Wedding budgets are hard to set and even harder to stick to. I wanted to share my budget and vendors to help you during the wedding planning process (and for you nosy people who aren’t planning a wedding). We have been married for one month and I cannot believe how fast time is going. I pretty much sit and watch our wedding highlight video and stare at our photos all day.
I know a lot of you are curious about the exact amount we spent on our wedding. I am not going to share that for one main reason. I don’t want to share the exact amount. You can still learn from me and see how we spent our money without knowing the exact amount. I shared some fun wedding photos below so you’ll want to keep reading.
In my last wedding post, Why We Are Not Having a Cheap Wedding, I mentioned how we are around the 2016 national average so that will give you a good idea of how much we spent.
When we got engaged, I wanted to spend around $25k. Let’s just say we went way above that and clearly I had no idea what I was thinking. I did save around $17k before we got engaged so that definitely helped. We would not be able to get married after being engaged only a year if I did not save that.
I set up our wedding budget by vendor. This made it easy for me to track how much we paid, how much we owed, when it was due, estimated tips, etc.
Disclaimer: I did NOT include all of the random stuff I bought on Amazon and Etsy in our budget. I just cash flowed that over the past year. We bought most of our bridal party gifts, parent gifts, and some printable signs on Etsy. I also did not include centerpieces. I am going to do a separate post on budget-friendly centerpieces because that is probably the only budget-friendly part of our wedding. We used different sized vases, floating candles, spray-painted champagne bottles, votives, and Sam’s Club flowers. I did not track this because I decided our centerpieces about 1.5 months before our wedding and cash flowed it.
First, I will give you the percentage breakdown for each vendor and then I will go into a few more details. This will be a long post, but you asked for it!
Wedding Coordinator: 2.19%
Ceremony Music: 1.46%
Wedding Bands: 8.76%
Our venue was Revel Event Center in Greenville. I highly recommend checking them out if you are in South Carolina or looking to get married in the Upstate. They handle alcohol for you so that was included in our venue charge. We chose only beer and wine because liquor is SO expensive. To be honest, people still got super drunk so clearly it was fine. I also let them handle all rentals so I didn’t have to worry about it. We had plain white linens and changed the drapes for the ceremony to white. Chairs and tables were included in my rental fee. Obviously, this was my most expensive vendor. Alex, our event coordinator, was so helpful and made sure everything ran smoothly.
Since I am Type A and a little crazy, I didn’t need a wedding planner. I did everything myself including making 128301 schedules and lists. I just needed a day of coordinator so that is what we paid for. We used Weddings by Lala and Laura was great! She also does full wedding planning services so check her out.
I played the viola for 11 years so string instruments hold a special place in my heart. I always wanted string instruments for my ceremony so we found Greenville Wedding Music. We chose a violin and cello for our ceremony and they were absolutely perfect. GWM had so many songs to chose from. I walked down the aisle to Beauty and the Beast and we also played In the Air Tonight and Cry Me a River during the prelude. As I said, they had a great mix.
This was one vendor I NEEDED. Joe didn’t understand but now he does. If you can, PLEASE get a videographer for your wedding. The entire day goes by so fast and the pictures are nice but there is nothing like a video. We just got our highlight video and I cry every time I watch it. We hired Palmetto Films for our video and Rachel is AMAZING! She is based out of Atlanta but she is worth the travel fee. She was one of the only videographers that would give me the raw footage. A short highlight video is nice but I wanted the raw footage too. Her packages are so reasonable so if you are in NC/SC/GA, make sure to check her out.
Obviously a good photographer is important so you can reminisce on your wedding day. We chose Hayley Pethel Photography and the photos are amazing as you can see throughout this post (and on my IG). Photographers definitely are not cheap but good ones are worth it. Hayley was SO worth it. We were so happy with Hayley’s work and felt she provided great value. She was easy to work with and made us both feel comfortable during our engagement shoot and on our wedding day.
My parents graciously paid for hair and makeup. It was important to me that I paid for my bridal party’s hair and makeup. I was going to pay for myself and bridal party but my parents decided they would gift that to me. We used Cotton Rogue & Company and if you are in SC/NC I highly recommend them. I booked hair/makeup at the same time I booked my other vendors. I knew I wanted Katie Cotton to do my hair and I reserved her almost a year before my wedding. Hair/makeup can definitely make or break your photos. My hair was BEAUTIFUL. I received so many compliments and it was exactly how I wanted it. We spent around average for our area for hair/makeup.
