When people ask how you can spend $30K on a wedding…

I think I mentioned that Chad’s parents really wanted us to have a band for the reception, and so they offered to pay for it. I am not above accepting bribes, and I am extremely grateful that they offered. Now that we’ve booked most of our vendors, I updated our budget and am now trying to focus on how much we need to come up with to make sure we can cover everything.

Item Projected Cost Actual Cost / Spent so far Sarah to Save Chad to Save
Save The Dates (100 ppl) $150.00 $150.00 $0.00 $0.00
Invitations (100 ppl) $300.00 $150.00 $150.00
Wedding Rings $1,000.00 $400.00 $600.00
Tux $100.00 $0.00 $100.00
Dress + Alterations $1,000.00 $793.94 $200.00 $0.00
– Shoes $248.43 $248.43 $0.00 $0.00
– Hair $100.00 $100.00 $0.00
– Jewelry $100.00 $100.00 $0.00
– Makeup? $50.00 $50.00 $0.00
Attendant Gifts – Groomsmen $500.00 $0.00 $500.00
Attendant Gifts – Bridesmaids $500.00 $500.00 $0.00
Attendant Gifts – Kids $300.00 $300.00 $0.00
PRE-WEDDING TOTAL $4,348.43 $1,192.37
Wedding Ceremony $0.00 $0.00
CEI Setup Fee $500.00 $250.00 $250.00
Officiant $300.00 $150.00 $150.00
Music before ceremony $0.00 $0.00 $0.00
Decorations $200.00 $100.00 $100.00
Flowers $850.00 $425.00 $425.00
Ketubah $250.00 $125.00 $125.00
CEREMONY TOTAL $2,100.00 $1,050.00 $1,050.00
Venue Fee (CEI) $0.00 $0.00 $0.00
Food (100 people, incl. grat & tax) $9,702.00 $4,851.00 $4,851.00
Booze (95 people, incl. grat & tax) $3,013.70 $1,506.85 $1,506.85
Photographs (8 hrs) $1,300.00 $650.00 $650.00
Music (band) $6,000.00 $0.00 $0.00
Cake $400.00 $200.00 $200.00
Favors (100 ppl) $300.00 $0.00 $150.00 $150.00
Hotel Room 2 nights $700.00 $350.00 $350.00
Airfare (round trip) $800.00 $400.00 $400.00
RECEPTION/MISC TOTAL $22,215.70 $0.00
TOTAL $28,664.13 $1,192.37 $7,007.85 $6,557.85

Where we’re spending money:

Food & Alcohol – I simply don’t see any way around this being one of the most expensive parts of the wedding.  I’m hoping we can cut this down through not upgrading (which is currently built into the cost), but certain things (like having more than 1 meal option) are sort of necessary.  Some of the upgrades seem nice until you look at the numbers.   For example, we can add chocolate-dipped strawberries to the dessert menu for only $2 a head!  Sounds cheap, right?  Except them you realize that you’re paying $200 ($250 if you include tax & gratuity) for some damn strawberries.  I’ll pass.

Attendant gifts – I always have a hard time cutting back on gift spending.  It just doesn’t seem right to spend a lot of money on myself and then quibble over an extra $20 for someone’s gift.   I might be able to get away with spending a little less on my cousins.  They’re all under 11, so I think they’ll be happy with just a necklace or bracelets.

Photography – We loved this photographer and stressed about getting him for our wedding day, but luckily we were able to book him.  He is enormously talented, and not that expensive either.  I know a lot of people say to spend a lot on a photographer, but his pictures were the ones we liked best even though he was much cheaper.

Flowers – I don’t think we’ll actually spend $850 on flowers, but I could see us getting close.  Luckily I have pretty simple taste in flowers.  The only thing that might bring us up there is the fact that we’re getting married under a chuppah and I have no idea where to get one, so we might let the florist figure that out.


7 Responses

  1. Wow, it costs $6k for a band! I had no idea, what type of band may I ask? I always thought I would splurge for live music but no way could I swing that. Is this going to be local? It is so expensive to have a wedding in LA, ive looked at the costs and it seems impossible. Though why should I worry, I’m not even engaged yet! I hope you enjoy your special day, I hate people who criticize what someone else chooses to spend on a wedding. It’s your wedding, not theirs.

  2. how organized of you!

  3. @ Miss M: It’s a 9 person band + 2 sound engineers. Sadly, this price also includes a friends & family discount (we booked them through a friend of a friend of Chad’s brother in law)! If his parents hadn’t offered to pay, there’s no way we could have afforded it.

    The wedding is Pennsylvania, believe it or not. If you wanted to do a wedding out west, I’d say look at Vegas. A lot of the nicer hotels have great deals – you don’t have to go to one of the drive-thru chapels, either!

  4. $130/head for food and booze is like Ritz-level catering. If you really wanted fancy catering, good for you. If not, you can bargain it down. Don’t feel bound by the silly packages. Odds are, they need your business more than you know.

  5. Food and alcohol are soooo expensive aren’t they?? We’re having a guestlist of about 40-60 (hopefully) and our wedding budget has sneaked up to about $30k too from our $20k budget, half being food and alcohol costs!!

  6. Ahh, wedding spreadsheets. The memories! I must have spent more hours looking at hours that I spent sleeping over the last year. We weren’t willing to compromise on certain things either, and as long as you are getting what you pay for, I don’t see the problem. Our food and booze package was US$140 per head, but we were happy with that because we are foodies and couldn’t bear to scrimp on that part. We also paid a fortune for our photographer because to us that was the most important part; and after seeing how great the photos are, I’m glad we did! However, we kept the cost manageable by keeping the guest list to family and close friends only. And we still didn’t get time to talk to everyone! We prefered a more intimate party rather than a big bash full of people we only half-knew anyway. To be honest I didn’t discuss how much we paid in total with anyone because I find the way some people look down their noses at people who pay a lot for a wedding very offensive, and why should I have justify that to anyone? It’s our money, we’ll spend it how we like!

  7. Just getting into your blog. And now I’m depressed. My girlfriend (soon to be fiancee) and I are looking at a summer 2011 wedding. Our thought was to have a median wedding, which is $15k. Thing is, we’d like to have a nice sit-down dinner. Crap. That’s 2/3 of our budget gone away, eh? This will be in Boston Metro area too, not so low cost of living…

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