Cost of a wedding

How much does a wedding cost for the Bay Area? Do people generally stay on budget or do they usually go over?
Posted on April 17, 2007 at 11:27 am
babybaby28
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03/07/2007
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(22) Comments

hannikan
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07/22/2006
hannikan

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hannikan

As everywhere ppl go over unless they have a strict budget laid out at the start. We were actually a little under budget. It depends on what you want. You can spend a little or a ton ;) We DIY a lot and managed to spend only about $11,000 total.
Posted on April 17, 2007 at 12:17 pm
rosyw
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06/03/2006
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The size of your wedding matters too and whether you are choosing high end items- designer dress, letterpress invitations, large & tall floral centerpeices, etc. . .
Posted on April 17, 2007 at 2:10 pm
*Wil*
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03/25/2008
*Wil*

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There really are a lot of factors that go into your wedding budget and many decision that keep you in it or over it.

I started out with an estimated 50k budget. I'm about 10-20 over that. Our location, caterer, and photographer is taking most of that. we're getting married at either a vineyard or private estate in Napa, which means nothing is included and everything has to be rented, including staffing. for the reception our biggest cost is the rentals and staffing.
Posted on April 17, 2007 at 4:06 pm
margaret
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09/22/2007
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I'm way over my budget, mainly because I think I had an unrealistic budget to begin with given the size of my party and the geographical area that I live in and my (sometimes unreasonably) expensive taste. I originally thought we could do a wedding for $20K for 200 people, but it's turning out to be 2x that much.
Posted on April 17, 2007 at 7:58 pm
rosyw
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I agree with Margaret about the unrealistic budget. I think that's a reason a lot of people go over their original budget. With weddings you realize things cost a lot more than you anticipate and since I had a long engagement, there was also inflation. I started with a 30k budget & ended up increasing it to 40k budget. At the end I spent 50k for 230 guests. But again, it's really what you choose. I attended a wedding that cost more than twice my wedding with fewer guests.
Posted on April 18, 2007 at 3:06 am
mskittie
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03/14/2007
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We gave ourselves pretty generous budget (35K) originally considering we should only have about 55-60 guests. We stayed within budget on food and site fees, but went over budget on many other items such as photography. The thing is even though photography is not as high a priority to me, it is to my fianc?. The photographer we both loved and thus booked turned out to be one of the higher end ones. So there goes an extra few Ks. To us, it's hard to stay within budget because we both kind of want "the best" for everything (That is still within our means, and of course "the best" can be subjective.) Originally we gave ourselves 3 priorities like what you hear people suggest you to do. But very soon we realized it's become a compulsion and the high standard goes beyond those 3 priorities, extending from one vendor to the next. It doesn't help FI is very generous with me. Another reason is because I'm far from being a DIY person. DIY can really help you cut costs. But I'm not crafty, and FI would rather we just pay someone else to do it so we don't have to deal with it. As a result of these few factors, now with our small wedding we're at about $43k, and we're not even done yet. I guess you can say we don't have enough self control, and that my FI spoils me too much.
Posted on April 18, 2007 at 12:08 pm
citybride
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03/07/2007
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It looks like the cost really vary based on the number of people and what you choose to splurge on. On one hand, guests probably care most about the food and entertainment. From my point of view though (someone getting married) I think photographer and venue are nice things to splurge on.
Posted on April 20, 2007 at 12:00 pm
mavie
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06/23/2006
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I don't think there is a general figure for Bay Area. Look at the replies so far. It all depends on how you want your wedding to be.

When I started planning, I had NO IDEA how much things cost in a wedding so I just threw out a figure of $15K for 100-120 people. After I figured what kind of wedding I wanted, $15K wasn't enough and ended up to be almost twice as much including rings and honeymoon.
Posted on April 20, 2007 at 4:25 pm
blackcurrant
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06/16/2007
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blackcurrant

I have seen Bay Area weddings done (mostly DIY daytime, super-casual affairs) for just a few thousand dollars and then it can hit over $100K. In general, California weddings are a bit more expensive than the average around the rest of the country, and it really depends on your tastes, wishes, and your willingness and time to do things yourself. I have to say that our budget for a small wedding of 50-75 people has doubled from what we originally anticipated. I had no idea how much good wedding vendors cost AND how important seemingly unimportant things become. HTH.
Posted on April 22, 2007 at 7:04 pm
MrsBabySalute
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06/02/2005
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It seems like our 100-person destination wedding in Hawaii was cheaper than if we had it in the bay area.
Posted on April 30, 2007 at 6:29 pm
BWMBentley
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03/22/2008
BWMBentley

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My friend is getting married in the bay area in May 2008... for food alone it's over $110 per person... and that's sunday for dinner. saturday for dinner was over $150 for food per person at her location. it gets pricey depending on the time and day.
Posted on September 17, 2007 at 7:52 pm
ljlkc
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06/07/2008
ljlkc

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I'm spending about $25k for 60 guests. Which is a lot more than I thought I would spend--I'd originally thought $10k-$15k should be plenty. But like everyone said, when you dig in and start seeing how much everything costs, you realize *just* how expensive things can be!
Posted on September 18, 2007 at 4:29 am
its.nicsknack
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08/31/2008
its.nicsknack

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its.nicsknack

Wedding budgets come in various shapes and sizes. The biggest factors are size and location. Decide on the style/feeling you and FI are looking to acheive and find a comfortable amount you both agree on for a budget. With work, you can stay within your budget.

