The Wedding Budget: Allocating Your Money

Everyone knows that weddings are expensive. The thing is, you never truly realize how expensive weddings are until you start planning your own. Deciding on your wedding budget can be overwhelming. Like most people, you’re going to try to save money wherever possible. Low-budget weddings are possible, but it’s important to understand that there are still elements—such as venue, reception entertainment, and food—where you pay for what you get. You have to figure out how to save money elsewhere.

This is where the allocation of funds comes in. It’s important to decide what percentage of your budget you want to spend on which parts of your wedding. From venue to flowers, you need to figure out what will cost the most, and what you personally want to spend the most money on.

I know, I know—talking budget is a bummer. You never feel more broke than when you start to buckle down and look at prices. It’s important to remember that being on a budget doesn’t necessarily mean you can’t have a fun and unique wedding. There are always ways to make your wedding stand out!

When it comes to the planning process, there are websites, apps, and actual wedding planners out there to help you budget for your wedding. You’ll receive a lot of advice, but it’s up to you to figure out what’s best for your wedding. While it’s ultimately up to you to figure out how you want to budget, websites such as and have some helpful articles on allocating money.

Below is a good sample of the average wedding budget. Remember, it’s just a sample and may not necessarily be a good fit for you. If you’ve always dreamed of having the type of cake you see on TV shows like Cake Boss, maybe you’ll want to allocate more than just 2% of the total wedding budget. If you’ve decided that horse-drawn carriages are a must, you will probably have to spend a bit more money and cut costs somewhere else.

Like I said, you’re going to get a lot of “helpful” advice when planning your wedding.


Sample Wedding Budget

Food & Drink: 25%

The venue and catering will take up the biggest chunk of your wedding budget. That’s completely normal. When it comes to venue and catering, you definitely get what you pay for. Because it’s such a large part of the overall experience, spending a bit more on these elements may be a good idea.

Venue: 20% 

A good venue will not only be beautiful and comfortable fit all your guests, but it will include backup options for inclement weather. Spending a bit more for this safety net is probably a good idea. I would also hope that it has a big dance floor! After all, you want your guests to have the time of their life dancing to the best wedding reception music!

Photographer: 10-12%

You’re going to want beautiful photos and video to capture your wedding day. So, allocating 10-12% of your wedding budget on a photographer is completely reasonable. This may seem surprising, but remember, you’re not just paying for the finished product. You’re paying for their time. Never hired a professional photographer before? Check out these tips. I’ve also included a list of some of my favorite photographers in the Phoenix area!

Music & Entertainment: 7-9%

My favorite part of a wedding—for obvious reasons. Not only does a wedding DJ and Master of Ceremonies ensure that your reception runs smoothly, but it really sets the tone for the whole event. Keeping your guests entertained and dancing will have them remembering your wedding fondly. Ever hired a professional wedding DJ? Here are some tips on hiring a DJ and making sure you get the most out of your disc jockey.

Attire: 7-9%

Who doesn’t want to look their best on their wedding day? Keeping attire, hair, and makeup in mind when drafting the wedding budget will ensure that you and the wedding party look great for photos.

 Flowers & Décor: 7-8%

There are ways to decorate your venue without breaking the bank. However, it’s also easy to fall in love with everything on Pinterest and spend all of your money on décor and flowers. Figure out just how important décor is to you before you make your wedding budget and consider all of the ways where you can cut costs.

Wedding Planner: 3%

Some couples choose to plan their wedding on their own to save money. This may be a good idea for some, but I can definitely say that there are advantages to hiring a wedding planner!

Stationery & Invitations: 2-3%

There’s more to this than just invitations. Don’t forget about programs, table numbers, and place cards! You’ll also want to make sure you get thank you cards to thank your guests for their presence (and their presents!).

Cake: 2%

It’s easy to spend a lot of money on a tiered cake. Nowadays, many couples choose to pay for a fake cake with a real top tier, while serving their guests cupcakes. It’s a thought.

Rings: 2%

It could be worthwhile to increase the budget on rings if you need something special to fit you and your spouse’s personalities.

