WHAT DO WEDDINGS COST IN 2020? How to calculate your wedding planning budget and keep costs in check


– Hey party people. Today, we’re going to talk about how much your wedding is actually
going to cost you. (upbeat music) If you want to know how much
your wedding is likely to cost, stick around and we’re going to talk about all the ins and outs of
things you need to consider so you can properly
budget for your big day. Let’s jump right in. So, the first big thing
that you have to think about when trying to project what
your overall weddings costs are going to be are your
guest count numbers. I know this is the hardest
thing to think about. A lot of my clients are really struggling in the beginning of the process. Coming up with a number of how many people they’re going to invite and how many people will actually attend. The literature on the internet these days says you should expect about
80% of your guests to say yes that you invite and 20% to say no. I strongly disagree with this number. You should be expecting
more like 90 to 95% of your guests to attend. So you want to be sure that
those guest count numbers, people that you actually invite are those that you want to attend your event. It is so common these days for people to be responding yes, so you have to be sure
that you’re inviting people that you definitely want to be there to support you on your big day. Skip the courtesy invites, people. It’s just not worth it. So, first things first, your guest count. You need to get together
first, once you’re engaged and you’re reveling in
all of the good juju that everybody’s sending your way, congratulations by the way, it is so imperative of you
to sit down with your fiance with both sides of the family and discuss who is on
the must invite list. Your A list group of people. The people that you all know and agree have to attend the event. Now, there’s going to be, very likely, some overlap between your
list, with your fiance, your list with your parents and your fiance’s list
with their parents, okay. So everybody, all three
of these sort of parties should start making their wish list of all the people that they know that they need to invite. From there, you need to
whittle that list down to find out where the overlap is. And then come up with a condensed version of who you’re inviting overall and get your big grand number. Now, the number of guests that
you invite to your wedding, like I said, 90 to 95% of those guests are very likely to attend. This is the number one driving factor of your budget is the number
of guests that you have. You heard it here, folks. You can’t get away without
feeding and watering all of your people. The biggest check you’re going to write is for food and beverage. With that, the number of
guests that you invite and also the number of
guests that actually attend are going to be the single
driving factor of your budget. The next part of this
formula and equation, to gauge how much your wedding
is actually going to cost you is your overall budget target range. So, I say range, because a lot of clients that I talk to early on in the process come to me and say, we
don’t have a number. I’m sorry, everybody has a number, people. Don’t give me this line. You have a number in mind that you roughly know is
your freak out number, the number you don’t
want to spend more than, because it’s just going to freak you out. Your number might be different
than your parents’ number or your fiance’s number, so now’s the time to have this discussion with those that are contributing. What is the freak out number? That’s going to be the
high end of your range. The lower end of your range
is going to be determined by the number of contributing
parties that you have. I often see, these days,
that couples together are contributing to their overall budget, and then one partner’s
parents or family members might also be contributing. The other partners might be contributing. Forget the rules of the past. There’s so many different
contributing factors here. And keep in mind that people that are financially
contributing to your event will also really have some leverage to have decision making power. So, be sure that you’re
okay with that, too. All of the contributing parties
that are giving you numbers of dollar figures that they
are willing to contribute to the event, you add all of that up and that’s going to be the lower end of your target budget range. And keep in mind with the freak out number is whatever the number is that
you don’t want to go above no matter what, that’s
at the top of your range. You take your overall target budget range and you take the number of
guests that you are inviting. Now, we’re going to do
a little bit of math. I think in colors, not numbers, so bear with me here. You want to take the number of
guests that you’re inviting, so, let’s say that’s 100 guests just to keep nice round numbers
for the math challenged. 100 guests and your overall
target budget is $100,000. That’s the high end of your range, that’s your freak out number. So here, you want to divide your overall target
