How to Budget For Your Big Day


Engaged couples underestimate how much they will spend on their wedding by about 40 percent. Those are some double-digit numbers. It’s a 200 billion dollar industry. 

According to WeddingWire research, one of the biggest pain points is understanding vendor pricing information. There are hidden costs and upcharges. For instance, if your wedding food stains the silverware you rented, you might be responsible for paying 7k to replace every fork. (Yes, that’s a thing that happened to a friend.) “Setting a budget is a critical first step in wedding planning, but today’s couples remain unclear on how it could -- and should -- all add up,” says Sonny Ganguly, CMO, WeddingWire.

WeddingWire’s Wedding Cost Guide’s category-specific pricing data includes the high, low and average range of what other real couples recently spent in their geographic area to help couples have a clearer understanding of what to expect to pay for a comprehensive set of wedding services. For example, if you have a larger bridal party, expect to shell out more when considering florals for each attendant (the average cost of a bridesmaids bouquet is $75).

On average, couples in the U.S. spend nearly $30,000 on wedding ceremony and reception costs, yet determining how to budget for the various vendors and services involved often feels like an overwhelming challenge.

So we’re breaking down some costs and solves. 


If you love the full, rich sound and abundant energy of live music, then hiring a wedding band to perform during your reception is an absolute must! While the average wedding band cost is $4,000, band prices for a wedding may vary widely depending on where and when your wedding is taking place, as well as a number of other factors like the number of musicians and length of time. In fact, the cost of a wedding band typically ranges from $2,500 to $6,000 in the U.S.

What makes it less expensive: A DJ. 

On average, hiring a DJ to play at your wedding tends to cost less than hiring a wedding band. Most couples in the U.S. spend between $450 to $2,000 on their wedding DJ. Remember though, that with a wedding band you are paying for multiple professional musicians to perform on your wedding day, while a wedding DJ is usually a single pro. While hiring a DJ for your wedding can be a more cost-effective option, many couples are spending more on their wedding DJ nowadays than in past years as they are devoting more of their wedding budget to their guests’ experience (a great DJ can read a crowd and ensure your dance floor packed all night long!).


You want the night to be memorable and you also want guests to walk away with a cute memory. People love a photo booth-- and the pics can double as a wedding favor. 

In total, wedding rental costs usually average out to about $650 with photo booth starting prices averaging $550.  Read reviews and find a rental company that has stellar customer service. This is your wedding after all. And remember: you will likely be renting your photo booth by the hour, so the more time you would like your photo booth to be present at your wedding, the higher your photo booth rental prices will be.

What makes it less expensive: You can opt to put throwaway cameras on tables and have guests shoot their own moments. But remember, you still have to pay for the cost of developing those cameras, which is about $20 dollars per roll. Depending on how many tables you have, the photo booth might end up being the better option, especially when you factor in quality control. 


Other event rentals you will likely need for your wedding including tables, chairs, dinnerware, and much more. On average, most couples in the U.S. spend between $400 to $1,000 on wedding rentals. You will need to think about the following rentals: 

Linens (tablecloths, napkins, chair covers, etc.)
Audio/visual equipment
Vases and other vessels

Consider that some venues include rentals like tables and chairs in the packages, but if you want your wedding to look a certain way-- you might have to bring in your own. 

What makes it less expensive: When you’re considering the venue, consider what their packages include. It might make the most economic sense to take all of their offerings into consideration so you can best budget for your big day. If they don’t have good chairs, it might not make sense. All details add up! Make sure you create an Excel doc for yourself and pop those numbers in. You don’t want to be surprised(!!) come the honeymoon at how much money you spent. 

For more information, and to find out what couples near you are spending on specific wedding services, visit