Lucky In Love: All About the Money

Way back when, I estimated our wedding would cost about $33,000. I always found other peoples budget posts helpful, but I didn’t feel like researching exact amounts. (Sorry.) So these numbers are close but not exact and probably do not add up precisely. Total math teacher fail. Anyhow. How did we do?


Ceremony $2250 (estimated $1000, but this was a flat fee)

My church is really expensive, but it wasn’t like we were going to get married somewhere random. It included the coordinator and three assistants, organist, officiant, rehearsal etc.


Flowers $1200 [ish…mom paid for this too] (estimated $2000, but I think I based that off their estimate)

My mom wanted lots of pretty flowers. I think we got a great deal since this included our bouquets, bouts, 13 centerpieces and a cake topper arrangement. Mistakes were super minor and probably wouldn’t have happened had I bothered to follow up about anything.

CHP_MikeMaryGettingReady-29 2

Invitations and Paper Products $391.45 (estimated $1000, but I knew it would be less)

This includes most of the supplies to make our own invitations, minus the cost of the Cuttlebug (owned for ages, use for lots of stuff) and the L Letterpress platform (which was a Christmas gift). It also includes postage.


Apparel $3490 (estimated $3000)

This is entirely due to Shamrock’s wedding band being way over my estimate. My alterations were a lot (and only sort of included because it was due the day before the wedding and my mom paid it) but my dress was quite inexpensive, so I consider that one even. Shamrock still wears the ring and all, so whatever.

Photography $2500 (estimated $3000, but including some albums which I haven’t done yet)

Obviously totally worth it and we got an amazing deal by booking Caili when she was just starting out. Win.


DJ $825 (Estimated $1200)

We decided to reduce the standard package ($1000) to have less lighting because it would look better outside (there were cafe lights and it was the longest day of the year). Oops? The full package would have been better since we were inside…

Transportation/Hotel/Rehearsal Dinner ? (Estimated $4000, and I think that’s probably right?)

Transportation was $540 for the limo to take us to pictures and then the reception. Wedding night hotel was ~$200, but the night before and the rehearsal dinner my father also paid for. Our rehearsal dinner was half the size of our wedding, so I think this number is probably about right.

Caili Helsper Photography_Mike Mary Reception Details WEB_0016

Decorations  ? (Estimated $500)

Probably less than $200–paper is my preferred medium, and its not expensive.


Gifts $1000+ (Estimated $800)

We bought gifts for our wedding party, parents and officiant. It was not important to me at all to stick to budget here.


Reception $16371 (Estimated $16000)

(I don’t actually know if that number is accurate, but thats what my spreadsheet says.) This includes both the venue rental and the catering.

Total: Right over $30,000.

Not bad, I’d say. We definitely saved by having our reception in the suburbs and doing so many things ourselves. Our goal was to spend as little as possible to have the wedding we wanted, and we definitely met that goal. We could have saved a little bit more here and there (or a lot more having an entirely different wedding) but this was exactly the wedding we wanted (well, maybe with less rain).

We could have paid for our wedding ourselves, but it was very important to our parents (especially my father) to help us out. My father paid about half the cost, we paid a quarter and our moms paid the last quarter between them.



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