• Images
  • Text
  • Find a Couple + Registry
GO
Luxury Weddings

small and luxury versus big and mediocre

thisismynickname2thisismynickname2 City By The Lake member
5000 Comments Sixth Anniversary 500 Love Its First Answer
Hi there,
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 :)
________________________________


Re: small and luxury versus big and mediocre

  • Jells2dot0Jells2dot0 Cowtown mod
    Moderator Eighth Anniversary 5000 Comments 500 Love Its
    Welcome! I had a larger luxury wedding for my first marriage and a small "maybe-luxury" wedding for my second.  I say maybe because it was just the two of us, but we happened to spend quite a bit to make sure every detail wa well thought out and we had the perfect location. The first time around, I had a traditional wedding with the big reception and all of the appropriate details and trimmings to make it a grand event for myself and the guests. Luxury isn't just about cost though. You can throw $1M at a wedding and still not take care of your guests and make them feel uncomfortable. The wedding could also laugh in the face of etiquette, which definitely does not make it "luxury." So, it's a combination of budget, the details, and ensuring everyone is is completely taken care of during the event. It's definitely much easier to be thoughtful with details when it's a smaller event, especially if there is a limited budget (even if "limited" is still over the national average.) Anyway, feel free to post all about your wedding on here and congrats on your upcoming wedding!

     







  • tammym1001tammym1001 Akron, Ohio member
    500 Love Its 1000 Comments Second Anniversary 5 Answers
    I'm having a small wedding too, about 25-30 guests. I'm glad though because everyone will know everyone and we'll have a blast. Plus it has enabled us to go over the top on a lot of things since the guest list is so small. Also, I am able to pay for attire, hair, makeup, and a few other things for my WP.
    image
  • Welcome. We had a typical big fat Jersey Italian wedding. I limited my guest list to only the few 2nd cousins I talk to on a regular basis because my immediate family alone is 70 people.
     
      Image and video hosting by TinyPic Lilypie First Birthday tickers
  • Jells2dot0Jells2dot0 Cowtown mod
    Moderator Eighth Anniversary 5000 Comments 500 Love Its
    Welcome. We had a typical big fat Jersey Italian wedding. I limited my guest list to only the few 2nd cousins I talk to on a regular basis because my immediate family alone is 70 people.
    OMG! I cannot even imagine that. I think our immediate families combined is less than 20 people.

     







  • Welcome. We had a typical big fat Jersey Italian wedding. I limited my guest list to only the few 2nd cousins I talk to on a regular basis because my immediate family alone is 70 people.
    OMG! I cannot even imagine that. I think our immediate families combined is less than 20 people.
    Mom is 1 of 7, each of them is married with kids, inlaws, and grandkids of their own.  We never go anywhere without at least 10 of us. 
     
      Image and video hosting by TinyPic Lilypie First Birthday tickers
  • lyndausvilyndausvi Western Slope, Colorado mod
    Moderator Knottie Warrior 10000 Comments 500 Love Its
    I'm like Hoboken.  My mom is one of 6 (all married, but some have died off).  I'm one of 24 grand kids.  I'm one of 4 who have 7 kids between us.   Add in SO's.   Well that mean just parents, siblings, nieces/nephews, aunt/uncles, first cousins + everyone's SO comes 69.


    To answer the OPs question I (so does my family) prefer to host a small group properly than a large group poorly.  The great thing is there are many options out there when it comes to venues and such.  So we looked for a place that we can host our large guest list of 174 properly.  That does not always mean the location is always "luxurious".  It does mean it will included a full tasty meal, open bar,  great music, chairs for everyone's butt, stuff like that.    

    I find the wow factor (or lack of) of the venue only lasts a few minutes then people only care about the food, drinks, music and spending time with their  family/friends.  The actual building/location doesn't really matter (unless it's dirty or the temp (hot or cold) is not right).






    What differentiates an average host and a great host is anticipating unexpressed needs and wants of their guests.  Just because the want/need is not expressed, doesn't mean it wouldn't be appreciated. 
  • Jells2dot0Jells2dot0 Cowtown mod
    Moderator Eighth Anniversary 5000 Comments 500 Love Its
    Welcome. We had a typical big fat Jersey Italian wedding. I limited my guest list to only the few 2nd cousins I talk to on a regular basis because my immediate family alone is 70 people.
    How do you define immediate? I only consider it siblings, parents and grandparents, not aunts, uncles and cousins. Last year, we had 98 at Christmas on my dad's side.
    That's what I was considering, but even if I added in cousins and aunts/uncles it still wouldn't be a lot. However, I also don't have a relationship with most of my extended family and I realize that is abnormal.

     







  • lyndausvilyndausvi Western Slope, Colorado mod
    Moderator Knottie Warrior 10000 Comments 500 Love Its
      Parents, siblings (+SOs), nieces/nephews comes to 17 for us. 

