If you’re going through the planning of a larger wedding of 200 people, or more, you might be curious how much it costs. And if it’s even possible to stay on a budget in the process. Here’s how much a 200 person wedding typically costs:
In general, a 200 person wedding costs $60,000-$80,000 or around double the cost of an average wedding. This range may be higher or lower depending on where you get married and the type of event you have.
According to The Knot $33,931 is the average cost for a wedding these days. That number accounts for an average guest list of 125 people. So if you’re planning an affair that’s almost double the amount of people, you can expect the costs to be almost double as well.
Not only are the variable costs like food and favors going to be more expensive. But you might find things like venue costs to be more expensive as well since you’ll need to find one that can specifically accommodate that many guests. And your usual options to cut costs, like hosting it at a restaurant or home, become almost impossible.
Keep reading to learn more about budgeting for 200 person weddings and how to plan a large wedding within the $60-80k range, or throw an epic dream wedding for your giant guest list.
How did I come up with this number?
I used my Loud Bride wedding budget guide and personal research to calculate both the per person costs and the average fixed expenses. I also took into consideration that with a larger guest list you have fewer options for untraditional venues that can save you money.
To learn more about why the guest list is such an important factor when it comes to your wedding budget, you can read more about how much a wedding costs per person here. I get into the nitty gritty details of all of the variable and fixed costs for you so you can see how your guest list is the biggest factor that determines the cost of your wedding.
What is considered a large wedding?
A large wedding is a marriage with more than 150 people. It is officially a larger than average wedding when you have more guests than the average nationwide of 125 guests.
The definition of a large wedding definitely varies by country and cultural tradition. In many parts of Europe more than 50 people would be considered a large wedding. Since weddings tend to be smaller, more intimate affairs in many countries there, having a wedding with 100 guests is almost unheard of.
On the opposite end of the spectrum many weddings in India or South American countries tend to be much larger. A 200-person wedding would be considered small if you’re used to attending 300+ person weddings. Or even 1000 person weddings! Those weddings may stretch over the course of many days and include the entire town within the guest list.
Just goes to show that American wedding traditions can and often do include those of other cultural backgrounds. So it’s important to respect your partner’s cultural customs if they are different from your own.
How to manage a large wedding guest list
If you have a large family on one or both sides, or cultural tradition that dictates a larger wedding, it may be nearly impossible to avoid having a large wedding. I, myself, almost had a large wedding since on both sides we have large family and friend groups. I ended up doing two things that cut our guest list from large to smaller than average.
The first is I picked a line in the family tree to cut things off. We invited first cousins for example but didn’t extend to cousins-once-removed (our cousin’s kids) even though they were almost adults. We also didn’t invite kids and had to make some difficult friend decisions. Even after making these decisions our guest list was 175 people and our venue could only fit 150. We definitely had some concerns that we would be over capacity.
If you’re looking for some guidance on who to invite (and who to cut), I have a wedding guest flow chart that might be helpful.
The second way we cut it down was by having a “destination” wedding. I put that in quotes because it wasn’t a destination for half the guest list. But for the other half it was a 5 hour drive or short plane ride away. Many of my family members didn’t come to the wedding because of the travel, which ended up putting our attendance at 115 guests. Way under the maximum and a lot less expensive than we budgeted for.
In hindsight, I wish I had a b-list for some of our friends that we weren’t able to invite so we could’ve included them in our wedding. You never know how many people are going to RSVP yes when the wedding is a bit of a trip.
How to plan an inexpensive 200 person wedding
Planning 200 person wedding that’s on the lower end of the range or below is no easy feat. Without sacrificing much you can expect to spend around $60,000. Here’s how that works out if you put it into the budget guide.
- $34,000 on the venue, catering and cake
- $960 on invitations
- $4200 on flowers and decorations
- $3600 on the dress, suit and alterations
- $538 on hair and make up
- $6000 on the bachelor and bachelorette parties
- $2700 on a DJ
- $4200 on a photographer and videographer package
- $600 on the ceremony officiant, location and decor
- $3000 on the rehearsal dinner and other miscellaneous expenses
As you can see from the above, many of those cost allocations are generous depending on where in the country you live. So it should be easy to relatively stay on budget or move things around if you want to prioritize the dress over flowers or trim some money from the hair and makeup budget.
