Cost of Wedding

You're Engaged!! ...Now What? Kicking off Your Wedding Planning

Your significant other popped the said yes...Now what??  It can seem overwhelming deciding the what to do first, but if you take things one at a time it'll help cohere the wedding planning process into something manageable.

Create a budget - preferably with a pro's help.

Photo by Sally Pineira.

Photo by Sally Pineira.

You don't need to hire a full service pro for wedding planning to get the most valuable aspect of their services - setting a realistic budget.  Many times, couples underestimate their budget, because people just don't realize how much these damn things cost.  Hire a planner on an hourly or a-la-carte basis to discuss your ideas on decor, venue, time, date, and main components of the event, and have them create a budget scenario so you know what to expect. You may decide to postpone the wedding planning until you save more money, or it could help show parents and relatives the true cost and formalize any contributions.

Don't get carried away by Pinterest.

You will see so many great ideas on Pinterest, and the next thing you know you're pinning everything in sight and have 500 photos, that all represent different ideas and themes. Instead, pick your aesthetic (modern? Vintage? Rustic?) and let that guide your venue choice, and wedding decor, and don't get distracted by anything that looks off-theme.

Consider a small bridal party.

Anecdotally, I'm finding more and more couples are doing this.  It cuts down on the workload of wedding planning considerably - managing tuxes, gowns, and navigating inner-circle drama takes up a lot of time.

For more tips, visual inspiration, and just social media fun in general, follow us on Instagram.

My Favorite Wedding Planning Blogs and Websites

When you're scanning the web for wedding planning advice, be careful - a lot of sites out there have recycled information, or just SO MUCH of it that it's confusing or overwhelming.  And it's super important to make sure experts are quoted in the articles.  When individual brides and grooms are giving advice in articles, remember, they've had experience with one (maybe two) weddings, and while they may have outstanding information to share, it's good to remember that wedding vendors have worked on hundreds to thousands of weddings.

  Here are our fave blogs for pragmatic, entertaining wedding planning advice:

Every Last Detail

This blog is run by an actual wedding planner, Lauren Grove, which I love, because a lot of wedding how-to content is written by editors and writers who, while they definitely do their research, may not have been elbow-deep in the trenches of wedding planning.  A wedding planner has seen so many situations play out, that they have a breadth of knowledge that makes planners like Lauren the top experts to follow.

The Budget-Savvy Bride

Jessica Bishop's website has tons of solid advice and real-world examples of how to save money but still have a great wedding.  Too often, budget advice is without context - but she brings in background information that makes sense. Also, fellow smart and practical brides bring honest feedback to what it's like to plan a budget-friendly wedding.

The Off-Beat Bride

This website is all about weaving a couple's personality into the wedding without breaking the bank.  It's the perfect antidote to the super-glossy, almost unreal glamour weddings you see online. (Not that I don't like seeing those, but it's nice to see something a little more unique.)

How Much Does the Average Wedding Cost...Really?

Originally published on No Worries Event

It's nearly everyone's first question when they start planning a wedding: How much is this bad boy going to cost me?  The idea of sinking many thousands of dollars in one evening is soul-sucking, and I totally understand this.   I tried to charge as little as possible when I first started and quickly realized there was a bottom line I had to meet, fee-wise or I essentially couldn't run a business. Like, as in, keep the lights on, pay my taxes, feed my family.

And that's what all other vendors and venues find too when they research initial pricing structures.  Their insurance, taxes, labor (that's a big one), cost of raw materials, etc - it all gets passed to you, the consumer.  Meantime, a good middle class income means low buying power these days, due to all sorts of shifts in our economy, so you can work hard, save your money, and still barely be able to afford a wedding.  But, don't get too depressed- let's work through some hard facts about budget, so you can be an informed consumer, and take control over the process.

Black crows on manzanita trees were DIY centerpieces that fit a Halloween wedding perfectly, were made in advance, and saved the clients money. Photo by Jenna Rose Photography,

Black crows on manzanita trees were DIY centerpieces that fit a Halloween wedding perfectly, were made in advance, and saved the clients money. Photo by Jenna Rose Photography,


Statistics: Read between the lines

The average wedding according to many statistics is about $26k - 30k.  But, in major metropolitan areas, you're looking at $35-45k to start, and towards $70-80k in cities such as New York City.  Guest count, type of food service, venue, and all sorts of other elements affect your total costs.  My advice is, ignore the statistics - the only way you'll know how much your wedding costs is to start researching.

Add it up: Tally total wedding cost first

Start researching venues, DJs, florists, etc., and collect pricing and quotes.  Don't do one at a time, i.e. research and price out venues, book the venue; and THEN price out caterers - you need a holistic, macro view of how all the costs add up before booking any single vendor or venue for the event.  Otherwise you'll book one element, and realize it takes up more of your budget than you thought, and severely crunches the rest of your budget.  Or perhaps trigger other costs that you didn't anticipate (like a venue that requires a generator at great additional expense, for example).

A beachside venue, just like a house on the ocean, will potentially cost more than an inland space.  Photo of Terranea Resort by Alma De Lumiere,

A beachside venue, just like a house on the ocean, will potentially cost more than an inland space.  Photo of Terranea Resort by Alma De Lumiere,

Consider unique alternatives

Food trucks, BBQ take out (nicely served and presented), cupcakes (instead of cakes) - these are all ways to save money on food by going an unconventional route.  Venue-wise, find a venue that's fresh on the market that may be willing to rent to you for an introductory fee. It's important to make sure the venue has proper rules and regulations and insurance, and to know of any specific additional expenses that come with out-of-the-box venues.

Hire the right pros

A caterer that specializes in small luncheons won't be ideal for your 200 person wedding.  A novice florist may not be able to construct that custom arch you saw on Instagram.  A planner who lists as her major experience waiting tables in college and planning her sister's wedding won't know off the top of her head how much a family style meal will cost.  Whether you invest a small hourly consulting package for a coordinator to assist in a venue search or order a drop off type service from a high end caterer, there are ways to hire top-of-their-class vendors without breaking your bank.