A dictionary definition of marriage is old news for old toasts in the old days. More and more, once-standard features and even old traditions long associated with marriage and weddings are being set aside as couples today make plans from their own imaginations rather than the ways things have been done before. This is an amazing evolution, but the shedding of certain traditions to make more room for remarkable personalization can definitely mean more complex planning and higher overall costs.
In 2016, the [nationwide] average cost of a wedding reached an all-time high at $35,329, while the number of guests dropped. That correlation means spend per guest increased, showing that couples are spending with a focus on guests. Custom guest entertainment has more than tripled, from 11% to 41% since 2009, with photo booths (78%), games (18%), musical performances (12%) and fireworks (8%) at the top of the list.
And the cost of weddings in the San Francisco Bay Area reached far beyond the national average, coming in at $42,716. So, whether or not budget is a concern for you, it pays to find ways up-front to maximize your wedding spending because costs can very easily get out of hand.
In fact, the very first step in planning—choosing your venue—can set a lot of the smaller details in motion for the better or for the worse, whether in a cost-efficient direction or in a direction that seems to have no end in hidden and forgotten price tags. Unfortunately, estimating your wedding venue cost in Santa Cruz isn’t quite as simple as comparing numbers, because not all venues are built of the same components.
Breaking Down Santa Cruz Wedding Venue Cost
The same 2016 survey determined that “ceremony and reception locations are becoming even more important as couples plan a personalized wedding that’s a true reflection of their personalities and relationship together.” Couples’ interests in farm, ranch, and versatile mountain retreat venues has been quickly growing, and the Santa Cruz area is a generous hub of options. But what are the critical components to keep in mind for your budget—what valuable hindsight might you gather before you even start making the big decisions?
Consider a Full-Service Venue That Offers More in One Place
The closest you can get to your overall wedding cost early in the planning process is by booking an all-inclusive Santa Cruz venue that wraps a variety of necessary item costs into one transparent fee. Your final cost will still hinge on your guest count, but at least with your venue’s in-house catering, you’ll have the price per head in hand, so you are just a calculation away. While you may still need to seek out a florist, photographer, and entertainment, you’ll be able to avoid the hassle and up-in-the-air price tags of securing furniture, dinnerware, and a huge range of other staples from various vendors.
Consider a Date in the Off-Season to Take Your Budget Even Further
Early fall months now see the most weddings, and summer months, of course, come in at close second. If you aren’t unflinchingly attached to a fall theme or summer activities, it’s worth considering spring options. Whereas winter introduces a strong contrast in themes and outdoor possibilities, spring allows for similar versatility as summer and fall but often with much lower costs. Especially around Santa Cruz, it’s not hard to find promotions for wedding venues during spring dates, and vendor costs are often lower as well. So, even if your budget stays the same, you may be able to make some additional room for some of those exciting extras—for your decor, a next-level photobooth, or customized entertainment—when you’re saving on your venue and items around the edges. Check out our guide to planning your personalized outdoor wedding for any season.
A wedding planner will be helpful at any step of the way, but the sooner you get them involved, the sooner you’re making decisions from an informed, expert perspective. And since your biggest decision—the venue—comes first, a planner can be really helpful even during your visits when you’re stretching your vision to imagine what’s really possible in each location. Planners know better than anyone how to optimize your budget and make the absolute most of the resources. Of course, planners themselves are one of those costly resources. Now’s the time to decide whether a Santa Cruz wedding planner is worth the cost for your event because if so, the expert strategy and budget optimization start now. This decision becomes much easier when a planner and day-of coordinator is included with your venue’s all-inclusive wedding package. Those individuals know your location and its possibilities far better than anyone else. Here, you can read more about the underrated benefits of having the perfect planner to maximize your vision.
The Real Cost of the Wedding Experience at a California Venue
The most powerful resources for your one-of-a-kind wedding experience are imagination and creativity, but if only that were all it took! The truth is that your budget could be a limitation or an opportunity for more creative efforts. Venues, planners, and vendors in Santa Cruz who have been in the business of weddings for a long time are your best resources for maximizing the material resources you invest—and for maximizing your own imagination to the fullest effect. You will design a truly unforgettable experience for yourself and your guests, and you can choose the all-inclusive path of least resistance, least stress, and least excess.
We’ve been in the business of Santa Cruz weddings for more than 20 years. At Kennolyn, we’ve thrived with the trend of greater personalization and making each wedding brand new and unique. We’ve coordinated with couples with a wide range of budgets, as well as with a wide variety of fantastic Santa Cruz vendors. Give us a call to schedule a tour and find out how our venues are already designed to maximize your resources and exceed your vision.