Wedding Budget Breakdown: Average Wedding Costs in NC

What an 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 an overall wedding budget. You might read that the average wedding costs in NC, specifically in the Triangle, are just over $30,000. However, this rule of thumb can be misleading when it comes to budgeting. Remember that this number factors in the cost of all weddings – microweddings and elopements included. Many “average” wedding cost estimates might more accurately cover the cost of a reception for an average wedding of around 100 guests. These numbers may also leave out rehearsal dinner, attire, accommodations and other costs. This means that for most weddings in NC, the cost will be much higher, especially when you’ve accounted for hiring a professional team of vendors.

It doesn’t matter whether or not you’re 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.” 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.

modern nc wedding venue The Upchurch


Venue: The Upchurch | Florals: Bowerbird Flowers & Apothecary | Photographer: Ariel Kaitlin Photography

Your Core Wedding Reception Costs

Your venue and catering will always account for the largest chunks of your budget. These two vendors will account for 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.

North Carolina wedding venues vary greatly in cost. Your budget may stretch farther depending on what’s included. Venues average $7,500 in this region, but rental fees vary between $3,000 to $12,000 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.

Booking a separate ceremony space or private chapel rental costs should be estimated at $2,000 or more. This depends on whether or not the officiant, musician and ceremony director are included. There are more affordable outdoor alternates such as city parks where you can get married in NC for less than $1,500.

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 decor. 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. The most common tent size is 3,200 square feet or a 40’ x 80’ tent.

Party Rentals Costs in NC

Basic linens start at $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 $2.50 to $4.50 each, and chiavari, which are around $10 each. Other specialty chairs and furniture could cost more.

China, glassware and flatware rent for about $0.65 per piece for standard settings.

Wedding Food and Drink Costs in NC

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 save a few dollars by choosing a buffet or cocktail-style reception.

Alcohol can vary greatly in price depending on the size of your event and the vendor or package you choose. Alcohol may be charged by consumption, in which case the costs depend 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 your venue allows, is an open bar. This is priced by wedding guest and usually comes with tiers of alcohol you can choose from at different price points. A mid-tier liquor package costs about $5,000 for 100 guests, but packages vary by venue.


Dress: Vow’d Weddings | Photographer: Fancy This Photography

Capturing the Moment

The average wedding costs in NC for a professional wedding photographer range from $3,500 to $8,000. Luxury NC wedding photographers cost about $10,000. Depending on how experienced the photographer is, 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. The cost of this NC wedding vendor isn’t one you want to skimp on, since it’s how your special day will largely be remembered. Don’t neglect to add a wedding videographer to your overall budget.

Photo booths have become a wedding standard, and the average cost starts at $700 and can go up to $1,200 with add-ons.

Average Wedding Attire Costs in NC – How much to budget for a wedding dress

As a couple, you’ll each need to allocate some of your wedding budget to cover the costs of wedding dresses and formalwear. Between your clothing of choice, alterations and wedding hair and makeup, keep reading to learn how these costs can factor into the average wedding costs in NC.

Wedding dress costs can range from $800 to $20,000. Bridal salons with couture collections have an average spend of about $5,000 for their wedding dresses. Designer gowns that are not made individually are closer to the $1,500 to $3,500 range. Include gown alterations as a separate line item in your budget. Expect to pay about $600 for this.

Suits and tuxedo rentals range from $170 for a rental, to about $275 to buy. Custom suits require a larger budget and start around $1,500. Expect a discount for groups.

Wedding hair and makeup services will typically cost between $95 to $250 per person for wedding party members. Budget anywhere from $150 to $600 for celebrants, depending on if you want a trial run. You may have to add on some costs if you want the professionals to come on-site.


Dress: White of Raleigh | Hair and Makeup: Pinup Bridal | Jewelry: Raleigh Diamond Fine Jewelry | Florals: KatieDid Florals | Photographer: Ariel Kaitlin Photography

Wedding Planning and Coordination Costs in NC

Day-of wedding coordination services, which are really more like “month-of,” average $2,500 to about $3,500. This cost is based on the time of year you are getting married. Expect that day- or month-of coordination costs 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 as a flat fee, but planners typically like to interview you about your wedding before giving a quote. These fees range dramatically based on the level of experience of the planner and location. You can expect to pay between $7,500 to $12,000 for a wedding planner in NC. This cost also depends on the services you 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.


Venue: Vidrio | Florals: FauxReal Flowers | Photographer: Richard Barlow Photography

Average Costs of a Wedding Florist in NC

Floral expenses for Triangle weddings average from $3,500 to $6,000, as a starting point. Most florists will work with a budget smaller or larger than this, though. This cost estimate includes bouquets, boutonnieres, ceremony arrangements and centerpieces.

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

Don’t Forget About These Hidden Expenses When Budgeting For a Wedding

How to Budget for Wedding Cakes and Desserts

Wedding cakes are generally priced by how many guests will be served. You’ll probably find our local bakeries charging $6 to $8 per slice. However, if you pick an intricate design with fondant, expect to pay more. Cost varies for dessert bar items; two individual desserts will cost $5 to $9 per person.

Wedding Entertainment Costs in NC

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

Professional DJs in the Raleigh area start at about $2,000 and can go up to $7,500 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 $3,500 to $8,000.

Average Cost of Wedding Stationery in NC

The average wedding costs in NC for wedding invitations varies based on what’s included and the level of customization. Many stationery designers have a base cost of $2,000-$3,000. Paper options, engraving and details like wax seals, response sets and more can raise costs as high as $6,000. For 100 fully custom invitation suites (classic suites include an invitation, envelope, envelope liner, RSVP card, matching envelope and details card) expect to pay between $1,000-$4,000. Semi-custom invitation suites start at $500 for 100 and can go up to $2,000. Fully custom day-of items cost about $1,500- $3,000 for a wedding of the same size (about 175 guests), or $500-$1,500 for semi-custom items.


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.

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