Cost of a wedding: Couples spending tens of thousands on their big day

How much should you prepare to spend on the "big day"?

We found that number can vary by tens of thousands in the Wichita market. After talking to wedding vendors, we were able to come up with an idea of what you could be spending so you and your family can better understand the true cost of a wedding.

Before you get carried away with your theme, dress, or colors, wedding planner Ashley Moore says every budget starts with a guest list.

"We always say, guest list first and then we can talk budget based on the amount of people you have,” said Moore.

Now, the bride-to-be can start thinking about her venue -- one of the priciest things in the budget.

We found you can expect to spend somewhere around $3,000 in the Wichita market. Depending on the vendor, that may or may not include other line items like tables, chairs, and linens.

"And three is on the lower end. So, most of them are averaging four to $4,500,” said Moore.

Bill Rowe's venue, Villa Luna, starts at $2,200 for a Saturday.

"We've had brides call and say, 'We're trying to save money, so we want to do a Monday wedding, does that make you interested?' And every vendor we'll say, 'Of course,' because we're just sitting around twiddling our thumbs on Monday waiting for Saturday,” said Rowe.

Next on the list is food. Rowe, who owns Blue Moon Caterers, says couples can expect to pay about $20 a person to feed their guests.

"We have to create and haul the restaurant to Botanica and set it up. And serve there. And tear it all down and bring it home,” Rowe said.

Of course, you have to capture the memories. A Wichita-area photographer will cost around $2,500. Photographer Cynthia Whiteside says you can go with a budget-friendly choice, but remember, you only get one shot.

"I encourage people to really value their wedding photography. So, you are spending thousands of dollars on your day and it's going to be beautiful. And, one of the only ways you're going to remember it is by your photography unless you have a videographer,” Whiteside said.

Are you expecting guests to tear-up on the dance floor? A D-J will set you back around $1,200.

"If you're doing a band, it's obviously going to cost a little bit more than that. They start about three,” Moore said.

Now, the dress! Several bridal stores say brides are spending $1,200 on average. Be careful trying to save with a designer knock-off.

"I would definitely discourage someone from trying to order a dress from China. They do cost less. But we had a bride who ordered one from there, thinking it would be less and it ended up costing her two to three thousand dollars more just to get it fixed,” Moore said.

The bride's bouquet, the bridesmaids' flowers, table arrangements. In all, flowers average $2,000. But, you can be frugal.

"Do something that is more candlelight with tucks of floral to add a little bit of color, you don't have to do something that is full and big to make an impact,” Moore said.

To top it off, a cake will cost you about $500. And this brings the true cost for a wedding in the Wichita area to between $10,000 and $20,000.

"Our parents, if you think about it, when they got married, they spent maybe a thousand dollars on their wedding. Well, now weddings are huge and they're kind of a production. So the cost... these moms and dads have no idea,” Moore said.

There are a lot of things you still need to account for in a typical wedding budget: alcohol, videography, invitations, all those extras, plus decorations and rentals.