Okay so you’re looking into wedding venues and comparing costs....am I right?
If so, then you have arrived at the right place.
One of the most frequently asked questions we receive on a daily basis is...
How much does an estate wedding cost?
And then they follow that question up with...
I know, I know, you can’t give me exact figures, but can you just provide me with ballpark pricing....I won’t hold you to these numbers, I am just looking to get an idea about what we are looking at?
Are you roughly thinking the same thing right now?
If you are nodding your head in agreement, then great, this article is going to provide you with exactly what you are looking for.
Let's go ahead and dive right in.
First things first, let me introduce you to our couple.
For this example, we are going to use an imaginary couple named James and Jessica who just recently got engaged and are looking for a wedding location.
They are inviting 100 guests and have narrowed their venue search to that of sunny Southern California.
Their wedding date is Saturday, September 17th, 2016.
Alright....here we go!
There are 10 main costs to consider (there are more, but we are just going to take these into account for this example):
- Estate Rental
- Catering Service (includes standard tables, chairs, linens, cocktail tables, etc.)
- Beverage Service
- Food/Beverage Service Fee & Sales Tax
- Rentals (heaters, lighting, tent, lounge furniture, generator, etc.)
- Decor (floral, etc.)
- Entertainment (DJ, Band, etc.)
- Valet/Shuttle Service
- Event Management Services (wedding planner, etc.)
Okay, lets break these 10 components up and have a deeper look.
There are a wide range of private estates to choose.
However, each estate is going to be priced differently based on many factors.
The estates listed with Estate Weddings and Events, range anywhere from $2,500 a day to $25,000+ per day, so as you can see, there is a significant range in pricing.
Some of those factors which play a role in the estate pricing include:
- The supply - the number of event rentals that are allowed at that property per event season.
- The use - how much of the property is being occupied for the event (inside access, outside access, overnight use, etc.)
- Capacity - how many people will be attending your wedding (your guest count). The more people, means more of the property will be utilized and the price increases accordingly due to the wear and tear.
- Time of year - the estate fees do increase during peak season just like any other venue.
- The location - certain locations are more desirable than others and therefore demand increases, which increases the price. This is no different than comparing comps when pricing real estate.
- Permitting/Insurance - these fees will vary depending on location.
- Staffing - the amount of people required will vary depending on the location and use. Some properties require a lot more staffing than others. Again, similar concept to the amount of staff you will see at a boutique hotel vs. the Ritz Carlton.
- Cleaning - Depending on the use, capacity and the estate chosen, this fee can vary significantly.
For the sake of this exercise, let's go with the following:
- The supply - James and Jessica have selected the Bali Gardens Estate which does have a few available openings left for this year, and is available September 14th. However, the supply is limited for this estate and that is one of the last openings for the year.
- The use - they are going to use the outside of the estate only. This particular estate has many different sections of use for the outside as the property sits on 10 acres overlooking all of San Diego. They are going to use the lower level pool lounge area for cocktail hour and then move to the main lawn for the dinner, and dancing. This would be considered 2 of the 3 areas of outside use.
- Time of year - September is peak season so the price is increased accordingly.
- The location - they picked San Diego, Ca which is a highly sought after wedding location so the price is reflective of this.
- Permitting/Insurance - this estate’s permitting/insurance fees are considered standard when comparing these fees worldwide. For this estate we would be looking at a $300 fee.
- Staffing - due to the fact that this particular estate is so large and the grounds are spread-out, extra staffing is needed for the Bali Gardens Estate. In addition to extra staffing, an estate manager is assigned to each venue and wedding. The estate manager is in-charge of all the moving parts and logistics, from the first person to arrive on the property to the last guest and vendor to exit the property. The day of estate manager fee is $500 for this property.
- Cleaning - For 100 people utilizing 2 of the 3 areas outside of the estate, the cleaning fee is $500.
