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Your Rochester Wedding Budget

You dream of the perfect Rochester area wedding, but you have a very real budget. How can you accomplish both?

Setting Your Budget

The first decision you must make is the total amount of money you have to work with. While the national average for a wedding's total cost is currently just over $26,000, weddings have been planned for as little as $5,000 and as much as $90,000 and up! If parents are paying for the wedding, they should be able to give you a good idea of what they can afford. If you are contributing as well, you should know what you can afford. Remember to keep the budget flexible enough so that unexpected costs will not swamp you.

Typical Budget Categories and Average Percentages

When you set up your Budgeter, you will notice the various categories to add your items into. Refer to the sample budget to get ideas on how to set up the individual items! Once you have arrived at a desired total budget you can refer to the percentages below, though these are not set rules or requirements as each individual's situation will vary, it is a helpful starting point to help break the expenses down.

  • Ceremony - 2%
  • Reception - 48%
  • Attire - 8%
  • Photography - 6%
  • Videography - 5%
  • Music - 5%
  • Flowers, Decorations - 8%
  • Stationary - 3%
  • Wedding Rings - 5%
  • Transportation - 3%
  • Pre-Wedding Parties - 2.5%
  • Gifts - 2%
  • Miscellaneous - 2.5%

How Should Expenses Be Split?

Traditionally, the bride’s family has paid for most of the wedding costs. Today, it is more common for the groom’s family to contribute to the wedding as well. And since the average couple getting married now is older than previously, the couple tends to be more established, and can sometimes pay for their own wedding. It’s all a matter of choice. Any way you choose, both sets of parents and the couple should at least know how much (if anything) each is expected to contribute. For more of a breakdown, read the helpful article "Who Pays For What".

Avoid Hard Feelings

Budgets should be discussed with everyone in the spirit of compromise. You don’t want to start out your married life by alienating any members of your new family.

Planning Your Budget

  • Here are a few items to keep in mind when you get initial estimates of costs.
  • How many guests would we like to invite?
  • How formal a wedding will it be? (The more formal, generally, the more expensive.)
  • How many will be in the wedding party?
  • How lavish will the reception be?
  • Remember to allow an additional 10% in your budget for contingencies. That way, if all goes well, you’ll have extra to spend on your honeymoon.

Set Priorities

Is the ceremony the most important thing, on which you want to spend all your time and budget? Do you want to have fewer people to a more lavish reception, or do you want everyone you know to come to a more informal party? These are decisions you should make before getting any estimates. The better you know exactly what you are looking for, the less time you will waste, and the less frustration you will have.

Getting Started

The first thing you should do is set up your budgeter available to registered future brides. Refer to the sample budget to get ideas on how to set up yours! You want to get a good idea of what types of costs you are going to incur, and the amount of each. To get a rough idea, call one or two merchants or service providers. This will give you a good starting point to determine if you can add to or should cut down on the number of guests you are planning to invite, and if the budget you have set is appropriate. Perhaps this would be a good time to get everyone together who will be contributing to your wedding, and let them know what your preliminary plans are. Once everyone has agreed on a budget, continue to use your budgeter to record exactly how much each item is expected to cost and compare it with your actual cost to stay on top of things if you start to go over budget.

The Next Step

Now that everyone knows how much it should cost, and how much you have to work with, you can make whatever cuts or changes are appropriate. Now is when you should start comparision pricing for each item.

How To Avoid Over Paying

Very few people have so much money that they don’t need to be concerned with whether they are getting the best deal or not. If you need to compromise on anything, cut the quantity, rather than the quality.

Know What’s Out There

By shopping around, browsing through our participating vendors and reading the helpful articles provided by, you can get a good idea of what the going price is for various goods and services, so you know when you are getting a bargain.

Compare Oranges to Oranges

When looking for each item, contact different merchants listed with Be specific, and make sure you ask each one the same questions. If you ask one florist for the price for a bouquet of roses, make sure you ask for the same number of roses when you contact the next florist. Otherwise, you aren’t sure that you are comparing the same things.

Visit Shops

Call ahead and make an appointment, even if you are only going to get an estimate. Make notes about their helpfulness, knowledge and service, as well as the price. Sometimes the intangibles, such as reliability, are more important than the price.

Read All The Fine Print!

Once you have decided on a merchant, be sure you carefully go over the entire contract with the manager or salesperson. Get details such as dates, times, specifics about items, name of contact person, cancellation policy, and all financial arrangements (such as deposits paid, when final payment is due).
If there are any questions or problems, DON’T sign. Any changes made in the contract should be initialed by both you and the merchant. And make sure you keep your copy of the original contract, as well as any other slips or receipts.

Using Credit Cards

When you use credit cards to pay a retailer, you may have an additional way to get your money back if they don’t provide everything they are supposed to. In that case, write to your credit card company, telling them why you are not paying, and let them explain to the retailer. In most cases, this will force the retailer to file a claim against you for the money, and he or she will have to prove that they provided the service or goods in question.

Look For Bargins, But Don’t Sacrifice Quality

By knowing exactly what you are looking for, you can compare prices to others, to make sure you really are getting the same services or goods at a better price.

Keeping Good Records

Keep your on-line Budgeter current as you go through your budget, you can download an excel spreadsheet at any time to keep a hard copy on hand. Make a file of all papers relating to your wedding. An easy way is to purchase a two-pocket folder. Staple your planning sheet to the front of this folder. Put any contracts, receipts and other paper work inside this folder. When putting any papers inside, mark them on top with a letter of the alphabet. Write a corresponding letter on your budget sheet. That way, you’ll always know exactly where to find a paper you need, rather than having it “around here someplace.”



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