Real Wedding Budgets of Georgia Brides

Three Georgia brides dish on every single wedding expense.
by Alison Goldman

It sounds easy -- 10 percent to flowers, 50 percent to catering -- but let's be real: There's no way you can plan each purchase down to the last cent! Here's what three Georgia brides spent on their weddings and which pros they used to stick to their budgets.

Amanda Cleveland & Jeremy Dent

June 12 | Savannah | 90 guests

Their Budget: $40,700

Their Breakdown

Ceremony site $255 for the site fee and to have a police officer there. "Our ceremony was by a fountain so we didn't need any decorations." Fountain in Forsyth Park, City of Savannah Leisure Services, Savannah, (912) 351-3852

Ceremony accessories $490 for white chairs, fans and water bottles.

Reception site $13,858 including catering. "Skipping liquor was a big money saver -- and maybe embarrassment saver for some!" Mansion on Forsyth Park, Savannah, (800) 984-4203

Photography $2,500 for one shooter for six hours and 2,600 prints. memories n more, Savannah,

Videography $1,100 for two shooters for five hours and six videos. Savannah Wedding Films, Savannah, (912) 480-0376

Wedding Consultant $2,750. "I live in Augusta, so it was helpful to have a planner." Tricia Huddas & Co. Weddings & Events, Savannah, (912) 660-0713

Ceremony Officiant $250. Pastor Dan Joyner, Statesboro

Wedding Gown $3,050 for a silk-taffeta style, including having it taken in. Melissa Sweet, House of the Bride, Augusta, (706) 736-6500

Hair and makeup $160. JW Salon & Spa, Savannah, (912) 272-7676

Veil $175 for one with a detailed trim. House of the Bride, Augusta, (706) 736-6500

Hair accessories $125 for a headband. David's Bridal, Augusta, (706) 737-2595

Shoes $258. "They were expensive, but perfect." Valentine Grazia,

Wedding rings $1,600 for both. Windsor Jewelers, Augusta, (706) 738-7777

Other jewelry $850 for a diamond cuff and $50 for earrings.

Bridal party gifts $250 for pearl bracelets for the girls.

Formalwear $200, a discount for the groom. Men's Wearhouse, Augusta, (706) 733-4234

Stationery $800 for invitations and $20 for escort cards.

Sign-in book $25 for a vintage-inspired guestbook. Hallmark, Augusta, (706) 738-0200

Flowers $4,600 for 13 bouquets, flower girl flowers, 12 boutonnieres and 14 centerpieces. Ladybug Flowers & Gifts, Martinez, (706) 868-9318

Reception decor $390 for candelabras and $300 for candles, candleholders and votives.

Rental equipment $2,058 for an all-white dance floor, napkins, chair covers and ties. Ranco Tent Rentals, Savannah, (912) 656-5772

Ceremony music $900 for trumpeters. New Arts Ensembles, Savannah, (912) 596-1360

Reception music $850 for a DJ. VIP Disc Jockey Entertainment LLC, Savannah, (912) 897-0133

Wedding Cake $836 for a five-tiered cake. Two Cakes, Savannah, (912) 247-2583

Favors $300 for canvas shopping bags to use instead of plastic or paper.

Accommodations $1,700 for three rooms for one night and a suite for two nights. Mansion on Forsyth Park, Savannah, (912) 721-5020

Rachel McCarthy & Grant Harvey

May 2 | Bogart | 185 guests

Their Budget: $18,005

Their Breakdown

Ceremony and reception site $4,000. "The site is beautiful, it was easy to get to and there was plenty of parking for guests." The Thompson House and Gardens, Bogart, (770) 725-6252

Photography $1,400 for two shooters for all day coverage, one proof album and all photos from the wedding day on two DVDs. Red Fly Studio, Albany,

Consultant $225. "It rained on our wedding day. Kristina was able to move our planned outdoor ceremony inside." Kristina Armstrong, My Bride Idea, Atlanta, (678) 559-2702

Ceremony Officiant $300 for the bride's childhood preacher. Dr. James Mooneyhan, Sugar Hill United Methodist Church, Sugar Hill, (770) 945-2845, ext. 234

Wedding Gown $1,150, including adding cups and changing the neckline to a sweetheart. Allure, Bride Beautiful, Atlanta, (404) 250-4330

Hair and makeup $200. "I could have done my makeup myself, but it was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to have someone else do it." Arbor Salon & Spa, Athens, (706) 543-2418

Shoes $50 for giraffe-print heels. Nine West, Lenox Square Mall, Atlanta, (404) 233-1515

Wedding rings $1,500 for Rachel's two anniversary-style bands -- one for each side of her engagement ring -- and Grant's white-gold one. Shane Co., Duluth, (770) 623-3660

Other jewelry $300 for earrings and bangles. Adriana Orsini,

Bridal party gifts $900 for shoes, day-of hair, wallets, photo frames, jewelry, flip-flops, tank tops, laundry baskets and koozies.

