• Welcome teachers! Log in or Register Now for a free ProTeacher account!

Wedding Costs


Future Bride

My boyfriend and I have been talking seriously about marriage. We plan to be married in 2 years or less. I'm wondering how much weddings cost?
The kind of wedding I would like is the ceremony in our church chapel and the reception in our church fellowship hall. I know there's countless costs like wedding dress, rings, catering, photography, videography, ect. But on average how much would a church wedding cost? I want a nice wedding, but I don't want to go broke.
My cousin got married a few years ago, and I think my aunt told me that they spent around $10,000 for her wedding. I guess my boyfriend and I could take out a loan to pay for our wedding. Having a church wedding and inviting all my family is very important to me.


Senior Member
wedding costs

A lot of the cost depends on where you live. $10,000. is actually a very modest wedding in most places. I got married this past summer and paid a lot more than that. (unfortunately).
If you have friends and family who can do some of the tasks you might normally pay for, you can save that way.
There are several good bridal sites with a lot of information.
Check out theknot.com and Modernbride.com.
Best wishes :)


Senior Member
I think a wedding can cost as much or as little as you want it to. My wedding (if I had it today) would probably still cost less than 5K, but I didn't serve a meal, have dancing, or a seperate reception hall. We had a dessert reception at the church with a string quartet playing. Staying at the church for your reception should really help you keep the price down.

I had a friend who got married during a regular church service - sort of like a baptism - they just stood up at the end and got married. I also had a friend who got married at a church and then everyone changed clothes and went to a giant picnic reception. I've also had friends who did the whole shebang.

I'd sit down with your fiance and figure out what parts of the wedding and reception are important to you and then start pricing from there. For us, I wanted church, lots of music, flowers, professional pictures, cake and chocolate! Dh wanted me in a wedding gown and a formality to it. We simply eliminated the things that weren't important to us and came up with a wedding that was just what we wanted.


Junior Member
wedding budget

I just got married and I spent exactly 10,000 because that is what we budgeted for the wedding. We got married in a garden with a violinist. that cost about 700 for the hour. ( it was cheaper then our church which was about 900) Then our reception was at a winery in town, that was what cost the most with a sit down dinner and a 2 hour open bar it was about 6,500. That included all rentals, waiters, bartenders and everything like that. Then the rest was spent on the dress, the decorations, flowers, photographer, DJ, gifts for the wedding party, etc. It was BEAUTIFUL and my aunt who plans wedding for wealthy clients in San Diego said she has seen 100,000 weddings that weren't as nice. it is all about the creativity and the planning. I spent about a year planning mine and I LOVED every minute of it because i did what WE wanted not what my mom wanted or his dad or anyone else. Oh and I bought a lot of things on the internet like individual bottles of wine with custom labels for favors, etc. GOOD LUCK!


Senior Member
The cost depends on where you live. I'm planning a wedding right now in the South. I think things are cheaper here. We're getting married at the reception hall, so we don't have ceremony expenses. Our budget is $10,000. I would not take out a loan unless it's the only loan you have to pay. Once you live together, bills get tight and things can back up on you. Our reception hall is $4,600, my dress $1,000 (I have to have this dress), the DJ, Cake, security, alcohol is included in the reception hall. Flowers about $1,000 (no centerpieces, just bouquets and 2 altar arangements), $500 for a family friend photographer, about $1500 for our rings, $150 for make up and hair.

If you haven't visited theknot.com or weddingchannel.com, do it now. They have checklists and budget advice to help. There are also talk forums and you can talk with others in your area who are palnning weddings.


Full Member
whatever you want

Your wedding can cost whatever you want it to cost. It all depends on what you want. Ditto to the poster who mentioned eliminating what's not important to you. I am getting married in 2 weeks and have done my entire wedding for 10,000 or less because that's what I had the option of spending. If I didn't have that - we would've done it for 30.00 at the courthouse, or a couple hundred to go to Vegas, honestly. The wedding was not important to us at all - it's the marriage that we are excited about.

We are going on a cruise and the total package was 1500.00 - includes everything - photographer, flowers, etc. Of course, I spent more to make it a little nicer just because I did have the money.


Senior Member
Time of year

I got married in 2000. My wedding was a lot cheaper than anyone thought (me included). We got married in December and saved tons of money on decorations. It also depends on the location. Some places are more expensive to live in and thus weddings are more expensive.

In fact, the only decorations we bought for the church were poinsettias and those we got at cost from my cousin. We also were not charged to use the church as I am a member of the church.

We found a reception hall that charged us no fee to have it there (as long as we had a certain number of people) and would cater the event (too many steps to do it at my church hall). The gentleman that owned the restaurant wanted it to look a certain way so he included all the decorations there (table linens, centerpieces, table runners, punch fountain, etc) in the catering cost. It was beautiful.