Bottom line....James and Jessica are looking at roughly $16,300 for the estate fee and the fees can increase to as much as $25,000+ depending on the options you select.
(note: catering includes standard tables, chairs, linens, cocktail tables, dance-floor china and flatware)
There are many options when it comes to catering.
You can opt for buffet, stations, sit-down service, or interactive stations, and they all come with different price tags.
The main thing to note when considering catering at a private estate is the fact that the catering company is most likely going to have to bring in everything.
Meaning, they will not have access to the estate’s kitchen, and they will have to build their own kitchen on-site.
A lot of times this can be a huge oversight when a chef or catering company has never done an event at a private residence.
You definitely do not want to be their guinea pig, so make sure the caterer or chef you choose is extremely experienced with private estates and most importantly, has worked at the estate you are getting married at (preferably many times).
So for this example, James and Jessica would like sit-down dinner service which is going to be more expensive than a buffet, however, not as much as interactive stations.
With the seated dinner option they have elected to receive 3 tray passed hors d oeuvres, a choice of one salad and 2 entree selections.
As mentioned above this includes all their tables, chairs, linens, cocktail tables, dance-floor, china/flatware, in addition to all associated event staffing.
Bottom line....this all comes to $115/per person or $11,500.
Your options for beverage service are typically...
- Alcohol free (soda, ice tea, mineral/spring water, etc.)
- Beer, wine & soda only
- Moderate Bar
- Premium Bar
- Top Shelf Bar
James and Jessica appreciate their liquor and have opted for the top shelf bar selection for their wedding celebration.
They have decided to serve a specialty cocktail down by the pool area in addition to beer and wine and then they will have a full bar during dinner and dancing later in the evening.
Bottom line...they will be looking at roughly $38/per person or $3,800 for 5 hours of open bar.
Food/Beverage Service Fees and Sales Tax
The food and beverage fee is standard in the industry, whether you choose a hotel, a country club, etc. you will be charged this fee.
You can think of it as the “cost of doing business.”
This is often times mistaken for gratuity and this is NOT a gratuity at all.
Some of the things this fee covers is the overhead of running a business:
- Workers Compensation Insurance
- General Liability Insurance
- Corporation Fees
- Payroll Expenses
- Accounting Fees
- Business Taxes
- Lawyer Fees
- Advertising/Marketing Expenses
- Administrative Staffing Fees
- Office Expenses (B-Cards, Contracts/Diagrams, Company Shirts, Company Phones, Website, Hosting Fees, Internet, Computers, Printers, Fax, Camera, Credit Card Processing System, Office Rent, Electricity, General Supplies, etc.)
This is just to name a few things(we could go on and on)...however, the point here is to explain what the fee is.
It is everything that it takes to run a legit operation.
If we eliminated that fee, we would eliminate every company too.
If you are not making money and paying your bills, you will be out of business fast.
Okay, now that we have that covered...lets keep moving!
This service fee can range from 18-22%, so for this example we are going to go with 20%.
Sales tax would be 8% since their wedding is taking place in San Diego, Ca.
Bottom line...their food/beverage comes to $15,300, so 20% of that would be $3,060 for the service fee. Taking 8% of the combined total($18,360 x 8%) would result in $1,468.80 in sales tax.
Since James and Jessica are getting married in September and in sunny San Diego, Ca, the chances of needing a tent for a back-up plan in case of rain, is unlikely(however you just never know).
Just for fun(because I know we are having so much fun together so far), let's dive into some of the rental costs:
- Tent - If they did want to have a tent just to have it, then they would be looking at a range of $3,500-10,000. Yeah, I know, why the big range? The huge variance is due to the size of tent they end up choosing and all the things they could potentially add-on like; side walls, wood floors, chandeliers, etc. which all add up fast.
- Lounge furniture - depending on the exact style (modern, shabby chic, etc.) and the quantity, they could be in the range of $1,000-3,000. Going in the middle, we will go with $2,000.
