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What should your wedding budget look like?

April 17, 2014

How does your wedding budget compare with the standard?

Pictured above is a generally accepted guideline to what percentage of your budget should be dedicated to each part of your wedding expenses.  Of course, if you search around on the Internet you’ll find different opinions on this.  You may also place more or less importance on a honeymoon vs. accessories and pampering.  It’s not set in stone, but it’s a great guideline.  We love sharing helpful information with our customers, and our site visitors.

Of course, you are reading Wedding Pro Tips from a DJ website so we’re going to focus for a minute on that 15% allocation and why it’s important:

After the Vows*

  • 72% of all brides say they wish they would have spent more time choosing their reception entertainment.
  • Almost 100% say they would have spent more of their budget on the entertainment.
  • During wedding planning, Brides say their highest priority is their attire, followed by the reception site and caterer – at this point reception entertainment is among the least of their priorities.  Within one week after the reception, 78% of Brides say they would have made the entertainment their highest priority!
  • When asked 81% of guests say the thing they remember most about a wedding is the entertainment.
  • 65% of all couples that chose a band to entertain at their wedding stated that, if they had to do it all over again, they would have chosen a DJ. (click this sentence for more info)

*These statistics were published in St. Louis Bride & Groom Magazine in 2003.  Sources for the survey include:  Simmons, 2001; USA Today, 2002; National Bridal Service, 2001; The Knot, 2002; Brides Magazine, 2001.

Why does this survey sound like most Brides have a case of hind-sight being 20/20?

Most brides forget about entertainment until the last minute, and then typically have, on average, about 4% of their budget to allocate.  If you’re spending $10,000 on your wedding (which is just over a third of the national average) that only leaves you with $400 for your music and entertainment.  So then these brides scramble to find a $400-$500 hobbyist DJ, for that price they only get 4 hours of mediocre entertainment, and answer surveys like the one above wishing they had allocated the $1500 for a professional to cover the whole day.  Now in our neck of the woods the prices on DJs varies greatly which makes it confusing for brides who are trying to plan.  Even if you don’t go with us, we want to help you have an idea of what a good DJ charges, and have it allocated in your budget, so you don’t end up like the majority of brides in this survey.  If you follow this chart, you should only ever hire a $400-$500 DJ if your wedding budget equals roughly $2700-$3300.  The average amount of money spent on a wedding in Brown County, WI is $24,930 (source:  costofwedding.com).  Therefore, the average bride in this area should budget roughly $3,740 for their entertainment.  Now most of the DJ service providers in our area, ourselves included, have packages well within that amount.  Plus, we even added a streamlined level of service to help accommodate brides who truly do have a tight budget.  If we can give you one other solid piece of advice regarding your music/entertainment it would be this:  DO NOT, UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES, PLAN ON DOING WHAT IS CALLED AN “IPOD WEDDING”.  It’s actually more expensive than you think to do this, and it’s incredibly tacky. In fact, we have an entire blog post explaining what it would take to do an iPod wedding, and why it will end up costing you more.

Moral of the story:  budget properly ahead of time.  Try to find items and services that fit in the percentages listed in the chart above.  If you need to save money or control costs the most effective way to do this is to control your guest list.  Controlling your guest list can take the biggest piece of the pie chart, put it on a diet, and let it make room for things like spending money on your honeymoon or a little extra pampering.  The average cost per guest at a wedding is between $120-$160.  Try to focus on family first, and then invite friends you know will stay and have the most fun with you.  Another area that’s easy to save money in is decor.  You’d be amazed at the lovely and meaningful centerpieces we’ve seen couples come up with using items they were able to find at their local crafts store.  If you’d like to hear some great suggestions give us a call.  920-403-0827

Do you disagree with this figure?  Don’t just take our word for it – and when reading this article know that we value you and your day.  Providing you with outstanding entertainment isn’t a hobby for us.  This is what we do.


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