Food was important to us but we didn’t want to spend TOO much. We aren’t very fancy people. Our venue let us choose from four caterers that they partner with and we absolutely loved Holmes Catering. They had exactly what we were looking for. We wanted food stations for a few reasons. We hate when buffet lines get so long and end up on the dance floor and dinner takes a full hour. We also wanted the party to start while the food was available so people could eat, dance, and eat some more.
We had 3 stations which consisted of a taco station, meat skewers (3 types of meat and veggies), tortellini skewers, spinach artichoke dip, and buffalo chip dip. The food was AMAZING. We had so many compliments. The food was served for 2 hours which was the perfect amount of time. My parents paid for the taco station and we are so thankful. I really hope I am at an event that has Holmes Catering so I can enjoy the food. I had our coordinator make our plates to eat fast but I wish I had more!
Food tip: bring Tupperware. Our caterer told us this before the wedding and I am so glad we listened. We had leftover food and Joe’s dad brought Tupperware and put it in the freezer for us. We just ate some of the spinach artichoke dip last weekend and it was SO good.
Joe and I both did not want a band. We love the variety a DJ brings to the party. We wanted a fun, dance party. Well, I mean I did. Joe doesn’t dance. We interviewed a few DJs and decided on DJ Craz-e Crane because he wasn’t the typical wedding DJ (glow sticks and conga lines aren’t our thing) and he was reasonably priced. He knew we wanted a party and he definitely made a reception a party!
We decided to do a small cake to cut and then 500 bite-sized cupcakes. We got to choose 8 flavors and I would love to go cake tasting again if anyone wants to take me. Holly’s Cakes is the BEST. Such a reasonable price (as you can see by the percentage) and SO delicious. I might just order cupcakes for all occasions now. I also got Joe a groom’s cake for our rehearsal dinner. She did Cameron Indoor Stadium and it came out great!
Some people don’t include this in their wedding budget but since we were paying for our wedding and our bands, we included it. Sylvan’s Jewelers is where Joe got my engagement ring and we got our wedding bands. They are located in Columbia, SC and if you are in need of a new jeweler, GO THERE and ask for Bill. He is the best. Not pushy, gives you a mimosa, and talks to you about college football. I chose the more expensive wedding band honestly because I wanted it. I loved the band so we decided to get it. I know, not what you expected to hear from a personal finance blogger but it’s the truth.
Flowers were not important to us. I do not care for flowers. I would rather Joe give me money or take me to dinner than buy me a bouquet of flowers that will die in 2 days. We met with a TON of florists because wedding flower prices are no joke. I just got bouquets and boutonnieres from the florist. I chose the cheapest quality option and went with Sapphire Blooms. Karen was so understanding and did exactly what I wanted at an extremely budget-friendly price. You can see we only spent 2.39% of our wedding money on flowers and I bet people spend closer to 7-10%.
My parents paid for my wedding dress and I am so grateful. It was the last dress I tried on at the last store. We changed the front of the dress so we did have to pay more in alterations. My dress was from The Poinsett Bride in downtown Greenville. Vicki is so helpful and I highly recommend looking there if you are a bride-to-be!
I know you are probably thinking umm what is this? So I went to the University of South Carolina and we use rally towels at all our football games during Sandstorm. If you are confused, YouTube University of South Carolina Sandstorm. I found the company that makes the towels for the school and had them make towels for my wedding. They weren’t expensive but it was an added expensive I actually tracked. The video from our wedding of Sandstorm is SO good!
I did not include my invitations in my wedding budget because my parents paid for those. I got my invitations off Etsy. They were beautiful and exactly what I wanted. We spent $445 for our invitations which included guest addressing, details insert, brunch insert, return address, RSVP card, and band. I cash-flowed our save the dates. We got them from Snapfish and paid $90 for 120.
If you made it to this point, thanks for reading all about my wedding. If you are in the Greenville, SC area and have any questions about vendors, please email me (firstname.lastname@example.org). I would love to provide additional feedback for my wedding vendors and other vendors we interviewed.
The percentages do not include tips. I believe in tipping. I researched the amounts people tip so below is what we tipped our vendors.
Venue: Included in the cost
Ceremony Music: $60 ($30 per musician)
Photographer: $100 (tipped for engagement photos separately)
Flowers: we picked up so no tip
Caterer: included in the cost
Officiant: $150 gift card (my BFF’s husband)
What was your wedding budget like? Similar to ours?