What can you get for your money when planning your wedding?
by Chris & the Crew,posted Jun 11 2012 9:33AM
There's a budget for every couple. Here's a sampling of what kind of wedding those budgets will buy...
A BACKYARD FETE FOR $5,000
Plenty of people spend $5,000 or less, but these celebrations typically are simpler and smaller.
The venue is often a private location like a relative's backyard or garden, which makes renting a private venue, with a price tag of often $5,000 to $20,000, unnecessary. Food is simple - think barbecue - or light, like appetizers, wine and perhaps a champagne toast.
AT $20,000, SERVE SIGNATURE COCKTAILS
While $20,000 sounds like a lot, it's not if the crowd is large.
Buy local food and local desserts
THE $50,000 BIG CITY WEDDING
If you're getting married in a big city like New York or San Francisco, be prepared to pay a big-city premium. On average, couples in Manhattan, the most expensive location in the country, spent $65,824 on their weddings last year, according to TheKnot.com.
Couples pay more for special foods, flowers and display
Some couples prefer a certain "wow" factor to impress their guests.
One thing that couples are doing less often: serving champagne. Instead, guests toast with whatever they are drinking, typically beer, wine and generic brands of liquor. The difference between top-shelf liquors and the generic brands can be $30 per person.
Want every guest to enjoy crab claws and oysters during the cocktail reception? You may be paying $100-$150 per person, depending on the location. Fanciful details like a horse-drawn carriage ($650), or sparklers that surprise guests from the centerpieces during the first dance ($3,500), are costly but meaningful splurges for some couples.
Dance lessons for a couple who wants to impress their guests with their first spin around the dance floor can range from $200 to $600 for a few sessions.
SAVING FOR EVERY BUDGET
- Cut the guest list. Weddings are getting smaller, and it's one of the easiest ways to cut expenses. The average number of guests fell to 141 in 2011 from 149 in 2010, and from 153 in 2007, according to TheKnot.com.
- Make your own centerpieces. Use a flower designer for the bouquets the wedding party carries, but consider arranging the reception tables yourself, with modest smaller displays that won't get in guests' sightlines.
- Forget the favors. Unless they are crafted to represent the couple in a unique way (the Mexican wedding cookies, or handmade chocolate wrappers with the guests' names on them, for example), they are often a cost that can easily be eliminated.
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