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The excitement of engagement season is upon us, and despite the challenges 2020 threw at engaged couples, 2021 presents a new year of opportunity. Getting engaged is one of the most exciting times of anyone’s life, and while that excitement never fully goes away, couples might feel stressed as they get into the thick of planning their wedding. For many couples, the most overwhelming part of wedding planning tends to be its finances. In order to alleviate stress and give yourself the best chance of staying within your budget, it’s helpful to have an understanding of how money is commonly spent when planning a wedding. Hundreds of wedding planners use ORO, an all-in-one wedding planning platform that streamlines the planning process. We used ORO’s data from these wedding planners to compile a wedding budget breakdown by percentages, organized from the most to least expensive wedding costs, to help you allocate your wedding funds.

Wedding Budget Breakdown By Percentages From Most To Least Expensive Costs

Catering: 35%
The largest portion of your money will be spent in this area. Catering comprises most of the reception experience and typically includes the cocktail hour, main courses, dessert, and the bar. It may be difficult to cut costs here since you want to keep your guests fed, but having good food and drinks is always money well spent. However, one way to save money on catering is by purchasing a venue rental package because the rental fee is usually waived.

Rentals: 18%
Many couples pay to rent ceremony and reception fixtures, such as tables, chairs, certain décor, table clothes, napkins, and lighting fixtures. To keep your rental fees to a minimum, you can always unleash your inner artist and create your own decorations, or you can opt for a less expensive rental item, often without sacrificing quality.

Florals: 18%
While it may seem shocking, floral arrangements make up a considerable portion of your wedding planning budget. Florals typically include centerpieces, décor, and the bouquets for the bride and her bridesmaids. Since over-the-top floral arrangements are the latest wedding trend, you might want to spend a little less in another category to account for the floral arrangements you want for your big day.

Miscellaneous: 16%
Miscellaneous costs can include anything from hair and makeup to transportation to welcome bags and party favors. It is important to start thinking about the little details you want to include in your wedding at the beginning of your planning process, so you can factor these incidental costs into your budget and there won’t be any surprises as your ceremony date approaches.

Photographer: 7%
A good photographer is always worth the cost. You will want someone to capture all of the beautiful memories from the first day of your new life with your partner. Pictures last forever, so make sure you choose a talented photographer who you are excited about.

Venue Rental: 6%
The cost of a venue can vary greatly depending on location, guest count, and reputation. If you choose a popular beachfront chain wedding venue, you will likely pay higher prices, but if you select a locally-owned event hall or restaurant, you can save some money in this category. If you have a backyard wedding, a venue that soared in popularity during 2020, you might not have to factor venue rental into your budget at all.

While cost breakdowns can change based on each individual couple’s desires, this wedding budget breakdown by percentages can help you gauge how much you should be spending for your wedding and help you prepare for your meeting with your wedding planner, who can ensure that you stick as close to your wedding budget as possible and who can help you enjoy your wedding planning process.
Wedding Budget Breakdown By Percentages From Most To Least Expensive Costs Headshot

By Katherine Frost, CEO, ORO

Katherine Frost started her career in sales for a DMC (Destination Management Company), and then grew her first wedding and event planning company, A Frosted Affair, with this combined sales and operational knowledge as well as her love for making things beautiful and memorable. After 10+ years in the events industry, it became apparent the technology available to event professionals was lacking, so Katherine pivoted in early 2019 to assemble a team to help streamline the planning process and created ORO, a truly all-in-one platform to plan and manage events.

Image of ORO’s planning software provided by Katherine Frost