How to Budget a Wedding Under $30k

By Published On: June 19, 2024

Planning a wedding is an exciting yet daunting task, especially when you’re working with a specific budget. With the average wedding costing upwards of $30,000, it might seem challenging to plan your dream day without breaking the bank. But don’t worry! It’s entirely possible to have a beautiful and memorable wedding under $30k. Here are some of our best tips and budgeting advice for having your dream wedding without financial stress.

How to Budget a Wedding Under $30k

Start with a Detailed Plan

Before diving into the nitty-gritty of wedding planning, sit down with your partner and identify your top priorities. Is it the venue, the dress, the food, or perhaps the photography? Knowing what matters most to you will help you allocate your budget more effectively. Remember, focusing on what’s most important will make compromises in other areas feel less significant.

Creating a detailed budget is essential. Start by listing all possible expenses and assigning realistic amounts to each category based on your $30k total. Here is an example of what a $30k budget for a wedding could look like:

  • Venue: $8,000
  • Catering: $7,000
  • Photography/Videography: $4,000
  • Attire: $2,500
  • Flowers and Decorations: $2,000
  • Music/Entertainment: $1,500
  • Invitations: $500
  • Transportation: $500
  • Favors: $500
  • Cake/Dessert: $500
  • Miscellaneous: $3,000

Use our wedding budget expense tracker to easily keep all your spending tracked in one place!

Venue Selection – $8,000

Venues can be one of the most significant expenses, but there are ways to save. Look for venues that have inclusions such as tables and chairs. You can still find a beautiful wedding venue that sticks within a $30k budget and checks many boxes. Also, keeping your guest count lower often offers more venue options at cheaper rates. Or, if you really want to save money, consider non-traditional venues like parks or even a friend or family member’s backyard. Additionally, choosing an off-peak date or a weekday can also lower costs.

Look for venues that offer all-inclusive packages. These packages often include catering, tables, chairs, linens, and sometimes even decorations. This can save you both money and the hassle of coordinating multiple vendors.

Catering and Beverages – $7,000

Instead of a formal sit-down dinner, consider a buffet or family-style meal. These options are often less expensive and provide a more relaxed atmosphere for your guests. Additionally, explore catering options from local restaurants or food trucks for a unique and budget-friendly twist. Here are some great Michigan food trucks to choose from. Allocate about $7,000 for catering, which should cover food and basic beverages.

Alcohol can be a major expense at weddings. One money-saving option is to serve signature cocktails instead of offering a full bar, reducing the variety and quantity of alcohol needed. You could also consider a BYOB (bring your own booze) policy or limit the open bar to a set number of hours. If you want to have an open bar at your wedding, we have an entire guide dedicated to how much to budget for an open bar at your wedding.

Wedding Attire – $2,500

Wedding dresses and suits can quickly eat up your budget. Look for sample sales, trunk shows, or even second-hand options. Many bridal shops offer significant discounts on sample dresses, which are often in excellent condition. For the groom and groomsmen, consider renting suits or tuxedos instead of purchasing them. Set aside around $2,500 for attire, including the bride’s dress, groom’s suit, and accessories.

That being said, there are plenty of beautiful wedding dresses that start around $1,000! When calling bridal shops, ask about the price range for their dresses. They will give you a baseline for cost and you can decide where you’d like to try on gowns from there.

Photography and Videography – $4,000

Wedding photographers typically range from $3,500 to $10K+. When you start shopping for a photographer, you won’t be able to book the highest-end one, but you should still be able to get a professional photographer within your budget. Reaching out to up-and-coming photographers can also save you money. Instagram or our wedding vendor directory are great resources to find photographers within budget.

A $4,000 photography & videography budget won’t likely leave much room for a videographer. Instead, ask your bridesmaids to be your content crew on your wedding day! Have them capture little video moments on their phones throughout the day, and airdrop them to you at the end of the night.

Decorations and Flowers – $2,000

Get creative with DIY decorations. Enlist the help of crafty friends and family to make centerpieces, bouquets, and other decor items. Using seasonal flowers can also significantly cut costs. Opt for greenery and fewer flowers to create a lush, elegant look without the high price tag.

Reuse decorations from the ceremony at the reception. For example, bridesmaid bouquets can double as centerpieces for the head table. This not only saves money but also reduces waste. It’s a win-win! Also look for venues with stunning views, backgrounds, or added details already. If you have a venue with a lot of detail or beautiful surroundings, it can save a lot of time and money on additional decor. And don’t believe more decor = better wedding. Simplicity can sometimes be the most elegant choice!

Music and Entertainment – $1,500

You won’t be able to afford a live band with a $30k budget, but you can still hire a DJ! The average cost for a wedding DJ in 2024 is anywhere from $600 to $3,500. A $1,500 budget is in the perfect range to still be able to afford a great DJ for your big day!

Invitations and Favors – $1,000

Full custom wedding invitations typically cost between $5 to $8 per guest. Let’s do some math. If you have 125 guests at a cost of $5 per guest, that equals $625. This amount doesn’t include save the dates. To save money on wedding invitations, try taking a digital approach to ‘Save the Dates’ instead of mailing them. There are also many ways to DIY invites to save money, such as making your own DIY envelope inserts or purchasing printable wedding invitations.

Wedding favors are a lovely gesture but can quickly become costly. Consider DIY options or practical favors that guests can use, like a sweet treat or something affordable like wildflower seeds. Etsy also has many great ideas for wedding favors that don’t break the bank. You can search for affordable favor ideas on Etsy here.

Final Tips for How to Budget a Wedding Under $30k

Keep a meticulous record of all expenses to ensure you stay within your budget, and don’t forget to download our budget expense tracker! When planning your budget, remember to include tips in the total cost for vendors such as hair, makeup, and catering. Read our guide on tipping your vendors here.

Your wedding day is about celebrating your love and commitment, and with thoughtful budgeting, it can be just as magical as you’ve always dreamed.

For more wedding planning tips and inspiration, be sure to check out our other blog posts on Nearlywed!

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