- Lighting - market lighting is anywhere from $1,200-1,700, so lets go with $1,500
- Heaters - recommend 2 per table which would be 20 heaters and they range from $95-250 per heater. Going with the pyramid heaters which are roughly $125 each, we would be at $2,500.
- Generator - depending on the amount of lighting, and other energy demands these run about $600-1,250, so again, lets go with an average of $925 for this exercise.
Bottom line...James and Jessica are not going to go with the tent(such risk takers they are), however, they do want the lounge furniture = $2,000, the lighting = $ 1,500, the heaters = $2,500, and the generator(just in case - they didn't want to risk the lighting/music going out - I guess they don't mind dancing in the rain) = $925. If we total those up, we get $6,925 for their rentals. (Note: James and Jessica can still add the standard tent/draping 1 week prior to their wedding if they are available, however, a custom order usually needs at least 2-4 weeks to produce)
This can have a huge range all depending on how minimal or elaborate you want to get.
For this example lets say James and Jessica are looking to do something in the middle, not crazy over the top, and not the minimalist route either.
Decor, which includes floral, and other decorative creatives, typically range anywhere from $5,000-10,000, so we will use $7,500 for this example.
Bottom line...James and Jessica are looking at $7,500 for their wedding decor.
A DJ to a live band(depending on how many members) can run anywhere from $2,500-5,000 to a lot more depending on the band(up and comer to well known = huge variance in price).
James and Jessica are interested in a band that they heard at a friend's wedding and they are charging $4,000(for 5 hours), which is a typical price tag.
Bottom line...entertainment is going to run them $4,000.
Depending on the packages you choose(you are probably getting sick of these ranges by now, sorry...but it’s just the way it is), a photographer can run in the $3,500-7,500 range and a videographer can be in the $2,000-3,500 price bracket.
The prices can go way up too all depending on who you get and the packages they are offering.
We have seen videography well over the 10K mark.
So again, for this example, James and Jessica are going with the middle of the road package which would be $5,500 for photography and $2,750 for their videography.
Bottom line...photography = $5,500 and videography = $2,750
This service can range from $1,000-2,000.
Bottom line...James and Jessica have opted for shuttle service = $1,500
Event Service Fees
A wedding planner typically has 2 options:
- Day of Service
- Full Service
Some planners will have many more packages in between, however, for the most part, couples typically select one of the options listed above.
The day-of can range from $1,000-2,000 and the full-service option is usually priced out as a percentage of the overall wedding budget (this is typically 10%).
James and Jessica opted for the full-service option, as they are not DIY’ers and have too much going on in their personal/business lives to dedicate the time necessary to plan and execute everything on their own (nor is this ever advisable).
Alright...so lets go ahead and tally up what we have:
- Estate Rental = $16,300
- Catering Service = $11,500
- Beverage Service = $3,800
- Food/Beverage Fee & Sales Tax = $4,528.80
- Rentals = $6,925
- Decor = $7,500
- Entertainment = $4,000
- Photography/Videography = $8,250
- Valet/Shuttle Service = $1,500
- Event Management Services = $6,430.38
Grand Bottom line...James and Jessica are looking at $70,734.18 for their Estate Wedding in San Diego, Ca on September 17th, 2016 at the Bali Gardens Private Estate.
James and Jessica’s wedding is make believe, however, the point of this article is to shed some light as to the costs involved with an estate wedding.
Keep in mind that each wedding at a private estate is unique, customizable and the pricing is going to be different for each wedding experience.
In this example we have used large ranges on purpose and the ranges can go a lot higher or lower than what we have included.
It all depends on your personal wants and needs for your wedding.
The idea here is to provide you with a ballpark idea of what to expect.
We will go into a lot more detail in future posts, so stay tuned.
We hope this general breakdown was helpful and assists you with your wedding planning.
If there are any additional questions we may be able to answer, please respond in the comments and we will get to all your questions.
Happy wedding venue hunting and please come back to share your stories with us.