I recently revamped a 2016 post entitled /wedding-client-meetings/in honor of the new year. This was one of my first posts and the title no longer fits the article as it has evolved over the past 2 – 3 years. It started as a primer for client meetings, and turned into a primer for what to do from the moment you recover from saying “Yes, I Will marry you”. In that post, I mentioned my next post would be about money, the container for this one of a kind celebration you are about to plan. I’ve adjusted my strategy to better serve you. Instead of a single blog post, this is the first of several showcasing real Maine wedding budgets. My aim here is to help you see how others do it, and how your tastes, preferences, and needs can best be served.

Your Budget is your container

If that container is a glass, think about it as a glass of beer. I specifically use beer for this example because of the foam at the top. You need to leave room for additions, subtractions, cost over runs, and the just plain unexpected. So you have the actual beer that represents your ideal wedding budget, and the foam/suds/head, what ever you want to call it that represents the unknowns. Everything should have a range you want to stay in. So when you set a budget, have a buffer. On a $30,000 wedding (just below the current average of $35000, but easier to work with) Your buffer should be between $3,000 – $6,000 so +/- %15

The fun part

Start with the fun part. Grab a couple adult beverages, and let your imagination run wild with all you can ever want for your wedding. Load it right up, this is your fantasy wedding day, make sure to include the total number of guests you would invite if you could. When you have this list built, pick out the musts, the priorities. Things that will absolutely make or break your wedding day. This will become your first draft of your lower range. Once you have that lower range, sleep on it, revisit it and prioritize what order all of these items on the wish list should be in for you. This will come in handy as you revisit the list and have to subtract, or have found a way to add something to your must haves. Now I am going to politely crush all of your dreams with this….

A Real Maine Wedding Budget

We’ll do this with a very basic $18,000 sample wedding. Initial budget was $15K, mom gifted the honeymoon, and the rest of the overage was made up through wedding gifts. While this is about half the average budget, it’s a real look at a couple who just wanted the basics, but wanted them done right.

Venue 1 (church) $500 + Flowers $350 = $850 total

Venue 2 Room With a View at Portland Company Complex $1,500

Catering for 100 ppl including Hors D’ Oeuvres and rentals $6,000.00

Bar – Drink tickets for guests $800

Photographer $2700

DJ $1500

Dress $750

Groom suit $200

Limo $500

Honeymoon $2,200.00 (not including pocket money)

Favors, Gifts, & Misc. $1000

Total: $18,000.00


Now of course cost and quality go hand in hand, and some people have different priorities than others. In the above example, the bride was not a huge fan of flowers, which gave her room to spend elsewhere. I’m sure this will apply to you as well. Book your priority pieces first, or at least make a significant effort to research the pieces you consider priorities to know how much of your budget that priority will consume.


Sometimes a relative will gift a vendor to you such as Videographer, DJ, Honeymoon, open bar, etc. Whatever you do, make sure you are part of the decision to hire the person you want for that role. Remind the relative that your piece of mind is paramount, and while you appreciate the gesture, you want to meet and get a comfort level with the wedding professional they have offered to pay for so you can relax knowing that it really is taken care of. 

First Base

You can use this as a basis for your budgeting. Do a little research, and don’t be afraid to inquire with people you feel may be out of your price range. Sometimes the difference in in customer service. In other cases the difference is in technical expertise. Quite often, there are personalities that just connect, or don’t, and the decision is made right there. If at the end of the day you are comfortable with the choice you have made, that is what matters. The whole point is for you to enjoy your wedding celebration without worrying about anything but having a great time with your friends and family.

Higher wedding budgets

More money gives you more venue options, allows for more guests, allows for options like photo booths or uplights, wedding bands, open bars, more flowers, you name it. I will be posting more Real Maine Wedding Budgets so you can get a sense of what is happening out in the marketplace. Feel free to share your experiences with me in the comments.

If all of this is overwhelming, reach out to a wedding planner such as

Meghan Torierri – http://www.bmerryevents.com/

Catherine Fairbanks-Cliffe – http://www.destinationmaineweddings.com/

Lani Toascano – https://www.lanitoscanodesign.com/

Christina @ Pinch Me Planning – https://www.pinchmeplanning.com/

Wendy Caron http://www.dragonflyweddingcoordinator.com/

Wedding Planners are not expensive, they are priceless. If you have a full time job, and your fiance has a full time job, hiring a planner can make your life so much easier. If you are from away and need a central contact who really knows the area and the offerings in that area, these planners are priceless. Please tell them I sent you!

Thanks for checking in, and I will see you in my next blog post