     For the wedding I guess I really use my parent's immediate family, which would include my aunts and cousins.  (umm just realized i skipped my dad's family which would add another 10 people to my early count)

    I guess I consider extended family the generation after my first cousins.    Doesn't make sense I guess.  Whatever.






    What differentiates an average host and a great host is anticipating unexpressed needs and wants of their guests.  Just because the want/need is not expressed, doesn't mean it wouldn't be appreciated. 
  • Welcome. We had a typical big fat Jersey Italian wedding. I limited my guest list to only the few 2nd cousins I talk to on a regular basis because my immediate family alone is 70 people.
    How do you define immediate? I only consider it siblings, parents and grandparents, not aunts, uncles and cousins. Last year, we had 98 at Christmas on my dad's side.
    In our family "immediate" is everyone up to 1st cousins.
     
      Image and video hosting by TinyPic Lilypie First Birthday tickers
  • We're getting married in NJ, another expensive place for weddings. We are only having 100 people, but have spared no expense. 

    Wow--$120 per plate? That sounds like a bargain by Jersey standards. We only looked at 2 places that were that inexpensive, and they were both nothing special at all. In fact, my dad went to a wedding at one of those places a few months after we looked at it and said that the bride was livid because they kept coming to her for direction on what to do next all night. She couldn't just relax and have fun. 

    Vegetarian meals can be terrible. The worst is when they just take the sides from the other dishes and give you a plate of broccoli, carrots, and potatoes. 

    We also didn't worry about linens or chair covers. We didn't add any extra options to cocktail hour. We have 8 passed h'ors d'oeuvres and 4 stations, which we think is enough though we've seen many more at other weddings. We're having a full meal afterward so I can't imagine that people would need that much more food. We didn't upgrade a station to a sushi station. At $20 per head and with at least half of the guests being averse to sushi, it wasn't worth it no matter how tempting it was.
  • Jells2dot0Jells2dot0 Cowtown mod
    Moderator Eighth Anniversary 5000 Comments 500 Love Its
    I agree- $120pp sounds like a bargain! I know that seems odd, but all of the places I looked at were well beyond that. It really does depend on where you live and what the norm is for the area. Even though I spent quite a bit on our second wedding for just the two of us, it seems like a bargain compared to my first wedding and most of the weddings on here :)

     







  • KatWAGKatWAG Chicago member
    2500 Comments Fifth Anniversary 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    edited June 2013

    I had a big luxury wedding in Chicago, so I can appreciate how quickly the costs add up. Where is your venue?

    I consider first cousins and aunts/uncles to be immediate family. H's side was 85 people. His dad is 1 of 9. Personally I would rather have a small-ish wedding and really treat our guests than a huge wedding where you cant afford your first choice in vendors. And I would agree with others that $120 pp sounds like a steal.

    BabyFruit Ticker
  • I can't even contemplate having a 100 person wedding.  Our invite list is right around 600, but in our area and the industry our families work in, you invite everyone you know and have a professional relationship with.  I keep joking with people that their reward for sitting through a 2 hour traditional Catholic mass is our reception.  

    I never thought of New Jersey as being an expensive state, but after reading people's comments on TK I might have to reevaluate that.  My brother's wedding last year in CA was around $100pp, but we live in an agricultural area so things just happen to be less expensive.  His wedding in TX two weeks before was more like $50, and I think that was considered very nice for that area of the panhandle as well.  My extended family was SO confused when that dinner consisted of brisket, tortellini, and rolls.  Her family and friends that traveled were overwhelmed when the dinner was prime rib and we had quite a few cases of champagne leftover because we didn't want to run out.
    image

    Previously Alaynajuliana


  • Jells2dot0Jells2dot0 Cowtown mod
    Moderator Eighth Anniversary 5000 Comments 500 Love Its
    I can't even contemplate having a 100 person wedding.  Our invite list is right around 600, but in our area and the industry our families work in, you invite everyone you know and have a professional relationship with.  I keep joking with people that their reward for sitting through a 2 hour traditional Catholic mass is our reception.  

