Post # 1
I’m newly engaged and trying to get a grasp on the basics so I’m looking for some sage advice. We are having a wedding sometime next year of between 100-120 people (our goal) and I was wondering, what is a realistic budget and the realistic cost I should be looking at? We’ve been to one venue viewing and have a few more scheduled for the upcoming weekend. The wedding planner book I picked up estimates approximately 35% of your budget should go towards reception (food, drinks, gratuity, tax, and favours but NOT the cake). So far I’ve been quoted anywhere from $14,000 to $21, 000 for room rental, food, and drinks for that number of people and based on my calculations of packages provided on other venues’ websites, this is a normal range. However, I’m not prepared to spend $40K plus on a wedding, which is the lowest budget possible given the quote prices and the 35% towards reception the book recommends.
My questions is, is this reception quote range reasonable given what it covers and the number of people I am looking to invite? Are the percentages for other categories over estimated (though they don’t appear to be based on my review of them)? I am working out of the budget found in a Wed Space wedding planner.
For reference, I live in Ontario, Canada (GTA area for those familiar with the provice) and can’t go more than an hour outside of downtown Toronto to cut costs (not including traffic or I’d only be considering venues through to uptown haha) due to family travelling concerns.
Post # 2
Kaylaa: hmm I’m not sure if where you live is expensive or not? To put things into perspective, we are doing a largely DIY wedding with 65 guests and we are spending a little over $13,000. This includes absolutely everything – our hotel room for the night, my dress, gifts for our wedding party, rings, venue, photographer, food etc etc. It was the lowest we could feasibly go while still having a “traditional” wedding with dancing, alcohol and dinner. You could do it for less if you had a morning or afternoon reception.
as far as your percentages – I think it varies so much. For our food, alcohol and rentals we are spending about $3200 – we are getting a restaurant to cater, which is SO much cheaper even when rentals are factored in. Another thing that saved us so much is that we are providing our own alcohol. We are doing only beer and wine, but nice stuff – and it will cost about $500. Most inclusive places quoted about $20 per hour per person so that saved us a ton! Are you looking at venues that are inclusive or where you bring in all your own stuff? I think you can save either way depending on which venues you choose. Sometimes the venues used exclusively for weddings can be really pricey, but having a wedding at a restaurant can be very affordable. <br /><br />So I’d say the biggest money savers for us were having a restaurant cater, and providing our alcohol. But even then, yes, about 30% will be food<br /><br /><br /><br />
Post # 3
The way i put it into perspective (for food) is by comparing it to eating out. For example, a nice (special occasion) meal for me would cost around $50-$60 at a resturant. A casual meal out (at asit down resturant) would be around $20-25, and a casual im just going to grab lunch type of place is around $10. So if I wanted a reception that reflected my experience of a nice special occasion meal I would expected it to cost $50-60 per person. So at 100 people, it would cost around $5,000-$6,000.
This wont give you an exact price but it is a way to kindof understand why pricing is the way it is at least for food.
I will add that I am not planning (actual planning) a wedding nor have I ever planned a wedding. It might help to compare your quotes for food like this because it will give you a little perspective on what the night might be like. Again, this is just something I do to help me understand what we will (would be) paying for. I am sure there is a better way to view it, but this works for me for now.
Post # 4
How much do you want to spend? Can you work backwards?
As for the price you were quoted for the reception, it sounds to me like that pencils out to about $150 per person pre tax and gratuity, which I think is average, but not over the top, for a major city.
My general sense is that the below is a decent, but not over the top budget for all other items in a major city. I easily get to $20K for all other items excluding the reception, unless you think I’m way off in a particular area.
Bridal look (everything): $5,000
Photography: $5,000 – $7,500 (depending on whether you include videography)
Music: $2,500 – $5,000 (depending on whether you want a DJ or band)
Flowers: At least $2,000 for the bare minimum (bouquets and centerpieces)
Post # 5
Kaylaa: Cost depends on so many factors: where you live, what food and drinks you are providing, etc etc. Our wedding, excluding the rings and honeymoon is costing about 38k, and that’s for 62 day guests (ie sit down meal) and another 30 evening guests (light buffet). Food and drink (and we’re not having an open bar, we’re ‘only’ putting 4k behind it) accounts for 40% of our budget.
Post # 6
There are many factors involved as it varies from location to location and depends on what’s covered by the reception facility, etc.
Our venue ended up being about 60% of our budget (this included our ceremony site, reception site, food, beer & wine, tables/linens/flatware + tax and gratuity).
Post # 7
I’m also from close to Toronto! My venue I am paying $110/ per person, and it includes the ceremony, decor, food, and all taxes and tips. I can upgrade to the next package for $165 and have orderves during cocktail hour and an open bar (I am hoping to do this). We are on a rather tight budget as I am still in university, and I am DIYing a lot of stuff, have ordered my dress online, and will do the same for most of the attire. I am expecting about 70 guests, and trying my best to keep the day around 10,000. My reception is far more than 35% of my budget. I don’t know if you’re open to it, but if you don’t mind hamilton try LIUNA station.
