NewsMaking It In San Diego


High wedding costs forcing couples to look for ways to save

Posted at 9:41 AM, Jul 23, 2019

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - The average cost of a wedding nationally is $33,000. In San Diego, that number is higher, at $38,000. With the cost of living in San Diego already expensive, couples tying the knot are looking for ways to save.

“It’s shocking, the cost of things,” said Mace Alameri, whose wedding date is set for March 2020.

Alameri said staying with the budget has been tough.

“Initially, we wanted to do a wedding for $15,000, but that’s no longer our budget. It’s a lot higher now; it’s closer to $25,000,” said Alameri.

Alameri decided to look for ways to cut costs. One way she did this was by cutting out the cake.

“I feel like the average cost of a cake is somewhere between $500 or $600. I mean, it's traditional, it's nice, but it’s something that we didn’t mind cutting out,” said Alameri.

Another way she saved was by cutting back on the photography.

“Rather than having a photographer and videographer there for the entire wedding, just have them there for part of it because the end of the night gets sloppy anyway,” Alameri said.

According to Jessica Nielson, CEO & founder of Plan Prep Party, the most expensive part of a wedding is the venue.

“The most expensive element when it comes to your wedding is definitely going to be the venue. And a lot of times that also goes with your food and beverage,” said Nielson.

Nielson insists throwing a wedding on a budget is possible. She said it all comes down to simplifying things across the board, starting with the guest count.

“Every single person is going to cost you upwards of $100, sometimes upward of $200. Guest counts get out of control because everyone thinks they can bring a plus-one and that it’s open to everybody. And as much as they want to include everyone, you really have to be selective because if you aren’t strict with your guest list in the beginning, then it’s really going to be hard to control your budget overall,” said Nielson.

Nielson also said the beautiful weather is one of the main reasons weddings in San Diego have the high sticker price.

“Because we are year-round beautiful, we have a year-round wedding season. So there really isn’t necessarily going to be downtime where you can maximize,” Nielson said.

She suggests couples take advantage of San Diego’s natural beauty and use it as their backdrop.

“Going to the beaches, going to public parks and all you have to do is get a permit from the city or the county, and that’s only a few hundred dollars,” Nielson said.

Nielson also said to opt for a formal dress shop versus a bridal boutique.

“Maybe instead of going to the most expensive and popular bridal shop, maybe you are going to be looking at something that specializes in formal wear, where you can still get a beautiful white gown, but because it’s not considered bridal you’re going to be saving hundreds if not thousands of dollars,” Nielson said.

One fee that surprises couples is guest accommodations.

“You want to plan if you’re going to do a room block for your guests, and if your guests don’t actually fill up the room block, guess who is actually going to have to pay for those rooms: you and your fiancé do,” said Nielson.

If you’re military, ask for any military discount when shopping for attire, bands, rentals and more.

When figuring out a wedding budget, be sure to include wedding bands, marriage license, and transportation.

-- San Diego Shoreline Park Facilities and Permits
-- City of San Diego Park Use Permit/Applications
-- San Diego County Clerk Marriage License info
-- Coronado permit information for outdoor ceremonies
-- Plan Prep Party wedding planning
-- Breakdown of typical wedding costs in different cities, states