Do you ever look at gorgeous wedding inspiration and wonder- what does this actually cost?
Our industry is full of over the top unattainable design ideas which are outrageously costly. One of the top three questions I’m asked in my consults is:
That’s such a tricky question! There are so many things I could address by answering this one question. The first thing I tell brides, is that you should be thinking of your wedding as a pie. Now cut that pie in three. One part is decor, one part is food & beverage and the third part is everything else. Now, depending on where your actually priorities lay- those three pie pieces get bigger or smaller and adjust accordingly. Then I tell my clients, whatever image you’re looking at… whatever dollar figure pops into your head, times that by 3.
BUT! There is a big BUT here. I have designed and planned absolutely stunning weddings for budgets from 20k which can look as beautiful as a wedding you might see in a magazine with a 50k decor budget only. The secret lies in years of experience and a few tricks of the trade.
Before we begin, here is a great behind the scenes clip pulled from my instagram account. This will give you a better perspective of the scale of what we created. You won’t believe what it costs!
In this shoot we set a head table for two and two “honour” reception guest tables for a total of 18 guests. It’s important to note that we also re-used the large white standing art structures for the ceremony and again behind the head table. In this design we also used minimal florals and greenery with an emphasis on candles.
So here is the breakdown:
2 Art Structures @ $450
Gold Fan Chairs @ $12 each
3 Glass tables with ornate gold guild legs @ $350 ea
1 Round glass cake table with ornate guild legs @ $150
5 Crystal Candelabras per reception table @ $75 ea
24 Crystal Candlestick holders & candles @ $10 ea
Gold rimmed scalloped dinner plate & side plate $6 per setting
Gold cutlery set @ $3 per setting
Silk linen on head table $40
Decor installation cost $500
Table stationary $18 per person
Greenery and blooms on art structures $150 ea
Greenery and tables with select blooms $150 per table
Floral installtion cost $500
DESIGN TOTAL COST $6,243.00 (aprx)
Now you can look at this in a few ways. This design if applied to a full wedding would be $346 per person. You can do the math quite easily if you have 100 guests, granted you keep in mind some costs mentioned above are fixed and not variable by guest count. It can be costly! Crazy how something that looks so simple can be so costly. But let me change your perception for a minute because if you were a real client I would tell you to keep this design for 1/3 of your guests, and the rest of the tables to something simple and tastefull like floating candles in water with a few tossed blooms and greenery. That would reduce your decor cost by 30%. Now if you’re loving this design, but don’t have the budget I’ll tell you think about doing this design for the head table and family “honour tables” only. Leaving simple decor for the rest of the reception tables. Its’ a design principal I’ve been using for years and how with fore-thought and intention we can make your wedding absolutely stunning while being budget conscious.
I had a nice conversation on-set while setting up this styled shoot with Jenny from Lavish Decor. She’s originally from England so our chat naturally ended up being about the differences between our bridal industry vs Europe’s. And she told me something really interesting. She said- in England they keep all the lavish over-the-top decor in the centre of the room closest to the head table. That way when the photographers shoot- their images make it look like it’s a celebrity wedding. All the other tables are plain with only a few candles or a single candelabra. This eludes to what I had mentioned before about being budget conscious. i always find it fascinating what’s seen as the “norm” in other countries. I was first introduced to this when we planned a wedding in Germany. After the ceremony we arrived at the castle for champagne in the gardens followed by cake and coffee. We then moved guests into the chateau courtyard where we had more cocktails and dinner alfresco. A long procession of eating and celebrating. Oh and the DJ plays until the sun comes up…. not the 1am shut-down time we have here!
So next time you look at beautiful decor pictures on Pintrest, keep in mind that it’s probably three times more expensive than what you think- but that it can be possible if you’re open-minded.