Post # 1
Hi bees! This is my first board post! I just got engaged, and am suffering from severe stick shock of much this wedding is going to cost! I just got a proposal from my preferred venue of choice and it’s going to come to $29,000 for the food, beverages, ceremony and reception site, tables/chairs and servers/bartenders. My heart just fell. Is this an average cost or am I looking at high end places? I’m just curious about how much everyone spent on their weddings.
Post # 3
uuuhhhh – welcome to the monstrosity that is planning dream wedding within a budget!!
i think alot of factors go into the cost of weddings – it could depend on the region of country, time of year, cash bar vs open bar, limo bus for BP instead of drive your dammselves ( ), venue, type of meal (chicken vs filet mignon & prawns), type of reception – if it’s a sit-down plated dinner or strictly cocktail and appies reception, or a brunch, couture dress vs non-couture dress, ALOT of things!!
our wedding is in SoCal in feb of 2009, and to date, we’re at $56K and still going…
yeah i know DO NOT remind me! BUT we havent charged anything so far!! Go us! i refuse to pay interest! btw – i read somewhere that the average wedding is at $30-$40K
Post # 4
That seems a little high end, but it depends – what part of the country are you in?
Post # 5
WOW. Guess I better start saving!!
Post # 6
We were originally from New York City. For a brief period of time, we were going to get married in Manhattan. We were north of $80,000 pretty quick.
In the end, we opted for a destination wedding in the Bahamas. 22 guests and we got exactly the high-end event we wanted for about $12,000.
Post # 7
We’re in OC and trying DESPERATELY to keep everything under $20K. We are skimping on a few things, though, like food (because wedding food is always blah IMO), well bar instead of premium bar, location, decorations (flowers, lighting) and wedding party attire.
it really sucks, but I’ve been eliminating my dream locations based purely on price. I don’t want to get myself attached to a place and then not be able to afford it. We’ve only been visiting sites that we can (reasonably) pay for– most entrees fall between the $25-$40 price range.
We’re also only having 3 hours of open bar total instead of 5 hours (cocktail hour + first two hours of reception), we’re doing a wedding cupcake cake to avoid the cake cutting fee, we’re passing on extra passed hors d’eourves, we’re not paying for an officiant (our friend got ordained online and will be marrying us), my MOH’s sister is doing the girls’ hair and makeup, and the bridesmaids dresses will be bought on clearance (either at Ann Taylor outlet or Nordie’s). Just a few cost cutting tips, but they all start to add up.
I experienced some sticker shock initially, too, but now it’s time to just focus on what you can do and stick to it. 🙂 Good luck!
Post # 8
negotiate negotiate negotiate…. Yep you’ll have to shop around but alot of things can be talked down especially with the caterer (for example 3 hor douves instead of 5, bring your own alcohol, discount on linens) and also any out-of-home vendors.
I’m also having a wedding in SoCal Jan 2009, our budget is 17K (for EVERYTHING honeymoon, rehersal dinner etc)
We are trimming edges by having the reception at the church (its brand new and they have a bar.. yes a bar in a church.. yay catholics!), serving beer/wine bar, DIY flowers (but using giant balloons for drama)
While doing research I found the Community centers around are very nice as well and provide a kitchen and tables and chairs. Also ask around, you will get SOOO much info on local vendors and great recommendations.
Post # 9
If you are looking at $29K for the reception costs (venue, food, drink, etc.), you should expect to see a total cost of about $60K for the total wedding including all of your other vendors and miscellaneous costs.
What I would do is break the price down PER PERSON and see if that is reasonable or not. If $29K only gets, say, 50 people at your wedding, that may be something to reconsider but if it is covering 400 (as a random number and example) that may be more reasonable.
As far as us, we started with an initial budget and increased it by 50%, then ended up doubling it and then some now.
Post # 10
My initial reaction exactly, shocked and really depressed (the hotel was charging $150 per head! I didn’t even bother to visit them, as I know I wouldn’t want to throw that kind of money away, btw, we are having 400 people, so imagine that bill??? yikes! I’d have to get a second and third loan for the wedding! We ended up booking this restaurant, we’re going to probably pay 25K for 400 people for just the food, non alcohol bevs and service. It is still expensive, but our date was important to us…think of what is important and start downsizing or talk your way into a good deal. I found that getting competitive pricing helps in negociating. good luck and congrats.
Post # 11
Thanks everyone for such quick responses. I’ve been mulling over this all night. Basically this price of 29K is for 230 people. For the vision I want (outdoor ceremony, indoor reception at the same place that can hold 230 peeps) this is actually a good (and beautiful) deal. This will in-fact be the bulk of the wedding. The problem is that in Dallas, everywhere requires a food/bev minimum or $20,000. So even though I bring down the food items down, they will increase your beverage menu!
Since I’m saving alot of time by not having to book a caterer, find linins, chairs/tables and such, I’ll save the money elsewhere (DIY invites, favors, etc). I’ll have to start moonlighting to get extra cash! But I think this place is worth it for the wedding of my dreams! Thanks and wish me luck!!
Post # 12
Wow, glad I live in a small town! Our local country club has a food and beverage minimum of $5000 to close down the whole clubhouse. With 160 invited guests (maybe 120 will show?) we will come in at about $6000. Photographer is $1500. Going to see about flowers tomorrow. My mom has booked the band and is being kind of cagey about what that costs. Getting ready to order invitations; total cost about $800 there. So I am thinking we will come in between $10k and $12k (not including a few essentials like my dress and his suit…)
Post # 13
i dont think the future hubbs and i very good at this "budget" thing
we realy didnt have a set maximum to start with… we looked at 4 choices for everything and just went from there
4 potential venues, visit, pick 1 / 4 potential photogs, interview, pick / 4 potential wedd planners, interview, pick, etc…
we didnt always really go with the least expensive, we just followed our gut and went with the ones we felt most comfy to us and the ones we felt "got" our style and ease of conversation. the only one we had a tough time with was the venue – that came down to who was available the same date as the church – it wouldve been hard b/c we liked all places…
$30K for 230 people is not bad – and you save youself the time and headache of caterer, table linens, etc!
Good Deal Sister! Happy Planning!!
Post # 14
Spice, can I ask which venue it is? It’s ok if you don’t want to share – I’m just curious because there are *tons* of cheap places in Dallas. I just don’t feel like they’re as nice/pretty as some of the higher end ones like the Gaylord, the W, or Marie Gabrielle. If it’s a spot like that, then for 230 people that cost seems right on.
Post # 15
Wow, 230 people! I’d say $29K is pretty reasonable for that many people, especially if there’s an open bar included in that. Does that include service charges and taxes as well?
For comparison, I got married in the San Francisco Bay Area, and paid $13K (including taxes, service charges) for 130 people, which did not include the ceremony site fee. I thought it was a fabulous deal. So I don’t think you’re too much off for your place, especially if it’s a nice location and won’t need much in the way of decoration.