Dream weddings come with a cost: How to plan on a budget

In 2024, weddings typically cost an average of $33,000, and learning how to cut down on the little things can make all the difference. Camie Jobe | Photographer

By Piper Rutherford | Staff Writer

With the average cost of a wedding being $33,000 in 2024, it’s no surprise that getting married comes with a lot of planning and budgeting.

Fort Worth junior Isabel Markham said since mailing her save-the-date invitations, it has been challenging to maintain financially reasonable expectations when scrolling through social media.

“It is so easy to see elaborate weddings on Pinterest or Instagram that are so beautiful and extravagant but also cost a lot,” Markham said. “For me, it is important to be conscious of my own situation when managing my expectations, especially since I have four younger sisters who will also be getting married in the future, and my precedent of expenses will then be placed on my parents four more times.”

Some wedding expenses that came as a surprise to Markham were a venue and catering, which forced her to make sacrifices in other areas of her budget.

“Venue costs came as a shock since you are only renting the space, and then you have to then fill it on top of that and staff it,” Markham said. “Because of that, we are not doing super elaborate music, and my dress is not the most expensive either, which was crazy to think about.”

Markham’s fiancé, Fort Worth senior Graham Wolfe, said the little things add up quickly.

“Avoiding the markup tag is always annoying,” Wolfe said. “For me personally, I am planning anything on the groom’s side of responsibilities, which includes the hardship of balancing all of the payment deadlines.”

Despite common financial hiccups, Markham said thinking of other creative ways to save money and organizing a budget is what has helped her the most in the months leading up to “I do.”

The first way, Markham said, is to get crafty with do-it-yourself projects.

“The florals we are doing ourselves,” Markham said. “Also, I know that other people have done their own table arrangements or cakes too.”

Another way, Markham said, is to do research about how much, on average, each component of a wedding costs.

“My fiancé and I looked up online things like how much a baseline cost for a venue was or what the average amount of money people spend on food is,” Markham said. “The small details like that helped us then decide where we could spend more or less money going forward.”

Wolfe said his token of advice to newly engaged couples is to keep in mind their future financial plans beyond their wedding.

“Don’t go into debt to pay for a wedding,” Wolfe said. “That is not a good way to start the rest of your lives together.”