Wedding Budgets: Myth vs Reality


If you’ve been engaged for more than 5 minutes, you’ve likely googled “average cost of a wedding” and you’ve seen a pie chart or two of a “wedding budget breakdown.”

There’s a lot of info available online nowadays and you may have noticed that it’s not all consistent. So frustrating, right? Keep reading for info straight from the mouth (well, keyboard) of experienced pros that will hopefully dispel a few of the myths about wedding budgets!

MYTH #1: Knowing the average is helpful

REALITY: Using the average cost of a wedding in the US to set your budget is about as helpful as relying on the average temperature in the US to predict the weather. 

Your wedding cost will be most significantly influenced by two things:

The Market: Cost of living differences affect every industry. A latte at Starbucks in San Francisco is more expensive than in Fresno. So are weddings.

Your Guest Count: The number of guests determines the number of tables, chairs, meals, drinks, staff, decor and other items you will need. 

Even a $50 expense x 100 guests = $5,000. You can see how quickly things add up. 

We totally understand if you want to take a minute to revisit your guest list- no judgment.

MYTH #2: Wedding budget breakdowns are one-size-fits-all

REALITY: Those pie charts can seem handy, but here’s the thing – no two weddings are the same, so no two budgets can be the same. Your budget breakdown will be (or at least should be) influenced by your priorities and preferences, which those pie charts just can’t account for.

Maybe you want a dreamy tablescape with lush centerpieces and beautiful place settings. Maybe you have your heart set on a 10-piece live band. 

Whether your budget is $50k or $500k, everyone is limited by a financial comfort zone, and everyone has choices to make along the way. Just like with any other kind of budget, your wedding budget will be a reflection of what’s most important to you. The decision is less about cost, and more about value. You get what you pay for.

MYTH #3: Backyard weddings are cheaper

REALITY: Backyard weddings are beautiful, don’t get us wrong. But they’re definitely not always cheaper. In fact, they’re uuuusually more expensive.

Why? Because venues are built with crowds of 100+ in mind and homes aren’t. To transform a backyard into an event venue, a lot needs to be brought in. Things like power and water. Where is everyone going to park? And use the restroom? And dance?! Is there enough lighting? You get the idea.

MYTH #4: DIY saves money

REALITY: The cost of DIY projects often end up actually matching or even exceeding the cost of hiring a pro to do it for you. It doesn’t seem like it when it’s $20 here and $30 there, but it’s true.

It’s also worth mentioning that a pro won’t just arrange the flowers, decorate the cake, create the signs, or [Insert DIY project here]… They’ll also deliver the finished product to the venue the morning of the wedding. And they’ll set it up. Anndd they’ll haul it off at the end of the night. In the meantime, you and your friends and family can be celebrating, not working. Time is our most precious resource, and time with loved ones to just be on wedding day is priceless.

MYTH #5: Everything costs more as soon as you say the word “wedding”

REALITY: Ah, the wedding tax. Prices are not arbitrarily inflated just because the product or service is for a wedding. 

If there is more coordination required, more logistics to manage, more staff to handle the various moving parts, etc. then the price may go up. That’s just the nature of a higher stakes event that requires more attention, not the industry being slimy. At least, 99% of the time. As for the companies in the other 1%… they can’t sit with us.

Share with a friend who knows how real the wedding budget struggle is. And let us know, did we miss anything?

  1. B Martin says:

    Wow! This is super informative, thank you!

  2. […] Want more wedding planning tips? Check out Wedding Budgets: Myth Vs. Reality next! […]

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