The photographer was like $300, plus we could purchase negatives for $0.30 or something like that. Ours ended up being more expensive though because normally they take 150 or so shots and my photographer took over 250. :eek: I refused videography because it was traumatic enough having my picture taken. lol

Rings were actually really cheap. Mine was the most expensive at $99, but we didn't get anything super fancy.

We found a woman to make my dress. I got EXACTLY what I wanted. We bought the material (on sale) and she charged us $300 to make the dress.

The woman who made my cake was referred to us by the owner of the reception hall and she, in turn, referred us to the gentlemen wo did the flowers for the cake. We got the DJ through a friend.

Everyone had a good time. It's not how much money you spend.

One thing that saved us a lot of money (I think) is the absence of liquor at the reception. First, I was underage, so I didn't see any need for it. Plus, my family are not big drinkers. So no alcohol wasn't a big deal. We toasted with sparkling grape juice and from what I heard, everyone thought it was great.

Ask people you know that have gotten married who/what they would recommend (like you did here). It is amazing the deals you can find when ask around. Its what saved us.


Full Member

OH - Also - you can find GREAT stuff - and deals on ebay - I've seen my dress on there a lot lately. I got my ring bearer pillow and flower girl basket there.......we even got my fiance's ring there and it's beautiful. We saved tons of money that way!

Leslie G.


I agree with Giggles, e-bay is a wonderful place to save money on your wedding. I bought my flower girl's dress on e-bay and it was beautiful! I paid $50 for it (it was $150 at a wedding shop).

The things that will likely cost you the most are: food, the photographer, and your dress. You can serve things like veggie trays, sandwiches, meatballs, etc. if you want to save money on food. However, if you do a sit down dinner, it will probably put you in the thousands. Also, it is usually cheaper to get married in the fall, winter, or early spring. It will also make it easier to book a good photographer (people fight over them in the summer time.) :(

I was married in October of this year and I am loving it! In my opinion (for whatever it is worth), I feel that the wedding is just one day. I know that we dream about it all of our lives. I spent around five thousand on mine, and I was perfectly satisfied. There are so many little expenses that you may not expect when you get married and move out together. You may want to take out a loan for your wedding, but you may really need that money for the marriage. Anyway, good luck to you! I hope that your special day is everything that you want it to be! ;)



I think our wedding (in 2001) cost about $7,000. We had the reception at the church, and it was in the afternoon, so we didn't serve a full meal. My mom did the flowers, and we had other friends to do the food and stuff like that. You can keep costs pretty low, but I think that $10K is reasonable, unless you have a huge blowout of a wedding. My $7K doesn't include the rings, tuxes, etc. It only counts what my mom and dad spent (in-laws pretty much spent nothing).


Senior Member
Recent Bride

I was just married earilier this year and I remember trying to decide how elaborate the wedding should be. I am not an elaborate person, but it is soooo easy to get caught up and spend a fortune. One part of me wanted to take out a loan and have a wedding fit for TV because it is a once and a lifetime oppurtunity. The other side of me didn't want to be paying for one day for years to come. When it came down to it, I decided on a beautiful, but not elaborate, day. I found a caterer/restaurant that only charged for the number that were there as long as it was around the number given. (Which was a big money saver since there was a snow/ice storm the day of the wedding and only 1/3 of the guests made it!) We love our wedding, but we love our marriage more. We are taking out that loan but to add a beautiful deck to our new house, not to pay for the wedding.


Senior Member
I'm in the middle of planning my wedding right now. I'm getting married exactly 4 months from today:)

You can do as much or as little as you want with your wedding. You can keep within a budget and still have a very nice day (remember it's only one day). That being said, it's amazing how expensive things can be and how quickly everything adds up. It seems that everyday I think of one more thing I need to buy.

the biggest costs are: reception hall/catering (huge cost), flowers (can be expensive depending on what you do/how much you want), photography, wedding dress, rings.

If you want to have a church wedding and do a traditional reception with a dinner and dance, it might be difficult to stay within $10,000. I wanted to stay within that amount, but my reception is quickly adding up. REMEMBER too that all the vendors will add on sales tax and some add gratuity. The sales tax for my reception is going to be at least $1000. That's a lot that people don't consider when planning and budgeting. My photographer's sales and other cost (can't remember off hand what it was) is about $200.

I can't remember exactly what the average cost is per wedding, but I think it's somewhere around $15,000.

If you don't have to take out a loan, try and avoid that. Can either of your sets of parents help? Can you start saving now? My parents are paying for the reception (Thank goodness), and his parents are paying for the photographer and rehearsal dinner. This helps a lot.

