Real Wedding Budgets of Northern California Brides

Three Northern California brides dish on every single wedding expense.
by Alison Goldman

It sounds easy -- 10 percent to flowers, 50 percent to catering -- but let's be real: There's no way you can plan each purchase down to the last cent! Here's what three Northern California brides spent on their weddings and which pros they used to stick to their budgets.

Taylor Robertson & Andy Laveroni

July 25 | Tracy | 215 Guests

Their Budget: $67,800

Their Breakdown

Ceremony and reception site $0 for the bride's family's home.

Ceremony accessories $380 for a champagne sabre and fans for the guests.

Photography $4,000 for an engagement shoot, rehearsal dinner coverage, eight hours of wedding day coverage and a photo album. Jake Odening, Mike Larson Inc.,

Consultant $4,000. Kristen Jensen, Sugar Rush Events, Bay Area, (925) 212-6904

Gown, alterations and accessories $5,350. Nouvelle Vogue, San Mateo, (650) 347-3444

Makeup $250. Cathryn Hewitt, Newark, (510) 673-4266

Shoes $400. Manolo Blahnik, Neiman Marcus, San Francisco, (415) 362-3900

Wedding rings $250 for Andy's tungsten band. Taylor didn't want one. Geoffrey's Jewelers, San Carlos, (650) 591-0301

Groom's formalwear $50. Men's Wearhouse, Pleasanton, (925) 463-3304

Bridal party gifts $1,680, including $100 toward each Nicole Miller bridesmaid dress, crystal-studded flip-flops and custom stationery. And Something Blue, San Francisco, (415) 409-0217/Bling Flops, Tracy, (209) 832-8825/ Farm Press, Tracy, (209) 832-8825

Stationery $2,500 for all stationery and custom champagne labels; $350 for chalkboard menus and a photo album sign-in book. Farm Press, Tracy, (209) 832-8825/Aaron Brothers, Modesto, (209) 545-9267

Flowers $4,000 for eight bouquets, seven boutonnieres, 15 centerpieces and a flower wall. The Flowerhouse, Livermore, (925) 960-1375

Rental equipment $9,000 for a dance floor, tables, chairs, dishes and flatware; $5,000 for lounge furniture and linens; $4,000 for lighting. Hartman Rentals, Richmond, (510) 232-5030/ Classic Party Rentals, Burlingame, (650) 652-0300/ Northern Lights, San Leandro, (510) 483-9307

Catering $19,500 for a cocktail hour, food stations, beer, wine and signature drinks and an ice-cream sundae bar. The Alder Market & Catering Company, Stockton, (209) 943-1921

Ceremony, cocktail hour and first-dance Music $2,300 for a singer and 3-piece band. Rick Ellis Sings Sinatra, Mill Valley, (415) 389-1311

Reception music $1,000 for a DJ. Shane Davis, Tracy, (209) 612-9283

Cake $500 for cupcakes. Sprinkles Cupcakes, Palo Alto, (650) 323-9300

Favors $1,500 for a photo booth. Party

Transportation $750. Black Tie Transportation Worldwide, Pleasanton, (800) 445-0444

Welcome bags $500 for baskets with wine, water, maps and snack mix.

Melinda Molloy & Colin McAndrews

September 19 | San Francisco | 180 guests

Their Budget: $39,506

Their Breakdown

Ceremony site $1,150, including a rehearsal. Chapel of Our Lady, The Presidio Trust, San Francisco, (415) 561-5444

Reception site $6,750. "It's so romantic: hardwood floors, chandeliers and a giant fireplace. And there's ample free parking." Officer's Club, The Presidio Trust, San Francisco, (415) 561-5444

Photography $6,500 for an engagement session, 10 hours of wedding day coverage, one album and all digital images. Lisa Fish, Captured Memories Photography, Novato,

Flowers $2,500 for six bouquets, flower-girl flowers, four corsages, eight boutonnieres, 25 centerpieces, five vases and lots of petals. Hoogasian Flowers, San Francisco, (415) 229-2732

Consultant $600. Heather Holliday, Holliday Weddings, Petaluma, (415) 446-8130

Gown $825. Casablanca, Galleria Bridal, Santa Rosa, (707) 544-3695

Alterations $255 for taking it in and creating a bustle. Galleria Bridal, Santa Rosa, (707) 544-3695

