How Do You Measure Up?

eco-friendly wedding invitations

In lieu of the usual Thursday LOVE/HATE (which I will post tomorrow), I wanted to share the results of American Bridal‘s 2008 wedding planning survey. What I’m most curious about is how you, our loyal readers, measure up to the “average bride,” at least insofar as the average bride planning a wedding saw fit to participate in a survey posted by an online wedding favor shop. Here are the results:

90% are doing the planning themselves, not hiring a professional wedding planner
25% are planning a wedding on a budget of less than $10,000
25% have wedding budgets over $25,001
50% fall somewhere in between, with 38% reporting in the range of $10,001 to $20,000
25% are having the wedding reception at a hotel
10% have opted to host their nuptials at a country club
6% of couples selected a destination wedding
55% reported they are finding another type of venue to rent for the wedding ceremony/reception
48% will have between 5 to 8 bridesmaids and groomsmen
37% of respondents have 9 or more
40% report they will have a wedding guest count of more than 200
14% say their total guest count is under 100
34% are inviting 100 to 150 guests
68% said they’ve lowered their wedding budgets by $1,000 or less
46% of respondents said they would not make changes to their budgets in the areas of music, location, reception style, or the wedding dress

As far as my own 2007 wedding planning experience measured up, I did indeed plan my own ceremony and reception from start to finish. My wedding budget fell somewhere in between $10,001 and $20,000… much closer to the $10k end of the spectrum. The Beard and I found a venue that was not a hotel or country club, though I had only four attendants total (bridesmaids and groomsmen). We invited about 100 wedding guests to the wedding, and I think somewhere around 80 actually showed. Finally, we made plenty of wedding budget-related changes to almost every aspect of the ceremony and reception, and this was before news outlets started poo-poo’ing the economy.

How about you? Where do your planning experiences fall?

(The wedding stationery above comes from Cherry Gorgeous, which sells a small range of ‘eco-chic’ invitations, RSVP cards, thank you cards, and more.)

14 Responses to “How Do You Measure Up?”

  1. Bitter says:

    Actually, I wonder if this economy won’t mean better deals that could lead to couples saving $1,000+ without making specific plans to cut back. Many vendors rely on more than just weddings to get through the year, and I have no doubt that other events have been cut down in this time of budget crunches. I know when I looked at the location where we’d like to get married, they’ve already chopped $1,000 off the cost of the package we’d want. I wouldn’t be shocked if other vendors start dropping prices to compete for what business is available.

  2. TeleriB says:

    – Self-planned
    – Budget under $10K
    – Wedding in church, reception site ‘other’ (historic mill)
    – 4 attendants total
    – Just over 100 invites, just under 100 guests attended
    – Ended up about $1K over our initial $5K budget goal
    – Music cost was $0 (CD player, mix CDs); location was about as cheap as you can get in DC area aside from your living room ($600 all day and we were able to sneak in the day before to set up tables); reception style (brunch buffet) was our main expense ($3K) and I was not really willing to cut that any more; dress was $400 plus alterations and I was happy with that.

  3. Bitter: Awesome point! This is probably also the best time to ask outright for a discount. The worst they can say is no!

    TeleriB: Wow, good job! That’s an amazing price for a reception space!

  4. Melissa B. says:

    Wow, I’m incredibly average!
    – Self-planned
    – Budget between $10k and $25k
    – Reception site “other” (historic mansion)
    – 4 bridesmaids, 3 groomsmen
    – 180 invited, guessing around 150 attend
    – We’ve lowered our budget for invitations, photography and decorations, but refused to cut back on food or the guest list. I’m proud to say my dress came in under budget … only $30 under budget, but that still counts, right?

  5. Twistie says:

    It’s been a long time, but here’s how it panned out for me and Mr. Twistie:

    – Self-planned
    – Budget well under 10k (was roughly 2k at the time, adjusting for inflation it would still be well under 10k)
    – Wedding and reception site (both held in the same place) ‘other.’ Redwood grove
    – 5 bridesmaids, 4 groomsmen
    – Roughly 115 invited, roughly 85 attended
    – We didn’t specifically lower any budgets, but we bargain hunted like crazy. Oddly enough, I never sat down and figured out in advance how much to spend on each aspect, but rather what I wasn’t going to spend any money on at all. Then I looked for the best bargains I could get on anything I was going to purchase or anyone I was going to hire. We’d never actually discussed a budget, but I ended up paying for almost everything for the wedding (Mr. Twistie handled everything for the honeymoon, and we were both working full time), so I squeezed every dime until it begged for mercy. I’m good at that.

