posted 3 years ago in Money
Post # 3
6073 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: August 2012

@XmasBride2014:  I saw this Bay Area wedding on The Knot’s $10K Wedding Challenge!  I don’t think it’s typical but I think it still can be of use.  This is a hypothetical weddig planned by Alison Events of SF.




Ceremony: $2,082.68
Site: $1,800 (includes officiant, seating, candles, fire in fireplace, ceremony musician, and dressing room)
Swedenborgian Church, SFWedding.org
San Francisco marriage license: $93 SFGov.org for more information
3-gallon unbreakable beverage dispenser (for lemonade): $32.84
Bed Bath and Beyond, BedBathandBeyond.com for stores
20 cartons of Newman’s Own organic lemonade and lemons for garnish: $60.40
Safeway, Safeway.com for stores
Chocolate chip cookies: $0
Homemade and packaged by friends
100 9-oz. biodegradable clear compostable cups: $23.99

Reception: $5,955.03 (including tax and gratuity)
Reception space: $2,550 (includes 3 hours for party, 2 hours for setup and breakdown, and music system fee)
Axis Cafe, Axis-Cafe.com
Beer and wine for 80 guests: $1,600
Axis Cafe, Axis-Cafe.com
3 types of passed hors d’oeuvres: $1,482
Axis Cafe, Axis-Cafe.com
Chocolate fountain: $323.03
 Chocolate Fountains Delite, ChocolateFountainsDelite.com
Photo booth and album for reception: $646.05
Photobooth Royale, PhotoboothRoyale.com

Attire: $425.96
Serena knee-length dress: $321.60
Unforgettable Moments by Lela Rose Gloria platform slings: $34.36
Payless, Payless.com
Vintage jewelry: $40
Vintage floral ties for groom and groomsmen: $30

Hair & Makeup: $16.43
Bare Escentuals Lip Stick, bARE Minerals 100% Natural Lip Color: $16.43
Sephora, Sephora.com

Music: $0
iPod: $0
(You already have one — right?)

Flowers & Decor: $620.39
Tulip/dahlia bouquet and succulent boutonniere: $142.35
 Branch Floral Design, BranchFloralDesign.com
10 glass bowl arrangements, 2 medium arrangements for the bars, setup fee: $313.75
Branch Floral Design, BranchFloralDesign.com
10 80” square Nuovo linens for tables: $118.08
 La Tavola Linen, LaTavolaLinen.com
1 package of 100 candles, 9 tea-light candleholder 12-packs: $23.98 
IKEA, IKEA.com for stores
100 mini string light set: $22.23
Target, Target.com

Stationery: $215.29
50 Blossom Collection (by Blonde) invitations and envelopes: $174.25
Postage: $21
#10 flat cards (for programs and San Francisco visitor guide): $20.04
Paper Source, Paper-Source.com

Wedding website: $0


GRAND TOTAL: $9,961.83


Where applicable, San Francisco sales tax of 9.5% has been included in the budget.

Post # 4
85 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: September 2013

Our wedding was last weekend and we haven’t done the official tabulation of everything, but these are really good estimates.

# of Guests: 125

Location: Central Virginia, at a vineyard

Venue Cost: $4,000 – this included the ceremony and reception space and all the reception tables and chairs.  But, we did have to rent chairs for the ceremony.  This was through our caterer, so it wil be wrapped up in that price.

Food/Drink: $8,600 which includes all food, wait staff, rentals (plates, napkins, table cloths, utensils, etc).  We also spent about $2,000 on alcohol, which we supplied.

Photographer: Our photographer was $1,200 including tip.  We also have a videographer who was $2,100 including tip

Flowers/Decor: $0.  My parents did the flowers, I suspect they spent a couple hundred dollars, they were very simple.

