Breakdown of a $100,000 Wedding Budget

We’re sharing an example of what it takes to host a iconic Washington, DC wedding for $100,000.


11/1/20233 min read

a person using a laptop on a bed
a person using a laptop on a bed

You can spend anything on a wedding. We’ve seen weddings for under $10,000 and some for over a million. Previously, we broke down a real wedding budget from a $60,000 wedding, but we were curious to see what one financial notch up would look like. $100,000 allows you to have a bit more of the luxury elements that go into those Pinterest weddings, but you might be surprised that it still is important to compromise on certain items at this price point.

If you’re planning a wedding with a $100,000 budget, hopefully this budget can serve as an example for how much to allocate to certain categories. However, still note that every wedding is different—prioritize what’s most important to you and cut out areas that are less relevant.

A Realistic Budget Breakdown for a Wedding Weekend

Our real wedding example is based on a couple in Washington, DC. Note that this is just one of many ways to make your budget and location work for you!

Location-Based Factors

Certain factors influence how this couple spends and will be similar to other big cities.

  • The cost of their venue and food will be higher as a percentage than in more rural areas.

  • There are a plethora of options for accommodation, so while the cost will still be higher for rooms than small towns, they’re more competitive for a big city.

  • They might not need to reserve space for an after party if there are a plethora of bars. If they decide to, they will have many options.

The Couple’s Priorities

This couple had a few priorities to work with that they discussed prior to selecting a venue and booking too many vendors. We highly recommend doing so; not only does it help you and your partner stay focused on what matters most throughout the planning process, but it also helps you stay decisive—something you’ll be grateful for later.

  • They wanted to keep the guest size moderate, so they had 105 guests.

  • They wanted to take advantage of DC’s history and hold the reception in an iconic venue.

  • They love the food scene in DC and wanted to show it off, from appetizers to dinner to dessert.

  • They wanted to provide a full experience for their guests, so held a welcome party to kick off the weekend.

Where This Couple Compromised

Based on these factors, they compromised in other areas to save. Focusing on their priorities helped them let go of other areas that could’ve ran up their budget.

  • Knowing the transportation options in DC and relative closeness of events, they didn’t provide transportation to and from the wedding.

  • They limited the floral displays they had originally envisioned.

  • They had also originally envisioned custom decorations, but decided to use a lot of the items provided by the vendor, including standard plates and cups, signage holders, and tables.

  • The brides mother also gifted hair and makeup to the bride and the bridal party, eliminating that expense from their budget.

What Wasn’t Factored In

Many couples include or don’t include certain items in their budget for a number of reasons. Regardless of the reason, recognizing this up front also helps you understand why you might be over or under the average wedding cost for your city or from what you’re hearing from your friends about their wedding day.

To keep our wedding comparisons similar, we asked this couple to not include the cost of their honeymoon, wedding bands, attire, and gifts to the wedding party and family in this budget. However, many couples exclude these costs anyway, particularly if they put a honeymoon fund on their registry (we highly recommend you do!).

The Budget

Once the weekend was finished and reconciled, this couple snuck in under their budget at $99,980. Look at the breakdown below:

Was this budget example helpful? We’re gathering other example budgets at different price tiers to make wedding planning more transparent and realistic. Subscribe to our blog or follow us on social media to stay in the loop!