How Much for a Wedding?? Let’s break down the costs shall we…

*Featured image by Mark Seymour Photography*

Hello wedding enthusiasts! I hope your memorial day weekend went well, and you’re well rested for the week ahead. I also hope you took the time to remember those who have fallen to protect our freedoms as well. I’m so thankful to our military members and their families for giving the ultimate sacrifice to our nation.

But, moving forward, and I don’t know about you, but I personally think wedding season has come on like a fire storm! This past week alone, I have seen at least 5 friends tie the knot and I had an inquiry for a quote on my services just yesterday. One thing I have noticed as I browse the pictures on social media are the over the top themes and added accessories that couples have been including in their weddings, which absolutely must have hiked up the cost. That being said, how much should a couple be prepared to spend on a wedding today and what should they avoid to keep the costs at a minimum?

Let’s look at the numbers shall we?

*All figures come from the average wedding costs in the state of Pennsylvania*

State Wide Average: $24,000– That’s not even a joke people. Check the stats here:

But let’s keep this on the cheaper side! Here’s how I would plan my wedding in York, Pennsylvania…

Budget: $15,000

Venue: $3,700

  • Location: Willis House, York.
  • Time of Year- Spring
  • Price includes:
    • 80’x40′ pavilion overlooking pond (can be enclosed for inclement weather)

      • That last part is IMPORTANT!!!<———
    • Setup of included tables and chairs

    • Use of patio for cocktails at beginning of reception

    • Use of bonfire

    • Access to grounds for pictures

    • On-site parking and parking coordinator

    • Venue management on-site for entire event

    • 5 hour event (must end by 10pm)

    • Available after 9am on morning of event for decorating and deliveries

On- Site Ceremony- $500

  • Price includes
    • Choice of ceremony site

    • 2 hour rehearsal

    • 1.5 hours for guest arrival and ceremony

    • Bridal room available before ceremony

    • Access to grounds for pictures

    • Setup of included chairs at ceremony site

  • Also, try to pick a venue that is already relatively decorated, or has decorations on hand, such as lights, that help cut down on your costs.

Catering: $4000- for 100 guests

  • This price is stretched a little bit, but it includes an actual dinner as well as the price for the bartenders. Usually bartenders cost about $5 a head, not including the alcohol.
  • Please make sure these individuals have plates, table clothes, and cutlery. For all the money you’re paying this shouldn’t be a problem.
  • Plan for a cocktail hour as well for your guests as you’re getting pictures taken!

Photographer: $1000

  • This price is in the medium range for the prices that I saw. The least amount that I saw was about $500, but this price comes with a very limited package. These photos will be the highlight of the event, so please don’t hesitate to spend a little more.

DJ: $600

  • This price is probably in the middle of what a DJ should cost. I personally think a DJ is just as important as the photographer. Not only is he or she the entertainment for your evening, but he or she drives the entire mood of your event. If you have a terrible DJ, you’re going to have a terrible event, it’s just that simple. Make sure to do your research. Better yet, ask a newlywed friend!

Invitations: $400

  • Expect the invitations to be pricey, as well as mailing them. If you don’t have to mail certain invitations to certain people, don’t! Also, the less complicated the print, the cheaper these things will be.

Cake: $300

  • Cakes range from $200-$1000, depending on the size and decorations that you want on it. Keeping it simple yet elegant will help lower those costs.

Flowers: $1500 minimum 

  • And I bold the word minimum for a reason. Flowers are incredibly expensive, and that’s under exaggerating it. There are ways to cut back on these costs. Here is a list of way:
    • Make sure you choose the season for your wedding that your favorite flowers are in bloom. This cuts the price drastically!
    • Try to keep the bouquets small, but personable. These large bouquets often times over shadow the bride, her dress, etc. The most beautiful weddings that I’ve seen have had very few flowers. 
    • Green means GO! By having more greenery in your wedding, this certainly cuts the cost of things! Greenery is so cheap, yet so beautiful. 
    • You really don’t need center pieces for every single table. Pick the 5 tables in the room that mean the most to you, and get centerpieces for those. 

