Wedding Budget

One of our iHEARThmong readers was wondering about a general budget for a Hmong-American wedding. Well, here it is!

Keeping your wedding budget on track is the most difficult thing to do. Our original budget was $10,000 total but, that definitely was not feasible after knowing were going to have over 500 guests and the venue we chose. By the way, John and I both felt that we still weren’t able to invite many of our friends as our families made up the majority of the 500 guests. So sorry we couldn’t invite everyone! :( We wish we would have invited more of our friends!

1) Make a list of items you want for the wedding.
Pick and choose the list of items with your groom (i.e. a videographer, photobooth, photographer, flowers, etc).  I was fortunate to have a laid-back groom. For me, having a videographer and photobooth were on my priority list. I would say that there were times we didn’t agree on everything and got into heated discussions… but, post – ‘wedding’ day it was all worth it.  Hint: Sometimes he won’t understand what you are talking about until post-wedding day. lol!

2) Connect with family + friends.
We were fortunate to have talented and supportive family and friends! Singers, photographers, fashion designers, make-up artists, etc. Many of our family + friends helped with the wedding as our wedding gift. You could make a list of tasks and delegate to your close family + friends. Thank you to all of YOU who helped (you know who you are) and making our wedding day simply amazing!

To give you a general idea, here’s our initial budget for each item. Items add up quickly and you get through $10,000 pretty fast. For each item, I would research that item, contact vendors for price quotes and create a spreadsheet of the item, vendor and price quote.  If a vendor was out of my budget, I would let them know.  For example, wedding chair covers and sashes typically cost $2.50 to $3 per chair. It took me quite a while before I found my vendor on craigslist. He rents out quality chair covers for $1 to $1.50 per chair cover. Check him out at He’s based out of St. Paul, MN and was great to work with via email/phone. You definitely need a HUGE van to haul those chair covers. Also, make sure to have money saved up for all the deposits you will have to make for each vendor.

Venue $3000
Drinks + Wait Staff + Kitchen Rental $5000
Photographer $2000
Videographer $1200
Photobooth $1000
Wedding Dress $1000
Rings $1500
Gifts $500
Decorations + Flowers $300
Printing + Programs $100
Cake $400
Food $4000

TOTAL: $20,000

With research and detailed planning, you can have your dream wedding under your budget. We saved for an entire year and post-wedding we came under budget by $5000 with the help of family + friends!



  1. Hi! I am also in the process of planning my wedding and have found some interest in The Grand Meridian as well. I was just wondering how and if you had to negotiate between bringing in your own food. I see that you had kitchen rental? I was browsing through their website and it said that all food needed to be made within the premise and by Grand Meridian staff only? I would appreciate if you can give some feedback about that. Or any advice about the location would be helpful. Thank you!

    • Hi Bao!

      The Grand Meridian was an amazing experience. I did reserve for the kitchen rental as my in-laws own a restaurant and wanted to prepare the food on site. I believe they do have an option if you are preparing “authentic” meals that they are unable to prepare. I would call Sue and she would be happy to answer your questions as well. She was wonderful to work with and it felt like I was family when I was working with her and her staff. There are also a couple of places in Appleton that I found but none of them allowed us to bring food in. Good luck with wedding planning! Feel free to contact me if you have any other questions. I would be happy to help!

      – K

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