Here’s What a $25K Wedding Budget Might Look Like

Seconds after you get engaged comes a reality all brides face: sticker shock. Because those pretty (and Pinterest-worthy) peonies are expensive…and so are the crafting supplies you had to shell out for to make your favors from scratch. That’s why we put together a budget to help you plan a wedding for 100 people without going over $25,000. (Yes, it can be done.)

The First 5 Things Every New Bride-to-Be Should Do

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The Venue: $2,500

If you want a ceremony with a view, you’re going to have to pay for it. But depending on where you live, this may be an area where you can trim costs, provided you’re not afraid to get creative. (Parks and public spaces will typically run you less than traditional banquet halls.) One of our favorite 100-person-friendly venues is the CL Space in Tampa, Florida, which costs approximately $2,000 to rent and has tons of exposed brick to perfectly show off those romantic fairy lights. Another option: The Publik Space in Salt Lake City, Utah, is a two-story coffee house originally built in the 1940s with a pricing structure that hovers around $2,500 for 100 guests.

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Food And Drink: $10,000

Ideally, you can find a venue that offers you a package deal—or better yet, lets you bring in your own caterer. But don’t be afraid to negotiate. To stick to our $25K budget, you need the food and alcohol tab to clock in at $100 per head (or less). A few surprising ways to trim costs? Going all-veggie with your cocktail party appetizers or opting for wine and beer versus top-shelf liquor.

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Your Dress: $2,000

The price is steep because it’s kind of the main event, right? But you’d be surprised how many reasonably priced (and designer) options are available on sites like Bhldn and even Zappos. Just remember you’ll need to factor in the cost of alterations (usually about $300) and your veil, shoes and jewelry, too.

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Hair And Makeup: $1,000

The $1,000 we got quoted covered bridal hair and makeup (trial included), plus updos for three bridesmaids. But it could be even cheaper if you don’t mind traveling to and from the salon, rather than making the stylist come to you.

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The Invitations: $500

Don’t forget: This also has to include the price of save the dates, place cards and programs (if you want them). Sites like Etsy or Paperless Post offer plenty of modern and affordable options. For example, this chic boho design is $3.55 per invite, or this rustic Rifle Paper Co. option starts at $1.81 a pop.

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The Music: $1,000

The DJ is the MC of your whole night—and typically comes at a fairly reasonable price. Just be sure you find a personality type you like. (And ask about any overtime fees should your reception unintentionally run long.)

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The Cake: $500

We know, we know: It's expensive. But just think how long it would take you to whip up an ombré or geode design.

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The Flowers: $2,500

If you want peony centerpieces or bridal and bridesmaid bouquets, you’re going to have to cough up some serious cash--typically about $2,000. If you’re willing to go more basic (think daisies or hydrangeas), you can probably get away with closer to $1,500.

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The Photographer: $3,000

Unless you have an amateur (but super-talented) photog friend in your back pocket, this is one area where you don’t want to cheap out. Think about it: You’ll be sharing these pics for decades to come. Hiring a professional is basically a guarantee that you’ll look stunning.

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Wedding Bands: $1,000

Most jewelers will be able to work with you to help you find a reasonable rate. Just don’t be surprised if the groom’s band costs more than your own.

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Favors And Gifts: $500

Even if you decide to DIY the parting gift, crafting supplies don’t come cheap. You should also set aside funds for bridesmaid and groomsmen (and flower girl) gifts.

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Miscellaneous: $500

Shoot—you forgot you’ll need to cover transportation to and from the venue for your bridal party. And sparklers for that end-of-night send-off you’ve always dreamed about. Set aside a slush fund for wedding costs that are still TBD—you never know what might come up (and break the bank).

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Rachel Bowie

Royal family expert, a cappella alum, mom

Rachel Bowie is Senior Director of Special Projects & Royals at PureWow, where she covers parenting, fashion, wellness and money in addition to overseeing initiatives within...
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