Attempting to get an idea of your wedding costs can be extremely daunting. Having never planned a wedding before, running into proposals and pricing can give you a serious case of sticker shock. After spending countless hours on Pinterest, you’ll think that your favorite pins and boards performed a major miscarriage of trust. Who knew those luxurious tall centerpieces were so much!? They want how much for that wedding cake?
We get it. You don’t know what you don’t know. Falling in love with a vision and finding out it’s crushingly out of reach hurts. So, we’re here to help.
But first, we need to do one thing. And it’s kinda non-negotiable, okay?
Determine Your Budget. The most frustrating thing as a wedding professional is to speak with a couple and hear about their vision, and inquire as to how much they would like to spend and the response is “We don’t know how much this stuff costs”. While that may be true— it also doesn’t answer the question. This is the crux of your wedding planning. Here’s an example, I would love a brand new Lexus LFA. . . but I don’t want to pay more than $30,000 for it. I have no idea how much an Lexus LFA is, but I do know that if it is over $30,000 (which I’m 98.6% sure it is) I won’t be in it, and I know not to look at pictures or do a test drive. So, there’s my budget— $30,000. The same applies to weddings. And trust me, everyone has a budget.
Got your figure? Now, let’s talk about what everyone else wants to charge. Keep in mind this is for our service area for Saint Simons Island and Jekyll Island weddings. These figures can fluctuate in different locations. Additionally, these are averages— there will be services that fall below and above the prices given.
venues :: $2000+
An average venue rental will start at $2000. If the venue is attached to a hotel, you can expect to pay more or be required for mandatory room blocks. The likelihood of a the venue having exclusive catering rights (meaning you have to use their caterer for food and beverage) grows higher with its affiliation to a hotel or convention center. These types of venues may also have a food and beverage minimum to meet in addition to the venue rental. These can start between $5,000 to $10,000.
Catering :: $35+ per person
This is an average that should include your hors d’oeuvres at cocktail hour, dinner and non alcoholic beverages such as tea, water and lemonade. This rate will vary according to the reception style you choose (e.g., buffet vs. plated) as well as the menu selections and quantities. Keep in mind this is menu pricing only, you will still have to factor in labor (which will vary according the number of guests and dinner service you will have), tax (6%) and a service charge (will vary between 18-22%). Some caterers include the costs of plates, flatware and glassware with the menu price, others do not. Be sure to view quotes in their totality when comparing them.
Wedding Cake :: $4-8 Per Person
Like your catering, this price will be determined by your selections and guest number. Customizations such as flavors, fillings, cake design and even shape can add to the price. If your caterer offers cake, you can add this to your menu price. If you are hiring an outside baker, remember to leave cushion for delivery as well as cake service (cake cutting, plates, forks, etc.) from your caterer.
Alcohol :: $18-$60 Per Person
One of the great thing about having a wedding in Saint Simons Island or Jekyll Island is the abundance of venues that allow you to bring your own alcohol. If you are purchasing your own alcohol, expect to pay anywhere between $1500 to $4500 or more depending on the number guests, type of bar (beer and wine vs full bar), what type of liquor you wish to provide (well vs top shelf) and how long you intend to provide a bar (the typical reception is 4 hours). If you are having your wedding at a hotel or convention center where they require that you purchase your alcohol from them you can opt to pay by the drink with a consumption bar which ranges from $5 to $10 per drink or about $45 per person for a drink package that lasts four hours. Our planners have a great alcohol guide to help you budget and plan for your bar. Remember if you plan for authentic martinis and champagne, you may need to rent the appropriate glassware.
Photography & cinematography :: $2500+
One of the major things that affect price for cinematography and photography are the length of hours shooting, as well as the style of the shooter. The longer the coverage and the more modern and stylish the product, the higher the rate. The above rate is a general average for about 4 hours of coverage. Full day coverage, additional shooters and multiple locations may affect pricing. Remember to consider the costs of post production such as additional disks, full length movies, albums and portraits which are always an additional cost.
entertainment :: $1000+
A typical wedding DJ will start at about 1000 for four hours of service. A band starts at about $2500. This will include the cocktail hour and three hours of the reception. Additional locations and hours for the ceremony or extension of the reception will require additional hours.
Florals :: $2000+
Some of the most pinned images used for wedding inspiration are of lush bouquets and elaborate centerpieces. These are typically comprised of a multitude of large, exuberant blooms in varying heights and accents. Usually, a bridal bouquet will range anywhere between $150-$300, with complementary bridesmaids’ bouquets being half that. Centerpieces can have several different concepts with some designs being tall and others low. Tall arrangements depending on their size and proportion can start at $175 and go as high as $400. Low arrangements can start at $75 to $200. It’s always best to ensure you are picking in-season florals to keep your costs in a doable budget. Here is a really great breakdown of floral costs of magazine worthy florals.
Final Thoughts. . .
These are just averages to give you an idea. Your wedding costs will be specific to your needs, size of guest list and time of year ( this plays a major part in the seasonality of certain foods and flowers). You should set aside at least 10% of your budget each for a wedding planner, photographer and florist.
If you need additional help, check out our mini guide to having a wedding in Saint Simons Island Jekyll Island. If you’d like to know who are our go to vendors, venues as well as resources and sage advice about planning your Saint Simons Island and Jekyll Island wedding, treat yourself to The Little Blue Wedding Book. We’re even happy to offer you a congratulations gift to start your wedding planning: use the code FABWEDDING to take $15 off the price.