Glad I came across this board. I'm enjoying reading the posts from others!
I think I have to fall under the "luxury" category because I'm getting married in the third most expensive city in the country to marry- Chicago. By default I have to spend more per person than others!
It's my first marriage but my fiance's second. Luckily, this means he doesn't have to have the big Italian family wedding with 3rd and 4th cousins; he and his mom are drawing the line on the family guest list at his aunts/uncles and first cousins. (He already had the big wedding; no need to do that again.) I, by contrast, have no family in this country and no family that could afford to come for the event. So! We are maxing out at about 80 guests, mostly our friends and their significant others.
We chose a really fabulous (I think) venue and a five course meal with top shelf drinks. I'm excited to offer our guests a good meal, as I think that's what's most important to a reception.
My best friend attended a luxury wedding the year before and gossiped a lot about it because apparently it was very over-the-top. It was held in the suburbs of Chicago. She said something to me like, "That wedding was like $120 a head!" (And I believe they had several hundred guests, so yeah that adds up.) I didn't say anything because my wedding will be much more than that per head.... but as we're only having 80 people, we still come in a bit below the so-called "national average" cost of weddings.
Thank God for small guest lists. I'm actually very frugal by nature, but I just couldn't stomach having the most important day of my life thus far in a boring banquet hall with plain chicken and spaghetti. (Seriously- my "vegetarian" meal at one wedding was a plain bowl of spaghetti with marinara.) I'd rather elope than throw a bad party. I believe in the adage of wedding planning that if it affects the guests, spend! If it doesn't, don't worry too much. Ergo, I want fabulous food and drink but I'm not going to worry about the linens, for example. (The venue really needs no extra decor.)
Anywho, that's me. Hi! I look forward to reading more of your posts for ideas and whatnot. Congrats to all