Updated: May 25
Weddings can be expensive, and Chattanooga weddings certainly aren't an exception to the rule. With the average cost of a wedding in America somewhere around $30,000, planning your big day could be a bit of a financial burden, especially if you're on a tight budget. However, there are ways to plan a cheap Chattanooga wedding to save you some serious cash.
You'll get the most obvious tips to save money on your upcoming wedding to cut costs wherever possible. You may have been saving for a deposit on a house or have been putting money aside in an emergency fund, so it makes sense that when planning your wedding, your first option to save money should be switching the location of your big day. If you still want to have an extravagant wedding but are struggling financially, consider hosting it at a local Chattanooga community center or even at home, depending on the size of your family and friends.
In general, expenses can range from $15,000 to $30,000 depending upon the type of wedding you choose and whether your family is covering any of it. Keep in mind many brides have been going over budget lately with destination weddings and full-out celebrations - weddings can easily cost $50,000 and up.
Some ideas on how expensive a Chattanooga wedding is:
Venues: All venues in downtown Chattanooga cost approximately $10,000 for 8 hours of time Venues with a dance floor, bathrooms, and heat/air cost up to $15,000. Most venues have a partial setup of tables and chairs needed for the event already there.
Depending on location and menu choices, it ranges from $50-500 per person. Most couples choose their venue based on its convenience to both the ceremony and reception sites as well as what kind of food it offers. Because this is such a large part of what contributes to your overall wedding day cost, it is important to be sure that the venue offers a menu selection that meets or exceeds all of your guests' expectations.
Wedding planners range from $500 to $1000 or more depending on the number of hours required for site visits, phone calls, and meetings before the big day. In addition, there are catering minimums which can be as low as $1500 per 100 guests.
It ranges from $50-500 for a wedding day presence of a coordinator or planner on the wedding day. It is huge to have on hand as they can help coordinate, remind you about things and generally run around like a chicken with their head cut off, making sure you're where you need to be when you need to be there. There is also a great psychological benefit to knowing that someone has your back and can deal with any issues that arise.
Decorators: They can cost anywhere from a few hundred dollars up to several thousand. And it is essential to note that this price may vary depending on the event you are having (rehearsal dinner versus wedding versus reception). For still-to-do brides, a general rule of thumb is that decorators charge per hour, and their minimum fee is generally half an hour. As with most things associated with weddings, there are ways to cut costs and still have a fabulous atmosphere.
Catering: They range from $65 per person for a cocktail-style reception to $95 per person for a plated seated reception. Outside catering has a base menu of items that increase depending on the number of servings chosen from each category. From 4-course sit-down dinners to a hamburger or hot dog buffets, the price range is $45/pp for a buffet and $55/pp for a 3-course meal served by waiters. The cost of cake cutting and table linens can range from $60/pp - $95/pp, depending on the venue.
Cake: It can cost anywhere from a few hundred for a simple sheet cake to thousands of dollars for elaborate designs and tiers. When estimating your cake cost, consider one that will feed 100 people. So if your guest list is 130 people, you should budget for at least two tiers of 2- or 3-inch cakes.
It costs $500-2000+ for the cake depending on the number of guests and the size of the wedding cake. If you have a small cake with just 2-3 tiers, this could cost as little as $500 if you purchase from a local bakery. If you are looking at 4 or more tiers and having it delivered from out of town, then expect to pay closer to the top end of this range.
Flowers: It may cost $500-5000+ for the flowers that are not from the florist you choose to work with, which can add up to be the most expensive part of your wedding day. Choosing a florist early on in your planning is essential to ensure you get the best prices and availability.
Weddings ring: It can cost from a few hundred dollars for simple bands to thousands of dollars for unique designs. It is not included in the average wedding cost because many couples will use their own engagement ring on their wedding day.
Ring bearer: Ring bearer pillows can cost anywhere from $10-15 if you purchase the pillow at your local party store to upwards of hundreds of dollars for custom-designed pillows. It is important to note that pillows are not required at the wedding, but many couples like them for their ring bearer to carry down the aisle.
Wedding insurance: They can range from $20-200 depending on your needs and coverage options (which usually include liability, cancellation, weather, illness, or injury). It is usually an affordable way to protect your wedding, just in case something unexpected happens.
Tuxedo rental fees: They range on the low end from around $100 for a rented tux up to several thousand for a custom tuxedo. And that's not including the cost of a regular suit. Most grooms rent their tuxedos and take care of this expense along with their other wedding expenses.
Groomsmen tuxedo rentals range on the low end from $75 for a rented tux up to $500+ for a custom tuxedo. And that's not including the price of the regular suit that is worn underneath it all. Most grooms rent their tuxedos and take care of this expense along with their other wedding expenses.
