How Do I Know What to Budget?

“But I’ve never planned a wedding before. How do I know what to budget for everything?”

This is a question we hear often. The fact of the matter is, for most, this is the first time planning an event of this complexity. Most people don’t know what each service costs. We did a little research and it looks like, on average, couples in the Durham, CT area are spending about $50,144 on their wedding. Here is a breakdown by service. As you will see, catering and/or the wedding venue is just about half of the budget.

Note: This chart is based on the spending of other couples getting married, not wedding vendor prices.


If you’re experiencing sticker shock, don’t worry, you’re not the first one to do so. Weddings are not cheap, but we can use this guide to figure out the dollar amount you are likely to spend on your wedding based on your budget:

Attire & Accessories – 5%
Beauty & Spa – 1%
Entertainment – 8%
Flowers & Decorations – 5%
Gifts & Favors – 2%
Invitations – 2%
Jewelry – 13%
Photography & Video – 12%
Planner/Consultant – 5%
Venue/Catering/Rentals – 47%

If you don’t have a $50,000 wedding budget, take the number that you do have and use these percentages to create a spreadsheet for yourself. This will at least give you some idea about the dollar amount you should expect to pay for each service. This is just a guide, and of course, not an exact science. You may want to modify it a bit for your priorities. For example, if you have your heart set on the best wedding DJ, maybe increase that percentage a bit and take some off for, say flowers.

If you’re still unsure, call us! Our wedding planner will help you figure out how to get the best “bang for your buck” and can even save you some money along the way.

Happy planning!