Stationery $500 for invitations and $100 for programs. La Belle Fete, Grayson, (404) 277-7914/

book $100 for a book and a matted photo.

Flowers $900 for eight bouquets, 11 boutonnieres, five corsages, cake, aisle and arbor flowers, bows on the chairs and 20 centerpieces. The Thompson House and Gardens, Bogart, (770) 725-6252

Catering $4,700 including tea, a vegetable appetizer and a buffet with two meats, three vegetables, salad and bread. "I had my heart set on a caterer whose quote was twice as much as I could spend. Then I found an awesome caterer who worked within my budget and did the best job I could have imagined." Classic City Chef, Athens, (706) 714-9076

Ceremony and reception music $600 for a DJ. He usually charges twice that amount, but he gave the couple a discount because they're repeat customers. Andrew Byrd, Music Master DJs, Duluth, (770) 614-0313

Dance lessons $50. "My dad and I learned the Shag and the Cha-Cha; then we choreographed our own routine to Stevie Wonder's ‘You Are the Sunshine of My Life.'" Perfectly Polished, Athens, (706) 769-4191

Cake $750 for a four-tiered, butter-cream frosted cake with three flavors and a chocolate Bailey's Irish Cream-flavored ball and chain groom's cake. Cecilia Villaveces Cakes, Athens, (706) 543-3308

Favors $100 for a cookie bar with snicker doodles and two kinds of chocolate chip cookies (all made by Rachel's mom!) and a to-go coffee station with all the fixings. Walmart, Athens, (706) 355-3966/Jittery Joe's Coffee, Athens, (706) 548-1099

Amanda Cain & Ryan Rehkop

May 24 | Roswell | 90 guests

Their Budget: $12,304

Their Breakdown

Ceremony site $590, including an organist and a cantor. St. Andrew Catholic Church, Roswell, (770) 641-9720

Ceremony accessories $54 for a unity candle, a flower girl basket and buckets for flowers.

Reception site $1,110, including the site fee and having a police officer there. Roswell River Landing, Roswell, (770) 594-6154

Photography $465 for all day coverage, all shots on a DVD and all rights. "This was a special introductory price, as she was just starting out with weddings." Aimee Wheeler Photography, Covington,

Consultant $225 for a close friend to plan it. My Bride Idea, Atlanta, (678) 559-2702

Ceremony Officiant $0 for the bride's uncle who's a priest.

Wedding Gown $1,050 for a satin gown during a 20-percent off sale and alterations, including removing the straps, rounding out the neck and dropping the back. Wedding Angels Bridal Boutique, Roswell, (770) 645-0404

Hair $100 for an updo. Andrea Hess, Salon Verde, Roswell, (770) 993-0032

Makeup $50, a tip for a friend to do it.

Veil $118. Bel Aire Bridal,

Hair accessories $10 for a jeweled comb. Sassy South, AmericasMart, Atlanta, (404) 220-3000

Shoes $20. Coloriffics,

Jewelry $115 for her white-gold wedding band and his titanium one and $10 for earrings. Kay Jewelers, North Point Mall, Alpharetta, (770) 521-9535/, Atlanta, (404) 220-3000

Bridal party gifts $500 for beer steins for the guys, earrings and a stuffed animal for the flower girl and makeup sets, brooches and jewelry that the bride made for the bridesmaids.

Formalwear $0 for Ryan's tux with the other rentals and $55 for cufflinks with a military discount. After 7, Tuxedo Wearhouse, Cumming, (770) 889-6889/

Stationery $350 for DIY programs, escort cards and invitations, including postage.

Sign-in book $20 for a photo book. "It was half off with free shipping."

Flowers $900 for 11 bouquets, one corsage, nine boutonnieres, one altar arrangement, hydrangeas for the aisle, 16 centerpieces and cake and cake table décor. Flowers From Us, Alpharetta, (770) 640-6007/

Catering $4,500 for cocktail hour food, four dinner stations, servers and non-alcoholic drinks and $800 for kegs, wine and a signature cocktail. Wild Oats Catering, LLC, Roswell, (770) 640-6222/Natural Foods Warehouse, Alpharetta, (770) 418-2828/Total Wine & More, Alpharetta, (770) 772-0694

Cocktail hour and reception music $695 for a DJ for unlimited hours. Go With the FloMusical Entertainment, Atlanta, (678) 614-7540

Cake $525 for three tiers of cake with one cardboard layer for extra height. Eileen Carter Creations, Duluth, (770) 242-0734

Favors $42 for flower and butterfly-shaped Twinkle Pops.

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