bank account.
  • … budget is not what one or more girlfriends spent on their wedding.
  • … is not necessarily what you see on Don’t Tell the Bride, Four Weddings, Platinum Weddings or Get Married TV/ Insert your favourite wedding TV show here (those are inspirations). 

A budget does not necessarily mean low budget. A budget can be…

  • A specific dollar amount or less
  • A specific dollar amount or more
  • A range from €/$X to €/$Y (this is the preferred budget)

It is very important to know/ acknowledge that a line item on a budget is not…  

  • “I only have €/$750 left for videography. Will you take that?” – this is a wish list. 
  • “Oh, my third cousin, Oscar, is going to take the photos.” – unless Oscar is a Professional Wedding Photographer this is a mistake. 

Over the course of my career as a Wedding Planner, I’ve worked with many different sizes and shapes of wedding budgets. From budgets from €/$2,000 to €/$250,000 there are common themes and challenges every couple face. 

  • Every couple has priorities 
  • Every couple make sacrifices
  • Every couple has limitations 
  • Every couple is looking for a good deal 
  • Every couple forgets that wedding suppliers and professionals are in this to make money and a living [morgages can’t be paid with discounts]
  • Good products and services cost good money 

So what does an actual wedding budget look like? 

There are potentially over 105 line items on a wedding budget.

Straight away, through priorities/ choices/ no. of guests and a whole host of other reasons you will eliminate some or a large portion of these options, but they are available to you to consider and research.

Below is a wedding budget compiled and used by a client of mine over the past 13 years. Identifying factors have been removed but for the purpose of comparison to your own potential wedding I can tell you: 

  • This is a heterosexual couple. 
  • Married on a weekend date in Summer in a high-end exclusive wedding venue in Ireland.  
  • Had a total of 6 members in their wedding party. [Not including themselves] 
  • 157 guests attended their ceremony, reception and an additional 22 joined them in the evening. 

Click the link below to view their wedding budget

Sample Budget

How do you feel about your wedding budget? 

This sample budget is clearly one from a couple with an above average wedding budget. They made choices to spend big in some expensive areas. They chose a lot of extras many might not have. But it is a good example of the range of different wedding related products and services a couple has to chose from. 

The majority of couples in Ireland spend somewhere between €20,000 – €25,000 on their wedding and have approximately 150 guests, spending about €9000 on their reception. I deliberately did not share an ‘average budget’ with you – because in all honesty an ‘average budget’ does not really exist. A budget is determined by a host of factors and looking at an average budget will only frustrate you when you come to price your own decisions and priorities; because they will most likely, be different to the ‘average imaginary person’ used to create many of the ones you’ll find online. 

Having looked at the above sample budget when areas or line items surprised you the most? What is your biggest budgetary challenge? 

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