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5 Ways to Approach Your Wedding Budget

Couture Events in our Historic Landmark Venue in Long Beach's Arts District

5 Ways to Approach Your Wedding Budget

Couture Events in our Historic Landmark Venue in Long Beach's Arts District

5 Ways to Approach Setting Your Wedding Budget and Venue/ Vendor Selection

How do you want to approach setting your wedding budget so that it ties in closely with the venue, vendors, and expectations to set with your guests?

There are a wide spectrum of expectations for weddings, which can make the process of setting an initial budget and exploring wedding venues, planners, and other venues really confusing. The goal of this article is to help outline 5 different points on the price/ value curve so you as a couple can determine which approach is the right one for you. In the absence of determining a persona, we see couples reach out and try to "shop" across a wide range of different vendors and turning their wedding into a financial exercise of comparing oranges with apples with apple pie. It's an overwhelming exercise that leads to throwing up one's hands and getting stuck.

Instead, setting a persona can streamline the list of vendors that will be appropriate and create a better cadence and set of expectations between the couple and the vendors they are reaching out to.

Here are 5 wedding personas you can use to approach setting a budget for your wedding. Using one will give you a more holistic approach toward your wedding and make it easier to identify the venues and vendors you should consider, as they will fit in with what you're trying to do.

1. Budget Wedding: Exploring the Discount Part of the Market for Deals

  • Overview: Budget weddings typically make decisions that focus on finding the most cost-effective approaches possible to conserve resources for other priorities.
  • Emphasis: Budget weddings typically involving smaller guest lists and more DIY elements. They generally happen at off-peak days and in less traditional venues and use less experienced vendors or ones with a personal connection.
  • Doing it well: We generally recommend having a ceremony in a nice church or in a public venue with a nice backdrop (city hall, courthouse, etc) on a weekday in the summer or other windows where people may easily take a day off. Instead of a traditional reception, you may want to take make a private dining room reservation and have a really nice dinner or create an intimate reception at a home, community center, or church catered by family or a private chef or utilize platters ordered from a local restaurant or grocer.
  • Venues and vendors: Generally vendors who use a discount, retail, or low price value proposition or a public facility with significant restrictions that limit access, privacy, or usability.
  • Benchmarks: Budget weddings in Southern California are generally targeted at < $20,000 and tend to have a guest count < 100 people.

2. Midlevel Wedding: Balancing Cost with Quality

  • Overview: Middle-tier weddings are the majority of weddings and generally involve the use of a private home or blank canvas venue with DIY elements or an all-inclusive venue to get a pre-set package at a reasonable cost.
  • Emphasis: Middle-tier weddings generally involve either an element that creates a significant price break (use of a private home) or a more inclusive package. This limits the number of vendors required. In the all-inclusive model, it can streamline the package being purchased reducing the overhead of trying to create it for one event.
  • Doing it well: For an all-inclusive, take a look at the reputation of the venue and vendors involved. They should be solid operators who have an approach and team where you like who they have and what they do. Generally pick one element you really want to be special and make sure that one creates the highlight for the wedding that shows up in photos and guest experience.
  • Venues and vendors: Generally vendors who provide a basic package that hits the most common wedding traditions or a blank canvas space that allows significant DIY while providing the basics.
  • Benchmarks: Middle-tier wedding in Southern California are generally in the $25,000 - $45,000 range. The average wedding in California is ~$37K in 2023.

3. Premium Wedding: Elevating the Essentials

  • Overview: Premium weddings are for couples and families with the means to entertain and an expectation that their guests coming from all over will expect a nicer experience. We see these weddings splurge on specific elements that will make the wedding feel memorable and personal.
  • Emphasis: Premium weddings generally begin to feel the restrictions of the all-inclusive and start to want to include vendors with talents that extend beyond what would naturally be part of a set package. This is where the elevation of the experience outside of the normal range comes from. We generally recommend finding 1-2 elements that you want to elevate and bring in the mix of vendors that allow this to happen well.
  • Doing it well: A premium wedding is generally held in a nice venue and has a mix of specialty vendors for premium elements that are being emphasized, whether that be food, beverage, floral, DJ/ band, rentals/ decor, photography/ videography, design. The couple should have a sense of which of these elements matter the most to them and select a mix of vendors that will support those priorities.
  • Venues and vendors: The starting point is generally either a branded venue or a planner, which will set the dates that are possible and the mix of vendors that can be considered (given relationships and preferred lists). At the premium tier, venue and planner vetting of potential vendors is common with more restrictive lists and requirements.
  • Benchmarks: Premium weddings in Southern California are generally in the $55,000 to $125,000 range.

4. Luxury Wedding: Sophistication and Style

  • Overview: Luxury weddings have a high attention to detail, exclusive settings, and custom services with a focus on creating unique and memorable experiences that nail the details.
  • Emphasis: Luxury weddings create special experiences for guests. Expect to have at least a few moments that take your breath away or provide an experience that will be memorable. Brand name vendors and highly curated experiences are the expectation.
  • Doing it well: A luxury wedding is often the pinnacle of the traditional wedding format and executed at a very high level by the best wedding vendors in a region. It has a few breathtaking elements that might get it published in a high end magazine.
  • Venue and vendors: A luxury wedding has an experienced and well regarded vendor team, a high end planner, and a clear creative intent. The venue is generally breathtaking on its own with a unique element that makes it interesting.
  • Benchmarks: Luxury weddings in Southern California are generally in the $150,000 to $500,000 range.

5. Ultra-Luxury Wedding: The Pinnacle of Personalization and Exclusivity

  • Overview: Ultra-luxury weddings are extravagant experiential events with no expense spared, often in exotic or highly exclusive locations.
  • Emphasis: The ultra-luxury wedding is an experience in and of itself. The entire thing is often a one of a kind specially created experience including elements that few would even think was possible.
  • Doing it well: An ultra-luxury wedding uses the best of the best and you need to have a planner who can pull it all together to make sure it feels like a wedding if there are celebs coming from outside the industry and not used to doing things inside a live wedding flow.
  • Venue and vendors: There are a mix of very high end venue spaces, private estates, private land next to national parks...the rules and resources of ultra-luxury allow for the transformation of spaces into something else. The vendors are often the very best at their craft in the world...It's the rarified world of having an all-star team that needs to learn how to play together.
  • Benchmarks: Ultra-luxury weddings in Southern California are generally in the $500,000 - $5M+ range.

Our company is generally the most targeted toward people who want a high end food and beverage experience and a venue to pair it with. This generally has us speaking to couples in the premium to ultra-luxury end of the market. If that combination speaks to you, please reach out - we love to understand your vision and what would make your wedding special and memorable.

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