Before any of the wedding planning begins, it’s time to sit down with your fiancé and discuss the budget. It’s important to consider how much money you have to spend on the entire budget and how much you should allocate to each part of the wedding. This will be helpful when you start booking your vendors and purchasing wedding items.

Consider this: In 2015, the average wedding in America cost $32,641. Of course, some couples spend much less than this, and others spend much more. The important thing to do is talk it over with your fiancé and determine not only what your comfortable contributing to your wedding, but also financially capable of spending. Avoid credit card debt or just debt in general! You should also consider timing of the payment of your wedding expenses.

Have more questions about your wedding budget or short-term financing options? Ask Menagerie’s virtual wedding assistant, Irene.

Once you decide on your budget, you need to figure out how to allocate costs to the various aspects of the wedding. Consider how the average couple allocates the funds for their wedding to help you:


The budget for the reception covers the majority of the budget. It includes food, beverages, venue rental, flowers, decorations, cake, entertainment and more. This takes about 45-50% of the budget. In 2015, spending on all reception categories have been on the rise. We break down these wedding categories below.

Photography and Videography

Most couples will hire a photographer to capture the day, but more and more couples are choosing to hire a videographer, as well. The budget will be impacted by whether or not a couple chooses to hire both a photographer and videographer or not. On average, couples tend to spend 10% of their budget on photography and/or videography.


Some couples choose to have music at their wedding or reception. They may hire a string quartet or harpist to play at the reception. Then, they may want a DJ or band to play at the reception. This can end up taking 5-10% of the budget.


The tuxedo rental, bridal gown, accessories, and other attire for the wedding day typically constitutes 5-10% of the entire wedding budget.

Wedding Planner or Coordinator

For couples that choose to hire a full service or partial wedding planner, they should allocate about 10-15% of their budget to cover the costs. Wedding coordinators typically account for 5-10% of the budget. If you’re wondering why wedding coordinators cost less than wedding planners, check out our post on The Different Between Wedding Planners and Wedding Coordinators.

Miscellaneous Purchase

Of course, there are other expenditures that need to be considered for a wedding, such as wedding favors or transportation. Most couples set aside about 10% of their budget to cover these extra expenses.

Extra Cushion

There may be areas of the budget that you would like to spend more money on in order to further personalize your wedding. Overall, spending on custom guest entertainment spending is on the rise; according to The Knot, spending on services such as cigar rolling stations, wine and liquor tastings, and live dance performers have nearly tripled from 11% to 36%. Or maybe you want to spend more money on the perfect venue or a designer gown. Couples should set aside an additional 10-15% of their budget that they can use how they please in the budget. It’s also common for couples to begin to exceed their budget in the final months with last-minute impulsive desires.


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