It's probably a good idea to talk about what you want, discuss a budget (you can go online to www.theknot.com for any kind of wedding info), and then talk to your parents. My fiance and I were going to have a very small wedding (due to the cost of weddings), but everytime I imagined it in my head, I knew I didn't want that. I imagined having all my friends, family, and other important people there. Not just immediate family and very close friends.

Good luck!


Senior Member

I haven't gotten married yet but my sister did in 2002. Her wedding cost my parents around $70,000( my parents both have modest jobs...my mom is a special ed teacher, dad is a diesel mechanic). I don't want to sound like a spoiled brat (I promise I'm not..) but I didn't think it was possible to get married for less than $30,000. I have never heard of anyone getting married for $10,000. You must be very creative and budget well. Kudos to you all! I do admit my sister's wedding was magnificent and certain things were over the top. This is how the cost
is broken down:

Dress, Shoes, and veil and tiara: $3500
Photographer: $6000
Flowers: $9000
Band: $7000
The Reception Hall (also where the ceremony was): $30,000
My mom's dress and Dad's Tuxedo: $2100
My mom paid for the Bridal Party's hair, makeup, manicures
and pedicures, and my sister's Bridal Shower: Not sure of the total cost of that!

There were other things to that also added to the cost...the hotel rooms, the gift baskets for the hotel guests, the breakfast the next morning...
My poor father worked seven days a week (sometimes working double shifts) for an entire year straight just to pay for the wedding. My father insisted upon it though. I don't think my dad would have it any other way. My parents are the type that would never let me or my sister pay for anything ever. I admit, I have great parents...I'm lucky.


Full Member
I got married in 2004 in the suburbs of Chicago and our wedding was $20,000 and I was very "frugal" when it came to everything. My dress was designer and I only paid $650 for it!! I skimped on the things that weren't important to me (flowers) and paid more for things things that were (good music, open bar all night, etc). THat is the # that my parents gave me when we started planning (very generous, I know) and I didn't want to go above that, so I made sure I stuck to my budget.

I think you can make it anything you want. I have been to a $1,000 wedding and one that was probably close to $100,000 and I had a blast at both. The people and the couple make it a fun party, not the decorations, cake, etc.


Junior Member

oh my god that is CRAZY! Where do you live? I have never heard of anyone spending 30,000 on a reception hall...or 9,000 on flowers holy crap! Do your parents want to adopt me? lol


Senior Member
I'm baffled by the $70,000 too! Future Bride~trust me, you can do it for much less than that! I wouldn't want my parents to have to work 7 days and double shifts to pay for my wedding:)

I posted before, but here are some of my costs, and I think I'm definitely well within reasonable prices...

-pastor-$425 (can cut here if you know someone who can marry you. I couldn't as I'm Catholic and not getting married in the Catholic church...I only know priests)
-Dress-$600 (This is very reasonable and my dress is the traditional BEAUTIFUL wedding dress I've always wanted:)
-Veil, shoes, undergarments-about $200
-hairdo and make-up-$200 (Ok, I'm spending a lot on this, but I'm hiring a make-up artist who's expensive because I need her to cover up a few scars on my face from an accident I was in this summer)
-flowers-$530 (Found a great deal and a great florist)
-wedding favors-about $100-$150
-gifts for bridesmaids-about $200
-jewelry for bridesmaids-about $150
-Invitations-$125 (I made my own...much cheaper)
-programs-$25 making my own
-centerpieces at reception-mom and her friends are making these...probably about $150
-Reception Hall-here's the big cost...we have to spend a minimum of $5000...I'm guessing it to be about $8000 and for that it's a beautiful place (golf club). That includes the free beer, champagne toast, and cake.
-Miscellaneous (unity candle, guest book) and gifts for parents-$500
-Musicians for ceremony-friend is singing for free (will give her a gift certificate for about $50 and hiring two college musicians who we'll probably pay about $100 each or slightly more.
-rehearsal dinner-Maybe $300 or so. This will be catered at my parents' house which is much cheaper than a restuarant.

Anyway, I'm sure I'm forgetting a few things, but I feel that my wedding will be very reasonably priced. My costs probably fall into the average range.


Have FUN :-)

Think who you know...you may have relatives and friends who can loan you things or provide services to you..my cousin is a DJ (and a VERY good one at that), my mom did my flowers, I had all prerecorded choral and instrumental ceremony music (although not live, EXTREMELY beautiful!!) , my uncle videotaped. It helped a great deal.

We were engaged for 2 1/2 years before our wedding (two months ago :-) ) and that helped to SAVE like crazy, plan, and slowly collect and buy things so it wasn't one huge expense. We were lucky and had 1/2 of our expenses paid by our parents, however I know not everyone is that fortunate.

A previous poster mentioned theknot.com and that was a HUGE planning help for tips, ideas, and a general timetable.