Transportation: 2%

Horse-drawn carriage? Limo? Bicycles? Walking? Transportation can be really cheap, or really expensive.

Favors: 2%

Favors are a nice gesture, especially for the wedding party. Odds are, they’ve done a lot of work to ensure that your big day was amazing.

Emergency Fund: 3-5%

A wedding is a huge event, and anything can go wrong. Having an emergency fund will keep you from stressing if there are any issues!

Searching for a “Wedding DJ Near Me”?

Finding a DJ for weddings can be tricky, but if you’re in the Phoenix area then we’d love to hear from you! Whether you have a specific idea of the wedding dance music you’d like or you prefer to let us take the wheel, we’re the source to turn to when you need a wedding DJ! Contact us today!

Header Image PC: Pictures of Money


Who is Behind the DMR Entertainment Name?

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As the owner and operator of DMR Wedding Entertainment, I’ve gotten to work with a lot of wedding vendors. One of my favorite vendors to work with are photographers. Working together, we’re able to help create lasting memories for so many couples. Here is an article about me by photographer Maria Fossler, of Thanks Maria!

Who is Behind the DMR Wedding Entertainment Name?

Sitting down at the dining room table surrounded by family photos, grandma in the kitchen, auntie sneaking in and out seeing what we were up to, and a pooch under the table, I spent some time getting to know Christopher Rita of DMR Wedding Entertainment. I’ve known Christopher for a year or so now, but never really had a chance to GET to KNOW him and his business. This quiet young man doesn’t come across as your “typical” Disc Jockey/Master of Ceremonies, instead, upon first meeting Christopher, I would more so expect to see him possibly working at some IT kind of job. Not the case.

Oh, and let me start with a collection of photos I took of him at a recent WEN (Wedding & Event Industry) Event. Christopher was “trained” by his Uncle Raymond, also a quiet, reserved kind of guy.  Grandma came into the interview at this point to tell me this story. (Paraphrased…and be sure to read this in a good ol’ Italian Grandmother kind of voice!) “When Raymond told his father and me that he wanted to be a DJ, we couldn’t believe what we were hearing. He was quiet. He wasn’t loud. And here he wanted to be a DJ? We weren’t sure about his decision until we first saw him at a family party that he was DJ-ing. When he first got up and spoke, and then started playing his music, his father and I just sat there like this {opens mouth and shows a look of surprise}. We just couldn’t believe this was our son! He became a completely different animal! That’s the same like Christopher. He’s so quiet and reserved, but once he’s in front of everyone, he changes, too.”

Her eyes shone with pride as she told this story. Christopher was slightly embarrassed, but nonetheless, I could tell he felt good about his grandmother beaming about him, smiled. Come to find out, Christopher started to do DJ work for his Uncle Raymond, owner/operator of Legendz DJ, back in Chicago when he was in his mid-teens. His uncle was more like an older brother than an uncle, and obviously was a huge influence on him, unbeknownst to him until years later. Christopher’s father played the accordion in a band.  Christopher’s music tastes are very eclectic, ranging from 50′s-60′s, country, mainstream top 40 (aka pop), and more. Yet, he’s not sure, other than his uncle’s influences, where his “bug” for DJing came from. At this point, I asked Christopher about his beginnings as a DJ for weddings here in Arizona. He moved here in 2001 from Chicago…why you ask? Ahem. Did you not read the first paragraph?  Let’s just say F-A-M-I-L-Y. Of course, my first question had to do with the name of his business, DMR Wedding Entertainment. ”So, Christopher, what does DMR stand for?” Apparently, many people ask this of him. Of course, in my mind, I’m thinking something along the lines of Digital Media Recordings? Downtown Music Rocks? Nope. Let’s get back to FAMILY. DMR stands for Diana Marie Rita, Christopher’s mother, who passed away a number of years ago. No wonder Christopher focuses mainly on the wedding niche. He has a love for the “power of music” and how it brings family and friends together for this special occasion. He loves his interactions with the bride and groom, getting to know them, the reasons behind the music they choose, and so on.

What Makes DMR the DJ Service for You?