budget number, $100,000, you want to divide that
number by the number of guests that you’re inviting. Divide that by 100. You’re going to come up
with your price per person. I want you to shift all of
your thinking away from, that was a $75,000 wedding,
that was $100,000 wedding, that was a million dollar wedding. I want you to erase everything
that you think you know about what budgets are
for certain weddings that you see on Pinterest or online. None of the overall target
budget numbers matter for any wedding that you ever come across if you do not also know the guest count. This is imperative because a
$100,000 wedding, for example, for 100 people looks very different from a $100,000 wedding for 500 people. So, the difference here
is the price per person is the critical number
that you want to get to. This is going to be
really informative for you throughout the entire planning process and making decisions and asking
questions of your vendors before you book them to find out whether they are going to be within reach for you given your budget numbers. This is so important. Forget everything that you think you know about overall target budgets and boil it down to the price per person. What’s the overall budget
and how many guests attended. Divide the number of the
target overall budget, your freak out number, divide that number by the number of guests
that you’re inviting, to be conservative. Thinking that 90 to 95% of
your guests will attend, notice I’m not asking you to divide it by the 90 to 95 number. We’re going to be conservative and just bank it on all
of the people coming, which is not going to happen, but you’ll get a figure
of a price per person. So, here we are. $100,000 target budget and 100 guests. Okay, that is $1,000 per person. Listen, let me break it down for you. You have to understand that
the numbers that I’m using are just an example, and I’m not saying you
should be spending this, I am just using a nice, round number so we can operate from a place of ease of calculation, if you will. Your budget is going to be different. Your guest count is going
to be much, much different. Anyway, so we have $1,000 per person. And here’s what that means. You’re at least going to
spend around $200 per person on a professional caterer
with several courses for a seated dinner, at least
$200 per person on food. The driving factor of the budget is your food and beverage bill. You’re going to have to
feed and water these people. So that’s $200 per person for food. Let’s say another $20
to $30-ish for your bar for call brands. Let’s say $50 per person
for a premium bar package. These are ranges, I’m not
saying that this is standard across the entire nation coast to coast. These are numbers I’m familiar with and the kinds of weddings that we’re doing in my local market, so
yours may vary slightly one way or the other. This is just for an example, for us to walk through
this as an exercise. So, let’s say we’re at
$200 per person for food, $50 per person for the most
premium bar package ever. So, that’s $250 per person,
just on food and beverage. Okay, the biggest check
that you’re going to write. You’re going to have a venue
spend to rent out the venue. If you have a ceremony and a
reception in multiple places that’s two venue expenses. Let’s say anywhere
between $6,000 and $8,000 for both of those, okay. That is six to eight
percent of $100,000 budget. If you have $250 per person
and you have 100 guests, we’re looking at 25% of
your budget right there. 25% is gone on food and beverage. We have six to eight
percent on the venue alone. Now, if you have a seated dinner or if you have a cocktail style reception, these numbers on your rentals are going to vary a little bit. With a seated dinner, you’re
seating 100% of your guests, tables for everybody,
chairs for everybody, linens on every table,
arrangements on every table, place settings at every place setting, plate sets, flatware, that’s glassware, that’s bread and butter. We’re talking about all in. You might think that
these details are minutia that just really aren’t
all that important. I guarantee you this adds up so quickly. When you have 100 guests,
you have to have this for all 100 of your guests
for a seated dinner. Now, cocktail style reception, it’s not as expensive on the rental side, because you don’t necessarily have seats for 100% of your guests, so you save a little
bit on the rental costs, because you don’t have to
have chairs for everybody, tables for everybody,
linens on every table, times 100 guests. You don’t have to have that. You might gauge 80% of those guests, or even 60% in some cases. That all depends on
how much square footage your venue holds. Those two things are
going to vary a little bit in the cost of rentals, but you can see how
it’s already adding up. Then you’re going to have a band, which is several thousand dollars, or a DJ which is a couple hundred to maybe a couple thousand dollars, too, depending on what kind of DJ you go for and how many hours your reception is. So, you’re also going
to have a photographer. You might have a videographer. Both of those things
