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If you’re thinking of planning a smaller wedding of around 50 people, you may be wondering how much it costs and if you can save money.
In general, a 50 person wedding costs $11,000-$17,000 or around half the cost of an average wedding. Of course this range can be higher or lower depending on where you get married and the type of reception you have.
The average wedding cost for 2021 according to The Knot is $33,931. This varies by location, with states like Wyoming having an average of $19,000 and New Jersey topping the list with an average of $53,000. The average wedding guest list is around 125 people so you can expect to spend less than the average if your wedding only has 50 people.
Keep reading to learn more about budgeting for 50 person weddings, what a micro wedding is, and how to plan a wedding within the $11-17k range, or throw an epic dream wedding for your smaller guest list.
How did I come up with this number?
I used our Loud Bride wedding budget calculator and personal research to calculate what you typically spend on a wedding per person and what the average fixed costs are. We also took into consideration that with a smaller guest list you have more options for untraditional venues that can save you money.
You can read more about how much a wedding costs per person here. We break down 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 a micro wedding?
A micro wedding is a smaller wedding with less than 50 people. They are called micro weddings because they are scaled back from the average wedding and usually lower in cost. Micro weddings can also include court house weddings, elopements, and secret weddings.
Micro weddings have been rising in the recent years due to COVID restrictions and the increase in student debt and housing costs. The biggest reason for more couples exploring micro weddings is because of state or local restrictions during the pandemic. If you wanted to get married in 2020 or 2021, many venues restricted the number of guests you could invite in order to increase the likelihood of social distancing.
In general we’re seeing more and more Millennials are less willing than previous generations to spend a huge amount on a wedding when they already have large amounts of debt or are saving up for a down payment. Couples who are willing to buck the recent traditions of costly weddings will find many resources to help them plan a party that celebrates their love without breaking the bank.
How to plan an inexpensive 50 person wedding
If you’re looking to plan a 50 person wedding that’s on the lower end of the range or below, you can expect to spend between $5,000 and $10,000. At least half of that budget will be on food which typically costs $65-70 per person. Keeping other costs down below average such as buying a wedding dress off-the-rack, booking a non-traditional wedding venue, scaling back your flowers and music budget, will make it relatively easy to stay on track to spend less than the average.
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 all of our tips for planning a $5,000 wedding and a $10,000 wedding where we break down exactly how much you should spend on each category and how to find lower-cost alternatives to stay on a budget.
One of my favorite tips to cut down on costs is to use an affordable wedding stationery option. Zazzle has some of the best quality and beautiful designs for the price. You can check out my favorite styles on Zazzle here. And don’t forget to check out my review of Zazzle to see why I recommend them.
How to plan an average 50 person wedding
If you want the typical wedding experience with a 50 person guest list, then you can expect to stay within the $11,000-17,000 range. Here’s how that number is broken out in detail:
- $3,250 – 3,500 on catering (food, alcohol, and cake)
- $1,000-5,000 on the venue
- $1,600 on the dress and alterations
- $300 on hair and makeup
- $125 on invitations
- $125 on wedding favors
- $600 on flowers
- $2,400 on photography
- $1,200 on a DJ
- $400-2,000 on miscellaneous (gifts, tips, rehearsal dinner, bachelor/bachelorette party, transportation, etc.)
How to plan an extravagant 50 person wedding
Just because you have a small guest list, doesn’t mean that you have to have a small wedding. There are a number of ways your wedding can be bold and loud with 50 people.
Plan an epic destination wedding
Destination weddings don’t have to be expensive. In fact, sometimes destination weddings can cost less than local weddings with all-inclusive packages. Many destination wedding venues have packages for 20-50 people that include the ceremony site, reception, food, drinks and cake, a hotel stay for the couple, and more for $3,000-5,000. When you factor in your own travel, you may still end up under $10,000. This is often the case for Caribbean wedding destinations.
But if you want to go all out on a destination wedding in a more exotic locale and not take advantage of all-inclusive packages, expect to pay more. 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 a fabulous restaurant
If you’re a foodie couple, you can skip the dry lukewarm salmon catering and host your wedding at a fine dining establishment. Depending on the restaurant you may end up with a wedding on par or above the average costs for 50 people.
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.)
Style your wedding to look good from every angle
You can easily spend $10,000 on decorations alone if you’re into flowers, neon signs, large-scale backdrops, elaborate centerpieces, and other decor. Then you’ll also need a professional photography team ready and able to capture all of your amazing vision.
Now that you know what to expect when planning a 50 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 $11-17k, 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.