Los Angeles (or any big city) brides, what is your budget?!!

posted 2 years ago in Money
Post # 2
Member
612 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: June 2015

I have a huge headcount (about 200 people).  My parents have offered to pay for the wedding, but I’d much rather not cost an arm and a leg for one day (part of my job is keeping costs low… So I’m super frugal about a lot of things).

We are looking in Orange County and LA beach cities – there are a lot of venues which are pretty nice and do inclusive packages where we would be about $35k all-in.  Please feel free to PM me with the general timing you are looking at (some of the discounts are due to the fact I am just before high-season) and I will gladly pass along what I’ve found.

Post # 3
Member
1002 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: November 2014

partypep:  im getting married in a little over a month in NYC, our budget was around $75k, this did not include our honeymoon, bands,and rehearsal dinner.  I also tried to pick more reasonably priced vendors.  

Post # 4
Member
2151 posts
Buzzing bee

partypep:  I’m in NYC. Our total budget is $10k. As you can imagine this means we are having a VERY small wedding. We are actually going to get married in a relative’s yard who live in New Jersey (about 30 minutes outside of Manhattan). Then we’re going to a gorgeous little french restaurant which we’re renting out for around $45 a person. The total invited guests is 28- but realistically we’re thinking 10-15 will come. My dad is officiating and I’m getting an inexpensive wedding dress. Even still, I’m not sure we will have enough left over for much of a honeymoon- but hopefully we will. I agree with you, this might be the one thing that is wayyyyyy harder to do in a big city than in a rural area. 

Post # 5
Member
612 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: June 2015

Adding: since others are mentioning honeymoon: my cost does not include honeymoon costs that can be expected.  As my name implies, I travel a lot on business… The majority of our honeymoon will be paid for with my excessive stash of hotel and airline points.

Post # 6
Member
1158 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: June 2014

partypep:  this probably is not what you want to hear, but yeah i do think most brides having largeish weddings in LA that have all the trimmings are probably spending a lot. ours ended up around the 65-70k mark (not including rehearsal dinner, rings, or honeymoon – I don’t consider any of those part of the wedding. We had apprx. 100 people at a hotel on the beach in santa monica. We only wanted to invite people we really love and consider close and we also did adults only.

I absolutely belive you can spend less – I have expensive tastes as well and we also just didn’t want to burden ourselves over the wedding, so costs for convenience added up too.  ours crept up in price with things like a full service wedding planner, inclusive very high end venue/location ($265 a person for food, cake, top shelf open bar, valet and all related catering service), live band, designer dress, renting the massive bridal suite for the night BEFORE the wedding in addition to the night of that was included in the package, paying for all of the bridesmaids hair and makeup, etc.

All of these things and more were technically extraneous and ended up tacking on 10s of thousands of dollars. So, when you hear these big numbers I would keep in mind they probably include a lot of extra trimmings that you can compromise on without really changing the overall day a ton, if that makes sense.

I think the biggest thing of all is venue, size, and location. If you’re willing to get away from the beach and away from the epicenter of the more expensive cities, and cut down the guest list to just the people you really care about sharing the day with, then you’ll save a lot. Also, having it on a Friday off season would help a ton too!

Full disclosure – I was very fortunate that my dad was very insistent and excited to pay for it all and could do so very comfortably, or else I probably would not have made some of the same choices.

Post # 7
Member
273 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: December 2025

partypep:  We’re having our wedding in downtown San Francisco. Our original budget was 55k, but because we decided the venue and photography was worth blowing the budget for, we increased it to 70k. We have approx 210-230 guests. We’re paying for the wedding ourselves, and yes, the costs keep coming! 

We’re paying as we go. When we booked the venue, we learned that it came with NOTHING, just the event space. Most of the vendors I’ve contacted require a 1-2k deposit, with 2nd/final payments closer to the event date. We’ve set up a montly contribution to our “wedding fund” and we will have all costs covered by our wedding day.

It really depends on what’s important to you two, whether you want to spend the money or not. We decided to spend money for convenience, like PP. We hired a DOC to sweat the small (and big!) stuff and a MUA/hair stylist to do my BMs hair. It all adds up pretty fast too!

As for the guestlist, we had to compromise because we have incredibly large families. We each gave our parents 70 seats, and they would invite whomever they wanted to. We kept 80 seats for our close friends and spouses. There would be no +1s unless they were engaged or have been together for 10 years with 2 kids (I’m being sarcastic with the latter, but you get the idea…)

 

polyblonde:  I saw some of your wedding pictures on another thread.. they were gorgeous!!

