So you’re engaged. You picked a date and are beaming with glee about your upcoming nuptials. You’re culling through thousands of gorgeous, dreamy weddings online and wondering how much would it be something like this? Unless you have close friends and siblings who have recently got married and know how much their weddings cost, you have no idea where to begin setting your budget. This is why we’re beyond excited to start a little section about budgets from real couples who are kind enough to give us the skinny on how they divided their budget. We hope you like it as much as we enjoyed creating it!

Please keep in mind that costs vary in many ways, from the location of the event, vendor’s experience level to the time of the year, month, day of the week and even date if it’s a popular one in demand (like 11.11.11). The chart below is a ball park for Chris + Kathryn’s wedding featured earlier today. To see their wedding, click here.

Our number one tip to setting your budget is to give priority to what’s most important to you (photography, wedding gown, catering, etc), then work your budget around it. For Chris + Kathryn, they wanted organic catering, a conveniently located venue and photography.

How did their budget stack up?

Wedding wardrobe: $2500 (bride and groom)
Location: $2500
Food: $3000
Hotel accommodations: $400
Stationery: $1000
Gifts: $250
Dessert: $550
Band: $1500
Day of wedding planner: $500
Bar: $1000
Everything else: $3000
Total (approximately): $16,200

Fool proof buying guide for their Organic Elegance setting:

1. baby’s breath bouquets (available at most local flower markets)
2. Oleg Cassini CWG352
3. Black bow tie
4. ruffled girl’s dress
5. Walk Away with Bronze Dress


Comments (19):

  • Tessa on January 20, 2012

    You listened to my suggestion, yay! :D There must have been other people who were thinking what I was thinking! So helpful :)
  • Sarah on January 19, 2012

    Love. love. love this idea. Wedding planning is so much easier when there are some numbers to go with the pretty pictures.
  • Heidi on January 19, 2012

    Jenny - the story included this: "baby’s breath bouquets (available at most local flower markets)" So they saved money on floral by going simple. I'll say I didn't have any real flowers at my wedding whatsoever. I found a fabulous crafter on Etsy who made me a bridal bouquet and bouquets for my three bridesmaids from book paper, as well as enough paper roses for boutineers and corsages. The whole lot cost me $250. I wouldn't change a thing.
  • Jenny on January 19, 2012

    You forgot to mention flowers, something brides wait until the end to plan and forget to budget for. Flowers make more of a statement than linens, etc. I find that a lot of brides are disappointed when they do not have enough left over for the flowers they want.
  • Tiffany Jen on January 19, 2012

    How much was photography?
  • Sabina on January 19, 2012

    Nice way to put it. Love the idea.
  • Jacki on January 19, 2012

    I am so glad this has come to Ruffled! Love this and am looking forward to more!
  • Christi on January 18, 2012

    I'm so glad you took suggestions on blogging. I'm sure others suggested it too but I was one who wanted to see the budget of real weddings, but yes, as everyone else said... it'd be nice to know how many guests there were. :) I'm so happy about this!!
  • Susan on January 18, 2012

    $3000 for catering? Did that include the rentals (tables, linens, dinnerware)? Also..where is the cost for their photographer? I haven't found anyone below $3250!!
  • chris on January 18, 2012

    it was for 100 people
  • sara on January 18, 2012

    I am in love with this. The world needs to know that beautiful, memorable days can happen for reasonable amounts of money.
  • Alysha on January 18, 2012

    Such an awesome, helpful idea!! Knowing how many guests that covered would be even more helpful!
  • Bridget on January 18, 2012

    Oops - how many guests....
  • Bridget on January 18, 2012

    This is a great idea - but how guests will be a key factor! Can you add that info?
  • Brit on January 18, 2012

    Love that you're doing this! It's going to be so helpful!!
  • Bonnie on January 18, 2012

    I would love to know how you catered a wedding for $3000, unless it was tiny!
  • Leslie on January 18, 2012

    Love this feature!! Such a wonderful idea! I absolutely adore your site and the weddings that are featured, but often wonder what their budgets are! Thanks so much!
  • Megan on January 18, 2012

    LOVE this!! So helpful for a girl on a budget! Can you tell us how many people were at this wedding? That seems to be a big factor in our budget!
  • nata on January 18, 2012

    This = genius. I love seeing how gorgeous their wedding is and that it didn't break the bank! Love love love the wedding pie...being able to visualize the priorities is so helpful.


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