When you’re planning a wedding of around 150 people, you might be curious how much it costs. And even if you can save money along the way without trimming your guest list.
Typically a 150 person wedding costs between $37,000-$47,000 or a little more than the average wedding cost in the United States. Of course the costs can be higher if you’re in a high cost of living area or lower if you’re especially thrifty.
According to The Knot, the average wedding cost last year was $33,931. This number changes depending on the location. Lower cost of living states like Wyoming had an average of $19,000. While New Jersey topped the list with an average of $53,000. With this year’s unprecedented inflation, lots of brides are finding those numbers hard to match this year.
The average wedding guest list is around 125 people so you can expect to spend about average if your wedding guest list is 150 people.
Keep reading to learn more about budgeting for 150 person weddings, how to plan a wedding within the $37-47k range, or throw your dream wedding for less money.
How did I come up with this number?
I used my Loud Bride wedding budget calculator along with my own personal research to create a budget that is based on what couples usually spend per person plus what the average fixed costs are.
The guest count is an important factor in your wedding budget that most calculators ignore. As you add guests costs for food, drinks, and other variable costs go up. And if you reach a large enough number, you’ll find that your options for vendors are also limited to those who can accommodate larger weddings.
You can read more about how much a wedding costs per person here. I explain the difference between variable and fixed costs for you. You’ll can see how your guest list is a huge factor in determining the cost of your wedding.
How to plan an less expensive 150 person wedding
When planning a 150 person wedding that’s on the lower end of the range or below, you could potentially spend as little as $20,000 if you budget smartly.
You should plan on food and the venue being the largest expense. Food and alcohol averages $65-70 per person. I wouldn’t recommend an alternative venue like a backyard or public park with a larger crowd.
Keeping other costs down below average such as buying a wedding dress on sale, scaling back your decor and flowers budget, and skipping destination bachelor / bachelorette parties will make it much easier to stay on track and spend less than the average.
Here’s a recommendation of where your budget should go:
- $6000 on the venue
- $11,250 on food and alcohol
- $750 on the dress and alterations by buying a dress online or secondhand
- Do your own hair and makeup
- $100 on invitations by printing them yourself or buying a fill-in template (you’ll still need this much for postage alone)
- $200 on flowers and decor (again DIY is your best bet here)
- $750 on a student photographer
- Use Spotify as your DJ (more on that here)
- $1000 on the rest (gifts, tips, rehearsal dinner, bachelor/bachelorette party, transportation, etc.)
You can check out my free budget guide if you sign up for my newsletter. It automatically calculates what you should spend where based on your budget and guest count and helps you stay on track. It’s like the fairy godmother of numbers.
See more tips for planning a $5,000 wedding and a $10,000 wedding to get additional details on things like finding an affordable photographer, alternative wedding venues, and more.
How to plan an average cost 150 person wedding
If you want the more traditional wedding experience with a 150 person guest list, then you can expect to stay within the $37,000-47,000 range. Here’s how that number is broken out in detail:
- $26,500 on the venue and catering (including cake!)
- $2,800 on the dress and alterations
- $400 on hair and makeup
- $750 on invitations
- $3,300 on flowers and decorations
- $3,300 on photography
- $2,100 on a DJ
- $4,700 on bachelor / bachelorette parties
- And the rest on gifts, tips, rehearsal dinner, transportation, etc.
As you can see from the above, you have room to prioritize what’s most important to you. Want a killer dress? Spend less on the venue, flowers, and bachelor/bachelorette parties. Want videography? See if you can find a combined package or spend less on the DJ. When working with average budgets, you’ll find a lot of vendors charging close to these prices.
And if you’re in an area where these prices are a lot higher than the ones you’re being quoted, you might be able to save some money or splurge on one or two items that are a priority.
How to plan an extravagant 150 person wedding
And if your budget is a little larger, you can take things up a notch. Here are some areas to explore enhancing if you have more money to spend.
Plan a luxurious destination wedding
First, let’s dispel the myth that destination weddings are always more expensive. In fact, sometimes destination weddings can cost less than local weddings with all-inclusive packages. But those packages are usually for 20-50 people. If you want something larger, a destination wedding is going to cost you.
Renting a castle in France and using an events company to put on your fantasy Loire Valley fete is not a low budget affair.
Rent out an expensive restaurant
If you’re a foodie couple, you can skip the overcooked steak catering and host your wedding at a fine restaurant. Many restaurants have smaller capacities than 150 people so you’ll have to find something pretty large to accommodate you. And you’ll likely need to rent the entire place out.
For example, if you wanted to host your wedding at the esteemed Daniel Boulard restaurant, Daniel, in New York City then you’re looking at paying $210 per person for just the dinner, not including the cocktail hour, room charges, flowers, etc. Not to mention they have a $25,000 food and beverage minimum on Sundays (the only day of the week you can host an evening wedding at Daniel.) And you would have to rent the Main Dining Room to seat up to 160 people.
Focus on the decor
If you are so inclined, you could spend $10,000-20,000 on decorations alone. Plus another $10k on a wedding planner. Large-scale flower displays, neon signs, backdrops, elaborate centerpieces, the possibilities are endless. Don’t forget the professional photographer and videographer team to capture your vision.
Now that you know what to expect when planning a 150 person wedding, you can start planning and create a realistic budget. Whether you want to keep your wedding costs under $5,000, spend the average of $37-47k, or splurge on an epic experience with your closest friends and family, you’ll find more resources and like-minded brides in our private, free Facebook group – Bold on a Budget Weddings.
Have a different number of guests in mind? Check out our posts on planning a wedding for 50 people or 100 people.