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You know what I hate?  I hate that stupid wedding budgeter on The Knot.  Sorry Knot, you are great for so many things, but that thing drives me cuckoo.  A bride can put in any ol’ number she wants and it calculates where she should be spending her money.  Well, let me tell you that entering a number doesn’t mean it’s a realistic number. 

After speaking with many couples, especially in these tough economic times, I’ve come to realize that there isn’t a lot of REAL information for couples to base a realistic budget on.  Did you know that the average cost of a wedding in San Diego is about $35,000?  I think I just heard you gasp.  Once you’ve caught your breath, let’s think about this for a minute.  This is probably the first time you’ve thrown a party for 100+ people.  Imagine how much you spend on a simple backyard bbq for 20 people.  Now, multiply that by 5 times the number of people and 100 times more pomp and circumstance.  Even the most simple and elegant wedding contains a certain set of elements and they all cost money.  To help you see it all in black and white and understand where your money goes, I’ve inserted a handy dandy budget with average wedding costs in San Diego for 100 people.  This may help you determine what is most and least important to you so you know where to spend your money and where to cut back.  I hope it helps:

Average Wedding Budget for approx. 100 people
Category  Average Amount   
Bridal Attire  $             2,200.00 Avg. cost of dress is $1500; plus shoes, veil, jewelry, undergarments, alterations, etc. 
Groom’s Attire  $                      –   Groom’s attire usually free w/groomsmen attire 
Wedding Bands  $             2,500.00  
Reception  $           12,000.00  

Price based on location fee (or minimum req’d), food and appetizers; bar set-ups; gratuity; sales tax;bartender, rentals (tables, chairs); linen 

Alcohol  $             4,000.00  
Ceremony site rental  $                650.00  
Cake  $                500.00  
Officiant’s fees  $                350.00  
Toasting Flutes/cake & knife servers  $                 60.00 Again this is an avg. price based on $30 for each set – can easily be more 
Favors  $                200.00 This number is based on $2 favors/person (not incl. tax & shipping) 
Floral  $             3,500.00  This number is based on 10 tables of centerpieces not to exceed $75/centerpiece plus bouquets, boutonniers & basic ceremony floral décor 
Reception Music DJ  $             1,200.00  This is an average price.  There are DJ’s both higher & lower who are seasoned professionals 
Ceremony musician  $                400.00  
This number is based on a classic guitarist; trios & quartets are more 
Photography  $             4,000.00  
This number is based on a mid-priced but very good photographer for 6 1/2 hours (I recommend no less than 6 hours for a photographer) 
Videography  $             2,000.00  
Based on 1 videographer, 6 hours coverage 
Invitations (incl. postage)  $                200.00  Based on Single layer invitations 
Attendant’s gifts (based on 8 total)  $                280.00  
Wedding Consultant  $             4,000.00  Average full service price.  Prices range from $1800-10,000+ for seasoned planners.
Total:  $           38,040.00  
*Note this budget does not include rehearsal dinner (often paid by groom’s family); limo transportation; lodging on wedding night; programs; or calligraphy    
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