Dear Dr. Dave and Dr. Dee,
I am getting married next year, and my fiance and I haven't decided if we want to elope, have a small ceremony with just our immediate families, or have a big wedding with about 150 guests. What does a wedding cost these days, do you know?
Dear Wedding ideas,
A wedding with 150 guests can cost about $25,000 to $30,000. There are other ways to spend that amount of money such as on a down payment on a new home. But, everyone's taste is different, and you didn't say whether or not your parents were eager to foot the bill for such an event.
The main cost is the reception which is about half the total wedding cost. However, there are simple ways to reduce the costs, for example:
1. Season: have the wedding during the off-season. The popular wedding months are generally April through August.
2. Time of Day: have the wedding late morning or in the afternoon. Wedding reception halls cost more in the evening.
3. Location: is there a city nearby with a significantly lower cost rental hall or ballroom?
4. Wedding Cake: instead of a large wedding cake, have a smaller wedding cake and a sheet cake back in the kitchen from which to serve guests. Or, instead of a display wedding cake, have several smaller cakes.
5. Flowers: use flowers that are in season.
6. Wedding Dress: be practical. Remember that the wedding dress will only be worn once and only for a few hours, so be realistic before spending thousands on a dress. Look for discounts, or if you sew, perhaps make your own, or purchase a wedding dress online and alter if necessary.
7. Wedding Favors: can be made by you, your family, and friends.
8. Wedding Invitation: go with a simpler and less traditional
9. Guest List: keep the guest list small. Estimates are that it costs $80 per guest (invitations, food, drinks, cake, favors), so keeping the number of guests down helps cut costs.
10. Friends: many friends have talent and would love to help. For example, does someone have photography as a hobby?