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To offer our brides-to-be a lay of the land on wedding planning and budgeting, we’ve created a three-part series filled with helpful information to make your experience more enjoyable. In Part II, we explore the possibilities of wedding planning under $30,000 – let’s see what you can do with this budget! Click on the link below for Part I and be on the lookout for Part III on more extravagant wedding planning tips, coming soon!
Read More: How to Plan the Wedding of your Dreams, Part I: Under $10,000

Wedding Planning Tips for a Medium-Sized Budget

The average cost of a wedding as of 2019 is around $30,000, which sounds like a lot, but when you break down all the expenses involved in planning a wedding, it actually falls within the mid-size range.

While a $30,000 budget can get you a lot, it also means holding back just a bit to avoid going completely over the top (not that there’s anything wrong with that!) and blowing your budget.

To help you balance the two, here are some tips for planning the wedding of your dreams without going over budget.

Sample Budget – What $30,000 Can Get You

If you are unsure of how much you should be spending on different areas of your wedding, here is an approximate budget breakdown for a wedding with 100 guests and a $30,000 budget.

  • Venue (all-inclusive with open bar): $17,000
  • Flowers & Décor: $2,500
  • Photo & Video: $3,600
  • Dress and Accessories: $2,500
  • Hair and Makeup for Bride and Bridal Party: $500
  • Cake and Desserts: $500
  • Music: $1,200
  • Day of Coordinator: $500
  • Other Costs (Officiant, bridal party gifts, groom’s attire, etc.) $2,000

Areas You Can Splurge On

Having a healthy budget means you don’t have to cut corners when it comes to big picture items. So, try to focus most of your budget on the following areas.

Venue

Your wedding venue is one of the most important – and expensive – details of your wedding. It sets the tone for your entire wedding and often dictates décor, food, and so many other elements of your wedding. So, if you can afford to pay top dollar for a venue, go for it.

Most dedicated wedding venues are all-inclusive, which means the cost of renting the venue includes food, service staff, tables and chairs, alcohol for the bar, and sometimes even a day of coordinator. In other words, it’s usually worth spending a bit more money for a beautiful, well-rounded venue that will save you from spending extra time and money on other areas of your wedding

Dress and Accessories

While it’s true that you don’t have to spend a small fortune to look beautiful on your wedding day, it’s also important to remember that this is your special day and you deserve to treat yourself.

When shopping for dresses, don’t focus solely on the price tag. Set your sights on a gorgeous gown that makes you feel like the most beautiful version of yourself.

This also applies to accessories. The right veil, jewelry, headpiece, or other accessories can completely transform the look of your dress. So, don’t be afraid to spend a bit more to find the perfect accents to compliment your bridal look.

Food

The one thing people often remember most about a wedding is the food, so get creative and plan an amazing meal that your guests will be talking about even after the car ride home.

If your venue does not have its own on-site chefs, you’ll have the freedom to shop around and find your own outside caterer.

When planning out your menu, think about what kinds of foods you and your future spouse really love and care about that others will love as well.

Also be sure to take into consideration your guests’ dietary restrictions.

Open Bar

While a cash bar is a great way to save a huge amount of money, asking your guests to pay for cocktails, wine, and even non-alcoholic drinks often leaves a bad taste in people’s mouths and can cloud their perception of your special day.

So, if you can afford to do so, splurging for an open bar is a great way to show your appreciation for your guests who have come together to celebrate your love.

Also consider creating your own signature cocktail for the bartender to serve guests to help personalize your wedding.

Photography and Videography

Your wedding photos and video are one of the few tangible things you will be able to take away from your wedding to look back on.

As your memories start to fade, you can look back on your photos and re-live how you felt on that most special day.

Therefore, it’s important to invest in an experienced, professional photographer and videographer who will help you preserve all the little details of your big day for years to come.

Day of Coordinator

If you plan on having a big wedding with lots of guests and things going on, you may want to splurge on a wedding coordinator to help move things along and make sure everything runs smoothly during your wedding.

Unlike a planner that helps plan out your big day, a coordinator is someone who handles the logistical side of things on your actual wedding day and helps you get organized and iron out certain details during the lead up to the big day.

Areas Where You Can Cut Costs

With most of your budget tied up in the big-picture items, you will likely need to find ways to save when it comes to the small stuff. Here are some recommendations for areas you can cut back on.

Invitations

Custom designed invitations and save the dates look beautiful and can be a wonderful keepsake to have, but at the end of the day, most of them will end up in the trash.

Plus, the process of stuffing and stamping 100+ envelopes and having them mailed can be a major, unnecessary pain.

Instead, save both time and money by using a digital invite service such as Paperless Post that lets you choose from hundreds of beautiful designs and customize your own digital invitations and send them out to your guests via email.

Your Date

While having a June wedding may be your dream, it’s important to note that it’s also one of the most expensive times to get married.

Read More: Setting the Date!

Between May and October are considered peak season for weddings, and venues will often charge significantly more for Saturday weddings during this period.

So, if you find that your budget has become a bit tight, consider choosing a date during the off-season if you are planning an indoor affair.

But if you are set on having a wedding during peak season, think about having your wedding on a Friday or a Sunday to save on venue costs.

Flowers and Decorations

While everyone wants to create a beautiful ambiance at their wedding, the truth is that an abundance of flowers and decor are not something most guests tend to remember.

Plus, flowers can set you back thousands of dollars that could be better spent on more important things.

Now, this doesn’t mean you have to forgo flowers altogether. Instead of filling your ceremony and reception site with an abundance of flowers, focus on having them for certain elements that are most important to you, such as a ceremony arch, bouquets, and simple centrepieces. Or, consider using high-quality silk flowers.

Guest List

One of the reasons weddings tend to set you back so much money is the fact that you need to pay to feed, seat, and entertain all your guests. And when your guest count reaches 100 people or more, the costs are often astronomical.

To avoid having to make too many cutbacks and sacrifice your vision for your wedding in order to stay within budget, consider keeping your guest list on the lower side – 100 people or less.

Honeymoon

There’s nothing more romantic than being whisked off to an amazing destination immediately after your wedding to bask in the glow of newlywed bliss. But after spending tens of thousands of dollars on your wedding, spending even more on a honeymoon can be difficult to swing.

For this reason, more and more couples are opting to delay their honeymoon for a few months until after they have settled into married life and can afford to jet off on vacation.

An added benefit to this is that you get to avoid the stress of planning and preparing for a trip on top of all the craziness of wedding planning.

Favours

While favours are cute and a great way to personalize your wedding, most guests will overlook them and forget to bring them home at the end of the evening, resulting in wasted time and money on your part. Instead, focus on providing your guests with a fantastic experience that is so memorable, they won’t even miss the monogrammed candy, bottle opener, or other trinket by the end of the night.

As the cost of a wedding continues to rise, having a medium-sized budget can feel limiting, but it doesn’t have to be.

When planning your wedding, regardless of budget, always remember to think about the big picture and try not to stress about the little things.

Focus on planning an amazing event, enjoying every moment, and soaking it all in. Because at the end of the day, neither you nor your guests will be thinking about all the little extravagant details. All you will remember is how happy you and your spouse were, and how much fun you had along the way.