If we ask our clients what the number one stressor is when it comes to their Wedding, it's not the logistics, it's not their families, it's the budget. Budget can be a word that brings anxiety and tension to a couple when they think about planning their day. The truth is, there is no one size fits all approach when it comes to planning a Wedding and that directly carries over to budget. One of the top questions we get asked as Wedding Planners is "what's the average budget for a Wedding?"
Well there are a variety of factors that go into how to answer this. The first (3) key elements that effect the cost of a Wedding are:
Location: Certain areas of the country are more expensive just to walk in the door and there's not way around that. We are based in Boston and we even see variations between various states in New England.
Vendor Preferences: This is where you should think about what is most important to you. Can you not get married with out a band? Do you have your heart set on a photographer that you have to fly in from somewhere? Do you wanted a plated meal or buffet? All of these are line items that affect what your starting budget should be.
Guest Count: The line item that no one wants to acknowledge but is the biggest contributor to your budget and the easiest way cut costs if you aiming to do that. Shall we provided an example?
LABOR DAY WEEKEND - BOSTON MUSEUM WEDDING BUDGET
60 people - $55,000
In 2023, we produced a celebration for one of our of dear clients and 60 of their closest friends and family at a well established Museum in the Greater Boston area. The venue was beautiful and offered an elegant and fun backdrop for their guests. In addition to dining in a grand atrium, guests had the opportunity to explore the venue enjoying cocktail hour in some the museum's galleries.
The venue not only provided a spectacular backdrop, but it also came with tables, Ceremony chairs, and lighting options. We worked with the couple to figure out what they wanted to use in the existing venue and what they wanted to upgrade to fit their vision. Each decision was carefully thought out and addressed based upon their priorities with the whole Wedding.
For example, upgrading a Reception chair when you only have 60 guests does not have as much of a budget impact as if it were 200 people. In this case, they were able to find chairs that worked best for their vision and away from the venue's in-house chairs which weren't the best fit.
Below you'll find some information about how we approached each line item and were able to maintain an upscale, classic Wedding without spending more than they were comfortable with. Note that this only is for Wedding Day costs and does not include our Planning Fee, Attire, Accommodations for the Bride and Groom and any other weekend entertainment.
This price includes an exclusive buy-out of the Museum for the locations where their Wedding took place. Setup and and breakdown of the Ceremony space, Cocktail Hour + Reception, Security and In-House Furnishings available for use.
FOOD + BEVERAGE
This price includes full open bar for cocktail hour and the duration of the Reception, 5 Passed Items + 1 Station for Cocktail Hour, 3-Course Plated Meal for Guests including Wedding Cake, Gratuity for Catering Staff and Admin Fees.
Entertainment was important to them but not the focus of the evening. They opted to have a great DJ for cocktail hour and reception and have live string musicians for the Ceremony.
The couple did not have a Wedding party and opted to wait to see each other until the Ceremony, so 6-hours with 1-photographer was enough for them. This also included an engagement session.
HAIR + MAKEUP
The Bride didn't have any bridesmaids so this was the cost for her individual professional services.
We found a stationary set they loved on Minted and ordered all of their Save the Dates, Invitations + Menu Cards from there with our Planner discount code. Since it was only 60 people, they did not need a lot of each!
Their gorgeous color scheme meant we wanted to have some fun with florals! A beautiful Ceremony backdrop matched stunning tall and low centerpieces at the Reception. Since they didn't have a Wedding party, they only needed personal flowers for themselves. This includes delivery + taxes.
PLACE SETTING UPGRADES
To stay true to their design vision, we elected to make a few table top upgrades for their dining place settings. Upgraded linens, napkins, flatware, glassware + charger plates completed the setting.
The couple opted to upgrade the Reception seating from the venue's in-house chairs.
With some older family members in attendance, they wanted to add an area that they could relax and enjoy the night aside from their table. This includes (1) seating section consisting of a sofa, (2) chairs, coffee table, side tables and sofa.
When it comes down to it, everyone's budget is different. As Wedding Planners, it is our job to work within our clients parameters and guide them to make decisions that feel authentic to them. This often leads to some uncomfortable conversations as there is a lot of misinformation out there about budgets - so having a planner that can educate you on how to spend your budget appropriately for you is worth the investment 10x over. For this Boston Museum Wedding Budget, it worked out because they kept their guest count low and therefore were able to invest in intentional touches to keep within their design vision.
We'd love to hear from you if you are looking for some help with planning Wedding and had budget questions, but we also have an easy digital download allowing you to get started all on your own!