Welcome to our real wedding budget breakdown series, Real Brides, Real Budgets. Where we take the secrecy out of wedding budgets - sharing how other real life couples splurged and saved on their big day. Whether you have $5,000 or $50,000 to spend, a guest list of 10 or 300, there's no right or wrong way to plan a wedding. Seeing how real brides have spent real budgets is a great way to work out what you want to prioritize and how much you're comfortable spending on your big day.
Today's couple are based in Sandy Springs, they are both 30 and work in project management and digital marketing. They had a micro-wedding with close family and friends at a elegant city club in the heart of midtown Atlanta.
Venue: The Peachtree Club
Venue: $2,775 for 20 guaranteed guests
Catering: $2500 + 18% gratuity +fees $3000
Photography: Gifted + $175 gratuity
Wedding cake: $457
Wedding dress: $1,999 rented from Laine London
Alterations: Included ($500 value)
Veil: Included ($300 value)
Groom suit: $250
Grand total: $12,311 This does exclude honeymoon expenses which was $5000+
Did you spend more or less than you expected to spend? Slightly more. Details like parking, service fees and last minute changes were difficult to budget for. Don't forget to tip your service staff, have some cash on hand.
Where did your wedding budget come from? Purely from savings plus a $1000 injection from family.
Biggest spurge? Plated dinner reception at Empire State South. Delicious food was a must.
Biggest savings? Photography. My good friends Anna and Robert insisted they capture our wedding and we were so thankful, as I know photography is typically the biggest chunk for many couples. Hair and Makeup. Because we didn't have a wedding party, I opted to do my own hair and makeup to truly feel like myself and not feel rushed. Lastly, my wedding dress. Renting the dress allowed me to have that designer look without the designer price tag. I didn't even realize I would need alterations so having it included in the package also saved me $100's of dollars.
Unexpected costs? We ended up getting a hotel a couple weeks before the wedding to be closer to the venue. Luckily the venue and the hotel were attached.
Where was the honeymoon? Hawai'i
Were you happy with what you spent at the wedding? YES
Any tips or advice for couples? Give yourself ample time to plan, budget, and prepare. Whatever lead time you think you need, add 2-4 weeks.
Maybe we didn't have the typical wedding everyone was expecting, but it was what we wanted and in the end made us happy.