DMR Wedding Entertainment loves to focus mainly on weddings. He’s not into “games” and such for little ones, but he LOVES the wedding games. He mentioned some that I’d never heard of before, like the “Kissing Game.” In this game, three couples are asked to the dance floor, where they are asked to portray their “first kiss,” at which time the newlyweds are asked to mimic that same kiss. Christopher finds it fun and endearing, especially when the couple asks for the grandparents or other “older” couples to come up. Of course, there’s always the “Newlywed Game,” “Who Traveled the Furthest,” and “The Anniversary Dance.” When I asked Chris if there have been any other influences on his DJ career, without hesitation, he mentioned Mark and Rebecca Ferrell, owner of The Marbecca Method. Mark and Rebecca taught Chris to “customize” his business to Christopher Rita and how to perfect his craft as a Master of Ceremonies. Make it all about Chris.  How does Chris do this? Let me number the ways…

  1. Chris realizes that his position as the DJ/MC and even the “on site wedding coordinator” (if the bride and groom haven’t hired one) can make or break the wedding day.
  2. He makes sure that he KNOWS his clients and that his clients KNOW him, and that they’re comfortable with him BEFORE they hire him.
  3. DMR Wedding Entertainment makes sure that there’s an open line of communication with ALL the vendors involved.  He likes to have a “pow wow” with the vendors a week before, then sends out the wedding timeline the Wednesday before the ceremony (if held on a Saturday).  Can I just tell you as the photographer, how much I’d appreciate this???
  4. Christopher makes sure that the venue understands the importance of LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION of the DJ.  There’s nothing worse than being “stuck in a corner” away from the “grand entrance,” not being able to SEE what’s going on as the MC!
  5. When Christopher is the MC, he makes sure the guests themselves know the “itinerary” of the evening, and keeps things rolling (or stalls them, if necessary).
  6. I loved this part, Christopher even offers sunset times to his brides and grooms, to help with the photography for the evening!  (What I wouldn’t give to work with this man!)
  7. Christopher takes the role of being a professional seriously.  You’ll never see him drinking at an event, nor bringing “uninvited” help to an event (I was appalled to even hear that other DJs might even FATHOM doing this!).
  8. DMR Wedding Entertainment shows up to the rehearsal and makes sure there’s a final planning meeting.
  9. DMR shows up 2-3 hours BEFORE the scheduled start time, to ensure all equipment is working properly, to “hide” all cords, and to be ready well BEFORE his scheduled start time.
  10. Lastly, I think this will “awe” you…Chris has a collection of over 113,000 (yes, THOUSAND) songs to select from. He is always looking to add to his library. So if there is a certain genre of music or a certain song you are wanting to be heard, let Chris know and he will go out of his way to legally add them to his collection and have available on your wedding day.

Wedding Reception Entertainment You Can Count On

In age, I’ve got a good decade on Christopher Rita. In experience in the wedding industry, he has a good decade (almost TWO) on me! So, I had to ask the following: ”Christopher, what advice to you have for brides and grooms when picking vendors for their special day?” Christopher’s answers made TONS of sense!

First, he said, “Make sure you are COMFORTABLE with your vendors. On the day of your wedding, you shouldn’t be stressed. Leave the stress to your vendors and ENJOY your day.” He then added, “If you see a vendor in action at another event/wedding before you have booked yours and like what you see, get their information. Interview them. Get to know them. Don’t let price be your final factor.” Christopher basically was saying that if you trust your vendor and are confident in choosing them, THAT should be the bottom line. Not the cost. In the end, it’s obvious to me, and probably the same to the 400 clients that Christopher Rita/DMR Wedding Entertainment has had, that he LOVES what he does. Christopher has an undeniable PASSION and GRATITUDE for being a part of a bride and groom’s wedding day, and takes his passion seriously. He’s not cheesy or boring, nor is he “over the top.”

The Phoenix Wedding DJ That’s Right For You

Rest assured, when you hire Christopher Rita/DMR Wedding Entertainment, you are going to be getting a wedding DJ you can trust and have confidence in. Oh, and one more thing, it warmed my heart to hear Christopher say this: “Nothing matters more, than at the end of the evening to have the bride/groom or other member of the family come up and give me a heartfelt thank you. That makes it all worthwhile knowing that I’ve done my job well.”

