top of page

How Much Does it Really Cost to Get Married in California? Dolce Vita Events explains the cost of CA

Infograph courtesy of

In honor of “Wedding Wednesday”, we here at Dolce Vita Events wanted to break down the real costs of getting married here in California. Our partners over at The Knot ( recently shared great info and details about everything you need to know when considering the costs for a California wedding. And while we feel the info-graph above is a good starting point, we have to be real and break down more of the actual costs for some of the services based on what we see with clients across the board from Palm Springs to San Francisco, and everywhere in between.

Keep in mind, the pricing above is more of a starting point as the average cost of a Southern California wedding will range from about $25,000 to $50,000 based on a 100 person guest list. But let’s be honest, most California brides (and especially Southern California brides) are going to want the wedding of their dreams and all the luxuries that come with it…that means paying the higher end of the spectrum for most of the services listed.

Venue: We agree with the average cost of venue as it’s listed. This rate is most likely for mid-priced hotel and banquet venues (country clubs, private venues, etc.) California has many high profile and luxury hotel wedding venues in the more popular cities that can cost upwards of twice that amount for a 100 guest wedding. We typically see higher profile venue fees that include catering to be at the $20-30K range. Less expensive alternatives include: outdoor ceremony sites, community space/venues, smaller venues that don’t include catering, tables/chairs/etc., and private estates.

DJ: Since DJ’s typically average $100 per hour in cost and will be used many times for the ceremony music as well as the reception, making it a 6-8 hour gig, this rate is accurate when you consider tax and tips.

Photographer: $2500 for a photographer is really a starting point. Yes, you can find wedding photogs that offer bared down packages for budget conscious brides, but if you want the cinematic, editorial looking photos with albums, canvases, etc., you can expect to pay $3500 to$5000 for an experienced wedding photographer.

Flowers: OK, again, this is truly a starting point. $2500 for flowers will get you the basic package: Bridal bouquet, bridesmaid bouquet, boutonnieres, altar flowers, centerpieces, cake and guestbook table décor. However, with the enticement and inspiration from luxury wedding planning magazines, Pinterest, and all the reality wedding shows, brides want the luxe looks they are seeing everywhere they turn. And since flowers are what can truly transform a wedding and venue, those spectacular looks can cost upwards of another $5,000 to $10,000 in floral and designer décor (this includes linens, arches, gazebos, fresh flower aisle runners, etc.)

photo: Hogue Photo Karen Tran Designs

Wedding Gown: Wouldn’t it be lovely if wedding dresses actually cost $1615? (insert animated smiley face here). Um, yes, but…No. Dresses average $2500 for even a lower budget wedding. California brides are paying $4500 on average for their wedding dress.

Videographer: We agree with videography costing around $2500. However, for experienced, true cinematic mini-movies, which seem to be the trend for wedding videos, you can expect to pay up to $5,000.

Reception Band: Bands are awesome for weddings! And bands at this rate would be a steal! The realistic cost for a great wedding band starts around $5000. This is an element many couples tend to cut out of the budget because along with all of the other necessary details of a wedding, the costs will add up very quickly.

And here are a couple of additional but pertinent costs that our friends at forgot to include:

Wedding Cake: Wedding cakes have become as much of a highlight as the wedding dress for most brides. And the costs can creep up almost as much. At an average of $6 per slice, expect to pay about $600-$850 for a custom designed cake that both tastes great and looks beautiful! Savings Tip: Save money on the cake by ordering for only half your guest count and supplementing a dessert or candy buffet as not everyone will be eating cake.

photo courtesy of

Wedding Planner or Coordinator: How our partners at The Knot could overlook such an important portion of the wedding planning essentials by not including costs for a wedding planner or coordinator is beyond us. We here at DVE want to be crystal clear in stating that an experienced wedding planner will more than save you money, time, and stress in planning your wedding. An experienced wedding planner will be your go-to for support, advice, honest opinion, and professional direction in one of the most important events of your life. That being said, a wedding planner providing full wedding planning will cost an average of $5000 for about 12 months of work (Yes! We know that’s a steal!), saving you an average of 150 hours of research time, thousands of dollars, and so much more.

If you still decide to go at planning it all on your own, a Day of Coordinator will provide wedding day management and coordination services to ensure the wedding day runs as you have planned it and will cost you on average $1250 for the 10-15 hours that they will work on your wedding day, including the wedding rehearsal, and being available for correspondence and confirmations from roughly two weeks before the wedding. (Dolce Vita Events offers top notch wedding planning and coordination services for every budget.)

photo courtesy of Universal Pictures

Catering: While we will give the benefit of the doubt that the venue fees they are listing would include food, it’s not likely that it would include a full sit down meal plus the bar tab for a 100 guest wedding. The average costs for catering of a dinner time sit-down meal at weddings is about $40-$55 per person (up to $5500 for 100 people), plus the cost of the bar which could be another $10 per person of its an open bar!

Yes, weddings are expensive. Yes, many will say that California weddings are even more costly, but much is to be said for the beauty, variety, and amenities that come with having a California Dream Wedding.

Dolce Vita Events plans and coordinates weddings throughout all of California and nationwide and we are experts and saving our clients the most money throughout the entire planning process. We guarantee that what we save you in the production costs of your wedding will more than pay for our planning and coordination fees! We are experts in getting the best services for our clients at the best pricing and return on investment so contact us today to begin planning your California Dream Wedding or event!

Featured Posts
Recent Posts
bottom of page