The Cost of a Wedding – OUCH! | St. Simons Island Wedding Planner

The cost of a wedding can take a huge chunk out of anyone’s savings.  By planning your wedding yourself, you not only save money but, your wedding will have that personal touch that’s all your own.

Adding your own personal touch by creating your wedding favors and planning your reception can be very stressful, although very self satisfying.  If you are planning a low budget wedding, you will have much the same weddings costs as the higher dollar weddings, but you can save in each area to stay within your budget. 


The only way to avoid the expensive costs is to avoid having a formal wedding.  If you are paying for everything yourself, don’t put yourself in a position to begin your married life under a financial strain.  You may opt for a courthouse ceremony or an inexpensive elopement followed by a romantic dinner together.

If you feel you just cannot forego the formal ceremony of your dreams, and you are working with limited funds, save as much money as possible by using low budget wedding reception ideas like the ones suggested below: 

Your wedding reception – OUCH!

The cost of the reception is the most difficult to keep within your budget.  The best way to save money on the reception is to keep it small.  You should look for a reception location that’s free or low cost.

Ideas for free reception locations would be, a public park or beach, your home, or a friend or family member’s home. You may be able to get a low cost from your church’s reception hall or a local club’s meeting hall. Most places like these will have a kitchen area for preparing and serving the food.

Some restaurants may offer a private room for a small reception. They generally will offer a package which may include dinner or heavy orderve’s and limited beverages.  Check hotels for banquet or meeting rooms you could use, as well. Some hotels will rent the banquet room alone or with a reception package.  Another good idea is to get recommendations from friends and family.  Also, don’t forget to do searches on the internet.

As you are checking your options, be sure to make a list of all your findings. Keep up with the price, the services available, and packages available. This makes it so much easier to compare the areas where you will get the best savings and the most for your money.

You may be able to rent a low cost reception location then hire a caterer for the event. However, if you find a reception location that is more expensive, but they offer a reception package (catering), it just might be the better deal.  But you have to check it out.  Never just assume it is the best deal for you.

The biggest savings you can receive on a reception is to opt for a potluck reception.  Some of your guests may not mind at all if they are given the choice of bringing a dish of food to the reception in place of purchasing a wedding gift.  By choosing a potluck reception dinner, you will save tremendously on catering expenses….and your guests are usually more pleased with the menu choices. A potluck reception is by far your best low budget option and also saves the most money.


The potluck reception.

The potluck reception idea is a traditional way to celebrate and you just might enjoy pursuing it.  This is the #1 way to save the most money on a low budget wedding.  Most of the weddings today are very commercialized and most caterers offer very little in the way of low budget menus.  Your guests will be pleased with the delicious homemade dishes of a potluck reception.

The best way to approach a potluck reception to your guests is by calling it an “Old Time Traditional Wedding Celebration”.  A potluck dinner is perfectly suited for this type wedding theme and everyone will love it.  You might even decide on an “Old Time” theme for all your wedding decorations and favors.  Even a 50’s theme wedding fits in perfectly and is a popular theme.

Choose a traditional invitation and slip an added note inside to give your guests this option.   Your note could read something like this:

“Our wedding theme is an “Old Time Traditional Wedding Celebration” and in keeping with this theme, we have chosen to have a potluck dinner reception. 

 ____ Please check here if you would like to bring a potluck dish for the reception in place of a wedding gift. Please call with any dish suggestions.”

By having them call to get or offer dish suggestions, you have control over the menu.   No one is obligated to participate, but you will be surprised at how many guests will choose to bring a dish for the reception.  Most will purchase a nice dish for the food they bring and give the dish to you for your wedding gift.  Your guests will want to bring only their best recipes to your reception and will usually leave you the recipe!  How cool is that? 


The average wedding costs $23,657 (not including the engagement ring or the honeymoon).  Here’s where the money goes.

Item % Budget:
Reception 46% $10,120 $11,500 $13,800 $27,600
Photo/Video 12% $2,640 $3,000 $3,600 $7,200
Attire 10% $2,200 $2,500 $3,000 $6,000
Flowers/Décor 8% $1,760 $2,000 $2,400 $4,800
Music 6% $1,320 $1,500 $1,800 $3,600
Tips/Taxes/Overages 5% $1,100 $1,250 $1,500 $3,000
Ceremony 3% $660 $750 $900 $1,800
Stationery 3% $660 $750 $900 $1,800
Wedding Rings 3% $660 $750 $900 $1,800
Gifts 2% $440 $500 $600 $1,200
Transportation 2% $440 $500 $600 $1,200
Total   $22,000 $25,000 $30,000 $60,000


Source: The Knot

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2 thoughts on “The Cost of a Wedding – OUCH! | St. Simons Island Wedding Planner

  1. These are valuable information on wedding expenses. I agree that the average wedding cost is around 23k. I appreciate the pictures in this post and their accompanying costs. This makes planning easier. Thanks for the great information.

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