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Wedding Budget Breakdown : Average Wedding Costs in NC

Average Wedding Costs in NC

You’ve dreamt about all the fun aspects of your wedding, but now you need to figure out how much they’ll cost. The first step of wedding planning – before you can even select a venue or a planner – is to create a budget.  The average wedding costs in NC, specifically the Triangle area, are just over $30,000. It doesn’t matter whether or not you are on a tight budget or have the ability to spend more freely, a bit of organization and know-how can help you plan a beautiful wedding without encountering unexpected expenses. Start by creating a list with your priorities and “must haves” and then take a look at the general wedding budget breakdown below with tips on what to expect based on the average wedding costs in NC.

Core Reception Costs

Your venue and catering will always account for the largest chunk of your budget – at least half of your spending. Be ready to calculate that in your average wedding costs in NC.

Your guest count list is a necessary first priority.

Venues vary greatly in cost and what’s included. Venues average $7,500 in this region, but rental fees vary between $3,000 to $11,000 depending on popularity, in-house inclusions like tables and chairs, location and time of year that you’re saying “I do.” Expect to pay around $7,500 for your event space. Booking your venue needs to be a top priority when you get engaged, to ensure you have the selection of locations and dates that work for your vision.

Separate ceremony space or private chapel rental cost should be estimated at $2,000 or more, depending on whether or not the officiant, musician and ceremony director are included. There are more affordable outdoor alternates such as city parks.

The officiant, if you’re hiring a private professional, can cost from $500 to $1,000. Church ministers are given an offering that is a fair compensation for all hours spent in consultation and counseling.

Tent prices depend on many variables, such as location, size, weather and décor. A full reception venue can be created inside a tent, and it can be fit with (roll-up) walls or windows, heating or cooling systems, special lighting, drapes and even chandeliers. Our local tent pros report that for average-sized weddings (120-150 guests), couples are spending between $5,000 to $7,000 and the most common tent size is 3,200 square feet or a 40’ x 80’ tent.

Linens average a little over $20 each, or more for specialty pieces.

Chairs are also available from the rental stores. The two most common styles are folding chairs, which rent for $2 or $3 each, and chiavari, which are around $8 each. Other specialty chairs and furniture could cost more.

China, glassware and flatware rent for $0.40 to $0.50 per piece for standard settings.

Food packages with appetizers and a seated meal will range from $50 to $100 per person. That number will quickly jump when labor, gratuities and taxes are added in, so we recommended budgeting at least $75 per person. You may be able to shave off some dollars by choosing a buffet or cocktail style reception.

Alcohol is usually charged by consumption, so it depends on what you order (and how much your guests drink). The typical rule of thumb is to budget one drink per person, per hour. Another option, if the venue allows, is an open bar. This is priced by wedding guest and usually comes with tiers of alcohols you can choose from for a range of prices.

Capturing the Moment

The average wedding costs in NC for a professional wedding photographer begin at $3,500 to $7,000. Depending on the experience of the photographer, that cost can greatly increase. Costs rise when you add in extra sessions, albums and prints. We recommend budgeting another $1,500 to $2,000 for additional shoots, albums, etc. Elopement packages are based on shorter time frames and cost less.

Wedding videography packages can vary between $1,800 to $7,000. Book a videographer to capture and tell your wedding story in motion! Research local videographers and watch their highlight videos to find one who matches your aesthetic.

Photo booths have become a wedding standard, and the average wedding cost starts at $500 and can go up to $1,000 with add-ons.

Groom and Bride Gilded Bernard NC Wedding Dress and Fashion Photo Shoot in Raleigh Blissmore
PHOTOGRAPHY Danielle James Photography | WEDDING DRESS Gilded Bridal | FORMALWEAR Bernard's Formalwear

Average Wedding Costs in NC for Attire to Add to Your Budget

As a couple, you have a few things you’ll have to budget in for your look for the day! Between your clothing of choice, alterations and wedding hair, these costs factor into your budgeting for the average wedding costs in NC.

Wedding dress costs can range from $500 to $20,000. Bridal salons with couture collections report that brides are spending $5,000 on average for their wedding dress. Designer gowns that are not made individually to fit the measurements are closer to the $1,200 to $3,500 range. Include gown alterations as a separate line item – a safe budget for this would be $600.

Suits and tuxedo rentals range from $175 to $275 based on the designer – but expect discounts for groups.

Wedding hair and makeup services at a spa or salon will typically cost between $100 to $150 per person for bridesmaids and $200 to $500 for the bride or groom. You may have to add on some cost if you want the professionals to come on site.

Wedding Planning and Coordination Cost in NC

Day-of wedding coordination services, which are really more like “month-of,” average $2,000 to about $3,000 based on the time of year you are getting married. The cost will be higher during peak seasons.

Partial planning services range from $4,000 to $6,000 depending on the size and scale of your event.

Full-service wedding planning is usually charged by a flat fee, but planners typically like to interview you about your wedding before giving their quote. These fees range dramatically based on the level of experience and location, but you can expect to pay between $7,500 to $12,000 depending on which consultant you book and the level of services you’ll need. Some wedding planners charge a smaller flat fee plus a percentage of your final wedding budget. The idea behind this structure is that the planner is compensated as the work increases.

White Blush Green Bouquet of Flowers
BOUQUET Petal & Oak

Average Costs of a Wedding Florist in NC

Floral expenses for Triangle weddings average from $3,500 to $5,000, though many florists work with smaller or much larger budgets. This estimate includes bouquets, boutonnieres, ceremony arrangements and centerpieces.

Our Heart of NC Wedding florists can work with a smaller budget (within reason), and are able to create designs that have beautiful containers, votives and accents to supplement the florals. Simple bud vases should start at $22 and full table designs have a starting range from $150 to $350. To give some perspective, the lush bouquets you see in Heart of NC Weddings and other wedding magazines would be between $225 to $400, with bridesmaids bouquets from $90 to $165.

Don’t Forget About These Services When Budgeting For a Wedding

Add Wedding Cakes and Desserts to Your Budget

Wedding cakes are priced out by how many guests will be served. You’ll probably find our local bakeries charging $6 to $12 per slice – if it’s an intricate design with fondant, expect to pay more.

Wedding Entertainment Budgeting in NC

Ceremony music should be in your budget. A live trio is typically around $650 and quartet around $800. A solo musician could be $300 to $500.

Professional DJs in the Raleigh area start at about $2,000 and can go up to $6,000 with add-ons. Middle-tier DJs start around $1,000 and lower-tier DJs charge about $200 to $400 per hour.

Live bands cost an average of $3,000 to $7,000.

Average Cost of Wedding Stationery in NC

The average wedding costs in NC for wedding invitations vary based on the type of print, components included, paper quality, number and more. On average, 100 DIY invitation suites (invitation, insert cards and envelopes) costs about $500 to $750. Etsy sellers who offer 100 semi-custom invitation suites can run you around $850 to $1,250. For 100 fully custom invitation suites, expect to pay somewhere between $1,000 and $3,000. Many stationery designers have a starting minimum of anywhere from $2,000 to $3,000. A full, classic suite includes an invitation, envelope, envelope liner, RSVP card and matching envelope, and details card. The price changes when you add or remove elements.


Limousines and other specialty car rentals are stylish and part of the fun! Set aside $600 to rent a limousine for a four-hour period. For transportation of guests from the hotel to your wedding, or between the ceremony and the reception, a shuttle service is a great option. The cost for a five-hour time period is approximately $1,000.

Do you disagree with a listed price or want to add an element to this list? Please email

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