Music: $550 for the dj

This only adds up to about $18,500.  However, I believe we spent almost $25,000 or so.  We got a bus for about $1000, my dress alterations were $750 (parents paid for the $1000 dress), we did a Friday night reception which was about $2000, day of coordinator for $600.  I’m not sure what else, but I know I’m missing a few things!  Hopefully this helps 🙂


Post # 5
825 posts
Busy bee

# of Guests: Approx 200

Location: Michigan – Medium City Size

Ceremony: $1,300
Site: $1,300 (includes officiant, seating, candles, ceremony musician, and dressing room)

Reception: $3,500
Reception space: $3,500 (includes 5 hour rental, day of coordinator, set up, tear down, tables, and chairs)

Food and Drink: approx. $10,000

Photographer: $4,250
Includes 125 picture album, photo booth at the reception, slideshow at the reception, 10 hours of pictures and two 8×10″ pictures.

Flowers/Decor: Not sure yet

Photographer: $850


Post # 6
351 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: November 2013

We are getting married in Sonoma, so it’s pricey but I think all of the Bay Area is. Also, there are limited vendors, if you are more in the SF area, there are probably way more options for you. 

Now I know you can do things for much cheaper. Our budget was the same regardless of guest count, luckily we had most of this money saved and our parents generously gave us some money as well, we decided to do something very nice for a smaller guest list. 

# of Guests: 70

Location: St. Francis Church/Ramekins Culinary School

Venue Cost: Ceremony cost is about $1500 for the church donation, donation to the priest and a singer and pianist. Our reception rental fee is $4000.

Food/Drink: Catering is running us about $12,000 for full open bar for 7 hours, 4 passed apps, dinner (filet and halibut) and a late night snack/taco bar. Cake is $750 (the bakery is in SF) and our favors are running about $700 (macaroons from Bouchon in Napa). 

Photographer: $3650 and he is great. This was the cheapest I could find too but I love him. Most were well into the $5000-$10000 and that could be for a single shooter which made me almost fall over. Serously

Flowers/Decor: $2,000 for ceremony flowers, flowers for the pews, cocktail hour centerpieces, centerpieces for dinner, personal flowers for bridal party and parents. 

Music: $1500 for Mariachi Band, $1000 for DJ, $600 for Photobooth and like I said $250 for ceremony music. 

Costs not listed: $1500 for Rentals, $1900 for a coordinator, $1500 for hotel for us and immediate family (this is out of town for everyone), $4500 for my dress, alterations, accessories and FI’s tux (he bought) and shoes, cuff links, tie, $375 for hair and makeup.

Overall, we are spending about $40K-$45K including the honeymooon. Don’t let this scare you though, and I don’t know your budget, so maybe it won’t. But there are tons of venues and options in the Bay Area that you can make work for any budget and guest count. If you are looking more in the Bay, we were considering the Brazillian Room in Berkeley and have heard it’s a wonderful option! 

The items that are big ticket: photogrpahy, catering/bar, venue rental. These will probably be the most costly. Flowers were also a little shocking to me. 

Post # 7
8498 posts
Bumble Beekeeper
  • Wedding: September 2013

# of Guests: 100

Location: Distillery, Kansas City metro area

Venue Cost: $6400 approx. My venue included 6 hour open bar, ceremony time/space, all tables, linens, chairs, coordinator on sight, 2 bartenders, setup/cleanup.

Food/Drink: Drink was part of venue price.  Food I spent about $3750 for appetizers and then buffet/carving station, service, tax, tip.

Photographer: $3200 for 10 hours, engagement sesssion, all pictures with printing rights on discs.

Flowers/Decor:  $1540 on flowers (bouquets, 11 centerpieces, 2 larger pieces, bouts/corsages, a few tiny arrangments for bar area) and an extra $530 or so on other decor

Music: DJ was just over $1000 with tip

My total was $22k and the above only adds up to about $16k.  Meaning there might be a lot more areas you are leaving off.  I would take those into account because they really add up!

Cake: $610

Hair/Makeup: About $850 since I covered myself and 5 BM, including trial

Invites/Postage: $600

Dress/Suit/Accessories: $1700

Photobooth: $800

Transportation: $500

Officiant: $300

Bridal Party Gifts: $400

Post # 8
2473 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: April 2014 - Italian Villa


# of Guests: Maximum 32 attending, over 100 invited

Location: A private villa in Palombara Sabina, Italy (outside of Rome)

Venue Cost: The villa was $5250 to rent for the entire week. So, for just the wedding day, it’s $750 (though I don’t think they rent it by the day). Both sets of parents, wedding party, etc will be sleeping in the villa the whole week- it sleeps 16!

