Updated: Jan 28
Hosting any type of event can be an expensive task. One of the major roles in a higher than average budget is your headcount or guest list. How many people are you inviting?
The Eden specializes in large events of up to 400 guests. We know the costs and how much $moolah$ goes into hosting an event of that size. We want to share some important and REALISTIC expectations you should have, as well as some powerful tips to help you SAVE.
I’m sure you might have done your research on what the average wedding costs. But, did you look into the detail of that average wedding? Those details are based off a guest count of 150 guests. There are many crucial per person charges in an event. Those are catering, bar service, rentals, cake and desserts, and décor that are created based on your head count, and not a flat rate.
If you’re expecting to have a wedding of 500 people on a budget of $20,000 (the very modest average for a wedding of 150 guests) you will have to compromise in order to stay withing your budget.
Compromising means you will need to go with the lesser priced catering. EVERY dollar per person counts when you are planning your catering. At The Eden, we have buffet packages as low as $11.00 per person. But, this is a compromise. Our least expensive option is a BBQ Dinner. It’s not as formal as a meat, veggie, starch, and salad meal. However, it feeds your guests and saves you $2.50 per person compared to our basic yet more expensive option at $13.50 per person. That can be almost $1000.00 in savings! Also forgo the plated options. The more guests you have the more labor charge is involved and can add up very fast! Service is well worth the cost but it can be extremely expensive for a large event with a minimal budget.
Providing an open bar is not needed when you’re pushing over 300 guests. Instead provide a partial service at the most. Purchase per keg, per bottle of wine, and provide liquor as cash bar rate. This is our favorite type of bar. It allows guests to still have an alcoholic beverage and it keeps the hard stuff and drunk party crashers at bay.
Rentals are also a very pricey aspect to each event. Search for a venue that includes your basic needs, and if your budget is super tight don’t choose add on options. The Eden offers everything needed within the rental rate. Its additional to have farm tables and chairs. Its additional to add in glass ware table set ups. However, we do provide you all the needed items to host your event. This includes tables and chairs with table linens and chair covers. Our catering includes china plates, flatware, and paper napkins. The bar service includes all the needed plastic cups. Choosing to upgrade those items does come at a cost. A cost that is charged at a per person rate that a large event with a small budget may not be able to afford.
Décor can also be affect based on the amount of décor you need. This means the more tables you have the more centerpieces you need. It may be a more economical option to choose the simpler décor in order to fit your budget and your quantity of tables. A $50 centerpiece can be a big difference when you have 15-30 more tables than the average wedding of 150 guests.
Have dreams of having a tiered wedding cake? We love beautiful cakes. With a guest list over 300 guests a tiered wedding cake is going to cost you. Instead compromise for a smaller two tiered cutting cake and allow sheet cakes to be cut and served from the back. Guests will never know! And you saved hundreds!
Now, for the most important part. SPLURGE on the needed service. Hosting a large 300 person or more event on your own in Grandpas field, doing your own catering, or even cleaning up after the event is not going to be an easy task. Search for those venues, like The Eden, that have a space that includes all the needed details, catering that provides delicious food and staff at a reasonable price, and bar service that can be customized. The staffing behind these three elements are well worth the price. Check out our blog about what services to splurge on here. Cut back in other per person extras so you can relax and make happy memories.
So you may be asking what does my budget need to be with a wedding of 300 guests and over?
Well, if you don’t want to compromise and you really want it to have a grand event just the same as the average 150 person event you will need to have a larger yet modest budget of $35,000.
Here is a breakdown of that $35,000 budget for headcount of 300-500 guests.
$2,500 Venue – Large enough to hold over 300 guests, provides tables and chairs, linens for tables and chairs, bathrooms, heat or ac if needed, a venue coordinator, floor plan set up, and facility clean up.
$6500-$8500 Catering Budget – Including china plates, silver ware, napkins, buffet setting, staffing and labor to cook, serve, and clean up after meal.
$3000-$4500 Bar Budget - Minimal yet full service free liquor, beer, and wine for guests, bartenders, and security.
$3000-$5500 – Décor budget –Simple floral centerpieces, bouquets and boutineers, and DIY arches and backdrops if needed.
$2500 – Photography
$1000 – Entertainment
$1300 Bridal Attire
$250 - Alterations
$300 Groom Attire
$600-$1000 Bridal Bands
$400-$600 Accessories and Beauty
$300 -$500 Ceremony Music
$650 Ceremony location (if not included in venue) – Location and rented ceremony chairs
$1000-$2000 Premium Rentals – Cloth napkins, glassware, up lighting, colored linens, etc.
$600-$800 Invitations and stamps
$2500 Modest Honeymoon
We LOVE our large events. The life and memories shared are doubled. Make sure your focusing on the important aspects when planning a big wedding. If your budget isn’t $35,000 then you need to decide what is important and dial those down and make adjustments to not only your budget but also your expectations. If you cannot live without a grand wedding then take a look at your guest list and work that down as far as possible to fit into your budget.