This Bride Gave Us A Complete Breakdown Of Her Wedding Costs

Paying for a wedding is no easy task, and expenses can vary by tens of thousands, depending on size, location, and type of event. We asked one recent bride to spill the beans — anonymously, of course — on every wedding-related expense, from the marriage license to her wedding dress, for her destination wedding in Italy.
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Job: Finance Manager
Age: 29
Location: Pennsylvania
Wedding Location: Amalfi Coast, Italy
Salary: $80,000
Partner's salary: $120,000
Number of bridesmaids: 0
We didn't hire a wedding planner. I did all of the planning on my own. We also didn't pay for a DJ or ceremony musicians — we had a bluetooth speaker and a playlist, so this was all free. In addition, we didn't host a rehearsal dinner or a day-after brunch. We had no bridesmaids, as well as no flower girls or ring bearer.


Marriage license: $90 ($80 to file, plus $10 for an official personal copy)
Engagement ring: $7,000
Wedding bands: $400
=Total: $7,490

This part is a little pricey. My husband never told me how much my engagement ring cost, but I am guessing it was between $7,000 and $9,000. It was the only splurge I wanted. My husband's wedding ring was around $100 or so on Amazon. He is a bargain hunter!

Our officiant was a family friend, and he was ordained online. I believe the fee was around $35 to be certified, but we did not pay our officiant's ordination fee.

Bridal Shower & Bachelorette Party

Total: $0

We didn't host an engagement party, but my mom, aunt, and sisters hosted a bridal shower at my aunt's house. We did a luncheon, so the costs included decor, pictures, and food. We had a mimosa bar with juices and champagne. My mom, aunt, friends, and sisters paid for the entire shower.

We also had a bachelorette party hosted by my friends and sister. We had nine girls at my bachelorette party — we went out locally to a club and had a small party beforehand. This did not cost me anything.


Cleaning Fee: $200
Porter Fee: $120
=Total: $320

We rented a villa that almost everyone stayed in during the trip to the Amalfi Coast in Italy. Each person paid their own way to stay at the villa, since it was like staying at a hotel. The villa that we rented had a huge garden and beautiful flowers and trees, so we picked it based on the fact that it was perfect for a ceremony.

We ended up changing the ceremony plan last-minute — literally the day before! — and having the ceremony in the courtyard of the town church. This was also a public space and free. The church courtyard overlooked the Mediterranean Sea.

There were no separate costs to rent the villa, but we had to pay a porter fee and cleaning fee. I think the cleaning fee was $200, and the porter fee was $3 per bag for every bag they carried to the villa. I think we had 40 bags total.


Restaurant dinner: $975
=Total: $975

We had our reception at a local restaurant. There was a $2 cover charge per person, and there was no fee to book a large reservation.

We had 23 people, including ourselves, as well as the photographer and her husband. Each person had an appetizer, a main course, and dessert. There were also courses of family-style plates passed around. We had ricotta-stuffed fried zucchini flowers for appetizers, lemon ricotta ravioli for our entree, and a choice of tiramisu or lemon cake for dessert, in lieu of wedding cake. For the family-style plates, we had veal milanese and hand-rolled pasta with Bolognese sauce.

We also purchased around 16 bottles of wine and water for dinner. The total price for food, including the dessert, drinks, tip, and cover charge, was $975 (converted from Euros). Such a steal!


Hair flowers: $0
Groom's boutonniere: $0
Bride's bouquet: $0
=Total: $0
I had planned on purchasing flowers at a local florist when we arrived in the town at our villa. But the day before our wedding, we were at a winery, and they had beautiful (live!) bouquet centerpieces on all of the dining tables. I offered to pay for two of them, but they refused, and gave them to me for free. We didn't have centerpieces, but I used the winery's centerpieces for a bridal bouquet.

We had one flower pinned to my husband’s jacket, free from the garden at our villa. I also had flowers in my hair, which I picked from the garden right before the ceremony.

Dress & Accessories

Dress: $275
Alterations: $120
Earrings: $20
Ring: $30
Sash: $9
Shoes: $35
=Total: $489
I purchased an Alice + Olivia gown from a Saks Off Fifth outlet. The retail was $1,395, but I got it for $275! My alterations to cut the sleeves off, add a bustle, and hem it at the bottom cost $120.

For jewelry, I bought earrings from JCPenney for $20, and a ring while in Capri for $30. I also bought a ribbon from Jo-Ann Fabric for $9 to wear as a sash. Finally, I bought wedding shoes for $35 from


Beauty Products: $60
Hair Extensions: $120
=Total: $180
I did my own hair and makeup. I purchased makeup from Ulta before my trip, including foundation, fake eyelashes, eyelash glue, and lipstick. I had the other items. I spent around $60 at Ulta.

I also did my own hair. I have clip-in extensions that I purchased a few years ago — they were around $120. I didn't have time to get my nails done before we left, so no costs there!


Beach bags: $110 ($10 each for 11 bags)
=Total: $110
We didn't send any official invitations, but we provided everyone a beach bag with their itineraries, including maps of Italy. I sew, so each bag cost around $10-12 to make. The itineraries were provided by the travel agency we used for booking tours, so they were free. We gave out one bag with itineraries per couple, as well as one bag for each single guest, which came out to 11 beach bags, total.


Photographer: $1,000 for travel and accommodations
=Total: $1,000

My photographer is my best friend — she does it for a living — and she was planning on coming to my destination wedding. So, we paid for her flight and accommodations. Added up, this came to around $1,000.

There were no costs for the photographer other than her travel, and we will pay to get our pictures printed. It will probably be less than $100, since we have direct access to where she gets them printed, and she won't charge us anything extra.


Airfare: $1,620 ($810 each, round trip)
=Total: $1,620

Our flights cost $810 each, round-trip.

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