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How to Set a Wedding Budget By Your Guest Count

Have you been loving our new blog as much as we have? At Borrowed and Blue, we launched our new blog just a few weeks ago and have already talked about planning a micro wedding and finding your perfect wedding vendors. Today, we are going to tackle one of the biggest questions we get asked as wedding planners: HOW TO SET A WEDDING BUDGET. Despite what you may have been told by online budget calculators, there isn’t a standard percentage for each wedding vendor. We always encourage our wedding planning couples to break down their budget by their guest count, to help show what your wedding budget will really look like on the day.

Remember, if you need help planning your wedding in Georgia, the Carolinas, or beyond, you can read more about our wedding planning services here. If you are ready to save the date (2021 and 2022 dates are open!), the easiest way to get in touch is through our contact form here. You don’t need to go through the wedding planning process alone (and in our opinion – you shouldn’t!). When you book your wedding date with us, we will help you create a budget that reflects your wedding day priorities and makes you feel excited about your wedding day vision coming to life. In the meantime, we will jump in to just a few tips for setting your wedding budget!

The Basic Components of Setting a Wedding Budget

When you start planning a wedding, you might be tempted to set a budget right away. Maybe you have a set amount set aside for the wedding, but more often than not we find couples who come to us with what their budget is “supposed to be”. A quick Google search will tell you the average wedding budget is between $30,000 – $35,000. But what if you want “more” than average? Do you double it? Triple it? Pull a number from thin air and hope you guessed right?

Generally we tell our brides that the most expensive portion of their wedding is their guest count. So instead of deciding on their budget, we recommend looking at their guest count first.

For a standard wedding (No DIY Decor and the vendors hired are professionals), a wedding will start at about $300/person. In our area at least (Georgia, North Carolina, and South Carolina), you can expect a budget of $300/person to include:

  • Your venue rental
  • Tables
  • Chairs
  • Linens
  • Photography
  • Stationery (Save the Dates and Invitations)
  • Standard Florals
  • Hair and Makeup
  • A DJ
  • Catering
  • Beer & Wine

For a wedding that includes a full band and the items above, the average price per person jumps to about $400 per person. For a wedding that includes a band AND liquor (not just beer and wine), add another $10 per person.

Keep in to mind, this doesn’t include extra things you might want on your wedding day like videography, ceremony painting, live ceremony music, late night bites, wedding favors, a fancy getaway car, hanging floral installation, grand ceremony floral spread, extra lighting, upgraded linens, upgraded place settings – the list could go on and on!!

If you checked out our portfolio, you know we love creating designs that go above and beyond for our couples. When your budget starts to reach $1000-$2000/person (either by raising your budget or lowering your guest count), the sky is truly the limit!

Focusing on the Guest Experience, Regardless of the Guest Count

If you’re limited with what you can (or want to) spend, we recommend to start cutting your guest count. If you’re wanting to plan your wedding with a budget between 15-25k, you can host a incredibly detailed micro wedding for 20 of your closest family and friends or a fairly limited wedding for 100 people (no open bar, included white table linens and venue chairs, etc). More often that not, we find our couples value their guest experience so highly, that it makes more sense to create an incredible design around those who are truly closest to them.

Mistakes to Avoid: The Bigger your Guest Count, the More “Successful” Your Wedding Will Be

You might be reading this thinking that a smaller wedding might be nice, but there is a tiny part of you that has believe in the past that the more guest attended, the more “successful” the wedding is. It might even seem a bit silly to read – but we know it’s a trap many couples fall into. After all, you’ve probably been dreaming of a large wedding your entire life and when you sit down to plan, you have those visions in your head.

We are here to tell that this honestly couldn’t be farther from the truth – 2020 has proved that! Ultimately, people leave each wedding with either positive or negative memories, no matter the guest count. You can have a phenomenal decked out wedding for 50 guest for $20,000 that everyone leaves RAVING about or you can spend $60,000 and have 100 guests, that you really probably don’t know very well. Which sounds better to you?

Setting a Wedding Budget That You Feel Excited About (Regardless of the Number)

As wedding planners, we tend to be people pleasers. So trust us when we say, it’s way more fun to plan a wedding with a budget you feel excited (with a small guest list) than it is to plan a large wedding where every decision you make leaves you feeling stressed. $12 for the upgraded chairs you really, really want for 20 people? No Brainer. $12 for upgraded chairs for 200 people? You want them, but you can’t justify the cost.

When you set your budget based on your guest count (instead of some arbitrary numbers like $30,000 or your wedding and 12% of that goes to your photographer), you’ll have a lot more freedom and flexibility to plan and design your wedding around what you truly want. Remember, you don’t have to do this alone. You can read more about our wedding planning packages here, or if you have questions and want to connect, contact us here.

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We pride ourselves on the ability to provide the highest level of service to our clients while still keeping in mind the uniqueness of their personal style and desires.

our team