Hair and makeup $500 for the bride's and bridesmaids' hair and makeup, a discount because the stylist is the bride's friend. Melissa Morcke, Margeaux's Beauty Salon, Los Angeles, (323) 644-6876

Veil $400 for a cathedral-length veil. Galleria Bridal, Santa Rosa, (707) 544-3695

Shoes $125 for silk shoes. Gracie, Galleria Bridal, Santa Rosa, (707) 544-3695

Wedding rings $681 for Melinda's band. Shane Company, Walnut Creek, (925) 935-6600

Other jewelry and bridal party gifts $248 for pearl and diamond earrings for the bride and $116 for strands of pearls for the bridesmaids. Macy's Union Square, San Francisco, (415) 397-3333

Stationery $1,078 for invitations and $85 for escort cards and a holder. Paper Source, San Francisco, (415) 614-1585/

book $36. Folio 949, Larkspur, (415) 461-0120

Catering $13,604 for passed hors d'oeuvres, a sit-down dinner, servers, tables, chairs, linens, china, stemware, a bar and delivery. Park Avenue Catering, Cotati, (707) 793-9645

Ceremony music $350 for a harpist. Susan Weinstein, Santa Rosa, (707) 538-9820

Reception music $2,400 for a 6-piece band. Laurent Fourgo & His Ensemble, San Francisco, (415) 244-5331

Cake $833. Victoria Pastry Company, San Francisco, (415) 781-2015

Favors $132 for Jordan almonds in organza bags. Oh Nuts!,

Hotel room $338 for two nights in a suite. Intercontinental Mark Hopkins, San Francisco, (415) 392-3434

Tina Kirk & Scott Sheldon

March 15 | Rohnert Park | 95 guests

Their Budget: $15,651

Their Breakdown

Ceremony site $450. St. Elizabeth Seton Catholic Church, Rohnert Park, (707) 585-3708

Reception site $9,600, including catering, reception flowers, a DJ and a cake. Wedgewood Wedding and Banquet Center, Rohnert Park, (707) 584-979/Auntie B's, Santa Rosa, (707) 584-4269

Photography $530 for one shooter for eight hours, all original digital images, 200 edited images and rights. Lisbeth W Photography, Sacramento area,

Officiant $250 as a donation. Fr. Mike Kelly, Sonoma, (707) 996-6759

Gown $350. "I had eBay and Google alert me if any dress listings matched my criteria. Within weeks, my top contender showed up on eBay -- right size, right price." Sottero & Midgley,

Alterations $200 for a bustle. Becky Beck, Santa Rosa, (707) 566-0425

Hair and makeup $600 for the bride and four attendants. Nina Barbosa, Bay Area, (415) 570-1136

Veil and hair accessories $10 for a veil and $20 for a silk gardenia.

Shoes $25 for fuchsia pumps.

Wedding rings $1,005 for Tina's platinum-and-diamond band and Scott's gold band. ShaneCo., San Mateo, (650) 570-7333

Stationery $227 for DIY invitations, programs, escort cards and menu cards. Winery, Healdsburg, (707) 473-9171

Bridal party gifts $150 for flasks, tank tops, flip-flops and canvas bags.

Flowers $450 for five bouquets, two corsages and eight boutonnieres. Grohe Florist, Rohnert Park, (707) 238-5844

Rental equipment $438 for pink uplights. Party, Tents, and Events, Santa Rosa, (707) 544-4132

Ceremony music $150 for a singer. St. Elizabeth Seton Catholic Church, Rohnert Park, (707) 585-3708, Rohnert Park

Entertainment $150 for a light show and fog. Noel Plumb, Perfect Day Music, Santa Rosa, (707) 292-2169

Dance lessons $98 for ballroom dance classes and $140 for hip-hop lessons. The Ballroom, Rohnert Park, (707) 586-1136/Expressive Motion Dance Studio, Middletown, (707) 987-8197

Favors $265 for a candy buffet, containers and monogram stickers.

Transportation $288 for a limo. Gold Star Limousine, Santa Rosa, (888) 878-2828

Hotel room $255 for two nights. DoubleTree Hotel Sonoma Wine Country, Rohnert Park, (707) 584-5466

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