By Cindy Cummings
The average cost of a wedding reception in the U.S. was $28,000 in 2019, but expenses vary considerably from state to state. States like New York, Rhode Island, and New Jersey are the most expensive places in which to tie the knot, while Utah, Wyoming, Montana, and Idaho are the most budget friendly. In the Antelope Valley and other counties in California, the average cost of a wedding/reception stands at around $31,437, as reported by Value Penguin. If this amount seems a little on the high side, know that there are many ways to reduce total expenses. If you are planning a wedding, the following budgeting tips may be useful.
Building A Budget
The very first step to make your wedding more affordable is to crunch the numbers so you can get a realistic picture of the major expenses involved. According to Value Penguin, the five most costly aspects of a wedding are the venue/food (costing an average of $18,000), followed by the engagement ring ($4,000), reception band ($3,000), photographer ($2,000) and florist and décor ($1,800). If these costs seem reasonable, then you can start saving for them, setting aside a specific amount from your income in the months or year leading up to your big day. If the total seems large, then finding ways to cut down on some of the biggest costs is key.
Finding A Reasonably Priced Venue
Antelope Valley is close enough to Beverly Hills to make a plethora of luxury options available for your reception. At five-star establishments, food and beverage estimates alone cost in the region of $170 per person for evening receptions (sans service charges and administrative and other fees), so if you have 100 guests at your wedding, you can easily see how amounts could add up. There are a plethora of affordable, beautifully designed venues which are relatively close to Antelope Valley, with some of the most popular being the Oasis Banquet Hall in Palmdale, Gardens of Paradise, and Sweetwater Springs Ranch. The last two are ideal for those seeking to celebrate a romantic outdoor wedding. Of course, if you have a large garden of your own and you are having a small wedding, then celebrating it at home is an ideal way to cut your costs. With a budget as small as $3,500, you can rent a tent, dance floor, tables, chairs and lighting for around $1,500, and spend the rest on food and beverages (which can be home-prepared), plus a few key decorative pieces.
Cutting Back On Smaller Expenses
In addition to finding an affordable venue or considering throwing your own party (with plenty of help from family and friends, of course), you can save on smaller expenses such as the dress. For as little as a few hundred dollars, you can find beautiful budget wedding dresses at shops like H&M, ASOS, Reformation, Nordstrom and so many more shops.
For your ring, opting for simple wedding bands or a pavé engagement ring can save you thousands of dollars. Instead of spending thousands on luxurious flower arrangements, consider the use of wild flowers arranged creatively in vintage vases and placed alongside candles for a gorgeous table centerpiece. You can also save thousands on a musical band, relying instead on a wedding playlist you and your future spouse can start planning months ahead. During the budgeting stage, it is important to define ‘non-negotiables’. A photographer may be one of them, since sometimes, an amateur may take poor quality photos or leave out key moments of your big day. Photographs are meant to last a lifetime and be shown to subsequent generations, so it is understandable to set aside a decent amount for a recommended professional.
Weddings in Los Angeles can cost tens of thousands of dollars, but there are many ways to make one more affordable – from having a smaller wedding to hosting the party in a family member’s backyard. Even if you decide to hire a venue, you can make big savings on items such as dresses and tuxedos, which can be hired or purchased from cool (yet budget-friendly) shops. The process should begin with an analysis of expected expenditures, followed by strategizing and prioritizing must-have items and services.