If you're lucky enough to be getting married in rural Ohio, anyway.
A cost breakdown, which I'm providing mostly for my own amusement. You might find it interesting too. (This is mostly money I spent on the wedding; in certain places I will note how much other people spent, but obviously I don't know all of that.)
My dress cost $200. This was the result of having a friend who was willing to be my dressmaking slave for about 4 months. I'm not sure what my dress would have cost if I'd bought it; I didn't see any dresses available for buying that I really liked. (And I mean that stylistically; not just "Oh, that dress costs $5,000; it's "not my style" therefore.") I also spent $56 on accessories (Shoes: $11 ballet flats from Wal-Mart. Tiara: $15 from Claire's. Necklace-which-was-an-impulse-buy-the-week-before-the-wedding: $30 from Amazon. I was buying a bridesmaid gift which was $10 and was therefore trying to get Super Saver Shipping and one thing led to another. And I ended up doing the free trial of Amazon Prime anyway, because it was too late for the 3-5 business days Super Saver Shipping.)
I also spent, according to my handy-dandy spreadsheet, $209 on bridesmaids dresses. This was mostly for the rush shipping, not for the dresses themselves. It was worth every penny, by the way, because as it was some bridesmaids barely had time to get theirs altered. (In case anyone's curious, the total bill for bridesmaid dresses was $928; I think that was the single most expensive money-spending incident in the entire wedding.)
I have no idea how much any of the guys' attire cost or even who paid for it.
We also spent all of $45 on wedding bands. I was all embarrassed to admit that, but then I decided frugality is nothing to be ashamed of. So there.
Total for attire: $510
We spent a total of $250 for the hall. (Plus a $150 deposit, but we got our deposit back.) Said hall was clean and reasonably well-appointed (the bathrooms were really nice), but nothing very fancy. In my home city there are a couple of places that charge $1000+, but those were less desirable for other reasons, actually. (One required you to use their catering, which was a) expensive and b) not actually very good. The other doesn't allow children or really anything interesting. Way too many rules for me.)
We did end up spending some money on decorations. I have no idea how much. I know the linens were $8 (yay for secondhand linen outlet stores!), but then we just bought out the dollar store, basically, getting silver-colored plastic utensils and little candy dishes and this and that and the other thing. I'm just going to say decorations were $50.
Total for reception venue: $300
This was the biggest area of concern for me before we got back the RSVPs. We invited 200+ people but only had about 60 attend. I think part of that was due to the fact that it was Thanksgiving weekend, but part of it was also due to the fact that about 90% of our guest list lived out of town (most of those out of state, a few out of the country...). We had 100% attendance from the people we invited who lived in the same county.
Anyway. I ended up paying the caterer $628. This was for two meat options (ham and chicken; beef was too expensive) and literally something like 7 side dishes. And most of it was really good. (I didn't try the baked beans, because I don't like baked beans as a matter of principle, but Scott tells me they were delicious.)
Cake was $85 for one smallish tiered cake and 80 cupcakes. (40 chocolate, 20 white, and 20 spice cake. It just seemed Thanksgiving-y to have a little spice cake.) I did have one person tell me the cupcakes were a brilliant idea (rather than cutting a sheet cake or something), so yay me.
I also spent $36 on Hershey kisses to use as centerpieces. We also had chips and nuts and pretzels and pastel mints given to us for free because they were leftover from a friend's wedding.
We still have some leftovers a month later.
Oh, and we spent maybe $35 on drinks. I don't remember distinctly. The hall provided drinks and basically at the end of the night they tallied up how much your guests drank and you wrote them a check. Scott wrote the check and I was stupid tired at that point in the wedding day, so I really don't remember. It was somewhere between 25 and 35, so I'll err on the side of more expensive.
Total for food: $784
As I've mentioned before, my godmother paid for these. After I went and picked out what I wanted and it had all been ordered, I sat down and added it up and realized it was probably about $600 worth of flowers. I do seem to recall that my godmother pulled some small business owner strings (her husband runs a dry cleaner's), so maybe she didn't spend that much. It still feels a little weird. But not too weird because my flowers were gorgeous.
Total for flowers: $0
We found our photographer on Craigslist (really) and it was supposed to be $550 but because of a goof they made at one point we got that reduced to $500. At some point we will also need to pay for prints of our pictures, but I'm not in any great hurry, since we have the CD of high resolution photos to keep forever.
I am unequivocally happy about how our pictures turned out, by the way. Really, the only people I love more as a result of the wedding are our vocalists. (Who had to deal with a lot of disorganization and unclear expectations and still sounded AMAZING.)
Total for photography: $500
I have on my spreadsheet that I spent $157 on invitations. Basically, it was $1 per invitation and $1 for postage (and I sent out about 110 invitations), but I had some coupons and also my mother-in-law pitched in. So we'll say that figure is accurate.
I've spent about $17 on thank-you notes (a package thereof, plus some stamps). I might spend more on postage at some point, but so far I still have a lot of stamps. (And a lot of thank-yous to send. Need to get on that.)
The programs were free. I had some pretty paper on hand, and my maid of honor's mom allowed me to use their color printer for nothing.
Total for paper goods: $174
Tips and gifts:
I wrote $575 worth of checks to my priest (as his own personal gift), the church, the organist, the two vocalists, the two altar servers, and the one Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion.
I also spent about $63 on gifts for my bridesmaids. (Gifts for our parents kind of...didn't happen. I also didn't get them anything for Christmas. Maybe they need a combo wedding-Christmas-Epiphany gift.) These were pretty much just normal gifts, like I might have gotten as Christmas presents. My mom was all, "Aren't bridesmaids gifts just supposed to be something they'll wear at the wedding?" and I said, "No, the Knot says NEVER DO THAT and if I read it on the internet it must be true."
Total tips and gifts: $638
We spent $100 to register for Pre-Cana. I thought that was kind of ridiculous and spent 2 months complaining about how we'd better get some REALLY fancy pamphlets for that kind of money. We actually did, and the food wasn't bad either, and the whole thing was not the colossal waste of time I thought it would be. (It wasn't a life-altering experience either, but it was a fairly pleasant way to pass a day and Scott and I had some fun conversations as a result.)
We also spent $40 to get a marriage license. We ended up getting one in Scott's county of residence even though we got married in my county of residence (this works in Ohio, trust me), because in my county of residence it cost $66. See above where I'm not ashamed of my frugality.
Total miscellaneous: $140
Grand total: $3046
My goal budget going in was $4000. I seem to have accomplished that, thanks in very large part to people who either gave me stuff for free or who pointed me in the direction of places I could get it cheap (a friend's mother clued us in to the cheap linens). Also, included in that $3000 I spent was $900 my parents gave me when I got engaged; not included in that $3000 was money they spend on clothes for themselves and my sisters or on the rehearsal dinner or on my grandma's hotel room. Speaking of which, I also didn't include the fact that Scott and I stayed in a hotel room the night after the wedding (which was a very good call because of the aforementioned stupid tired; I wouldn't have wanted to drive about 80 miles to our apartment in that state). Or the fact that since we couldn't have hot apple cider at the reception I took us by Tim Horton's on our way to the hotel and bought us some. (Scott REALLY likes hot apple cider.)
Um...The End. Go back to your lives.