Post # 8
Member
2076 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: July 2012

We got married in San Diego. Our budget was $30k when you factored in cost of my dress and wedding planners (each had a budget separ from our $25k “wedding” budget.) We still had to cut corners by using in–season flowers. We had a friend who was a wedding photographer do our photos for an insanely cheap price. Having wedding planners really kept us on budget because they only gave us referrals to vendors that fit our budget. We also got married on a waterfront military base so the service charge was 15% vs the 22% other places were charging and we didn’t have to pay sales tax on top of it all. That alone made it where we were able to invite the number of people we wanted. 

ETA:BWe paid $100 each towards my 3 bridesmaids’ dress, bought my neice an expensive flower girl dress ($150) as a gift, did bridal party gifts, paid for hair/makeup for me, both moms, and 3 bridesmaids, had a videographe, DJ,limos/cars, cake, favors. We chose cheaper invitations since those get thrown out anyways. I did kiddie bags for all 20 of our kid guests under 10.  We really stretched our budget to get everything we wanted. Do I wish I’d had better/more flowers, fancier invitations sure but I still loved our wedding. 

  • This reply was modified 1 year, 11 months ago by  .
Post # 9
Member
2076 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: July 2012

I forgot to add my inlaws paid for the rehearsal dinner.  Our honeymoon and rings were not included in that budget either. Southern California city weddings cost an arm and a leg thats for sure. 

Post # 11
Member
1158 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: June 2014

bphi163:  aww thank you that is SO sweet of you to say!!! The day really came together perfectly and we were so fortunate to have such a beautiful setting. Thank you so much for your kind words 🙂

partypep:  of good!! I was worried you were looking for people to say oh sure, i pulled off the big LA wedding on the cheap!! But I wanted give my honest opinion, but also point out that it does not HAVE to be THAT high and that many things that drive up the price are really “extras” i think you can be just fine without. I’d be happy to PM you with some specifics and even recommend some of my favorite vendors — my wedding planner, photographer, flower vendor, quartet (cocktail hour) and band (reception) in particular were all HUGE hits and even despite the high(ish) overall budget, we all very reasonable for LA in my opinion.

This website helped me pick a venue –gives a lot of basic price breakdowns:

http://www.herecomestheguide.com/southern-california/wedding-venues/region/los-angeles/sort/venues_city/asc/

ETA: i read the rest of your response to other posters and it sounds like you’ve already chosen most of your vendors — id still be happy to share what i remember of the breakdown — ive since gotten rid of all the spreadsheets so i dont have all the exact numbers anymore.

Post # 12
Member
138 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: January 2014

Our total came out to 21K. We live in LA, but were able to save some money (and sanity!) by going with a Wedgewood Wedding venue just outside of LA county. Packages were all-inclusive, which was super important to me, and everything came out beautiful and elegant. The only things we had to add on were limo and videographer. The caveat is that I was possibly the least picky bride ever! As long as each “detail” took me less than half an hour to plan, I was happy! But yes I definitely noticed huge markups the farther west we looked.

Post # 13
Member
273 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: December 2025

partypep: 

I didn’t budget for a DOC, but we went ahead and hired one anyway. Also, I didn’t count my ER, wedding bands, honeymoon, or RD in the budget. We’re having beer and pizza for our RD 😀 Here’s what my budget is coming out to:

-Venue/rentals/Catering/Open Bar: 40k

-Photographer (includes engagement session, guestbook, and some custom albums): 10k

-flowers (I used silk flowers): 1k 

-Wedding Dress (plus alterations and accessories): $1300

-Tux and accessories: $1300

-BM Bribes/Wedding party gifts: $1000

-MUA/hair (trial, day of bridal plus 4BM) $1500

-DJ/photobooth/lighting: 5K

-Favors: $350

-Officiant donation/marriage license fee: $350

-Wedding Planner: 2k

All of these include gratuity, and i am feeding the vendors as well. 

Also, my friend spent 60k+ with a guest count of 40, so you’re not doing too bad over there 😉

 

Post # 15
Member
1158 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: June 2014

partypep:  Sent you my list with (most) vendors! If you want any vendors that are missing, let me know and I’ll dig up the exact names 🙂

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