Real Wedding Budget Breakdown | $12,000 for 175 Guests

When you’re planning a wedding, one of the first things that comes up is The Budget, and it can be incredibly helpful to see how other couples allocated funds for their own wedding celebration. Nicole and Morgan have graciously shared their full budget breakdown with us… You can see their full wedding feature here.

From Nicole: “It was important for us to stay within budget because we didn’t want to start our marriage in debt. Yes, it was our wedding day. Yes, it only happens once. But we don’t come from families that have a lot of money, so for us we really wanted to stick to the budget my parents so generously gave us. It was a huge blessing for them to offer what they did. At the end of the day all that mattered to us was that we were husband and wife, and we really tried to focus on that more than not being able to get linens that touched the floor, for example. We actually tried going under our budget because my parents told us they would give us any leftover money we didn’t use!”


Christina McNeill | Snippet & Ink



Saturday, June 7, 2014
Lodi, California
175 Guests

Ceremony: Japanese Garden at Micke Grove Regional Park in Lodi, California, $670
Reception: Groom’s Godparents’ Ranch, $0
Tables/Chairs/Misc: Bella Festa Rentals, $650
Total: $1320

Linen Rentals: Lynda’s Balloons, $175
Paper Straws: Paper Source, $15
Mason Jars: Walmart, $150
Total: $340

Catering: Dickey’s BBQ Pit, $2235
Cupcakes, Sweetheart Cake: Ayla Endriss (bride’s friend), $320
Drink Dispensers: Walmart, $60
Total: $2615

Invitation Materials, $185
Personalized Silhouettes: Disneyland, $20
Save-the-Dates, $100
Program Materials, $30
Design: brother of the bride, $0
Total: $305

Lights, $200
Wood signs + paint, $30
Centerpiece jars, $40
Miscellaneous Items (lighters, doilies for bunting, bug spray, yarn, burlap, lace), $200
Total: $470

Flowers, $500
Guest Book: Shutterfly, $30
Sparklers: VIP Sparklers, $55
Total: $585

Earrings: mother’s diamond earrings
Dress: Alfred Angelo, $1250
Shoes: Nordstrom, $50
Hair: Katie Riordan $100
Make-Up: gifted by bride’s friend, $0
Total: $1400

Suit: Men’s Wearhouse, $150
Tie: Jos. A. Bank, $15
Socks: Kohl’s, $10
Total: $175

7 hours of Photography: Christina McNeill, $5000
Officiant: bride’s brother
DJ: Jeriah Coller (groom’s friend), $0
Day-of-Coordinator: Elizabeth Wright (groom’s friend), $0
Total: $5000

GRAND TOTAL: $12,210


Some budget tips from Nicole and Morgan:

Plan ahead! On Black Friday this past year, we woke up early to head into Fred Meyer and purchase 200 boxes of string lights that were half off. We saved so much money by doing that (and it was such a fun adventure).

Beg, Borrow, and Thrift. Call in your favors with family and friends while prepping and planning your wedding day. So many of our vendors were actually loved ones that gifted us by using their talents for our big day: wedding coordinator, DJ, florist, officiant, cake and cupcake baker, and not to mention the hosts of our reception site. All of those key items saved us a lot of money, plus it was fun to have friends and family playing such a big role in our wedding day. // Make weekly thrift store trips, ask around to see what you can borrow from people, and DIY your heart out. I’m part of we a “Deals and Steals” Facebook group, which is where we found our wine glasses and bottle vases. The small jars with sunflowers and burlap were all given to us from another friend’s wedding.

Think outside the box. We went through quite a few options for catering and I felt like giving up, but eventually we sent an inquiry in at Dickey’s BBQ Pit (somewhere we actually love to eat) and their options were surprisingly affordable. Look for catering from places that you wouldn’t normally expect to do catering.

Prioritize splurges. Since I am a photographer something that was top priority for us was photography. I knew the style I wanted and that I wanted someone who shoots film. We didn’t care how much we spent on this aspect as long as the product was what we desired. These are the photos that can help us vividly remember what happened and how happy we felt the day of our wedding, these are the photos that will be passed down to our kids and their kids, etc. It was so important to us that we chose to spend less in other areas.


Christina McNeill | Snippet & Ink



  • As a wedding photographer, it is really wonderful to see they valued their wedding photography, the memories they will have forever.


    As a wedding photographer, it is really wonderful to see they valued their wedding photography, the memories they will have forever.

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