Monday, January 22, 2007

$5,000 wedding it realistic?

I've been asked this question twice in the past 24 hours. One couple had a guest list of 50, the other 150. Here's my answer:

$5,000 is a lot of money, so it doesn't surprise me that so many couples pick that magic figure as their wedding budget. However, In Washington, DC the average wedding (150 Wedding Guests, 5 Bride’s Attendants & 5 Groom’s Attendants) cost $40,000 (this figure isn't statistically correct; there are deviations, but it's a popular average). Now, say you're planning a pretty simple wedding. It's not over the top. You're not splurging on flowers. As a matter of fact, you've saved tons of money on photography and transportation, because you have a terrific wedding planner (yeah, that would be me :), you can still expect to spend anywhere between $135 - $265 per guest depending on your venue. Now this total isn't just the catering portion of your budget; this is total cost -- from dress to favors -- so here's your budget estimate:

150 guests x $135 = $20,250 or 150 guests x $265 = $39,750. Therefore, if you have 50 guests and a $5,000 budget, to stay within budget your total cost cannot exceed $100 per guest, and if you have 150 guests and a $5,000 budget, to stay within budget your total cost cannot exceed roughly $33 per guest, which means you would either have to cut corners or cut your guest list.

That said, can you plan a wedding in DC for 150 people for only $5,000? Absolutely! As long as you have realistic expectations of what you will get for your money. You may not be able to have the four course sit-down dinner at the historic ballroom you've been dreaming about ever since you were a little girl (because their site fee alone is $9,000), but you can still have a nice party.


playfulinnc said...

This post spoke right to me! This is my budget, but we put a cap at 75 ppl.

Great blog~ thanks for the advice~

aparna said...

If there are any brides out there looking for help sticking to their budget and planning a wedding that is stylish, elegant and reflects their personality perfectly - hire Leslie! She is the best. We had a higher budget for our wedding, but I guess you could say I am an "indie" bride. i don't go for all the trappings of weddings that the magazines and shows and marketers say you must have. we had an ipod mix at our wedding instead of a dj -- leslie blogged about that -- and it worked just fine for us!

Here's a post from another blog on seeing through the business of weddings. It's a long post, but stick with it. This guy plans a wedding in NYC for his friends for $6,000 in 6 weeks. This guy is a marketing genius, and he makes great points.