One of the most frustrating and confusing parts of wedding planning is trying to figure out how much everything costs. There are times when every detail seems to be shrouded in mystery, and before you know it you’re knee-deep in trying to guess what your budget should be, and what you’ll ultimately end up paying for everything from your wedding venue or catering to your wedding invitations and flowers.
Which is why we love hearing how much a wedding costs from the best source you can go to…the wedding planner! They are dealing with wedding vendors ALL DAY, EVERY DAY, which means they are the ultimate person to ask when it comes to figuring out how much you’re going to have to pay for what.
We recently spoke with a lovely and experienced wedding planner (who shall remain anonymous) about the prices she’s seeing everywhere from Los Angeles to Seattle. Keep in mind that the prices mentioned below are general ranges, only, and are targeted at budgets of around $50,000 and up (the budget you would typically have if you were hiring a wedding planner. Though I can vouch for these prices even for couples with a much lower budget). Couples in big cities (like Manhattan and San Francisco) can easily see catering costs well into the 200’s/pp in many cases ($100 more per person than is listed below), while wedding photographers can easily creep towards $8,000 for the creme-de-la-creme in cities like Los Angeles. This is simply meant to give you an average you can expect to pay. And even if your budget is $15,000 and not $50,000, remember that this information can definitely give you a leg up when it comes to figuring out WHERE you can save (IE: that you most likely can’t hire a wedding planner, or that you’ll need to skip the videographer, both of which I did).
Now to the good stuff! Below is a look at how much our wedding planner says you can expect to pay for the following:
“I like to say about 10% of budget ($50,000 budget = $5,000 for photo). It’s a red flag if you are booking a photographer for 8 hours of coverage for under $2,500. I see the average cost of a “good” photographer for 8 hours between $3,500 – $5,500. Looking for ways to save? Always ask about including engagement shoots, a second shooter, and any prints, since those are typically add-ons.”
“You can expect to pay the same percentage for video… about 8 – 10% of your budget. People are shocked to find that this is typically the same as the photographer. Plan to spend about $3,000 – $5,000 for a good videographer.”
“I am finding that a lot of the smaller, boutique florists (most of them only take one wedding a weekend or a day) have a minimum of between $3,500 – $5,000. I rarely have a client spend less than $5,000 on flowers and people are shocked to find how much this costs. The best way to break it down for people is for them to think about how much they spend when they order an arrangement – say for Mother’s Day. Think about if they spent $100 on ONE arrangement for their mom, then multiple that by how many tables they have (i.e. 100 person wedding, 10 guests per table = 10 tables). So, they have 10 tables x $100 per JUST for the reception. Add on bouquets, boutonnieres, altar flowers, chuppah rental, cocktail tables, cake flowers, escort card table, etc. It adds up quickly.”
“I like to say that the wedding venue and food/beverage costs should be about 40 – 50% of the entire budget. Some places are $100+ per person (and go up from there depending on the city you live in), and even though an outside caterer can come in for less, you might end up paying more for labor, gratuity, etc.”
“If a wedding planner is important to you, I would plan on paying 10% of your budget.”
So overall, here’s how a $50,000 wedding budget would breakdown:
- Photographer: $5,000
- Videographer: $3,000
- Flowers: $5,000
- Catering/Venue: $25,000
- Wedding Planner: $5,000
- Entertainment (ceremony musicians, DJs, or band): $3,000
- Misc (dress, invites, etc.): $4,000
- TOTAL: $50,000
So what do you think of this budget breakdown, brides? Where are you spending the most money? Let us know in the comments section, below!