Wedding planning can often bring sticker shock to couples as they begin planning which is why we sat down with Laura Maddox of Magnolia Celebrates to discuss making sure your budget expectations match reality.


Expectation: The average wedding costs $30,000

Reality: The average wedding costs what you are comfortable spending


There are a lot of “average wedding cost” numbers out there, but what isn’t explained in those averages is the outliers. That average is accounting for elopements, courthouse weddings, destination and high-end luxury wedding. Your wedding should cost, however much you feel like you should spend.


“In first grade, they told me that a paragraph is as long as a string and that has always stuck with me because a wedding budget is as long as a string,” explained Laura. “Like, you get to decide. You get to decide if you want to spend $13 at the county courthouse to get a marriage license and then go get married.”


The most important part is that you are comfortable with your wedding budget. Don’t let any averages convince you otherwise!


Expectation: I am going to have everything I want

Reality: Your tastes outweigh your budget


Most likely, you aren’t going to be able to have everything you want at your wedding. There’s almost always a sacrifice couples have to make because they don’t realize how much things they want are going to cost them. There’s a triangle of costs and you usually have to nudge on one of them. It’s your guest count, your taste level and your budget that all need to align.


“It ultimately comes down to are you trying to do a champagne wedding on a Pabst Blue Ribbon budget, or do you have the champagne money? Or is your guest count so high that you're out-tasting your money,” said Laura.


So, if you can’t afford what you want, lower your taste level, lower your guest count or up your budget. Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, folks!


Expectation: Food and beverage can’t be that much

Reality: ... It is


When asked what couples should spend the most on, Laura’s answer was simple.


“I always say food and beverage,” she said.


It’s not just the literal food and beverage you are paying for. You have to factor in set up, serving needs and the staff to make it all happen. Don’t forget about tax and service charge. It adds up quickly and usually adds up to significantly more than couples were expecting.


About this week’s guest: Laura Maddox of Magnolia Celebrates has spent the last decade plus curating life’s most exciting moments for her clients. She has gotten wine, blood, dirt and more out of wedding dresses, and helped countless brides find their perfect team for their big day.


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