The Most Misunderstood Aspects of Wedding Budgeting


Getting married is a significant milestone. But it also has the potential to be a very expensive one. Research from The Ascent found that the average cost of a wedding was $30,000 in 2022. But your final tab may be much higher or considerably lower, depending on the choices you make.

Because getting married is such a huge financial undertaking, it’s important to come up with a budget for your big day. But here are some budget-related misconceptions that could throw your planning off-course.

1. The cost per guest at a given venue is the same no matter what

In the course of budgeting for a wedding, one of the things you’ll need to nail down first is your venue. And from there, you’ll probably be quoted a price per guest. But there may be different costs you’ll incur, depending on the add-ons you want.

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You may, for instance, be quoted $100 per head for a wedding featuring a cocktail hour, sit-down meal, and open bar. But if you want top-shelf liquor, the cost might rise to $120. And if you’re willing to stick to beer and wine only, you may be able to get your cost down to $95 per head. Get all of the details before you get too hung up on a single number.

2. Your wedding will cost the same amount of money within each given season

You may be aware that a wedding held in the spring or summer might cost more than a wintertime affair. But within each season, there may be a difference in cost depending on when you hold your big event. So definitely take the time to explore your options with each venue you talk to.

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Some venues, for example, offer up major savings if you hold your wedding on a Thursday night instead of a weekend. If you’re willing to compromise, you might spend thousands less.

3. Choosing an offbeat venue will save you a bundle

Maybe you’re willing to forgo a traditional wedding hall and instead get married in a rented barn. After all, there’s nothing like a nice, rustic atmosphere to make your big day memorable. In fact, you may even be willing to get married in your own backyard if it’s large enough. What it lacks in ambiance, it might make up for in character.

You might assume that these tactics will work wonders for your wedding budget and save you money. But you may be wrong.

Sometimes, renting an offbeat venue will end up costing just as much as paying for a hall when you account for the fact that wedding halls often have relationships with caterers and vendors that result in a discount for you. Plus, if you get married in a remote location, your vendors might charge you for their extra travel time.

Furthermore, while you may be inclined to assume that getting married in your own backyard is apt to be cheaper than renting a hall, it may not be so much cheaper. The reason? Wedding halls have tables, chairs, buffet stations, and other such fixtures you commonly see at an event. Chances are, you don’t have 74 chairs lying around at home. When you add up the cost of having to rent the equipment you need (not to mention a giant tent, since you can’t rule out rain), you may find that you’re not saving nearly as much as expected.

And keep in mind you’ll have multiple options for financing your wedding. You could choose to put the majority of costs on one of the best credit cards for weddings and take advantage of rewards points and intro financing deals. Or you could take out a wedding loan and pay the cost off in set payments over a designated time frame. Whichever route you take, it’s definitely a smart thing to set up a wedding budget in the course of your planning. But be sure to understand the nuances above so you can make smart financial decisions.

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