Post # 8
I’ve learned through the Bee-it’s ALL about where you live. I’m on Long Island, and you literally cannot have any sort of traditional wedding without dropping 40k. Our venue for about 150 will run us around $19k-and that’s very reasonable for here. Here’s how our costs break down:
My dress-$4k<br />Shoes+day of accessories-$600<br />Photos/Video-$6k<br />DJ-$3,300<br />Florist-$2k<br />Honeymoon-$3,500<br />My wedding bands-$3k<br />Hair/Make-up for the day of-$300<br />Invites & STDs-$1,300
We are paying $125 per person including tax+gratuity. I feel like I’m forgetting something…I’m sure I am, but overall, the fairness of the cost really depends where you are and how high end of a venue you choose.
ETA-the cost of our venue includes food galore during cocktail hour, an unlimited fresh seafood station w/crab legs and lobster tails, and 4 dinner options, including filet mignon with stuffed shrimp. Our cake is included in the cost as well as top shelf open bar, and we also got Vienesse hour in our package (basically an unlimited ice cream/pastry/waffle/dessert bar)
Post # 9
It really depends where you live and where you are having a reception. My reception package where I’m having my own wedding includes the use of the space, table setting with table cloths, cloth napkins, glassware, chair covers, silverware, etc. They also include punch fountain, audio/visual use, cake cutting service, and decorating the entire reception based on my preference and dream wedding. So that include centerpeices, gift and cake tables, head table, colors, theme, etc for decor. My package I’m getting will run me $1,600 for a wedding of under 130 guests. Food would be about $15-20 per plate depending on what our guests pick (walleye or prime rib). We chose a beautiful lakeside restaurant’s ballroom which is actually prety expensive as far as venues go in my area. Most of my friends choose to have receptions at legions, armorys, and community halls and only spend a couple hundred dollars…
My friends all have entire weddings for under 3k. I’m kind of going all out for my dream wedding and my budget is about 10-12k and that’s insane in most peoples eyes here.
Post # 10
I was told the general rule is to double your food/room rental/ alcohol (if you are paying for it) cost and that will be approximately what your total spent is. Based on the quotes you’ve been given, I think you will be around the 30-40k range. Have you considered a brunch wedding instead? A restaurant reception? Backyard BBQ? Wedding at a park?
Post # 11
The costs always usally depends on location, size, and style. If this is a hotel type reception, that seems pretty average (especially in Ontario) from what I’ve heard. I’m from Vancouver BC and that’s an average price too. The reception usually is on the higher part of the ration when it comes to wedding costs.
I had to shop around a lot for my venue because I didn’t want to spend over $10,000 on my reception. Most places were quoting me about $15,000 to $25,000 for a reception and I was cringing. I was happy to find my reception venue because so far it’s costing me under $10,000 including chair covers, sashes, food, cash bar, tables, dance floor, complimentary hotel room, bottles of wine, and cocktail hour food. It’s not one of the most highest end hotels but the ballroom is still pretty gorgeous and I am happy with it.
So far everything is fitting within my 15K wedding.
Post # 12
Kaylaa: I should also mention that we live right outside of NYC – it’s one of the most expensive areas in the United States. So if we can do it, you can haha!
Post # 13
Thanks so much for all of the details you’ve provided everyone! I guess it really does depend on where you live as to what the ‘average’ cost of your day is. Going forward I think I’ll prioritize what I really want to spend the money.
It just seems like such a balancing act to find a venue that you love and is available for the general dates you like and ensure that with that cost, you still have enough left over for everything else you need/want. Flowers and the cake are two examples of an area where I have no idea what the actual cost would be!
- MissCookies Thanks for the suggestion! I’ve seen some really nice venues in Ancaster, Hamilton, and Burlington but unfortunately I think it is too far for some of my family to travel.
- Krises I am fairly set on a ‘traditional’ evening sit down dinner with an open bar so I know the cost will be higher for that. We have Saturday set in mind but depending on what we end up prioritizing, perhaps switching to a Friday or Sunday could also work. Also, I’m looking for a unique venue (a standard banquet hall does not fit my FI nor myself) so I know that will come at a cost too. I’m just hoping those costs fall within what my FI and I have decided we’re willing to spend on a single, albeit very important, day in our lives.
Post # 14
Kaylaa: I’m in the GTA, getting married out in Orangeville at a resort. Our budget is shaping up at around 35k and the food/drink at the venue (and ceremony space) is nearly 20k of that. I think her #s are a bit off.
Post # 15
sostobe: How many people are you having in your wedding? I’m assuming it’s a sit down dinner on a Saturday?