  6. Toni says:

    Yeah, pretty average here. Probably the main area we differed was in only having two attendants each.

  7. Kathy says:

    * Self planned
    * Budget under $10,000
    * Wedding in church, reception other (dorm dining hall–sounds tacky, but it’s was pretty–and $300)
    * 12 attendants
    * Probably 150 invites, somewhere around 100 attended.
    * I don’t know how to judge what I would have been willing to cut back on. I got my wedding dress for around $300 after alterations. We could have cut back a little with our food budget (barbeque, buffet style), but I’m pretty happy about what we did.

  8. rabrab says:

    Budget under $10G. Way under. Like $9000+ under.
    Venue: other (a private campground)
    Attendants: one each
    Guests: roughly 150
    No reduction in budget
    Wouldn’t change anything.

  9. Tizzy says:

    *Planning with the help of my mom and my fiancé.
    *We’re between 10k and 20k probably closer to 20k because his parents are being so generous.
    *The ceremony and reception will be at a hotel/ historic inn
    *We’re getting married in my hometown area but more than half our guests will be coming for 500+ miles away. I’m not sure if that means it’s destination or not.
    *We’re having 2 bridemaids, 1 bridesman, 1 best man, and two groomsmen for a total of 6 people.
    *We’ll invite between 100 and 120 but we’re expecting under 100.
    *As I said my FPIL have been very generous so we’re actually spending more than we had planned.

    So yeah, count me in as another average one.

  10. P says:

    Self-planned and self-paid.
    Budget was $5K, went over by a few hundred dollars (forgot about taxes).
    “Other” reception site- farm.
    No attendants.
    45 guests.
    Biggest money savers: daytime brunch, no music, no flowers, dress was custom made by Wai-Ching for <$400, chose a relatively new photographer (but damn talented!).
    Wouldn’t change anything =)

  11. Bellamama says:

    Mom-planned (I was up to my neck finishing my thesis, but I got approval on major details: flowers, cake, and managed to pick the dress for myself)
    Budget was between 10 and 20k and we made it. Well, we may have gone over a little on the photographer, but he was well worth it!
    Wedding was in a church and reception was in my parents’ gorgeous formal garden. Free!
    Four attendants total
    Ceremony was private (maybe twenty guests), but the reception was in the 150 range.
    Dream wedding – loved it!

  12. -self-planned
    -over $25K budget. I know, I know. My excuse is that I live in NYC. 🙂 Could I do it for less? Probably a little. We are trying our best at this point to come under our budget as much possible, and we’ve definitely lowered it.
    -it’s at a large restaurant with the ceremony and reception at the same place
    -no attendants
    -we’re hoping for about 100 guests
    -right now I think I am going to have what I want which is something pretty simple

  13. Hi. This is all about taste. I completely agree with you regarding \”Manolo for the Brides\”, but I think you are in the thin line of thinling. Don\’t you? Maybe you can try discount chocolate wedding favors

  14. Skittles says:

    Haha! I’m just now realizing how cheap I am. Anyway, things aren’t quite set in stone yet (I just got engaged) but this is my best guess at how things will turn out:

    Of course I’m planning my own wedding. It wouldn’t be as much fun if I didn’t.
    Definitely under $10,000. I’m an art student and so are both my bridesmaids, so we’ll be doing a lot of stuff ourselves. (I plan on making my own dress since I’ve been sewing since I was five. I also bake and am thinking of doing a cupcake tree thing.)
    The wedding will be at one of our churches (still deciding on which) and I’m hoping to have the reception someplace really different like maybe an art museum?
    I think we’ll wind up with two bridesmaids and two groomsmen.
    Less than 100 guests (unless my FMIL gets at the guest list).
    We haven’t set a budget yet but it’ll be pretty low to start with.