Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Plan your budget for a Santorini Wedding!

Santorini is probably one of the most popular destination wedding locations. The unique view of the caldera, the beautiful sunsets, the white houses hanging from the cliffs, the famous churches with the blue domes -those are the things that make a wedding in Santorini quite memorable and the wedding pictures amazing. I completely understand why so many people choose Santorini for their destination wedding. But what about the cost of all that?

As mentioned in the previous post, the first and most important step is to set up a budget for your wedding. One important detail to remember is that the more guests you are having, the bigger your budget should be, so plan wisely. The good news are that Santorini is considered to be a rather economical choice for having a wedding, in comparison to other countries, as I’ve been informed from a number of different couples I had the pleasure to work with. Having that in mind, and wishing to help couples out there, I decided to write an article about how much does a wedding cost in Santorini. Of course, those will be just rough estimations, but I hope they will be enough to give you an idea of how much you should set aside for your dream day.

So, where to begin? Well, I would strongly recommend hiring a wedding planner to help you plan everything in Santorini. The main reason is that most venues are closed during winter and most vendors are away on vacation during that, which means that even if you visit the island, for example, in February, you won’t be able to see the venues and meet the providers. Your wedding planner, on the other hand, has been to the various wedding venues of the island, and worked with the service providers of the island, and will be able to make the better suggestions for you. The cost of a wedding planner varies, but an average fee can be anywhere between 1.000 euro -2.000 euro. Of course, you can find a planner that will ask for less than that, and a planner who will ask for more.

The price of a wedding venue depends on the venue itself and whether you wish to book the location for a ceremony-only or a ceremony and reception. An average rental fee for a ceremony-only starts from around 400 euro with a rental fee duration of 1 hour or 1,5 hours. Keep in mind the time limitations of each venue, when booking just the ceremony, as some venues only allow morning and early afternoon reservations for a ceremony-only event. For a ceremony and reception, the prices start from around 2.000 euro and get up to 2.800 euro or more, this not including food and drinks, as those will be at an extra cost. Another option for a wedding reception is having it at a restaurant, as some of them have special private or semi-private halls for such purposes, which they offer with little or no rental fee, depending on the number of guests attending. This option is perfect for those, who wish to save some money on rental fees.

When having a reception, there is always food and drinks for you and your guests… obviously! This is probably the most expensive part of the wedding. In Santorini the average price for a food and drinks will be around 150 – 200 euro per person. It can be less and it can be more. Some factors that can influence the price are your food choices, for example fish is more expensive than meat, so this will definitely increase the cost of your wedding should you decide to serve salmon to your guests. Another factor would be the choice between buffet and sit-down menu; at most venues sit-down menus are less expensive than buffet menus, whereas when having a catering it will be more expensive to have a sit-down menu. When it comes to drinks, you will usually have a number of different open-bars to choose from. Naturally, the bigger the variety of the drinks included in the open-bar, the higher the price. How to better choose a menu and an open-bar for your wedding reception and party will be discussed in a different article in the near future.

You should also not forget about wedding photography and wedding videography, the prices for which range between 2.500 euro and 3.500 euro for a full day, always depending on the professional that you will choose. The price increases if you want to have two or more photographers and videographers on the day of your wedding, as well as if you plan to have a pre-wedding or an after-day photoshoot and/or videoshoot. It is good to discuss the prices with the chosen wedding photographer and wedding videographer. Don’t forget to look at each photographer’s and videographer’s portfolio before making any down payments.

There are also the extra services that you should calculate. One really important extra service that you definitely should include in your wedding budget is the transportation for the guests. Santorini, even though small, is a tricky island and people get lost easily. Moreover, it is extremely hard to find parking spots, so even if your the guests arrive with their rented cars at the wedding location, there is no guarantee that they will find where to leave the cars. Buses for your guests are a necessary expense if you plan to have your destination wedding in Santorini. The final cost of that depends on the number of guests you will be having, how many buses and what types will be required, and the times of the transfers; after midnight transfers are more expensive, as well as transfers with multiple pickup and dropdown points. The minimum you should start with is 300 euro for a 20 seat Mercedes Sprinter mini-bus to take you guests to and from the wedding venue.

There are also other extra services, which should be decided after all the other necessary services have been calculated. Those services are live music (prices starting from 300 – 400 euro), fireworks (starting price around 500 euro), plate smashing (calculate 1 – 1.5 euro per plate), Greek traditional dancers (around 400-500 euro for 1 hour) etc. It would be recommended setting a budget for such extra services, so you could have a better idea of what you can afford. Setting aside at least 1.500 euro for the entertainment and beauticians should be a good start. Set a priority list to better choose which extra services you need the most.

In case you will be having a civil ceremony, there will be all the legal fees which you should keep in mind. Along with the Apostille stamps, document translations, the fees required for the wedding in Santorini, the total should be around 500 euro. The Apostille stamp price differs from country to country, but from the information I have collected so far, it is between 30 - 50 euro in most countries.

Last, but not least, major influence on your wedding budget will be the decorations. There are so many things to consider: flower types, flower colors, floral composition sizes, non-floral decorations as the invitations, the menus, the tablecloths, the napkins, chair decorations, candles, sweet table, wish table, you name it! All those things affect the final cost of your wedding. It is really hard to tell how much the decorations will cost, as this is totally up to you. Still, you can at least know what the minimum required cost will be. The bridal bouquets start from around 80 euro, the floral centerpieces start from around 100 euro. The decorations for the gazebo start approximately from 500 euro, and you can always use the ceremony decorations at the reception to cut down costs. As for the non-floral decorations, again, it is almost impossible to guess the cost. Again, as with the extra services, I would suggest having a separate budget for the decorations, for example set 2.000 euro which will be only for the decorative items and flowers. This way, you will know your limit and will make better decisions.

And of course, the wedding cake! Almost forgot about that. As with everything else, the cost of the wedding cake has to do with the number of guests and the design. If you want to calculate the price per person, it will be at approximately at 4 euro per person, always having in mind a simple white cake. The price will also be affected by the design of the cake and the decoration of the cake. If you want to have edible flowers on the cake, for example, the final result might end up quite pricy, but of course worth it!!

Have an “emergency budget”! What’s that? Well, that is term that I use to call a separate sum, set by you of course, which will cover any unexpected expenses that might occur. It can be 500 euro, 1000 euro, 1.000.000 euro, your choice. From my experience, if your “emergency budget” is equal to the 10% of the main budget, you should be all right.

Ok, the above are just general information, and most of you are probably angry that you still don’t have a clear idea of how much the wedding will cost. You will have to understand, that the final price purely depends on your wishes and desires. But to be fair, I will give you a more practical example. For a good, stylish but minimal wedding for 50 persons, your budget should be around 25.000 – 30.000 euro. Those numbers are for an all-inclusive wedding: wedding photography, wedding videography, venue fee, food and drinks for everyone, transportation for the guests, transportation for the bride and groom, beautiful decorations for the ceremony and reception, some sort of simple but nice entertainment, wedding cake and legal fees. The wedding dress, suite, accommodation and flights should be calculated extra.

As always, I hope the above information will be helpful. If you have any questions, feel free to leave a comment or message me. I wish you a good day or a good night, depending at which part of the world you are!

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