WARNING: this blog post does not contain pretty pictures and might not be pretty- at all!

Brought to you by my late, great father Marty who always said: Numbers Don’t Lie!

As wedding planners we are constantly asked about wedding budgets- by our clients, parents, bride we meet at bridal shows and even wedding professionals….

Philadelphia weddings, South Jersey Weddings, Delaware weddings…. Clients of The Queen of Hearts Wedding Consultants or not…..  the math is all the same…

So let’s do:  ‘Wedding Budget: 101’ 

  • Find a number – everyone has one, regardless of if yours is $10,000 or $110,000, everyone has a number they are trying to work within for the wedding…this may mean conversations with mom and dad, and his mom and dad, and looking to see if you and your fiancé are also contributing…

DON’T start planning without a number!

  • Come up with a ROUGH guest list – again this means going back to the parents as EVERYTHING is dependent on this number!


  • Chop the ‘number’ in HALF – 48-52% of the average wedding budget goes to the wedding reception {lower end if you’re not all about food and high end if you’re a foodie!}. This number most likely includes a site fee {if there is one}, food, beverage, staff, tax and service charge….


  • Take that number and divide it by the number of guests….


If you divide your 50% by the number of guests and come up with a cost per person which is lower than many of the reception venues you are looking at you have three options:

  1. Take a look at your expectations for receptions venues and whether or not they are realistic – then decide if you  need to choose a more cost effective venue
  2. Take a look at your guest list – fewer guest means you might be able to afford the venue you are looking at
  3. Take a look at your budget and see if the ‘number’ is realistic for the size and scope of wedding you {and the family} are looking to host…

 Truthfully – sometimes the first round number, thrown out by parents is a shot in the dark as they may have never done this before and may have no idea what things in the wedding world cost for what they are looking to host!

Next….. The other 50% and Having Reasonable Expectations