How much does a wedding cost is one of the most frequent questions clients ask. Unfortunately, we do not have a concrete answer to this question. The answer varies based on many factors, such as location, wedding vision, and venue, to name a few. The most desired wedding inspirations seen on Pinterest, Instagram, and in magazines come with a price tag. Guest count, location, season, day of the week, and even the time of day can make a difference of thousands of dollars. The best way to determine a realistic wedding budget is to consult an experienced wedding planner.

Can I be candid? You cannot have 100 guests and expect to only spend $20,000…that is not happening, especially in the DMV area. But don’t worry, we’re here to help! Here are some things to consider when determining a realistic wedding budget.

1. Who is Contributing?

Perhaps it’s just you and your fiancé. Or maybe your parents or other family members want to contribute. Try to figure out how much each party is willing to spend, or what particular aspect of the wedding they’d like to take care of. (For example, maybe Grandma has her heart set on buying you a wedding dress.)

2. Your Own Contribution

Determine how much you and your fiancé can realistically and comfortably afford to spend given all the real-life expenses you have to cover. Make sure you are being honest with yourselves. The wedding will come and go in a matter of hours but your marriage needs to stand the test of time.

3. Guest Count

Now that you have created your budget, it’s time to create your guest list. Make sure to create an A, B, and C list! You will be tempted to invite so many people but remember, everyone has a price tag.

4. Create Your Must-Have List

You and your fiancé will probably have different opinions on what is “worth” splurging on! Your fiancé may want an open bar, but you’d prefer to just serve beer and wine! Make sure you are open and honest while having this conversation, we want you both to be happy and choose the items that will put a smile on both of your faces.

TIP: Choose the open bar, lol!

5. Research, Research, Research

There are a lot of costs, both known and hidden, that you’ll have to consider before nailing down your “actual” wedding budget, so please educate yourself on the hidden costs. For example, you often can’t just buy the wedding cake; you’re required to pay a cutting fee. And you don’t pay just the venue rental fee; there may also be setup and breakdown charges (service fee) included in the fine print.

6. Be Flexible

If you spend less than you budgeted for in a certain area, feel free to reallocate those funds toward another area of the wedding. If you spend more than you planned for, know that you might have to adjust and reduce your budget in other areas to accommodate those expenses.

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