Do plenty of research before you commit to one idea, place, or person. Look for bargins for things like table favors and centerpieces, etc. I found my curved glass candle holders for all my guests at Pier 1 on sale for $0.80 plus I got a discount for opening a charge account!! A similar item cost $4.50 at Target!!

It is just one day and it will pass in the blink of an eye!! After 2 1/2 years of planning and waiting and anticipation, it is done and over with!! It was the most beautiful, wonderful day ever and we have wonderful memories, but the rest of your new life together is the main idea and you have to keep that in mind when mothers and friends give their 2 cents and the whole hoopla of planning is going on around you!! Congratulations and enjoy every minute of your planning :-)

Mackenzie AK

Senior Member
Married in Alaska

I was married almost 4 years ago in what I considered to be a beautiful ceremony with a great reception. Our main goal was to ensure that we had a great time along with our guests. We were married at a Princess Hotel and had a huge reception (200+) with a smaller ceremony earlier in the evening at the hotel. We had an open bar for the entire night. Without our rings our families and us spent about $9000. Our hotel bill was the bulk of the bill. My dress was only $350 and I loved it. I wore a barrette and veil that my cousins had worn. Rings can be as much or as little as you want. My husband and I went the pricey route and my wedding set is worth about $11,000 and his around $2500.

It is your wedding do what makes YOU happy and comfortable


Senior Member
I was just married November 12. My parents (thank god for them!!) spent probably $40,000 for our wedding (we live in Los Angeles, CA) That is about average for this area. But there are ways to cut costs (I know that we could have shaved off some money too....this was the first wedding in the family and my mom went overboard!!)

DO NOT take out a loan. This is one day in your life. Your guests will not know if your wedding cost $5,000 or $50,000 if you spend wisely, do a lot of things on your own (computers make things look so nice now-a-days) and see what the people around you can do. You will be surprised at how generous with time and resources people you know and love will be once they are asked for help.

Also, check out weddingchannel.com. The message boards are filled with do-it-yourself brides and a million good ideas on how to save money. They really helped me out with planning.



Five years ago our wedding costs us $30,000 and the Hawaiian honeymoon $10,000 (plus spending money). But we're from Massachusetts where everything is expensive!


My Wedding ...

was 2 and a half years ago. We spent about $15,000. That was our budget so we had to make it work. I got my dress at David's because it's a dress I would only wear once. (I didn't have it tailored there, boy do they have a BAD reputation!) We got a package deal from the reception site which was excellent, excellent, excellent and had fantastic vendors. Included in that overall cost was the food, the cake, the DJ, the flowers, the limo, and the photographer if we wanted who they had which we didn't. Also, we got 40% off the total cost of the flowers, because my dad, who is retired and works part time for that same flower shop, had an employee discount. Also, I'm pretty simple - I didn't want these crazy bouquets - I wanted three simple roses, tied together with wine and silver ribbon and NO extras - so that also cut the cost tremendously. And they were beautiful. I didn't do chair covers, I didn't have a lot of fancy extras that are there for looks. But my wedding was very, very pretty. Everyone's wedding is different and what you end up with often depends on what you can afford. But know your budget and do your research. You don't have to have a wedding that looks like it's not expensive just because it's not.

One thing I would strongly suggest you not skimp on is your photographer. Your pictures are your memories.



Senior Member
I think around $10,000 is reasonable, depending on where you live and the time of day you have your wedding and reception. For example, it will cost more to have an evening wedding because you'll probably need to provide dinner than if you have an afternoon wedding where you don't have to serve an official meal.

I can't believe that someone spend $70,000! That's an insane amount of money - You could buy so much with that! I don't think it's worth going into debt over one day. Yes, it's your wedding, and yes, it only comes once, but be sensible and don't lose sight of what a wedding is really all about: you and your fiance.


Senior Member

Oh my goodness - I knew we were blessed with our wedding, but I had no idea how much until I read these posts! We had so many things given to us as wedding presents (like the pictures, cake, flowers, etc...) so that took the majority of the expense off of us. I bought a (gorgeous) gown for $500. on the clearance rack, and my mom spent $100. adding more beads and lace to it. We had our wedding at church, the reception in the fellowship hall (with food prepared by my mom and me), and spent WAY more on the honeymoon than the wedding itself. That's the way we wanted it. We spent a week in Gatlinburg and did everything we wanted to (snow skiied, shopped in the mall, ate expensive dinners, etc...) for a week. That was more important to us than the wedding itself. All in all we only spent about a few thousand on the wedding - but that was 14 years ago.

My advice is to see what's most important to you, and spend your money there - whether it be on the gown, food at reception, honeymoon, etc... There's nothing fun about going into debt when you first get married. Save the money now if you can. :)