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Why does a wedding cost so much?

I get asked this question ALL THE TIME! Mostly from family members, parents, and friends of a newly wedded couple who spent a small (sometimes large) fortune on the wedding of their dreams. Most engaged couples have already done their research before they get around to booking a planner, so I don’t hear it much from them. Until they are asked to sign contracts and put down huge down payments, then it becomes real. And rightfully so!

In 2015, the average cost of a wedding in California was around $32,500 (based on The Wedding Report, Inc.). That’s as much as a down payment on a starter home!


Let’s look at real life equivalents for a sec. If you walked into a crowded restaurant of 100-200 individuals, and shouted at the top of your lungs, “hey everyone, drinks and food are on us! Have the kind of night you’ll remember forever!” first, I hope that I am sitting at one of those tables. But for real, you’re not going home with a just couple hundred out of your account. More like $10,000 or even more, depending on how much they drink, and how good the food is! But wait, you don’t want to get married in a crowded restaurant full of strangers, you want a party! So you want to add that party atmosphere by setting up your own decor, in your own style. Basically creating the dining room of your dreams. Whether that be in a hotel ballroom, or a private estate, you are still looking at a space rental ($2500-$6000). But you don’t just need the space, you need it to be set up for you… add in rental companies and staff members to set up/clean up/and manage your event. And that is just dinner…

Average cost of a ceremony (complete with space rental, musicians, professional officiant, flowers, chairs, arch/chuppah) is about $3500.

Average cost of a florist (centerpieces, bridal bouquet, wedding party & family flowers, boutonniere, light ceremony decor) about $2000.

Average cost of a wedding photographer in San Diego ranges anywhere from $3000-$5000.

Videographer average in San Diego is $2000-$4000

Average cost of a DJ/MC: $1400

Full Planner (so you don’t go insane): $3000-5000

Wedding Cake: $500-$1000

Wedding Dress: $1300

Invitations/Stationary: $500




And you are looking at a grand total of: your first born child or $30,000+. I wish it weren’t true, but it adds up real quick!

So what can I do to NOT spend than much?

For starters, Throw out the Pinterest expectations! I’m not saying that you can’t have a beautifully styled wedding! But be realistic about what things cost. There are some blog images that cost 1000’s of dollars to create just one table. So be realistic about what you can afford. DIYing crafts will help you, but it still doesn’t mean that your $10,000 budget is going to get you what you see on the front page of Style Me Pretty! Be okay with it looking different than the picture, and put your own spin on everything (it’s YOUR wedding after all, right?)!

Look for discounts. Here in San Diego, we LOVE our Military! So if you are in, or marrying into the armed forces, start throwing that weight around and take advantage of the saved cash! If you aren’t that fortunate, sign up for newsletters, LIKE your vendors pages on social media, and look on their Yelp pages for special offers.

Coupons are awesome, whether you’re getting married or stocking up on dish soap!

Cut the guest list! If your parents start complaining, just tell them that if they want to invite aunt X, Y, and baby Z, then they need to pay for those additional guests. To put it into perspective, about 60% of your budget is based on per person amounts. More people = More money, it’s as simple as that!

For more tips and tricks to save you money on your wedding, just keep reading! I do my best to help stretch your budget as far as it can go… I love saving money!

Happy Planning!