So, if you are reading this blog post, chances are the initial “OMG I’m engaged” has started to wear off and the “OMG I have to plan a wedding” has started to kick in. Fear not my friend. You are not the ONLY person who has asked me this question. Up until now, I’ve always answered “Well, that really depends on a number of things…” I could always sense that the person asking the question was not so satisfied with that answer.
Here is my formula
Geographic location + Number of Guests + Style of Wedding = Wedding Budget
First off, I recommend you take a look at a website called The Wedding Report. This site is chock-full of information widely used by Wedding Professionals around the country to help us understand our industry.Now, you may not care about all that info if you are not a wedding professional and you may not want to pay for a membership to this site, so Here’s a little hint. If all you want to know is the average cost of a wedding in your geographic area, you can go to The Wedding Report’s Home Page, enter the zip code, select the city or metro area you are getting married in and the site will display the average cost of a wedding in that area.
What’s an average wedding?
- About 125 Guests
- Reception venue is likely a decent hotel or restaurant
- Start to finish no more than 6 hours
- You are using whatever chairs, tables, linens that come with the venue (no special rentals)
- Meal options are likely Chicken, Fish or Veggie
- Beverages: Beer, Wine, soda, juice and champagne for the toast
- Flowers are modest and whatever is in season
- Inexpensive photographer
According to the Wedding Report, the average cost of a wedding in the Boston-Cambridge-Newton Massachusetts area is $37,253. That is AVERAGE people. There is nothing too over the top about that wedding.
Your wedding budget relies heavily on the number of guests that will be in attendance. Why? Because the RECEPTION (Food, Alcohol, Venue, Rentals) will make up at least HALF of your BUDGET.
Bottom line. Be realistic.
After looking up the average cost of a wedding in your area, create the GUEST LIST. Here’s how I suggest you do that.
You and your future spouse should each create 2 guests lists. You should each have an A-List and a B-List. Your A-List is the most important people (immediate family, closest and dearest friends). Your B-List is a Wish List (people that you would love to invite, but can easily take off the list if your budget get’s too high)
After you have each created your A & B List. Sit down together (preferably on a weekend evening over a beer, wine, whiskey, tea or whatever beverage you like) and go over your lists together. Chances are there will be a lot of duplicates, so put them into a spreadsheet and omit the dupes. Chances are that one or both of you will have some sort of judgement over one or some of the names on each other’s list. Try not to judge, but rather respectfully request that those names be added to the B-List.
Your parents. If you find it totally necessary to ask your parents for their own guests lists, go ahead and do so but just know that this could open up a can of worms for you. My advice is that if your parents are not paying for the wedding, you do not need to get a list from them. They may have some requests and if there is room on your list, then add their suggestions. If not, their requests get added to the B-List.
Once you have your venue and get a good estimate from the venue on the total price based on your A-List, you will know whether or not you can invite the people on your B-List.
I hope that was helpful. Drop me a line below and let me know your thoughts or questions.