Now for the tough conversation
The first place couples typically start planning is with a venue for the date they want. As a wedding venue, we see couples who have been engaged for months to couple who just got engaged yesterday. Regardless of how long you’ve been engaged, the wedding budget is everyone’s foundation to build on. We work with lots and lots of vendors in all the different categories, and we’re in a unique position to be able to tell you what the norms for price ranges for each are, and also what are standard for vendors in the area.
Since we deal with mostly a combination of wedding ceremony & reception, for our budgeting purposes, we exclude attire, rings, honeymoon, wedding party, hair & makeup, hotel & transportation and wedding party expenses.
Our costs and everything it includes is either $5800 (Friday or Sunday) or $6800 (Saturdays)
Here’s a range of vendor costs for our area:
Photographers (8 hours of coverage) $2800 - $3500 / second shooter $500
Videography - $2000
DJ - $895 - $1500
Band - $3000 - ?
Catering – minimum of $23 per person (tax, service & gratuity included) - ?
Bar – minimum of $17 per person (tax, service & gratuity included) - ?
Cake - $3 per person - $5 per person
Rentals (tables, chairs, linen, plates, silverware, etc) $5 - $15 per person (depending on selections, event needs & upgrades)
Event Floral (8% of total budget for ceremony, reception & personal floral) - $65 - $225 per table (based of selection of floral, design, round vs. long table, garland vs. centerpiece, etc) / $50 - $325 (depending on blooms & design for bouquets) , ceremony floral needs, etc……
Here’s an easier way to think about it: add up the hard costs of the venue with the median costs of the basic event needs. These are all the costs that won’t change based on your number of guests:
$6800 (venue) + $3700 (2 photographers) + $1200 (DJ) = $11,700
The rest of the categories ARE dependent on your number of guests AND to what degree of importance they each have in the way you want to prioritize your spending.
THE MOST IMPORTANT DETERMINING FACTOR IN YOUR BUDGET IS YOUR NUMBER OF GUESTS
There's a per-head cost for food and liquor, and these two are typically the biggest expense in the whole wedding, so changing the guest list size is the surest way to increase or decrease your costs. On top of that, the smaller the guest list the more you'll save on all your other details, including décor, stationery, favors, and rentals, because you won't need as much of everything.
We would be happy to discuss this in detail with you and help you figure out your formula :-)
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According to The Knot
The St. Louis Average Cost of a Wedding Is $30,701
for 168 guests,
and an average cost per guest of $183
(excluding the honeymoon)
The St. Louis Average Cost of a Wedding Venue is $14,188