If you’re looking for affordable wedding venues, try this list of the best places to find cheap wedding receptions.
You can even include your destination bachelor / bachelorette weekend trips within the cost.
If you are willing to sacrifice a bit and want to plan a wedding and stay closer to the average budget, you can spend as low as $37,000. Here’s what I would recommend:
- $24,000 on the venue, catering and cake
- $480 on invitations
- $2100 on flowers and decorations
- $1800 on the dress, suit and alterations
- $270 on hair and make up
- $3000 on the bachelor and bachelorette parties
- $1350 on a DJ
- $2100 on a photographer
- $300 on the ceremony officiant, location and decor
- $1500 on the rehearsal dinner and other miscellaneous expenses
As you can see it’s a little tight and you’ll definitely have to prioritize certain categories over others.
$480 might sound like a lot for invitations but with 200 guests you’re going to spend $120-360 on postage alone. The lower end if you only send invites with an online RSVP and the higher end if you send save the dates, invites, and RSVP cards. That only leaves you with $0.60-$1.80 per invitation when the average is $1.18 per invitation for a basic invite and envelope.
$1800 isn’t a lot for a dress, suit and alterations but it can be done if you buy something off the rack and use a suit you already own. But you could go minimal on the flowers to put more budget towards the dress.
You’ll need to give up the videography package and stick with an average or slightly below average cost photography package. Along with other sacrifices throughout the process like staying local for the bachelor and bachelorette parties. It can be done if you’re willing to compromise!
How to plan an average 200 person wedding
If you want the more typical wedding with a 200 person guest list, then you can expect to stay within $60,000-80,000. I already broke down the $60,000 budget so let’s go into detail on $80,000 so you can see how not so extravagant it is.
- $41,000 on the venue, catering and cake
- $1280 on invitations
- $5600 on flowers and decorations
- $4800 on the dress, suit and alterations
- $717 on hair and make up
- $8000 on the bachelor and bachelorette parties
- $3600 on a DJ
- $5600 on a photographer and videographer
- $800 on the ceremony officiant, location and decor
- $4000 on the rehearsal dinner and other miscellaneous expenses
Some things you can afford with this budget include a day of coordinator, videography, a cocktail hour with extra apps, nice decor in the form of centerpieces for each table and the ceremony location, transportation for guests to and from a ceremony location, and a few other niceties along the way. You could maybe even squeeze in a wedding planner. But you’ll see how $80,000 doesn’t really afford luxuries like a designer dress, fireworks or lobster for dinner with a 200 person guest list.
How to plan an extravagant 200 person wedding
Now we’re talking about how to bring this budget to the max. If money isn’t an issue or maybe you have family members willing to contribute towards the added guests, you can plan a spectacular $100,000-150,000 wedding with all of the added luxuries.
Plan an epic destination wedding
Rent out a chateau in France and fly first class. Have a wedding on a yacht. Rent out an entire hotel in Vale and take everyone skiing for the weekend. The possibilities are endless.
Rent out a five-star restaurant
If you’re a foodie couple, you can skip the typical catering and host your wedding at a fine dining establishment. It might be difficult to find a restaurant large enough and expect to rent out the entire place for the night to accommodate 200 guests at most restaurants.
Style your wedding to look good from every angle
You can spend $10,000 on invitations alone if you’re into custom stationery with wax seals, hand drawn maps, hand-calligraphy and more. Floral installations, neon signs, large-scale backdrops, elaborate centerpieces, and other decor could also push your budget above the six figure mark. Then you’ll also need a professional design team ready and able to set up and execute your vision.
Ready to start planning?
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.
Now that you know what to expect when planning a 200 person wedding, you can start planning and create a realistic budget. Whether you want to keep your wedding costs under $60,000, spend the average of $60-80k, or splurge on an epic experience with your friends and family, you’ll find more resources and like-minded brides in our private, free Facebook group – Wedding Planning Club.
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