Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Trying to keep wedding costs down? Keep the guest list under control...

If you are planning a wedding and having trouble keeping it within a reasonable budget, consider lowering your guest count.  If you haven't already mailed the invites that is.  After all you can't uninvite someone once you have sent them an invitation.  No matter how much your family, and his college buddies, annoy you!
While some costs involved in the wedding are one flat rate regardless of the head count, such as the DJ services, some venues, or your gown and his tux, most of your expenses will be based on the number of guests you have.  Think "price per person" for food, cake, tables and chairs, and even the little things such as chair covers and favors.  It will add up quickly if you invite 200 instead of only 150. 

Photo from Splendid Affairs, taken by Kat Forsyth
I've made it easy for you and researched some of Chattanooga/Cleveland areas wedding companies rates and what they charge you per person.  This is based on 50 guests, or 7 tables with 8 guests per table and will give you an idea of how much you'll spend by adding just 50 more to your guest list.  Keep in mind also that some of the prices are an estimate on the low end, especially for items such as centerpieces, dinner, and favors which can vary quite a bit...

7 Table rentals @ $8 each                                                   $56
7 Tables linen rentals @ $11 each                                        $77
50 Chair/covers @ $6 per chair                                            $300
Tableware/napkins @ $7 per guest                                       $350
Table centerpieces @ $50 per tables                                    $350
Dinner for 50 guests @ $25 + 20% gratuity                          $1500
Wedding favors @ $3 per guest                                           $150
Cake @ $3.00 per guest                                                      $150

                                                                                Total    $2933

The total comes to nearly $3000 or about $60 per person, and could be so much more depending on the caterer you choose and how extravagant your centerpieces and favors are.  It also doesn't include the invites you pay for per person.  If you are already spending $30,000 on your wedding then maybe an extra $3000 is not a big deal, but for the bride on a tighter budget, it makes a huge difference.  That is money that can be spent on a fabulous honeymoon, or for the practical bride planning for the future: you two will be that much closer to a down payment on a house! 

Honeymoon cruise: Shutterstock 2010

So think wisely when making out the guest list, keep the head count down and save! 

As always, leave your comments, suggestions, and ideas for me.  I'd love to hear from you!
Til next time...

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