Friday, October 02, 2015

Ask Liz: Is the $10,000 Wedding a Myth?

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Edgewater room, Marina Del Rey Hotel.  Photo: Liz Coopersmith
Dear Liz:

We're getting married next April in Los Angeles. We're mostly paying for it ourselves, but I'm getting worried. I'd love to only spend $10,000, but the two venues we've looked at so far cost more than that to rent, not even including food! This dress I love is $3,000, so those two things would completely blow my budget right there. My best friend got married last month, and her photographer charged her $5,000. This is starting to get ridiculous. I see all these blogs and Pinterest boards about how to pull off a $10,000 wedding, but I don't see how that's possible, unless you're serving grocery store cake and carrying lawn daisies. Honestly, are $10, 000 weddings some B.S. urban legend?


Myth-ing Pieces

Dear Pieces, 

Okay, so the first thing I'm going to say, just so no one freaks out right away is NO, the $10,000 wedding is not a myth.  Repeat: NOT a myth. It is, however, a challenge. Well, two challenges actually. The first is accepting what a $10,000 wedding is going look like, and managing your expectations. The second is finding what you need to stay behind that line. The first challenge is the hardest - setting your expectations always is. And no, I'm not telling you to keep those expectations low, but you'll definitely need to tweak them. You can have a beautiful wedding, but make it a small one. Most of the $10k weddings t that I've ever coordinated or officiated, have had less than 50 guests, and that includes my own wedding. Less guests mean less expense - every person is 2-3 drinks, an appetizer, an entree and a piece of cake. 10 guests is a table, ten chairs, and a centerpiece, all of which you're paying for. Keep your list to close friends and family, the people you feel absolutely have to be there, all 35 of them. :-)

You can have a gorgeous wedding, but it's not going to be in a huge art deco ballroom or a breathy rustic venue. Your venue and your catering combined shouldn't be more than $5,000. Think restaurant banquet room with a view (you live in L.A., and there are even some beach options).  A short guest list opens your budget up to cooler boutique hotels, like the one above that overlooks the Marina, and at least a couple that I know of in Downtown. A  pretty park or garden where you can bring in your catering. Every city and  has places like this, really.  Find a venue that needs minimum decoration and minimum DIY. If there is anything that is going to cost you more than you think, it's DIY. Staffing and rentals can also add a couple of thousand bucks to your costs, so watch out for that. You can find a beautiful dress that's less expensive. Hint: Wedding gowns go on sale in December.  The $5,000 photographer is out, but there are many brilliant photographers. I won't fit in your budget, either, but though it pains me to say it, someone else can give you the help you need.  The $5 per stem peonies are out, but that's not the last word on pretty flowers. The ombre wedding cake is out, even with your tiny guest list, but you can serve delicious cake, anyway. Bottom line: Start small and pretty before you  even think about going large and opulent. And keep looking and asking questions until you find stuff you love. 

Look, the average cost of a wedding in the U.S. is around $25,000. You heard me. In Los Angeles that goes up to $35,000+, which is where my couples generally start at. You don't even want to know what it is in New York! Everyone has a price point they don't want to go past, though, so you're not alone.  Believe it: You can have a wonderful $10,000 wedding. It's both realistic AND possible...if you stay realistic and open to all the possibilities.  

See you at the end of the aisle, 

Liz Coopersmith
Silver Charm Events

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