$10k? $20k? $100k? I’ve now gotten to the point past wedding enthusiast and I can say I’ve become a wedding connoisseur – at least when it comes to venue and catering costs. Venues in major metropolitan areas on a Saturday night, on peak, seem to range from about $25k on the low end to $55k and up on the high end. Most clock in at speeds of quickly draining your or your loved ones networth by $35k before you even go shopping for a DJ, dress or photographer (for a 150 person wedding.) By golly gee, that’s absofantasticaliously ridiculous. And yet, here I am, still planning my “not cheap” wedding.
Today, I have my heart set on a venue that costs $15,000 to rent BEFORE catering. Well, I’m totally willing to compromise for a Sunday so it may be closer to $10k. And I hear ever dollar after $3.5k is tax deductible since it’s a donation to the arts center, so that’s totes reasonable right? Right?? Someone agree with me here, I’m about to have a heart attack over accepting that I may just go through with spending about what I can save in one year on 6 hours.
The only reason I feel remotely ok with this concept is that my father – who was told he had 2 years to live 7 years ago – really wants to experience a lovely wedding party for his daughter(s). It’s as much his event as it is mine, and if he’s paying for it than I’m ok with that (assuming he lets me invite my full friends guest list.) Still, I can’t help but bang my head against the wall knowing how much these things cost. Of course they don’t HAVE to cost that much, but let’s face it – I have expensive tastes and I’m not a cheap wedding type of bride.
That said, I’m trying to be creative about how to save on non-venue costs. I don’t need tons of flowers for centerpieces (esp not at such a beautiful venue) and I’ll deal with the basic chairs the venue offers versus renting more expensive ones that look better in photographs (sigh, I’ll deal.) The budget for the wedding is $45,000. Which – is a lot of money – seems like a lot of money and is a lot of money. But it’s also the budget my dad has given me for what he wants to spend. When I mention things to him like “I can find a cheaper venue” or “I have ideas on how to cut the cost” he starts to throw a fit – he doesn’t want to have a cheap wedding. Of course, he doesn’t really understand how easy it is to spend $100k when you’re not paying attention to a budget.
Wedding Estimate for 150 Guests (Sun night at fancier venue or Sat at lower cost one)
Venue/Food — $30k
Band — $7k
Photo — $4k
Video — $4k
Dress/Makeup/Hair — $4k
Flowers — $5k
$54k… plus tax 7% – $57k
So – as you see, $45k is actually not a HUGE budget if you’re throwing a “not cheap” style wedding. Yes, you can cut the videographer entirely, opt for a DJ instead of a band, buy a dress that’s $1k vs $2.5k (which is, btw, the low end of designer wedding dresses – if you really want to go fancy they’re about $6k or more.)
Venue/Food — $30k
DJ — $3k
Photo — $4k
Video — $2k (crap package)
Dress/Makeup/Hair — $2k
Flowers — $3k
Why not just get a cheaper venue, you ask? Surely many of my readers will, mouths agape, explain to me that they got married in a local park and had their family members cater the entire affair. $5000 wedding are not unheard of. Take the other $40k and spend it on – oh, I don’t know – a downpayment on a house… feeding impoverished children in Africa… a really nice car (that is not a good investment but that you’ll enjoy for longer than 6 hours)… a trip around the world… IVF that you’ll prob need for your future child… rent for when you do have that future child…
Well, it’s a possibility, but I’m at the point where I just want to say fuck it I want a nice – well, super nice – wedding. Not a $100k wedding (which would be my dream wedding) but one half that price. It still requires a lot of compromises to spend “just” $45k on a wedding, surprisingly enough. And that’s the story of my life these days… trying to figure out how to spend less on the wedding. I’d love to come in under $35k – but based on the above budget, that’s just not possible.