The Cost of a Wedding

Budgets are Important — Step One is Knowing What Things Really Cost.

Weddings are pretty and magical—but they also cost money. We wanted to highlight items—like invitations, rentals, food, and florals—and show both the joy they bring and the price tag they carry. We also worked with vendors to prove that no matter your price point, there are always options—by deciding what’s most important, repurposing décor, and being creative. Time to get planning.

For the Love of Paper

Couples have many options when it comes to wedding invitations and how much money they want to spend. That includes custom, semi-custom, letterpress, and digital. Stationers recommend semi-custom for those who love beautiful stationery but have a smaller budget.

Slate + Brush Design Studio
Semi-custom, digitally printed invitation suites start at $1,250 for 100—plus an a la carte of embellishment upgrades like vellum wraps, ribbon, foil, wax seals, and deckled edges. A watercolor pet portrait is an additional $250.

Jessica McSweeney
Spot calligraphy, a highlighting component of a wedding invitation, is $200 for a couple’s name. A full suite starts at $900, but can vary depending on the number of pieces. 

Little Bit Heart 
This custom letterpress and die-cut set includes a double thick oval invitation card with brown ink and letterpress, digitally printed terracotta envelope, digitally printed detail cards, RSVP card, and matching envelope with postage. $2,625 for 100.

From Pixels to Quill 
A fully customizable Wedding Weekend passport—includes illustrations to choose from and the ability to request new ones (for an additional fee). $10/book.

The Power of Flowers

Bridal bouquet prices fluctuate depending on which florals are used and the size of the bouquet.

Flowers & Fancies
A textural garden styled bouquet of assorted greenery featuring a blend of Queen Anne’s lace, hydrangea, seeded eucalyptus, ruscus, fern, hypericum berries, and succulents with a ribbonwrapped stem. $190.

Radebaugh Florist & Greenhouses Hand-tied clutch bouquet in a wildflower design including Sarah Bernhardt peonies, anemones, feverfew, craspedia, ranunculus, delphinium, stock, gem star spray roses, bueno mini gerbera, and a raw-edge, chiffon ribbon. $250.

Stacy Bowen Floral Design 
Large bouquet with butterfly ranunculus, Cappuccino spray roses, Sahara roses, astilbe, Mother of Pearl roses, white Majolica spray roses, Italian Ruscus, and pistache foliage with a ribbon-wrapped stem. $350.

The Wedding Party

By Kate Campbell Floral

To max out your floral impact, concentrate your budget on the ceremony and wherever the couple is sitting during the reception, like a sweetheart or head table—and then pull back on some of the other centerpieces if needed. A high/low concentration provides depth, interest, and special moments. These aisle pieces are generally placed at each row, creating a full garden effect, but to stretch a budget they could be placed at every other row, or just two large ones at the start of the aisle.

Ceremony Setup: Florals + arch rental: $2,250, Garden meadow aisle florals ($225 x 8): $1,800, Total: $4,050

Floral Design Kate Campbell Floral Planner Poppi Company Rentals Honeywood Rentals

Four things to know about repurposing ceremony florals:

• You cannot repurpose items for the cocktail hour because guests will be there during the flip.

• Your floral team must know in advance if they need to stay on-site to flip the ceremony. There will be an extra labor charge for the additional staffing time.

• Arrangements can be moved during cocktail hour, but there is not enough time to redesign them before the reception starts.

• If you take photos in front of the ceremony arrangements after the I Dos, there may not be enough time to move those arrangements into the reception.

Let’s Eat Cake

Repurposing wedding décor not only helps couples stay on budget but also creates a connection between the ceremony and reception. Simply place the cake table underneath the ceremony arch and add the florals around the base of the table.

Cake By Jason
Handmade sugar flowers on a three-tiered cake that mixes textures and patterns. $12-15/per person.

Sage Cakery
A three-tier mosaic design with contrasting colors and textures. $8-11/per person.

The Cake Studio
Two-tier buttercream cake with a watercolor spackle technique that has gold leaf detailing and fresh hydrangeas. $6-8/per person.

Find Your Seat

Rental chairs vary in looks and price points—but all with the same goal: to give guests a place to rest.

Simple resin folding chairs are an easy and less expensive option for a large volume of seating. $3/each at ABC Party & Tent Rental.

This lightweight seat has bamboo-like joints and tends to be simple, elegant, and stylish. $8/each at Elite Tent and Events.

Cross Back
These rustic farmhouse chairs have an X-back and curved legs, plus optional cushions. $10/each at Pretty Little Wedding Co. 

The Lois
These upholstered French-style chairs are perfect for intimate seating arrangements. $16/each at Pretty Little Wedding Co.

Illustrations by Elliot Lanham.

Eat, Drink & Be Married

Our plate runneth over when it comes to catering options in Charm City. We asked the H3irloom Food Group, a high-end catering company, to create a three-course meal for a seated dinner at different price points. (The price include flatware, glassware, plateware, as well as servers.)

Surf & Turf
Dry-aged filet and sorghum-glazed lobster with potato pave, butter-poached asparagus, compressed onion jam, and bourbon demi. $140 and up/per person.

Pan-seared Chesapeake bass, sweet potato purée, and sautéed local greens. $110-125/per person.

Madeira sous-vide chicken breast, potato purée, with seasonal, local vegetable medley. $75-100/per person.

It’s All in the Details

There is no wrong way to wedding, says Courtney Shaw, lead stylist at Moore & Co. Event Stylists. “Whether you’re having a courthouse ceremony followed by brunch reservations or throwing an epic wedding for all those near and dear, remember it’s your day,” she says. The key is to pick details that will leave an impression. Do you love gold flatware? A colored goblet and textured plate? Go for it, says Moore. “It will make a big difference in the overall look. Details matter.”

Simple Elegance
Use dinner plates as mock chargers to elevate the look without a big price tag. $73/per person.

Extravagant Chic A more formal setting includes a bread-and-butter plate, upgraded glassware and chairs, and an awe-inspiring floral arrangement. $325/per person.

CREATIVE DESIGN Moore & Co. Event Stylists FLORAL DESIGN Yarrow Floral Co. RENTALS & STRUCTURE Pretty Little Wedding Co.

Splurge-free places to focus your budget to create a wow on your tablescape:

• Linens can bring color, texture, and pattern into a space. Don’t be afraid to play.

• Tabletop rentals can really make a place setting pop. You don’t have to rent it all, but gold or black flatware or a simple colored water goblet can take your table to the next level.

• Upgrade chairs if the ones included don’t fit your look—remember anything you rent multiplied by your guest count makes a big impact.

• Paper menus can help add so many things to your tabletop, including layers, color, and pattern/design/artwork. This is an easy way to customize the table with names, initials, personalized crests, wax seals, etc.

• Ribbons on a table add texture. Texture creates movement. Movement makes an experience.

• Anything hanging is a wow. It brings your guests’ eyes up and adds so much to a space.


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