How Weddings Have Gotten Out of Control…

…And Here’s How to Keep It Reasonable

You can do a quick Google and see all the Bride’s and Groom’s writing about how they’re over budget, things are expensive, and overall the wedding planning process has just gotten out of hand. I still remember looking through my parents photo album where they spent less than $5,000 to feed a ton of people and had a beautiful wedding. I understand that was back in the 80’s but has inflation really ruined the wedding industry that much? Eh I think the data shows that it has affected the costs but it’s not the only reason.

I got engaged in March of 2024 and it honestly was one of the easiest questions I’ve ever had to ask. I’m fortunate to have this lady in my life and after a little bit of wedding planning I’ve seen where her organized skills come in to play. I don’t know how a couple does this if both people aren’t putting in a little time to organize things. With all of that said, we weren’t prepared with just how expensive things would be even though she had a vision of what she wanted. Expenses had literally tripled from the year before and exponentially increased from when our parents got married. Buzzfeed did a fun article (although it is from 2017) over how much a wedding should cost in inflated dollars and how much it ACTUALLY does. HINT: The actual cost is astronomically higher than what it should be just based on covering the inflation increase.

The Truth About Weddings & How To Manage Them

Just because the average cost of a wedding ballooned to $29,000 in 2023 DOES NOT mean you are going to have a wedding that costs that much. I’ve talked to a few friends who paid less than $4,000 for a full wedding celebration. What was the difference? Well for $4,000 they’re ordering Chipotle catering, doing it in a public space or park (where Venue costs don’t eat at your budget), and keeping all the other expensive items (florals, china, coordinators, etc) out of it. For some people, that’s the way to go and that’s OKAY! The wedding day is supposed to be about the two people getting married – if you want to spend less and have Chipotle, great. If you want an expensive wedding, be prepared to not invest for a while. If you want to just get eloped, perfect. I’m going to share some tips on how to survive wedding planning in general.


– The easy one here is picking the right partner. A partner who is organized and has their stuff together is going to make the entire process easier. Also helps that they’re relatively budget conscious although they might have dreams of a nice wedding.

– Sit down and make sure you’ve figured out a budget and do some research on it. My fiance did an amazing job and we had a decent idea (although we were slightly off once we started getting quotes) of what things were going to cost. 

Read this article on card usage. We picked our honeymoon (or the general idea of where we wanted) so we pick credit cards, airlines, and hotels that would be in that area so we could start earning points on the stuff we were spending money on. Hopefully we’ll report back with most of our honeymoon paid for in points.

– Mark down the three things that are most important to both of you. Then when it comes to cost cutting or budgeting when you get quotes back you know where to start cutting.

– Find some solid resources to read and look into. One that worked well and has an ABUNDANCE of Information is The Knot.

– Get on the same page about where you’re keeping contracts from vendors, spreadsheets, prices, guides, etc. You’re about to get blasted with so many emails that it’s real easy to just download and throw the info in a Google drive you both have access to. Get organized BEFORE the crazy stuff starts happening. If not, it’s kinda like looking for a fire extinguisher online when the place is on fire.

During Planning

– May I reference picking the right partner again? Hopefully you would have figured out how your partner responds in stressful situations when things spontaneously happened – I.E. everything in wedding planning. Even if you’re just figuring out some new things about your partner make sure you’re communicating.

– Over communicate. Make sure you and your partner are on the same page regarding budget, thoughts when getting quotes, each others responses when you get frustrated, etc. It’s going to make the rest of the planning go smoothly.

– Try to pick days and times during the week to get stuff done together. One thing I kept hearing was to do ‘Wedding Wednesday’ or something like that, but it was hard for us because our schedules were slightly inconsistent. You might not be able to schedule one time at the same time every week because… life. Even if you have to coordinate at the beginning of the week pick a time to do some planning together even though it might not be the same time.

– Pick your jobs. Mine has been emails and booking meetings since I’m the one in front of a computer all day. Pick stuff that’s easier for one or the other to do. Adjust as needed.

– Try to keep the calls with vendors to 1 or 2 a day and no more than 2 days out of the week. This can be hard if you’re waiting til the last minute of course, but for the first two weeks during planning we started booking the schedule like mad and it got tough. After a full work day, side stuff, exercising, living your life, you came home to do more planning. It does feel like a second job so try to make it on your time and try not to burn each other out.

What I Would Do Differently 

Even with a ton of information and resources to pull on every Bride and Groom say they would do one or two things differently. It’s a learning experience. While we’re not done with the planning, we have picked up a few things we would have done differently from the start.

1) Go with the coordinator first. Based on what we saw you can do day of coordinators (most venues require this at the minimum) that do help with meetings with vendors prior and do a month of take over. Then there are the full on coordinators. Both at very different price points. If you pick the right one though it can be a game changer and we wish we would have done that sooner. We started with catering and the venue (we don’t regret picking venue first) and come to find out some coordinators have their own vendor list and great recommendations. We went with Jess (SayYesWithJess) and she’s been fantastic!

2) Started doing outreach to all vendors as soon as we got the wedding list. One thing that made it seem so overwhelming at first was a large vendor list and the task of talking to everyone (this is also where a coordinator comes into play). By looking at one single thing at time and then getting a quote that was through the roof it was discouraging. I would have emailed everyone on the list early on to start getting prices from each and then start having calls with the ones that fit our budget.

Remember It’s Your Wedding

We still have a ways to go before we tie the knot and plenty more planning to do. It’s been a wonderful journey so far and at times overwhelming with just a few breakdowns. The thing that really helped us was that we remembered what it was all for. At the end of the day it’s our wedding. If you’re planning one and the expenses are getting out of this world or you’re panicked over what someone else will think just remember I don’t remember the food I had at the past 6 weddings, but I remember the people that were there. This is important because these things can be as expensive or as cost effective as you want to make them – just make sure you’re spending YOUR money for YOU.

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