I recently read a CNN money article stating that in 2012, the average wedding cost $28,427. Although weddings should be a day to remember, this seemed like a lot of money to me. Back in 2003, my wedding cost less than $10,000. Initially, I thought prices must have increased substantially in the past 10 years. However, back then, the average wedding was still $22,360. My wedding reception was on the waterfront. I had a full buffet of hot food, a wedding photographer and a professional florist. Thus, I wonder why the average wedding was so expensive.
I had my wedding in San Diego. I found a small church that cost $350 to use for the ceremony. Our reception took place on the marina. It had a lovely view of the marina, vaulted ceilings and a dance floor. The reception venue cost $2000.
Reception food can be expensive. I shopped around. Some caterers had bad food with high prices. We wanted a hot food buffet with London broil, chicken, vegetables, salad, mashed potatoes and dinner rolls. Many places I looked at wanted $7,000 to $9,000 for this. However, I found a place that gave me the same food for $3,000. When the wedding came, I was surprised how delicious it was. The staff was courteous and professional. For dessert, we chose a three-tiered cake from a professional bakery. This cost an additional $500. Thus, we were able to feed about 125 people for $3,500.
I spent $500 for my flowers. This is one area I wish I would have spent a little more on. My florist didn't listen to what I wanted and I wasn't in love with my decorations. However, I'm sure I'm the only one who noticed. For $500, I received my bouquet and flowers for my six bridesmaids. There were arrangements for the 15 tables at my reception and two big arrangements at the church. We also spent another $100 on bells, wedding favors and bubbles.
I went to popular discount retailer to find my dress. I found a beautiful, strapless dress for $500. I also purchased shoes and a veil for an additional $150.
Like food, wedding photographers can cost an arm and a leg. We found a wonderful one. For $1,500, he gave us a book with all of our photos, several enlargements and about five hours of time. He took pictures before and during the ceremony along with at our reception. He even stuck around for some sendoff photos. I couldn't have been happier.
A limo service, gifts for the bridesmaids and groomsmen, a D.J. and a few other costs, added up to another $700.
When planning a wedding on a budget, it is good to ask for recommendations from friends and family. Do your research. After all, sometimes you will get a great bargain. Other times, you will get what you pay for.
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