    I never thought of New Jersey as being an expensive state, but after reading people's comments on TK I might have to reevaluate that.  My brother's wedding last year in CA was around $100pp, but we live in an agricultural area so things just happen to be less expensive.  His wedding in TX two weeks before was more like $50, and I think that was considered very nice for that area of the panhandle as well.  My extended family was SO confused when that dinner consisted of brisket, tortellini, and rolls.  Her family and friends that traveled were overwhelmed when the dinner was prime rib and we had quite a few cases of champagne leftover because we didn't want to run out.
    OMFG- 600!?! I'd kill myself. LOL I actually almost had to do that, though. My dad is in politics and is a business owner, so naturally, he thought he needed to invite his network. To avoid that, I placed a deposit on a site that couldn't hold 500 people and told him too bad :)

     







  • Well let me tell you NJ is very expensive. I currently live in NJ and am getting married there for my venue alone I m paying 27K for 150 people on a Saturday. If you want to get married in a nice place, you will need to pay alot in Jersey especially North Jersey. Given that it is closed to NYC.
    HobokensFury
  • @aracely1234 I can only imagine how much more it would cost if you got married in NYC then!  In my area there are not a lot of great venues because it is so agricultural, so the costs end up coming from decor, furniture, lighting, drapery, etc, so that you can dress up a modest hall.

    @jells2dot0 my dad is more interested in Church politics, haha.  I used to work for the State Senate in CA so believe I know how fast relationships can be built in politics.  I wound up telling my FIs father and mine that they can invite whomever they want, but it is "$X" pp, because I didn't want to be given a budget and a guest list that didn't match how I want to host our guests.  They are both fine with it, so I am fine with their big lists.  I might have to talk to the fire marshal about the capacity limits at our Church though.
    image

    Previously Alaynajuliana


  • Welcome to the sane TK board! ;) Yeah, my family is also huge... FI wanted to keep it under 100 guests, and honestly, I laughed. Half my family is Irish Catholic, and his is Jewish. 100 guests? There's no way. ;) 

    We're also looking at nice venues, as we don't want to be bothered with crap decoration. If the place looks nice already, there's no need to hide it, right? :) 
  • JoanE2012JoanE2012 Exit 21 (Jersey!) member
    5000 Comments 500 Love Its Fourth Anniversary 5 Answers
    @KnotPorscha - He's spamming the boards.  
  • We had similar priorities in mind when we started planning. We're glamorous at heart and would never go the low key route in order to host everyone and their cousin, besides, we had our hearts set on our destination venue, which for its capacity and location helped in keeping the guest list under control. We drew the guest list line at 35 and splurged on the food/drinks/cake/whatnot. We did have a budget but limiting the total cost of invitations, escort cards, etc allowed us to spend more on what mattered most to us. I honestly don't remember what the cost per head was in the end, but including the $$$ cake baker it was a lot. We had to include raw cuisine versions of the menu for a few guests and those were expensive! 
  • I wanted a big wedding feel even though I'm only having 20 guests.  So far I've spent about $44k.   The venue is at a 15th century coaching inn in England, on a terrace overlooking the rolling hills and a river.  I'm having the whole terrace decked in garlands and bunches of flowers.  I absolutely love flowers so I knew I wanted lots of them.   I also splurged on my gown, and we're having some amazing food and cake.  I just wanted my friends and family to really enjoy themselves.   It costs what it costs.


    Wedding Countdown Ticker
  • I was going to say $120 per person in NJ is considered cheap.  I have a pretty tiny family, FI's is a lot bigger.  We are trying to keep our invite list under 150 and I think we will be able to do that.  It was really hard trying to find a venue with everything we wanted for under $150pp. We've decided on a medium guest list but still keeping it high quality we want our guest to have a good time.  We considered a venue for $275pp but decided for a slightly lower per person cost to have more friends and family there.

    Anniversary

  • CrazyCatLady3CrazyCatLady3 member
    1000 Comments 500 Love Its Second Anniversary First Answer
    edited July 2013
    So far it looks like I'm in the same boat as you, OP.  I live in NYC, where the *average* wedding cost is $65k, and am from LI, where the *average* wedding cost is $55k.  (Though I think costs for jewelry, HM etc gets thrown in there which is so variable).  Right now we are looking at doing an 80 person wedding at a rooftop lounge with a top notch caterer, and I am estimating the event will come to about $42k, not including gown/attire, jewelry, hair/makeup or HM.  So the cost per person will be high but the overall hit won't make me feel too bad about spending on one day compared to the averages.
  • Jells2dot0Jells2dot0 Cowtown mod
    Moderator Eighth Anniversary 5000 Comments 500 Love Its
    CrazyCatLady3 said:
    So far it looks like I'm in the same boat as you, OP.  I live in NYC, where the *average* wedding cost is $65k, and am from LI, where the *average* wedding cost is $55k.  (Though I think costs for jewelry, HM etc gets thrown in there which is so variable).  Right now we are looking at doing an 80 person wedding at a rooftop lounge with a top notch caterer, and I am estimating the event will come to about $42k, not including gown/attire, jewelry, hair/makeup or HM.  So the cost per person will be high but the overall hit won't make me feel too bad about spending on one day compared to the averages.
    I know whenever I refer to a pp cost for a wedding, I only ever include food/beverage/reception site costs. I know everyone looks at it differently :)

     







This discussion has been closed.
Choose Another Board
Search Boards