I fortunately found a great resource with a wealth of information at fireyourweddingplanner dot com. You can sign-up to receive her free online newsletters and/or buy her book. Honestly, just from the newsletters I've acquired countless tips that have come in very useful and handy.

Whatever your budget may be, be smart about your money. The wedding industry can be one that prays on vulnerable brides. I've been quoted two VERY different prices for a venue. One over inflated price when I stated it was a "wedding," another reasonable price (almost half) when stating it was a "reception event." Make your budget stretch to the max.
Posted on September 18, 2007 at 4:39 am
marieann29
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06/22/2008
marieann29

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ha ha, the million dollar question! We went over budget months ago!
Posted on September 18, 2007 at 5:35 am
tahoegirl
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09/02/2007
tahoegirl

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I found that budgeting the wedding cost was hard to do because it was impossible to know how much things really cost not having done it before! In the end I believe we exceeded our budget by about 30%... and it sounds like that's really common with so many people saying they were 100% over (2x).

Now that I've been there... Whatever your starting budget, 15k or 50k, what I would recommend to anyone trying to keep to that budget is to actually plan your starting budget about 25-30% less than your desired total. The Knot budget calculator online was decent for this. That'll give you a good guideline to start with. It's an absolute guarantee that you will go over in some areas -- You'll find something you LOVE and want to spluge on it or something unexpected will crop up (like needing a second sound system for the ceremony at the last minute... which happened to us). Either way, that'll help you stick to your original target (or not exceed it by tooo much.) ;)
Posted on September 18, 2007 at 8:44 am
tahoegirl
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09/02/2007
tahoegirl

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tahoegirl

I found that budgeting the wedding cost was hard to do because it was impossible to know how much things really cost not having done it before! In the end I believe we exceeded our budget by about 30%... and it sounds like that's really common with so many people saying they were 100% over (2x).

Now that I've been there... Whatever your starting budget, 15k or 50k, what I would recommend to anyone trying to keep to that budget is to actually plan your starting budget about 25-30% less than your desired total. The Knot budget calculator online was decent for this. That'll give you a good guideline to start with. It's an absolute guarantee that you will go over in some areas -- You'll find something you LOVE and want to spluge on it or something unexpected will crop up (like needing a second sound system for the ceremony at the last minute... which happened to us). Either way, that'll help you stick to your original target (or not exceed it by tooo much.) ;)
Posted on September 18, 2007 at 8:44 am
SFAug07
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08/24/2007
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We came in around budget - we had planned for around $20K for 60 guests, but ended up having 80 guests and it was $22K. We tried to focus on the things we valued (like location, DJ, food, drink) and spend less on the things that didn't matter too much to us (invitations, flowers, paper stuff etc).
Posted on September 18, 2007 at 11:41 am
thundercloud
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03/29/2008
thundercloud

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thundercloud

like others, i didn't realize how expensive things were. b/c of that, we didn't set a firm budget. we only had rough estimates. now that costs are being finalized, we're definitely spending more than we expected, but not dramatically so.

for example, for the 210-215 guests we're having for a saturday evening ceremony/reception, we're going to spend around $34k for everything. i've made a spreadsheet, which includes literally everything. =)

we were hoping to spend around $30k, but after doing research on things, sometimes the money was better spent on the vendor we really wanted rather than a cheaper vendor that we were so-so about. that was the toughie to balance that out. for example, i ended up spending $760 on the hair/makeup vendor for me and my 2 bridesmaids. i never planned on spending that much, but after doing my research, i thought it would be worth it to ensure i was completely happy with my look. =)
Posted on September 18, 2007 at 1:58 pm
deeinthenola
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04/06/2007
deeinthenola

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I say that it really depends on how extravagant you want to be. Initially, I was budgeting $30K, with a Chinese banquet in mind which is totally doable for 150 guests. My parents really wanted the Chinese banquet. But, I really wanted a reception that was NOT in a Chinese restaurant. In realizing this, I expanded my budget a little. But then the details started coming into play and I decided that I was not going to compromise certain things and instead go a bit more extravagant (with certain things). To that end, I more than doubled my initial budget on 135 guests. I was so happy with how the wedding turned out! In the end, I thought that it was totally worth it and would do it all over again. =)

It depends on how you want to budget and spend you money. In fact, I have a friend who spend under $20K for 150 guests. She made compromises, such as a lunch instead of a dinner, buffet instead of a sit-down, non designer items.

So, weddings in the Bay Area can be affordable.
Posted on September 21, 2007 at 12:31 pm
sarahmkruse
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12/15/2007
sarahmkruse

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sarahmkruse

10k for 30 guests including 2 week vacation in puerto rico. Not too shabby. My dress is high end, beautiful flowers, excellent food! It can be done!!! :O
Posted on September 23, 2007 at 3:09 pm
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