Putting a price tag on your dream wedding is no easy feat, especially if you’ve been dreaming of this day! That being said – it is extremely important to tackle your wedding budget with your partner before you can get started looking at vendors and signing contracts. 

The average cost of a US wedding for 2023 is projected to be $29,000. Weddings are expensive! But they are also a once-in-a-lifetime experience. It is important to sit down at the beginning of wedding planning and be honest about what makes the most sense for you. 

So keep reading, and take some notes on who to consider, balancing the budget, and planning for gratuities. 


Who is Contributing – Have realistic conversations with your significant other, family members, and anyone else involved. 

Your Guest Count – Be strategic! The cost of your wedding is primarily determined by your guest count. 

  • TIP: The average cost of a 150 person wedding is $31,000.

Your Non-negotiables – Prioritize what is most important to you and your significant other. You want the day to reflect you as a couple! Keep these in mind when reading out budget breakdown below. 

The Location and Regional Prices – Do your research and know the costs of professional services in your area, especially if it is a destination wedding!

Keeping Good Records – It is important to track your spending carefully to stay within budget. This will also help you manage your expectations as the planning progresses and those costs roll in. 



Keeping your priorities in mind, this is typically what we recommend for a wedding budget breakdown: 

  • Venue, Reception, & Catering = 48 – 50%
  • Photography & Videography = 10 – 12% 
  • Wedding Attire & Beauty = 10 – 12%
  • Music & Entertainment = 8 – 10%
    Florals, Decor, & Rentals = 8-10%
  • Invitations & Paper Goods = 2 – 3%
  • Wedding Rings = 2 – 3%
  • Ceremony & Officiant = 2 – 3% 
  • Other = 10%

Feel free to screenshot that or write it down in your notes – it can be helpful to have when evaluating estimates from vendors!

Remember, this is just a guide. Take this opportunity to consider what’s important to you so that you can budget those in the beginning and allocate funds accordingly. 

wedding photographer taking picture of a couple


Gratuities to vendors are an extremely important part of wedding budgeting that is often overlooked. Don’t forget to account for these amounts in your wedding budget:

  • Reception Site Staff: (Expected) 15-20% of contract + $200-300 for venue coordinator 
  • Delivery/Setup Staff: (Expected) $5-10 per person
  • Officiant: (Expected) $50-100
  • Hair/Makeup/Beauty: (Expected) 15-25% of contract
  • Transportation Driver: (Expected) 15-20% of contract
  • DJ/Band: (Optional, preferred) $50-150
  • Wedding Planner: (Optional) 10-20% of planning fee up to $500, or a nice gift
  • Photographer/Videographer: (Optional) $50-200 per vendor
  • Musicians: (Optional) $50-100