Congratulations! You’re engaged and ready to start planning. If you’ve never been married before, or haven’t been in the wedding loop, it’s probably going to be a bit of a surprise when you start researching costs. Remember this one of the biggest events of your life, and hopefully the only time you’ll be doing it. When will you ever get to decorate so elaborately? Have a beautiful bouquet of amazing flowers? A dress for the ages that you’ll get to show off on your special day?
A nice wedding doesn’t have to be outrageously expensive either. Hopefully with the following list of average costs, it will help you start with an idea of what you might need to spend for a wedding in Greater Sacramento.
bridal budget breakdown
Average cost for 120 guests on a Saturday night or average service rates for a wedding.
Ceremony & Reception Venue – $7,000
Of course there are going to be venues for less than the average here. But if you do choose a Saturday night at one of the most popular venues, it can get up there in price. Often these are full-service and will include a few amenities that will save you on the rentals. Sometimes the ceremony and reception site prices are separate and not bundled so that can affect the price too.
Catering – $5,500
So you’ve decided to take 120 of your best friends to a nice dinner. I don’t know about you, but we can hardly go out to dinner at a nice (and not super swanky) restaurant for less than $40 each. Granted that does include a drink usually, but not tax and tip. So right there, if I just based it on that, we are at $4,800. There are certainly less expensive options out there, BBQ to the Taco Bar, but expect at least $20 per person.
Full Service Planner – $5,000
We always recommend a planner if you are able. Yes, it’s a pretty good chunk of a small budget for full-service. However, even if you just hire one in a partial or day-of capacity, you’ll be happy you did. See more about the right planner for you.
Photographer – $3,500
One of the major purchases after your venue and one of the most important. Though you certainly go lower or higher than the average, we feel that there are a tremendous amount of really great professionals in this range that will do a great job. Most include albums and engagement sessions.
Bar Service – $2,775
If you’re not serving alcohol, ignore. If you are, figure most venues are limited to beer and wine. Some require a beverage package while others you’ll be able to provide. Don’t expect kegs are welcome at most full-service venues. However, make sure you have a licensed bartender to keep anyone from ending up in court for breaking liquor laws. See this chart for how much to serve your guests.
Gown & Accessories – $2,500
While the dress may be well under this number, don’t forget the add-ons. Alterations, jewelry, veil, undergarments, shoes, stockings, garter. Remember dresses can take a minimum of 6 months to arrive from the designer. If you need something sooner, occasionally you can purchase floor samples or shop consignment.
Flowers – $2,500
Face it, flowers make the wedding. They are expensive but worth it. How many times in your life will you get to have so many of them just for you? Big wedding parties seem to be the rage these days, but remember they’ll all be needing bouquets and boutoinerres. Keep in mind that those lush green arches and gigantic draping bouquets of peonies you see on Pinterest are VERY expensive. Work with a pro to get what you envision in a price range that fits your budget.
DJ/MC – $2,200
The DJ can make or break the wedding. In charge of keeping the flow of the day going from ceremony music, announcements to the guests and keeping track of the time. And don’t forget keeping the audience engaged and entertained. Experience speaks for a lot!
Videographer – $2,000
Video is one of those budget items that seem to end up on the chopping block. In today’s digital age, it seems surprising. However, it is the only way to capture the entire day with audio.
Decor Rentals – $2,000
This varies from tables, chairs, table settings, tents to pretty stuff like linens, candles, draping and more. We even have a Glam Trailer that can be your dressing room when there is none. Some will be essential to having the event, while others are just to make it as pretty as possible. Pick a theme and have fun!
Specialty Lighting – $1,750
This is a personal favorite of mine and make an ordinary room spectacular! So many options these days and with LED and wireless lights outdoor spaces are easier to transform. I personally would set some of my budget aside for this. Did I mention it looks great in photos? See some examples here.
Cake – $1,000
This price is based on a multi-tier extravagantly decorated cake. There are simpler options such as a cutting cake and assorted desserts, cupcakes or ice cream! Just be sure to provide some sort of nice dessert for your guests.
Photo Booth – $700
Still a favorite for parties! While considered a fad at one point, the industry has grown. Digital options have made for easier set-up and ways to share the photos. See what’s new.
Invitation Suite – $900
If you are after a truly custom, hand-made or lettered option, you will indeed spend this much or more. However, with all the online invite companies out there, you can definitely get something nice for about half. Check out the Basic Invite badge after this blog and SAVE.
Rehearsal Dinner – $800
I actually think this price is a little low since lately I’m seeing such huge wedding parties. Traditionally it was only the wedding party, parents and plus ones. Now we’ve got a pre-wedding party with out-of-town guests included in many cases. Look for future articles on ways to save and ideas for new things to do.
Beauty – $700
Manicure, pedicure, skin care, hair, makeup and there you have it. Good makeup artists are worth it ladies. You’ll be the center of attention and it’s time to look as good as you ever have. Do a trial run with your chosen artist for your engagement pics. Might cost a little more, but good way to get a preview.
Wedding Party Gifts – $650
Again, with such big wedding parties this number is arbitrary. Most of gifts we’ve been promoting are in the $30-$50 range. Remember, these lovely friends and family are spending money to be a part of your wedding, so don’t skimp on the thank you.
Transportation – $500
Church wedding with reception elsewhere? We know, it’s not happening a lot, but it still does. Nice to arrive in style. Don’t think Lyft or Uber are a viable option here! What about the pre-parties? Great way to have a night on the town and not have to worry about getting home.
Favors – $250
If you’re going to DIY anything, this is it. Though we sure have found some cute options out there, like lollipops that the sticks contain seeds for planting or tea tins with custom labels. Figure no matter what you do, you’re likely to spend at least $2 each on the low end.
Accommodations – $250
The guys needed get ready space and no one wants to go home after the wedding so find yourself a nice room for the night. Splurge!