When it comes to planning your wedding, you can’t be over-prepared, and knowing how much you should expect to pay for your wedding can make planning your wedding a little bit easier. This is why one of the first things you will be concerned about when planning your wedding is how much it will cost.
As of 2021, the average wedding cost in Alabama was $20,000. Different sources place the national average wedding in the range of $23,000 to $28,000. So relatively speaking, Alabama is one of the more affordable states to get married in.
Typically, these are the top five spending priorities couples have when it comes to their wedding:
- Photography & Videography
- Wedding Dress
- Groom’s Outfit
A range of factors will influence your wedding budget, including your venue, catering, photography, decor, and guest list, but here are some of the costs you can expect to pay for a typical Alabama wedding. According to the Brides American Wedding Study, the average American wedding has less than 200 people and an average of 167 guests. Therefore, the ranges we’ve provided are estimates for weddings with 150-200 people.
- Reception Venue
Average Cost: Between $2,300–$9,000
Venues are the most expensive part of your wedding, and you can expect most of your budget to go toward your reception venue. However, venue costs vary depending on what amenities or services a particular venue offers, so keep this in mind while planning your wedding.
The venue you decide on also depends on your guest list. You want a venue that can comfortably accommodate all of your guests but isn’t unnecessarily large, especially if you plan on having a more intimate wedding.
Usually, you can expect to pay between $2,300–$9,000 for 150 guests. These costs also include essential associated rentals such as chairs, tables, lighting, and AV equipment which most venues already have. If your venue does not offer these, which is sometimes the case in raw event spaces, you can expect the spending on your venue to go up. And while it may seem expensive at first, it could be more convenient and cheaper in the long run to find an all-inclusive venue with essential event rentals and catering.
Venue costs also depend on the style and theme that you want for your wedding. An Alabama beach wedding, for example, can roughly cost between $700 to $3,300 for 50 guests, a barn or rustic wedding can cost between $1,500 to $9,700, a ballroom wedding venue can cost $2,900 to $12,000, and a garden wedding can cost $1,500 to $12,000.
Now, one thing that wasn’t considered here is your ceremony venue, which could incur a separate cost, especially if you’re ceremony venue and reception venue are different. So if you’re keen on saving venue costs, try to see if you can have your wedding ceremony and reception at the same venue – this may also reduce transportation costs.
Average Cost: Between $500–$3,800
Having an event planner on your side eases many of the stresses of planning a wedding. The cost of an event planner depends on the range of services you would like. Usually, event planners offer three tiers of services; full planning, partial planning, and the Day of Coordination.
With full planning packages, you can have your planner with you at every step, from managing vendors, planning timelines, and helping you with invitations and your wedding design and themes. A full planner will also be around longer, perhaps for 6 months to a year. Partial planning happens within a shorter time frame, maybe 3 months before or in the month of the wedding. And it may only involve finishing touches with vendors and timelines. The Day of Coordination package is just your planner helping you ensure everything is ready and runs smoothly on your wedding day. Day of Coordination can begin from as low as $500, and full wedding planning can average about $3,800.
- Photography & Videography
Average Cost: Between $3,500–$9,000
The average Alabama couple spends $6,100 on wedding photography, and many choose to book videography services as well. Photography services will usually be priced based on the hours of coverage. For example, the average wedding reception takes approximately 4 to 5 hours. And when you factor in at least 1 hour for your reception and an extra 2 hours for some detailed shots of the venue, shots of you getting ready, and some leeway because events can run over. In that case, you can expect to pay for 5 to 8 hours of coverage. To get this amount of coverage for both photography and videography services, you can expect to pay between $3,500 to $9,000. For weddings with about 100-150 guests, most couples end up paying for 8 to 10 hours of coverage.
Average cost: $35 to $65 per person
Keeping your guests well-fed with great food is essential to creating a memorable and enjoyable experience, which is why catering is one of the most significant costs associated with weddings. Catering services are normally charged per guest, and for a wedding guest list of 150 people, you can expect to pay $5,250 to $9,750. These costs could be lower at venues that offer in-house catering. The cost of your catering will be influenced by your menu selection and serving style. Buffets, for example, tend to be more affordable than a sit-down plated dinner and can start as low as $15.
If neither your venue nor caterer of bar options and you would like a bar at your wedding, you may need to hire a mobile bar service; these can range from $350 to $700 for a bartender. The cost of drinks depends on the type of service you choose; to save money, you can opt for a cash bar where your guests pay for their own drinks.
For a hosted bar, where costs are covered by the couple, you can expect to pay between $10 to $20 per person depending on the type of drinks you would like to be served. Packages range from wine and beers only to a premium liquor bar.
Average Cost: Between $2–$6 per slice
Wedding cakes aren’t as essential as venues, but many couples like to have them, and apart from their great taste, they add wonderfully to your wedding aesthetic. The average cost of a wedding cake in the US is $540. In Alabama, you can expect to pay between $2 to $6 per slice for a wedding cake. This translates to $300 to $900 for a 150-guest wedding.
Some couples save on wedding cake expenses by serving smaller portions, ordering a smaller presentation cake, and having sheet cake handy to serve their guests or even individual cupcakes.
Average Cost: Between $300–$8,000
Just like great food, great entertainment is key to creating an unforgettable wedding experience for your guests. Some standard wedding entertainment options include a DJ or live band. Typically, Alabama DJs cost between $300 to $1,200, and a good live band can range from $2,000 to $8,000. Some couples even opt for more unique entertainment options, such as pianists who usually charge between $350 to $800 per event or violinists who can cost $150 to $500 per hour.
Some other fun entertainment options include photo booths ($400-$700), magicians ($230-$650), circus entertainers, and visual artists.
Average cost: $750
American couples, on average, spend $750 on their wedding transportation. This service helps the couple, and sometimes the bridal party, get to their ceremony and reception venues. Wedding transportation costs vary depending on the kinds of vehicles you want and the number of hours you hire them out for (if the service charges hourly). For example, a 12-14 seater limo can cost between $100 to $200 per hour. Some all-inclusive vintage car services in Alabama charge from $800 to $1,800 for wedding transportation.
Average Cost: Between $2,000–$4,000
On average, brides spend about $1,700 on a wedding dress, and most dresses range from $500 to $4,000. A mid-range groom’s suit can cost $300 to $800, higher-end attire can range from $800 to $1,500, and the average American groom spends $200 on a new suit. Rental for a designer tux costs $185 on average.
- Florist & Decorator
Average Cost: Between $2,000–$10,000
Your florist and decorator are vital in making your wedding look like you’d imagined with the right centerpieces, drapes, and details to match your derided wedding aesthetic. The costs of these vendors depend on the style you’re going for and how elaborate you would like your wedding design to be. On average, you can expect to spend between $2,000 and $10,000 on your florist and wedding decorator.
Keep in mind…
Your overall wedding cost may vary depending on the number of guests you have, your location/city, and the theme of your wedding. It may also vary depending on other items that haven’t been covered but are still important such as your invitations and stationery (such as place cards, signage, menus, and programs). However, couples that wish to reduce costs can have electronic wedding invitations, which you can send out as emails.
We’ve tried to list the main wedding costs that most couples prioritize; however, there are other costs that you might want to consider including gifts and wedding favors.
Even though Dalton Young Weddings is based in Destin, FL, we’ve also covered beautiful ceremonies and receptions in Alabama, from garden to beach weddings. We can help you memorialize your special day with photo collections and wedding films you will cherish forever.
You can get in touch so we can discuss your wedding options and check out some of our amazing work on Instagram @DaltonYoungWeddings.
Photography/Videography: Dalton Young Weddings