Last week, Gainesville, FL wedding planner extraordinaire Melissa diStefano of MasterPiece Weddings wrote a relevant and funny letter "To the Parents of the Bride" on her blog, Adventures in Wedding Planning. In it, she breaks down your overall wedding budget into smaller percentages, and explains why each category is important. Spend a few minutes reading-- any wedding professional or bride-to-be (who is trying to explain to her parents why the wedding costs so much) will relate.
I am so excited your daughter (or son) is getting married! This is just
such a fantastic time in your family's lives! Along with this joy comes
the over-whelming feeling of -ACK! We have to plan a wedding! And those
things are expensive. I know that weddings seem like an astronomical
expense and it’s hard to fathom spending that kind of money on a party.
But let’s talk about where that money typically goes so that you can
get a good feel for how much things cost and why.
Because frankly, I don’t think that the bride wants the local grocery store to do her flowers, or Cousin Marvin with a really nice camera to take her pictures. I like to say that there are 5 F’s to a wedding: Food, Flowers, Foto’s, Fashion and Fun. Those are the biggies, and after that, everything else is cake. (Pun is intended).
Food: Food costs are typically 50% of your budget, that’s what you eat and where you are eating it. So if you your budget is $30,000, that’s $15,000 for food and venue.
Are you with me so far?
Flowers: This amount absolutely depends on both the total budget and what the bride wants. Some brides want a TON of flowers, others really don’t care for them, or their venue is a garden then you really don’t need them. But typically the flowers are about 10% to 15% of the total budget. So going back to the $30,000, that’s between $3,000 and $4500. Keeping in mind that this accounts for all the bouquets, corsages, and centerpieces.
Still with me?
Foto’s: I know its spelled wrong, but it goes with the 5 F’s, so deal with it. This is a hard area to comprehend. Good photography is expensive. Professional Photography is not expensive it’s priceless! I personally didn’t have a professional photographer and look what I ended up with. But anyway, back to what I was saying. You can hire a photographer for $1500, but what you may end up getting, grainy images, out of focus, no album (and really, why would you want one with a bunch of crappy pictures of their wedding) and I am not saying that all $1500 photographers are bad, but buyer beware.
Photography, good, Professional Photography should start about $3000-$3500 (and could go up to more than $5500). And you will have amazing images. Depending on your area of the country photography could start higher or lower. Photography should be 15%-20% of your budget.
Fashion: This is for the dress, what the bride wears, since typically the grooms tux is complimentary from your Tuxedo Boutique. The Brides dress is usually 5%-10% of the budget.
Are you still there?
Fun: This would be the entertainment, and this would also typically take 2-5% of the budget. The band or DJ would come out of this percentage. Depending on your area, a DJ on average is about $100+ per hour per person attending the job, so if you have 2 DJ’s then the price would typically be $175-$200 per hour.
And really, the rest is cake, and some miscellaneous items, invitations, a wedding planner…really an extra 20%-25% of miscellaneous stuff.
Okay, so that’s more than 100% but you get the point. I hope this makes more sense to you, I know that planning a party for 200 of your closest friends and family is not something you do every day.
Trust me, I know that. And if you need help planning, a professional wedding planner is a good idea. We can at least get you started on the hard stuff, go over contracts, make sure you aren’t making any decisions you’d regret.
Let us help you. Really it’s okay.
With love! And Happy Planning!