I'm recently engaged and planning a wedding in his hometown of Mendota Heights, Minnesota. The problem is that I live in New York City (and will for the next 16 months because of my job).
I have NO CLUE what things cost in Minnesota! I'm used to insanely-inflated Manhattan prices. A 150 guest church wedding and loft reception out here will run you $60k, and that's if you're modest. We're looking at a conservative church wedding and a loft or warehouse reception with lots of dancing. Weekday afternoon service and buffet reception that evening, about 200 guests. What should we budget? $20k? $25k? $30k? Am I even in the ballpark?
OK, so I asked this question a little while back and was thoroughly chastised in these forums for asking a question with so many possible answers ( how very helpful, :-/ )....so now that I've had time to explore my options and put some budgets together I will totally pass along what I have found. Because that's what these forums should really be about.
So, I too am getting married in the twin cities next year, and while your costs will definitely depend on what you want to do and I don't know what your budget is, here are some things I've learned while planning my 200+ guests wedding....
1. D' Amico catering has "control" over a lot of good reception sites (Mintahoe too). They are also on the pricey side of catering costs. A different, smaller, caterer gave me a very reasonable estimate within a decent amount of time for a beautiful site, which I didn't go with, but it would have been within my budget with a good menu. So if you really like a site that D'Amico manages you will pay more than other locations that may have a similar site fee but let you use your own caterer.
2. All of the rental companies (for chairs/tents/tables/etc...) are price fixing. Unless you can negotiate well do not expect to get a better rate at one company versus the others just because they are not the same corporation. Most of the big ones rent the same necessities (see above) for exactly or nearly exactly the same price.
3. Ceremony costs will depend on where you go. I've seen some listed for free and I've talked to one church that wants to charge me $850 for the day and one that wants to charge $1750+.
4. Check out http://www.mnweddingminister.com/ for some excellent price/location ideas. Some of his information I've found to be a little dated, but it's still good advice.
5. Finally, as for your budget estimate, as a DIY'er I'm anticipating for $20,000 and I expect to go over about an extra $2-3,000. I went with a more high end reception location and I'm thinking I might pay $1,600 for the ceremony site. I know I could pay less, but my personal tastes get in the way of my pragmatic spending intent.This means I have a friend to take pictures, one to do video, I have an aunt who can do my hair, I plan to do the flowers myself and I won't need to decorate any of my sites based on their current conditions. I'm cutting corners where I can, without giving up quality. If I had chosen a different reception venue and used a caterer I could probably have spent half of what I plan to spend. I have friends who were married a few years ago in their church (no fee), with a VFW reception, a mutual friend was their DJ, and we had a taco bar for dinner. They paid approx. $10,000 for EVERYTHING.
So yes, you can vary the cost of your wedding dramatically depending on what you do. You can probably get away with a $12,000 wedding (or less) if that's what you can afford if you pick the details that matter to you most within your budget appropriately. Or you can go all out with a $25,000+ wedding and maybe have everything you ever wished for, it all depends.
I could go on forever, contacting a wedding planner might be a better use of your time, plus they might help get you discounts, but this is already getting long, it's very interesting the costs that come up when you're planning a wedding though.