you can expect to spend a couple thousand dollars on at least. But if you really value
photography and also videography, you might spend a little bit more. Those are very splurge worthy items, because these are the deliverables
you physically will have for the rest of your
life from your event day. Worth the splurge on both of these things. We haven’t even talked flowers. So, depending on how big
your bridal party is, imagine that you’re going
to have to give a bouquet to every single person
on your bridal party. All the more reason to not
have a massive bridal party. And because you have to
boutonniere for your guys, bouquets for the girls. That adds up really fast. The bigger the bridal party,
the bigger the floral bill. But if you do a ceremony chuppah or some sort of ceremony
alter arrangement, that is an expense. And let me tell you, this is something that
is a statement piece, so that might be a
couple thousand dollars. Decor and design, your
flowers, especially candles, any other lighting arrangements
that you have coming in to really enhance the
space, that is a huge range. This is where a lot of
the flex with your budget is going to come in. So, your biggest check
you’re going to write is for food and beverage. You can certainly write a
really big check for decor if you wanted to, but I’m
talking in general terms here. That part of your budget is going to range based on your personal taste. So, you’re in control of whatever that is. I recommend you carve out
all the must have items first before you determine what
your design budget should be because that is where you have flex to make that bigger if
you have more budget that frees itself up, or make it smaller, as
small as you necessarily need to have it given
whatever your constraints are with your bridal party, and then with the actual
tables on your floor plan if you’re doing a seated dinner versus a cocktail style reception. Equipment for your band or your DJ. You’ll need a stage,
possibly a dance floor. You need to check your band’s writer to see if you have a back
line that you need to supply or if the band’s supplying there own. Whether that’s additional or
that’s included in their cost. All things you need to consider, so band, photo, video, catering,
your venue, the big five. Those five things are really, really big. You got to book those early on and those are going to eat up
the biggest part of your budget. Floral decor, lighting decor, rentals, if you do specialty rentals, like upgrading your
chairs from your venue. Maybe you’re going to bring
in lounge seating arrangements for around the dance floor. Or maybe outside you
want to do specialty bars with fancy bar backs. All of these things are
decor items that all add up. So, that’s all part of the flex. And we’re talking about
$100,000 overall budget and 100 guests, and
that $1,000 per person, what does that look like? That is for somebody, in my experience, that does enhance the space
with quite a bit decor, so flowers, rentals, lighting elements to really juj up the space, if you will. Those sorts of things are
really important to clients that spend $1,000 per person. But again, that’s not everybody. Let’s do something else
with this exercise. Let’s talk about what $100,000 looks like because you might have a
really, really big guest count. Let’s go up to 250, probably not
going to have a seated dinner. Just going to put that out there, that’s a lot of people. Those large guest counts with the same budget
numbers, with $100,000. Let’s divide $100,000
by the number of guests, divided by 250 people
that are being invited for the same overall target budget range, that freak out number of $100,000. Okay, so $100,000, let’s divide that, and then we come up with
a new price per person of $400 per person, okay. So, whether it’s a seated dinner or a cocktail style reception, again, that depends on a number of factors. $400 per person versus what
we had already talked about at $1,000 per person, the difference here is the food and beverage
number kind of stays the same. So, we’re still looking at
about $200 per person on food. Let’s pause here for a second
and think about going out for a birthday party or some other thing when you are celebrating a milestone and you want to go to a nice restaurant, and you have your partner, and then maybe a couple of friends, so you have like five or six people that you all go out to dinner with. You have some drinks,
you have a good meal, you have a really good time. You might pay a premium to be at a super exclusive restaurant or something different. You’re probably coming away
from that restaurant experience under everyday circumstances spending about $200-ish
per person on food. Maybe also including beverage. However you want to slice it, what we’re talking about here is in terms that are relative to dining in general. I’m not just pulling this out and saying weddings are
specifically going to cost more than what you might actually
spend if you went out to a nice restaurant on a nice occasion with a group of people, and
this is what you’re looking at. Back to our math. So, 250 people divided into