Food/Drink: The villa is used to hosting weddings, and they have an internal caterer who is making DELICIOUS-sounding authentic Italian dishes with local ingredients. since it’s Europe, dinner is going to last about 2-3 hours- so many courses! The price is about $100 per person, which includes dinner, desert (incl millefoglie, Italian wedding cake), and 2 glasses of wine per person at dinner, and limoncello (they didn’t say houw much). In addition to what the caterer provides, we will be bringing in our own alcohol for some pre-mixed drinks during cocktail hour between the ceremony and dinner. No idea what that will cost us, but not tons since we don’t want people to get loaded and not be able to enjoy dinner.

Photographer: This is the pricy part! Her rate is $3250, plus we are paying for her travel expenses. Flight, my parents and FI’s combined frequent flyer miles to get her ticket, lodging, she’ll be staying in the villa. That’s really all she asked for. Some other photographers I met insisted they needed us to pay for their rental car, their food, ridiculous amounts of baggage, travel insurance, etc. I love the woman we chose- she is so easy going! 

Flowers/Decor: DIY-ing flowers; we’ll be purchasing them from a flower market the day before the wedding, and making bouquets the morning of. My flower budget is $500, which I feel is too much and everyone else thinks isn’t enough. The ceremony will take place in amongst the (hopefully blossoming) cherry trees (which is costing us $200 for them to clean up the grounds a bit), so we don’t need any ceremony decor. My bouquet and the girls’ bouquets will be doing double duty as centerpieces for dinner. We may also purchase some lemons or something to put in decorative bowls/vases with sprigs of rosemary to add some color. I might get some round placemat type things in one of our colors to put under everyone’s plates, since the linens and plates will be white.

Music: iPod! We haven’t chosen any of the music yet, but we are going to ask everyone to submit a few song ideas, since we have to come up with hours and hours of music. Someone will need to press play for the ceremony music, but then once cocktail hour has started, nobody should have to do anything with it, unless we want to skip ahead to a particular song.


Overall budget: $20,000


Location: $5250

Photos: $3250

Catering: $3200

Flowers: $500

Ceremony location: $200 (for grounds cleanup by cherry trees)

Food in the villa (all week): $3000

Bride/Groom airfare: $3000

Other miscellanious (can’t remember where the rest is going and don’t feel like digging up the spreadsheet: $1600 (cleaning fees, electricity for villa, etc)

Post # 9
306 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: November 2013

# of Guests: 70 invited

Location: Garden Wedding at Home

Venue Cost: (FREE) Tent Rental $60 from a “friendor”. I own tables, chairs, arch, lighting, dance floor, and linen.

Food: Approx $300

Photographer: $528 engagemet and wedding day

Flowers/Decor: $165 wholesale and diy Brooch Bouquet DIY $80

Music: $300 DJ

Cake: $200

Dress: $160 alterations $130

Accesories: Veil $18 Earrings $25 Pearl Necklace and bracelet $20 Shoes $6

Tux: $42

Flower Girl and Bridesmaids Dresses: $47

Stationary: $20 STD $75 Invites $40 Stamps

Decorations and Favors: $300

Liquor and Drinks: $300

Bartender and Server: $150

Cookie and Milk Station: Approx $100

Day of Hotel: $70

Total: $3136 (Well under our 5k budget!!!)

Post # 10
975 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: September 2014 - Banff, Alberta

Budget: $5000

# of Guests: 70

Location: Alberta

Venue Cost: 800 for reception, $140 for ceremony

Chair rental: $140

Commissoner: $300

Food/Drink: 2000

Photographer: Free!

Decor: DIY, $80

Flowers: DIY, $80

Music: Free!

Cake: Around $300

Dress: I expected to pay $300 but my mom surprised me and paid $1100

Accesories: Veil $200 (again surprise) Earrings $20

Stationary: $120 for invites, thank yous DIY

Day of Hotel: $240


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