Attire: $1,000

  • This price includes the brides dress, veil, shoes, and the grooms tux. Most bridal parties nowadays ask their parties to purchase their own attire. That being said, try to keep these outfits less than $150, including the tux rental fees. That’s only the polite thing to do.
    • Brides Dress: $600
      • Shoes: $50
      • Veil: $50
      • Jewelry: $100
    • Grooms Tux: $200

Decorations: $500

  • Try to keep this number as low as possible. I know there are these hot trends out there that you HAVE TO HAVE in your wedding. But let’s be honest here: All of these things just make your wedding look cluttered! Keeping it simple means less stress for you and your closest family members.

Hotel: $300

  • So, I’ve actually seen brides get a free bridal suite on their wedding day, but that could have just been a very generous hotel. Plan to get a suite for ample room for pictures and getting ready with your bridesmaids. This price includes both a hotel room for the bride and groom. Make sure they are on separate sides of the building, and different floors!

Makeup and Hair: $300

  • It is ultimately your choice if you want your ladies to get their hair and make up done too, but remember, that ALWAYS makes the cost higher. Make a collective decision with your group, or better yet, keep the required hair and makeup styles simple!

Mani Pedi Outing: $300

  • I always think this is a great way for a bridal party to bond before the wedding. Please, consider paying for this for your girls, as a gift for all their hard work. They will ultimately appreciate that in the end!

Rehearsal Dinner: $1,000

  • Best Tip I can give: Only invite the members of the wedding party and parents to this dinner. I know, everyone wants to invite their second cousin removed, and you make yourself feel guilty for not inviting your third cousin, but this should only be for the bridal party and family to get together. Use this as a way to thank those who have helped you the most throughout this entire process.
  • This should also be paid for and planned by the grooms family.

And I am SURE this isn’t the last of what’s needed, but from my calculations, here is the final total:


I know, I know, I went over budget. But I promise, that’s probably the lowest I could have done with the numbers that I saw coming at me. I know I may have missed a few things as well, so I will love some feedback for what I may have missed! All of these totals for each category come from businesses in the York area.

Some of these numbers may offend people. I know, because I’ve had it happen. If your numbers were much higher for your weddings, that’s perfectly fine! My plan throughout this entire article was to try to plan it like it was my own wedding, and I know how much I would be able to spend in that regard.

Soooo, my recommendations:

  • Try and package deal your wedding as much as possible.
    • Catering, venue, bakery, etc. You can easily save money if you do this.
  • The dollar store and Michaels are a great place to find cheaper decorations!
    • Michaels always has coupons coming to your inbox, and they are a great tool to snagging those deals!
  • Have envelopes for every part of your budget. This may seem silly, but by having the money in envelopes, you can better track how much you have to spend, and avoid over spending by using your card.
  • When it doubt, toss it out.
    • If you really don’t need this in your wedding, DON’T HAVE IT!

What matters the most to spend your money on:

  • Venue
  • Catering
  • Attire
  • Photographer
  • Makeup and hair
  • DJ

Here are the links of the places and services in York, PA, that I used as examples to find my totals:

Willis House– Venue

Lincoln Way Flower Shop– Flowers

Renaissance Bridal– Dress

Men’s Wearhouse-Men’s Attire

BabeRuth Photography– Photographer

Staples– Invitations

Providence Bakery– Cake

Artistic Foods Catering– Catering

I’m hoping these links help you find a solution, and know that planning a wedding IS POSSIBLE! It certainly isn’t easy, but that’s where I come in!

If you’re interested in having a wedding planner, here is an idea of my services and associated costs:

  • A free 2 hour consultation at the location of your choice
  • A free 2 hour meeting one month before your wedding to discuss details of the day and how you want your event to flow.
  • $300-$500 for the day before and the day of your wedding
    • You will get me for 48 hours, guaranteed.
    • I will run the ceremony rehearsal from the order in which we discussed.
    • I will help decorate your venue to your liking.
    • I will conduct your entire wedding day and you will not be bothered with any operations that come with the vendors associated with your event.
  • An additional $15 an hour for planning prior to your wedding
    • This includes contract negotiations, going to different locations to help you choose what’s best for your budget, or anything else you need help with!
  • If you are not satisfied with my services, all but $100 will be returned to you after the conclusion of the event. This $100 will cover my travel and food costs.

Here’s to a happy wedding season! I’m so excited to see the pictures and all the love that weddings bring!

Much Love,




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