Dear Brides (and Grooms),

Before I was a wedding planner, I was a bride, so I completely understand how stressful and daunting establishing a wedding budget can be.  When I was engaged, I had never planned an event of such magnitude (okay, lets be real – I hadn’t even planned a dinner party for ten) and I had unrealistic expectations as to what the average wedding budget looked like to begin with.

As a wedding planner, part of my job is to educate and support you as you plan your wedding and I thought a good place to start would be your budget.  I know talking about money is the least fun part of wedding planning, but it is also the most necessary part.  I am here to give you the facts based on market research provided by the XO Group (the leading wedding market intelligence company and owners of The Knot) as well as what I have seen through my own experience as a wedding planner in San Diego.

In 2011 (2012 stats will be out at the end of the first quarter), the average wedding in San Diego was $30,482.  I wish I knew the average guest count that this number is associated with, because as I’m sure you know, guest count and budget are directly related.  In my experience, I have found that a comfortable minimum budget for a wedding guest count of 100 is $40,000 – if the wedding is to be held at a venue in San Diego.  Half of your budget (or in some cases, a bit more) will go toward your ceremony and reception leaving approximately $15,000-$20,000 of your overall budget to put towards your vendors (or as I like to call them, your creative team): wedding planner, photographer, video, florist/designer, musician/DJ, baker, and rentals.  If your wedding is at a private estate/home or if your guest count is less than 100, a budget of less than $40,000 can obviously go further.

I would be remiss to mention that budget management is part of my job as well.  I may be biased, but with good reason.  I love when couples come to me at the beginning of their wedding planning, before anything has been booked.  This gives me the opportunity to help them make the most of their budget.  I am able to provide them with referrals that work within their budget and I am able to keep them from making costly mistakes.  This is always helpful and no one wants to waste money, whether your budget is $30,000 or $100,000.

I hope wedding planning is going wonderfully as you prepare to marry your soul mate!  If you have wedding planning questions let me know and I will be happy to help!

Yours truly,