If you know your wedding will have a larger guest list, it can seem really daunting to budget for it. The average wedding in the United States has 125 people so a 300-person wedding is more than double that amount! Does that mean that it will be double the cost? Here’s how much a 300 person wedding usually costs:
In general, a 300 person wedding costs $80,000-$100,000 which is more than double the cost of an average wedding. This range may be higher or lower depending on where you say “ I do”and how lavish the event is.
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 more than double the amount of people, you can expect the costs to be more than double as well.
Of course costs like food and drinks are going to be more expensive, because they are variable with the amount of guests you invite. More guests means a higher catering and bar tab as well as higher decorating costs to accommodate additional tables.
You will be surprised to find things like the venue costs are higher as well since you’ll need to find one that can hold that many guests. A lot of wedding venues max out around 200-250. And your lower budget options, like using a park or your home as a venue, become impractical with 300 people.
Keep reading for more information about planning a large affair for 300 people on a budget of $80,000-100,000. Because the final numbers will actually come down to your choices, what your wedding costs could be much lower or higher than that range. I’ll go through how to get that number down as low as you can, what the average wedding looks like with that budget, and what a lavish wedding for 300 guests could set you back.
How did I come up with this number?
I used my Loud Bride wedding budget guide and personal experience to determine the typical fixed expenses and the variable costs that are per guest. I also took into consideration that with a larger guest list you have fewer options for venues which may push you into choosing more expensive options than normal.
As you’re coming to understand by reading this article, the guest list is a major factor when it comes to your wedding budget. If you want to learn more about why that is, you can read how much a wedding costs per person here. I explore all of the ins and outs of the costs for you so you can understand how your guest list is the biggest contributor to the cost of your wedding. And if you’re on a tighter budget, you may decide that the guest list is the first thing to cut.
What is considered a large wedding?
A large wedding is an event with more than 150 guests. The average wedding size nationwide is 125 guests. So anything larger than 150 is above average.
Of course, what is considered large varies by country and cultural tradition. In a lot of European countries, more than 50 guests would be a larger wedding. European weddings are usually smaller and more intimate parties. So in many countries in Europe, having a wedding with even 100 people is rare.
Weddings in India or South American countries, however, are usually much larger celebrations. A 300 person wedding might be normally sized or even on the smaller end of what’s typically planned. I’ve heard of many Indian weddings that stretch over the course of a few days with the entire town on the guest list.
Because America is such a diverse country with many different cultures, your wedding might be 300+ people due to the traditional norms of you or your fiancé. Try to respect your partner’s cultural customs if they are different from your own. What one person might consider large, another person might consider small. And both could be correct according to each’s cultural backgrounds.
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 200 person wedding since we each 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 300 person wedding
Planning 300 person wedding on the lower end of the range or below is not an easy task. Without sacrificing much you can reduce the costs to around $60,000. Which is still more than average but more manageable. 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.
How to plan an average 300 person wedding
If you want the more typical wedding with a 300 person guest list, then you can expect to stay within $80,000-100,000. Let’s break it down into detail 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 also squeeze in a wedding planner, which I highly recommend to help manage both the large guest list and the larger budget to make sure your money is being used wisely.
You would think that this budget would afford luxuries like a designer dress, fireworks or lobster for dinner, but with a 300 person guest list you’ll end up spending half of your budget on just the essentials – the venue, catering, and alcohol.
How to plan an extravagant 300 person wedding
If money isn’t an issue or maybe you have family members willing to contribute towards the added guests, you can plan a spectacular $150,000-250,000 wedding with 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.
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 300 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 $80-100k, 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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