Bridesmaid dresses range from $100-300 per dress, depending on your choice and your brand. Some shops offer discounts if several bridesmaids purchase their dresses from the same retailer.
Photography and Videography: It will cost $100-1000+ depending on what is included for photo services (photos, prints, albums). If you are hiring a professional photographer, this will be higher. However, there are lots of great options for affordable photo packages that print photos on-site at reasonable costs. Make sure to shop around for your photo needs, as there are many opportunities to save. It ranges from $5,000-20,000+ extra if you plan to hire a professional wedding videographer. This industry is growing and becoming more affordable, so many quality videographers are available who work within your price range.
Bridal portrait: It will range from $50-100 for a bridal portrait session, although this is less important as more and more brides choose to shoot their own poses. Many planners include one in their wedding packages. It will cost $500- $1000 for photography and videography, although as with the rest of the categories, your range can vary greatly depending on where you live and who you go with.
Photobooth: It ranges from$50-150 for a photo booth or other unique service for your wedding, corporate event, or party can seem like a lot of money. Fifty bucks are half the price for one person's ticket to many Chicago events! But when you calculate your budget to cut costs where you need them most, remember that there are several elements involved in planning an event besides food and venues. It takes time, talent, and creativity to make parties fun, and often money, too.
Invitations: It ranges on the low end from around $20 for a home-printed or copied invitation, and On the high end, you can spend up to hundreds of dollars for a custom-designed invitation. $25-40 per person for invitations depending on if they are printed or not and what you need them to include. In order to keep costs down, you can choose a company that offers digital printing of invites so that you don't have to spend money on expensive paper and postage. make sure that they are all at least one foot apart from each other in order to create enough room
Wedding dresses and accessories: It ranges from $500-1000 for up to 3 outfit changes (included with some planners), including dresses (if rented), shoes, and accessories. Many venues have a wardrobe department on-site with an extra charge to use their selection. Many brides choose to buy a second dress or wear it again on the honeymoon for more glamorous photos. It will cost $500-1500 for makeup, hair, and nail services - this varies greatly depending on where you live and what salon/stylist you use.
Welcome bag: $30-50 for welcome bags containing maps and other information about the city and good spots, $10-20 per person for transportation from hotel accommodations to venues or ceremony sites.
Transportation: If required, $50-100 per limo/car service (most venues have access to one at a reduced rate). Transportation is not always needed, especially if the reception is close to the hotel. A few hundred dollars for hotel rooms if guests travel from out of town. This estimate also considers the number of guests that may need to be housed. $75-500 for travel expenses, including gas mileage, plane tickets, or rental cars if out-of-town travel is required. If you have a large wedding party and it requires transportation from more than one place, this number can increase dramatically.
It ranges from $150-300 for transportation to and from the rehearsal dinner, ceremony, and reception (if included with a planner). If not paying for a planner, then this may need to be added in.
Rehearsal dinner: The price of a rehearsal dinner can range from a bare-bones, casual meal for two people to a formal sit-down dinner for 200. It often depends on your wedding budget and the number of guests you have invited. But it also depends on the preferences and decisions of the bride and groom and those of their parents. The rehearsal dinner is traditionally the last time the wedding party gets together before the big day. It is usually hosted by the groom's parents, just like they will host the bridal shower and bachelorette party.
Multi events: It ranges from $500 to $2000 or more if the wedding party stays overnight during the time of events like (bridal shower, bachelorette party, and wedding day). It includes hotel rooms, flights, or gas mileage if out of town. If you have several events during the weekend, this cost can increase significantly. After-party charges While planning your wedding day, there may be some after-hours party plans that you want to include. If so, expect to pay for additional food and drinks costs along with any entertainment costs, whether it is a hotel or reception hall rental fees (where applicable) or a cover charge for a DJ, band, or anything else you plan to include at the after-party venue.
Entertainment: $100-1000 for band/DJ/entertainer/comedy show (whether they are local or national acts). Expect to pay more if you choose a national act, as you are also paying for their time spent traveling to the show.
Drinks: $50-200 depending on how much alcohol is provided at the reception. If you provide a wine with dinner and champagne for toasts, this cost will be less than if pay bars are implemented throughout the event. This estimate does not include other drinks, such as coffee, tea, or sodas that are usually provided.
Wedding favors: It ranges from $20-50 per person for favors, depending on what is chosen. It can include a candy buffet, customized cookies in the shape of a wedding bell, or something else that is unique to your needs and budget.
There are many things to take into account when planning a wedding. While it may seem as though there is no limit to your budget, it is essential to be aware of all of the associated costs before deciding on one final number. By using this guide and considering all the elements that go into creating a beautiful wedding, couples can take one step closer to realizing their perfect day.