Wednesday, March 23, 2011

The RealityCHECK Series: How Much Wedding You Can Get For...$1000

I decided to start off the series with the very round figure of $1000.  And yes - you can get married for 1k..more or less.  Seriously.  Here's how:

You'll go to the courthouse, Justice Of The Peace or the pastor's study and say "I DO"

The cost: Depends on what the current rate is in your region for a civil wedding ceremony or the "love offering" your pastor may ask for.  This will be a short, simple ceremony.  Approximate time from "Dearly Beloved" to "I now pronounce you husband and wife"? 12 minutes (15 if the officiant is a bit "long-winded").  $50 to $150

Bouquet for the bride, boutionierre for the groom

The cost: $75 - $200 (lower if you get the blooms from a supermarket, higher if you go to a florist)

None.  This is a "tell everyone" kind of situation.  So you will inform those persons who need to know via conversations, phone call, text message (I'm serious about that one...know of a couple who did it!).  Here's the rub:  A ceremony of this nature is NOT going to have a guest list of 100.  Generally, it's the bride & groom..maybe their parents and maybe a couple of other "special" folks.  No one else makes the cut...

The Cost: $0

You can go fancy or simple.  I've seen full length gowns & tuxedos and I've seen street-length dresses and suits.  I've also seen sundresses and shorts (but that's another story..).  It is still your wedding day, so getting a new dress for the occasion isn't such a bad idea.

The Cost: $0 (if you're wearing someting already present in your wardrobe) to $500.....let's say that while men are easy-peasy with this, women aren't.  Wanna shoot your budget?  Clothing will do it!!

It's 12-15 minutes tops.  Think about that.

The Cost:  Time spent downloading the playlist on your IPod {if you must have something playing in the background}

Even if your budget is miniscule, you should still have images of your day.  A professional photographer can come in to shoot your ceremony..then hand over the memory card to you.  No editing, just raw footage.  It's a great way to get decent shots....and not Cousin Pookie's "shaking hand" version of your "I Do's". 

The Cost: $200 - $375 {depending on photographer's hourly rate}*
*Note:  You can always go in the other direction and just have a family friend snap a few photos.  They won't be professional in quality, but you'll have documentation of your day.  Cost? $0.

The Cost: $0.  You'll use your own................

MAKING IT OFFICIAL: {i.e. the marriage license}
Next to transportation, it's probably the least expensive thing on the list - but totally necessary in order to become Mr. & Mrs. :)

The Cost: $35 - $75 (depending on jurisdiction and domicile)

On a budget of $1000, a nice lunch or dinner at your favorite restaurant is definitely the way to go.  If it's just the two of can't be any easier (or less expensive!).  Should you want to invite a few close friends, then you need to PAY for them.  DO NOT, under any circumstances,  ask them to pick up their own tab.   Actually - that goes for any wedding event.  No matter what your spending looks like, guests are just that - GUESTS!  They should not have to come out of pocket for their food, beverages or parking.  You're the host - the expense is in your ballpark.

The Cost: This is the largest variable - $50 {lunch for two} or $300 {lunch for six}.  And I mention lunch, simply because it's the most cost effective and most civil ceremonies occur during the day..when court offices are open.

Nothing like a little something sweet to celebrate your new union!  You can get "romantic" and purchase one single, delicious slice from your favorite bakery - and later on that evening, feed each other while sipping on a bit of bubbly!  Or...if you've opted for lunch with friends, consider getting a 6" cake from a bakery to share with everyone present.

The Cost: $1.25 to $5.00 {per slice} or $15 to $50 {per 6" cake} - depending on bakery

The outward symbol of saying "I'm married now!"  I have found that no matter what the budget is, most people choose to leave the cost of their rings OUT of the mix.  Why?  I think it's because this is one area where the dollars don't matter.  For many, the ring is the ONE tangible display of their marriage, so they'll purchase what they like.

The Cost:  not included in the overall spending

Even if it's just for one night....most couples WANT to get away and have some "alone" time.  Consider booking an evening at a wonderful hotel or bed and breakfast in your area so you can bask in the "Mr. & Mrs." of it all :)  And, shop around...many hotels offer weeknight specials that include room amenities and breakfast the next day....

The Cost: $150 to $300 {based on area hotel rates}

So, when we do the overall math - here's what it looks like:

Ceremony: $50 - $150
Flowers: $75 - $200
Invitations: $0
Attire: $0 - $500
Music: $0
Photography: $0 - $375
Transportation: $0
License: $35 - $75
Reception: $50 - $300
Wedding Cake: $1.25 - $5.00 {per slice} or $15 - $50 {per 6" cake} 
Honeymoon: $150 - $300 {overnight stay at a local hotel or inn}

To sum it all up - on the low end, you'll spend approximately $375.  On the higher end....count on $1900.  Yes...I know $1900 is more than $1000.  There's the reality check of it all for you :)  Please know that depending on where you're getting hitched, these "numbers" can be higher or lower.

So...what do you think?  This is how I see it, based on my experience in the industry and simple, raw numbers as I know them to be true in my area.  Comments, insight, criticisms and witticisms are welcomed.....


TINA said...

LOVE IT! My daughter is getting married, and while they dont realize that they are BROKE,.. I know that they are. I have cordinated severl weddings and you would think she would listen so after looking at a venue that put them at $9,000 plus.. I convinced them to go another route that will cost them $2000-$2200 for 150 guest, less the dress that her grandmother is paying for and the rings. The outline that you gave is so good... I have used an outline like it and the cost was $800 range. I love your work and have seen you on TV... keep doing YOU!

Anonymous said...

I was told there is no such thing as a simple wedding but after reading this I know there is. This would be ideal for me. The family is too large and I only want to share this experience with the immediates. I prefer to save the cash for a bigger house.

Miss Pancakes said...

simple weddings are amazing...i am trying but it is so hard to stay within fiance is trying to keep me on task!

♥ Ka`ili said...

this is a great post!! thank you for your wisdom!