Plan your dream wedding day, and keep your wedding finances in check! In this post, you’ll find tips and resources to understand and make the most of your wedding budget.
When you’re ready to plan the menu for your big day, reach out to our team at Avalon Catering! We have over three decades of experience with helping couples navigate planning for their big day. In addition to helping you find catering options in your budget, we also offer full wedding planning, décor and floral design, equipment rentals, vendor recommendations, and more!
Featured image (above) by Farrah Power.
FAQs: Wedding Budgets & Planning
What's the average cost of a wedding?
According to The Knot, the average 2021 wedding cost $28,000 for the ceremony and reception. The average cost per guest was $266.
How much should I spend on a photographer, caterer, venue, dress, - everything!
Of course, the short answer is – it’s a deeply personal choice that varies from couple to couple! That said – in 2021, some average wedding prices included:
- Venue: $10,700
- Photographer: $2,500
- Wedding Dress: $1,800
- Florist: $2,300
- Cake: $500
Most often, Avalon Catering’s clients spend between $15,000-20,000 on catering-related costs for their big day.
In our experience, the things that wedding guests tend to remember the most strongly are the overall “feel” of a wedding (the aesthetic or venue, as well as whether they enjoyed themselves) – and of course, the food!
What is the average wedding guest count?
According to The Knot study linked above, the average wedding in 2021 hosted 105 guests.
How much time will I spend planning my wedding?
Couples spend an average of 6 hours per week planning their wedding! If that sounds daunting, consider what tasks you might be able to outsource to a professional instead.
Tips & Tricks: Maximize Your Wedding Budget
Prioritize Your Spending
Before you start planning your wedding, sit down to discuss your budget with your partner and anyone else who’s part of your decision-making process. Share about what items are the most important to each of you, to help you decide where you feel comfortable spending versus saving more money.
Go the DIY Route
Have a pizza party with some friends to help you stuff envelopes or delegate tasks that speak to their strengths! For instance – maybe your aunt loves to arrange flowers, or the members of your wedding party have great handwriting to address envelopes. As a bonus, everyone will feel included in making your big day a success!
Are there parts of a wedding that just don’t fit your style? Remember, it’s your day – so make it yours!
Some fun, budget-friendly ways to get creative at your wedding include:
- Incorporate disposable cameras or instant Polaroid cameras for guests to take photos.
- Not big on crowds? Narrow down the guest list to your nearest and dearest.
- Opt for a day other than Saturday.
- Select a venue that glows on its own to use less decor.
- Choose a unique venue that speaks to you. Check rental home listings (just be sure the host allows parties!) or think about places you love to be – like your favorite library or park.
- Not big on dancing? Opt for an elegant dinner party! Or maybe you only want to dance – skip the seated dinner!
- Prefer cookies to cake? Skip the cake and have a cookie bar!
- Ask your vendors! If there is something you envision but doesn’t fit in the budget, work with them to create an in-budget alternative.
Use Digital Save the Dates & RSVPs
Save on printing and postage with digital Save the Dates and reply options. Many wedding planning websites like The Knot, Wedding Wire, Zola, and others offer options for both print and/or digital invites, plus RSVP tracking and gift registry tools!
Upcycle Your "Something Old" & "Something Borrowed"
Carry over the age-old tradition of “something old, something new, something borrowed, and something blue.” Don’t be afraid to bring used and borrowed items into your vision. Tablecloths, vases, attire, jewelry – all can add special meaning and elegance to your day, on a budget!
Choose Vendors You Can Trust
It’s important to be upfront about your budget, your vision, and expectations with your vendors. They are professionals who can likely help you find ways to save money while bringing your dreams to reality. Use online reviews and word of mouth to find vendors you can trust to create a wedding that fits both your dreams and your budget!
How to Make the Most of Your Wedding Catering Budget
As you’re thinking about your wedding menu, there are a variety of “styles of service” to choose from. From plated dinners to buffets, food stations, and heavy hors d’oeuvres – each style has its own pros and cons. To get the full scoop, read our blog post on styles of service.
Generally speaking, a buffet is often the most cost-effective style of service. You can choose from different buffet styles – for instance, a dinner buffet, cocktail buffet, or heavy hors d’oeuvres buffet.
With a buffet dinner, you can also opt for a pre-set salad and bread, so wedding guests can begin eating and chatting as soon as they are seated.
Wedding Buffet Options
If you choose to do a wedding buffet, there are so many options for the types of food you can serve!
Below is a peek at Avalon Catering’s current wedding dinner buffet. Our menus vary by season, offering the best of each harvest and farm-to-table dishes.
“Long Honeymoon” Fall and Winter Buffet:
- Local lettuces, crisp pears, spiced walnuts + dijon vinaigrette
- Peppercorn crusted Painted Hills sirloin + Sparta imperial mushroom and merlot sauce
- Pan seared springer mountain chef’s cut chicken breasts smothered in caramelized onion sauce with thyme
- Roasted broccoli salad, golden raisins, toasted almonds, organic baby arugula, apple cider vinaigrette
- Pomegranate molasses roasted baby carrots, tahini yogurt sauce, pomegranate arils, fresh mint
- Lemony mashed Yukon gold potatoes
- Herb and olive marinated feta + crisp crackers, sliced baguette
- Chef’s selection of locally baked artisan breads + whipped butter