Budget for a $50,000 Wedding with 250 Guests
How to Budget for a Wedding
Wedding Planning Tips
Although the average wedding in the United States costs about $28,000, according to couples who
were surveyed by TheKnot.com, what if you have a lot of friends and relatives you wish to invite and
you are able to spend more than the average amount, or approximately $50,000, to accommodate
them? How should you distribute the money so that you cover all the necessities without running
over budget? Remember, that your budget will need to include everything from the wedding dress
to the cost of the reception and the ceremony. If $50,000 is the approximate amount of your
wedding budget, how can you decide what to spend on the various items so that you stay within your
You should start by using a wedding budget. One way to set up your budget is to use the online
calculator at a wedding website, such at TheKnot.com. Using The Knot as an example, you enter the
amount of money you plan to spend, the number of guests you expect to have, the number of female
attendants, and the number of male attendants. If you already know how much an item will cost,
you can enter that amount in the "Actual" column on the wedding calculator. The calculator will
come up with a budget, and make adjustments based on any actual expenses that you have already
If you are not sure how much you might want to spend on some of these items, you can check the
prices out a wide variety of wedding supplies on Amazon:
Quick link to wedding supplies on Amazon.com.
There are limitations to these calculators, however. For example, they do not include the cost of the
rehearsal dinner, wedding gift bags for out of town guests, the bridesmaid luncheon, clothes for the
parents of the bride and groom, the honeymoon, travel expenses, lodging for relatives, and many
other expenses that you may incur. If your budget needs to include some of these items, too, you
may need to cut back the amount that you enter into the wedding budget calculator, so you don't
risk going over your limit. In fact, I recommend that you start out by putting about 20% of the total
you plan to spend aside, and not include that amount in your initial calculations. In the case of a
$50,000 wedding, this means you will spend $40,000 on the ceremony and reception essentials, and
have $10,000 left over to spend on your honeymoon and any other extras that you desire.
Here is an example of how much you should plan to spend on different items if your budget for the
wedding and ceremony is around $40,000, with 4 attendants each for the bride and groom, and 250
guests. It is based on setting aside $10,000 from the maximum that you intend to spend as a fund to
cover any expenses that are not included in the wedding budget calculator. The following estimates
are provided by the budget calculator on TheKnot.com; feel free to try it out for yourself and make
any necessary changes.
Reception Venue, including rentals: $3200
This includes both the rental for a reception hall or hotel ballroom, as well as anything else you will
need to rent. As an alternative, the money could also be spent to rent a tent for the backyard, along
with tables, chairs, china, silverware, and portable toilets.
Food and People to Serve the Food: $12,000
This amount is based on 250 people multiplied by $48 per person. If you are using a caterer,
confirm that the amount you are spending includes any taxes and gratuities. This is an area that can
easily run over the estimate if you are not careful.
Beverages and Bartenders: $3200
This includes the cost of alcohol, mixers, non-alcoholic beverages and professional bartenders to mix
the drinks. Again, be certain that your contract includes any taxes and gratuities. Having an open
bar can be very expensive, so make sure you stay within the budget for this item. If you are only
serving wine and beer, you may not need bartenders. This could cut the cost for this item
Wedding Cake, including any cutting fee: $1000
The wedding gown, including alterations: $2400
Headpiece and Veil: $400
Jewelry and other bridal accessories: $400
Bride's hair styling and makeup: $200
Bride's pampering, manicure, pedicure: $200
Groom's Tux: $240
Groom's shoes and other accessories: $120
Wedding Rings: $800
This is the total amount to be spent for both the bride and groom, combined. If you check out the
Amazon link below, you will discover that you can find many beautiful choices in this price range.
Quick link to affordable wedding ring sets from Amazon.com.
Ceremony Location and Special Accessories: $640
Donation to Minister: $400
Bridesmaid and Bridal Bouquets, Boutonnieres, other ceremony floral decorations: $1600
Reception Decorations and Centerpieces: $1600
Ceremony Musicians: $400
Reception Music: $2800
This includes the cost of your reception band or DJ. If you wish to have a separate group of
musicians perform during the cocktail hour, you will need to pay for them out of this budget item,
Photographer and photographs, including extra prints: $2800
Invitations and Reply Cards, including calligraphy and postage: $1000
This is based on an estimate of 250 invitations at $4 each. Personally, I think this may be a little
low, especially if you are hiring a professional calligrapher to address the envelopes.
Other Stationery: $200
This category includes any announcements you send after the wedding, as well as save-the-date
cards, menu cards, place cards, thank-you cards and anything else that you may have printed, such
as the wedding program. If you save money in any of the other categories, stationery is an area
where you may want to add a little more money.
Hotel Room for the wedding night: $200
Guest shuttle or parking: $400
Limo or Car Rentals for the bride and other members of the wedding party: $600
Gifts for the attendants: $400
Wedding Favors for the Guests: $600
This is based on an estimate of spending $2.40 for 250 wedding favors. You will have to shop
frugally, but you can find many items to commemorate your wedding at online wedding shops, such
as TheKnot.com or FavorsYouKeep.com. Although you may find some items at local stores, I have
found the lowest prices at the online vendors.
Parent Gifts: $200
One of the best places to find gift items that are thoughtful and will commemorate your big day is at
Things Remembered. They offer a wide selection of champagne flutes, silver plated photo albums,
jewelry, picture frames and similar items that can be engraved with a special message or your
wedding date. Things Remembered operates kiosks in shopping malls around the United States, and
they also have an online store at ThingsRemembered.com.
The total cost of this wedding, including the wedding dress, wedding venue, reception venue, food,
and alcohol comes to $40,000. Of course, your personal wedding budget will differ from this.
Perhaps you are going to be wearing your mother's wedding dress, or a friend has offered to take
the official wedding photographs. In either case, this will give you extra money to spend on other
items you may want or need. In my opinion, as a mother with four married daughters, I felt that
some of the amounts listed seem barely adequate to cover the cost. For example, with the high price
of embossed invitations and other stationery, along with postage and paying a calligrapher to
address the envelopes, the cost could easily exceed the budgeted amount. However, remember that
I recommended that you hold back $10,000 to help with these kinds of potential cost overruns. This
money can also be used to pay for the honeymoon, clothing for the mother of the bride, tuxedo rental
or bridesmaid dresses for other family members, and similar expenses that can quickly run up the
cost of the wedding. Even though you have this generous amount of extra money, it is still important
to look for places where you can save money when you can. You may cut back slightly on your guest
list, for example. Or, you may decide not to have a videographer, but limit yourself to an album full
of still photos.
Whatever amount you decide to spend, start with a realistic budget, and stick with it. You want your
wedding day to be memorable, without hurting you or your family financially.
For more wedding ideas, you may also be interested in reading some of the articles listed below:
Budget for a $3,000 Wedding with 50 Guests
Budget for a $25,000 Wedding with 150 Guests
Budget for a $100,000 Wedding with 350 Guests
How to Create Thoughtful Wedding Gift Bags
Las Vegas Wedding Laws and Requirements
Las Vegas Honeymoons
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