$100,000 is $400 per person. We’re still looking at about
$200 per person on food, maybe a premium bar package is not really where you’re going to go here for this because the budget really
is a little more constrained than in our last equation. So, we’re looking at
maybe a lesser package, so like $35 per person,
for not necessarily your premium bar service package. So all in for food and beverage here. We’re doing $235 per
person times 250 people. So, what does this look like. That gets us at just under
$60,000 per person, okay. We’re at $58,750 and we haven’t
even talked about the fact that you still have to add
in taxes and gratuities. 20% is typical gratuity
added on to catering bill. And then tax is roughly 10% let’s say. Adding another 30% to the
food and beverage bill. That’s a big part of $100,000 budget. You’ll definitely be getting
a DJ for less than $1,000. You’re definitely getting photographer for just a couple thousand dollars. You’re investing in just
what’s included in your venue, with linens and rentals
and things like that so you can keep your rental cost down. When you factor in tax and
gratuity on your catering bill and your catering bill starts at $58,750, food and beverage for 250 people, we’re already at $76,000. So you have a little less than $24,000 to go to everything else for your event. Not saying it can’t happen. It happens all the time. But I’m showing you the difference here between when you have
$100,000 for 100 people and when you have $100,000 for 250 people. It is very, very different
here what you’re working with. And the first biggest chunk
of change you need to take out of that budget number before you determine what
your Pinterest inspiration is going to be, ’cause
Pinterest is not really very informative for you in terms of what those arrangements
are actually going to cost, what the labor is for all those things. All of those decor items should come after you’ve factored
in food and beverage, tax and gratuity, your venue, your photographer, your entertainment, because you have to have those things. And then everything else is a nice to have but not need to have. You don’t need to have
favors for everybody. You don’t need to have programs. So, these things you
have to really consider after you’ve taken out the big chunks of your overall budget calculation. So, that way you can go
through the planning process with a very educated expectation on what you should spend
in a given category. Forget all of the things
that you’re seeing online from different publications
posting how much you should expect to spend on a wedding. I’m telling you they are all false. None of them are scientifically gathered. None of them are accurate. They are based on
self-reporting from people all over the country and there is no single
controlling factor or variable here that you can rely
on for this information to even be applicable
to you in your notes. The one thing I’m telling
you that you can is price per person, taking
that overall target budget into consideration and dividing
that by the number of guests that you’re inviting. That is the critical number that you need to be concerned with. Final tip here before we sign off. The one thing you need
to be thinking about really carefully when you
have that price per person for your event is asking
all of your vendors what their typical price per person is for events that you have
seen on their website or in their portfolio
that you really like. Challenge your vendors and ask them how much is their typical
price per person range. Some might have bigger decor budgets. And some might have bigger
guest counts than others. But we’re all talking
about the overall spend being the same here and the guest counts varying. What does that mean to
each of your ideal vendors and their clients that they
have worked with in the past for events like yours? And eventually, you’ll
be able to ascertain if they’re going to be well within range for what your given category should be given your calculations. What your target budget range should be for their particular line item, basically for every single thing that you’re going to book for your event. You’ll have this information empowered you with decision making ability to understand whether this person is
appropriately priced for what you’re expecting
to spend on your event. This is going to help you by far stay away from financial stress
throughout the process by appropriately educating yourself on the cost of your wedding and what you should expect to
spend at the end of the day. (upbeat music)

Michael Martin

5 Responses

  1. Price per person here – that's what we all need to focus on! I will shout it from the rooftops over and over again! 🙂

  2. This is actually one of the better wedding planning videos I've seen!! I like how you don't gloss over important issues like budget and guest count, but you actually dive in to the nuts and bolts in almost a scientific way. I'm not even getting married anytime soon 🙃 but appreciate your knowledge! Great job!

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