The Social Connection


"How much should we spend for the wedding?" This is the very first question that pops in the mind of the groom, the bride and their families immediately after the engagement. After all, knowing how much to spend for the wedding is very critical to planning your wedding.

In Philippine tradition, the family of the groom spends for most if not the whole wedding. Members of the groom's family contribute in whatever way they can for the success of the wedding. However, this is no longer practiced in today's modern world, where wedding costs are skyrocketing and most couples get married when they have stable jobs.


The most common approach being practiced these days on how to come up with a comfortable figure for your working budget, is by the following steps:

  1. Check the amount of savings you have, and decide the amount you only want to spend on the wedding.
  2. Determine an amount each of you can save each month till before the wedding month.
  3. Determine if any member of both families would like to share in the expenses. If so, how much or what will they contribute?
  4. Decide the type of wedding you would like to have:
    1. Size - number of guests
    2. Formality - strictly formal, semi-formal, informal
    3. Setting - hotel, garden, pavilion, hall, beach
    4. Location - within the city, out of town, out of the country

There are other factors that may determine your budget:

  • Priorities: choose 2 - 3 of the most important products or services you desire. Put them in categories:
    1. Must Have
    2. Nice to Have
    3. Optional
  • Creativity: You might want some things done by yourself, by a relative or a friend, rather than source them from vendors.
  • Ingenuity in negotiations: It is wise to compare prices. There are vendors who will give some freebies. However, stick to your budget and do not let them talk you into anything that will increase it.
  • Personal situation of the couple and their families: In the Philippine setting, if your family belongs to important political or social background or organizations, this has a big effect on the wedding.


After knowing your budget, comes the tedious process of hiring the right vendors. Depending on the vendor you desire, or the product or service you want to prioritize, here is a typical breakdown of what you can expect to pay:

a. Reception (venue, food and drinks)

35 - 38%

b. Fees: Church/Ceremony, License, etc

2 - 3%

c. Wedding Rings

4 - 5%

d. Attire: (Bride, Groom, 4 Parents, 5 attendants., 2 girls, 2 boys)

14 - 16%

e. Invitations

2 - 3%

f. Photo-Video (projector, AVP, pre-nup pictorials)

10 - 11%

g. Flowers (ceremony, reception, entourage )

9 - 10%

h. Music, Lights & Sounds, Emcee

4 - 5%

i. Cake

2 - 3%

j. Hair & Make-up

2 - 3%

k. Planner/Coordinator

3 - 4%

l. Hotel Room

2 - 3%

m. Bridal Car/Transportation

1 - 2%

n. Souvenirs/Gifts

1 - 2%

o. Miscellaneous (accessories, etc)

2 - 3%

To keep focused on the bottom line, which is your total budget, remember that you have to adjust the budget amount depending on the priority item that you desire. So if you want an astounding photographer, you may have to opt for a simple wedding gown.


  1. Do-it-yourself. "Save the Date" cards, invitations and souvenirs are well-remembered if you gave them your personal touch.
  2. Ask around. Ask friends and family who just recently got married to recommend good and dependable suppliers they used.
  3. Compare prices and wedding packages of vendors. Avail of the one who can give the better deal. Just make sure that you are comparing vendors of the same category, as you cannot compare apples with oranges.
  4. Save on gowns. Your tried and tested dressmaker can imitate expensive looking gowns that you can pick from bridal magazines. If your dressmaker has made several gowns and dresses for you in the past, she will know what best fits you. For the gowns of the entourage, it is already acceptable that you give them enough fabric and material. Not only will they have the freedom to choose their own style, they will also have the flexibility to get the designer they work best with.
  5. Explore new talents. Look for budding talents who are not yet too well known in the industry but with fresh and creative ideas, and can deliver good and reliable service.
  6. Involve your family and friends. A creative cousin can help you wrap gifts, or your friends can prepare a video presentation. Keep in mind though that they want to enjoy your wedding day as well. Limit personalized creations to things that will be finished by the time of your wedding so they can sit and enjoy the celebration as guests.
  7. Let family and close friends sponsor a part of your wedding. If you are close enough to discuss this with them, request them to sponsor a part of your wedding such as the souvenirs, missalettes, bridal car or cake. However, it is very important that you don't impose anything. The cost can be divided among the group and will serve as their wedding gift. This is more practical for they will be spending on a gift that you truly need, as well as have a significant part in the celebration.
  8. Choose an off-peak time. Instead of the usual lunch or dinner celebration, you can opt for a breakfast, brunch or mid-afternoon snack reception. Not only will there be greater site availability, but a big portion of food costs will be cut. Breakfast menus are less costly than lunch or dinner. For a mid-afternoon reception, serve a Filipino merienda-cena buffet.
  9. Choose an off-season month. Most Filipino weddings are held in May to June and December to February. Choose the months of March to April or July to November. Having a relatively low demand for their products, it would also follow that wedding suppliers can offer better deals and can have more time to focus on their services for your wedding during these months.
  10. Have a Contract with all vendors. Make sure you have read all the information therein before signing. Always keep documentation and receipts in a safe place.



Choose vendors who are legitimate, experienced and dependable in delivering products and services.


Enjoy planning your wedding by learning to compromise your priorities with the more practical.


The budget is the most important planning aid, but sticking to it is the hardest thing to do. Yet it's the best form of accomplishment if you do. You will be doing a lot of budgeting in your married life, the best time to start is with your wedding.

Published in Metro Weddings Workbook Special Issue 2009
Page 22-28

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