Tuesday, March 13, 2007

The Wedding Budget Series, Part 1: How much does the average wedding cost?

I have tried and tried to come up with a fail safe for this question and the truth is: There's no such thing as an average cost. I can tell you where to find out the average amount spent across the USA, but in no way will that hold up when it comes to your planning. Here's why; no 2 weddings are the same. In fact, I've never had 2 that were even remotely close to each other. I've planned weddings that were hundreds of thousands of dollars and I've planned weddings that were a couple thousand, and everything in between. Let me give you an example of how 2 weddings at the same to-die-for location, with the same amount of people can be so different in cost. Let's say there are 75 guests.
Wedding A:
The bride and groom decide to have their wedding on the beach on a Sunday at 11am. That way they can enjoy the gorgeous view of the Gulf of Mexico for the entire length of the ceremony & reception. Instead of a rehearsal dinner, they invite everyone out to the beach at 7:30pm, a half hour before sunset, play their favorite beach tunes on a portable cd player, and serve ice cream bars out of a cooler as they watch the sun go down. For the reception they choose a brunch buffet, which includes Salmon, Chicken, and ziti. They decide to host a consumption bar because people don’t typically drink as much during the day. For music, they hire a really good DJ to cover the entire event, but also have a soloist for the ceremony. For décor, the bride decided to stick with all roses in just 2 colors. Since it’s a Sunday afternoon, they were able to get a good deal on photography and videography coverage. The bride and all her bridesmaids had a Pina Colada-n-Papers party and made all the save the dates, invitations, and placecards.
Wedding B:
The bride and groom decide to have their wedding on a Saturday at 6:30pm. For the rehearsal dinner, they treated all 75 guests to a sunset cruise and a clambake on a nearby island. Their ceremony is on the beach with chivari chairs covered in a sheer light flowing wrap. A beautiful sunset cocktail hour with a mojito and martini bar, cigar roller, and a sushi station. A dinner under the stars is their dream. They choose a plated 5-course surf and turf meal for their guests with a five-hour open bar and wine service during dinner. For music, they have a string quartet at the ceremony, steel pan and guitar at the cocktail hour, a 12-piece band for the reception, and a DJ for the after party. For décor, the bride brings the florist a photo of Donald Trumps wedding reception and says, “I’d like this, only in my colors”. For the wedding stationary, the bride goes to a custom stationary designer and calligrapher for the save the dates, invitations, menus, programs, and place cards.

In both cases, the couple is getting their dream wedding at their dream location. So can you see how giving an average is difficult? The cost of each of these weddings- how about I let you make your best guess? Post your estimates via the comment link and I’ll post the answer and winner tomorrow. The winner will receive the next issue of Grace Ormonde Wedding Style- since it was the winner of the last survey. This is open to everybody: brides, grooms, wedding professionals…hope to hear from lots of you!

101 Destination Wedding Planning Tips

From the editors of Destination Weddings & Honeymoons