Of course, I had to ask about the BEST and WORST days of his life as a DJ. We’ll start with the “not so good,” which happened quite recently. There wasn’t much planning involved (which I could tell, drove him nuts). There were last minute music changes (as in the DAY OF!), and the music wasn’t available on iTunes for purchase. Although, on the flip side, there was an “unexpected change” that he loved. The bride realized at the wedding reception that her grandfather was in worse shape than she’d realized. She requested a bride/grandfather dance to a Frank Sinatra song, which Christopher was able to get, and provide this special moment for the bride and her grandfather (as I wipe tears). Christopher had a difficult time capturing the “BEST” moment as a DJ.  He loves the involvement he has as a DJ/MC of weddings, and with each and every wedding there’s a “best of” moment, and it was just too difficult to taper it down to just one event. To me, that says a lot. Too many moments to put a finger on = lots of gratefulness and passion. Although, Christopher did say that it was an extreme honor to do the grand introduction of the bride and groom to the reception, along with the first dance and “why” the couple chose that song was a definite favorite part of his job! Finally, Christopher’s motto is for DMR Wedding Entertainment, “The Soundtrack to Your Wedding Celebration!”

Having good entertainment for weddings makes all the difference in the world, so if you’re in need of a Phoenix wedding disc jockey, look no further than DMR Wedding Entertainment. Contact us today to get the process started!

When Should You Book Entertainment For Your Wedding?

I’ve been a wedding DJ for more than 20 years, and I’m still shocked whenever I receive an inquiry to see if I’m available to DJ or be a Master of Ceremonies at a wedding…in a month. I get it, weddings can be stressful and time-consuming to plan, and it’s not always easy to know when you should be booking everything. But, well, a month is a bit too late to be booking entertainment—about 11 months too late, if you ask me. 

There are so many resources out there to help you plan your perfect wedding. Numerous magazines, websites, TV shows, and blogs exists solely to help you plan your big day. Unfortunately, this also means that there are a lot of opinions out there when it comes to how early you should start planning—especially when it comes to booking entertainment.

My Advice? Start Planning Your Wedding Early!

In my opinion, one year is a good amount of time to plan a wedding and book entertainment. Some might say this is too far in advance—but consider this: most locations tend to have “prime” wedding months. During these months, many other couples will be getting married and venues, catering, and entertainment will get booked up quickly. If you wait too long to begin your DJ or band search, you risk having to select someone that might not be the best fit for you or your wedding. No one wants to get their second choice on their wedding day, so why take the chance?

Booking Entertainment Shouldn’t Be Overlooked!

There are certain individuals and couples that will say that entertainment is not high on their priority list, and will wait until 4 months before the big day to choose their wedding entertainment. Whether you select a professional DJ or a band, finding the right choice for entertainment is crucial. Your entertainment choice can make or break your wedding. No one wants an empty dance floor! Choosing wedding songs is crucial, and good wedding dance music means everyone will have the time of their lives.

What Should I Book For My Wedding First? 

A great tip for the newly engaged is to decide what you care about the most, and go from there. If you think the venue will be the most important part of your wedding, book it. If you think booking entertainment will be more difficult later on, get in on it early. In regards to importance and availability, the list below represents a good order for couples to follow when it comes to booking things for their wedding: 

  1. Ceremony/Reception location
  2. Catering
  3. Entertainment
  4. Photographer/Videographer
  5. Cake
  6. Florist

The earlier you begin your selection, the more choices you will have. Nothing is more frustrating than weeks of intense reaserch, budgeting, and debating, that all mean nothing when you find out that your first choices are no longer available. It may be a cliché, but when it comes to weddings, the early bird definitely gets the worm. 

Do you agree that a year is a good amount of time to plan a wedding? Do you think a quality venue and fun entertainment can be booked later? Let me know what you think! 

Searching for a Wedding DJ in Phoenix?

Looking for a quality DJ and Master of Ceremonies for your wedding? DMR Wedding Entertainment could be for you! Reach out today to get the process started.