What Weddings Cost: Northeast & Midwest

Generally speaking, the higher the cost of living in your area, the higher the prices for everything from the flowers to the band.

A wedding means throwing a fabu soiree for your nearest and dearest -- hundreds of 'em, in some cases. But you may not quite realize the depths of it all until you hammer out the guest list, start shopping around for vendors -- and learn the costs of all things nuptial.
Of course, prices can vary wildly, depending on the type of reception and your region. Generally speaking, the higher the cost of living in your area, the higher the prices for everything from the flowers to the band. But to reduce sticker-shock and give you a ballpark idea of what you'll pay for wedding services, we asked top bridal consultants to fill us in on what local couples can expect. This is part two of our series; check out part one, on the South and Southwest, or stay tuned for your neck of the woods!

The Northeast:
Meg Holland, of Events Unlimited, Inc., in Newton, Massachusetts:
-- Low: Under $500 to rent a club (VFW hall or Elks' Lodge).
-- Medium: $1,000 for a restaurant (before food).
-- High: $3,000 and up to rent an estate or museum.

-- Low: $20 to $25 per person for simple banquet food (chicken in a sauce). Cash bar.
-- Medium: $30 to $45 per person for a cocktail hour with passed hors d'oeuvres and a four-course meal (add $20 per person for open bar).
-- High: $120 to $200 per person for a cocktail hour with elaborate passed hors d'oeuvres (including shrimp), open bar, and upscale four-course meal (entrees range from rack of lamb and beef tenderloin to salmon and surf-and-turf).

-- Low: $750 for simple bouquets and bud vases with carnations as table centerpieces.
-- Medium: $1,500 for more elaborate flowers, larger bouquets, and more centerpieces.
-- High: $3,000 to $6,000 for roses, lilies, and orchids in bouquets and centerpieces, plus elegant candelabras.

-- Low: $1,000 for four hours of coverage, a proof book, and one album.
-- Medium: $1,500 to $2,500 for seven hours of coverage, an album for the couple, and two small albums for parents.
-- High: $2,500 to $6,000 for an entire day of coverage, leather-bound books filled with 8x10 photographs, and parents' albums.

-- Low: $600 for an unedited video.
-- Medium: $1,000 for a video with some editing and a music track.
-- High: $1,500-plus for a top-of-the-line video that's been heavily edited and includes music and montages. You'd receive multiple copies.

-- Low: $500 to start for a DJ.
-- Medium: $1,500 to $2,000 for a five-piece band.
-- High: $3,000-plus for a seven-piece band and singer.

-- Low: $1.50 to $2 per person (slice) for a simple cake that's heavy on shortening and short on butter.
-- Medium: $2.50 to $4 per person for a cake with detailed decorations and exotic fillings, such as hazelnut mousse and fresh fruit.
-- High: $5 per person for a cake so beautiful that you won't want to cut it, let alone eat it. Intricate flowers will be made from icing.

The Midwest:
Ann Marie Kjelland, of Weddings by Ann Marie in Plymouth, Minnesota:
-- It varies. "Some venues, such as historic mansions, will charge $1,000 for you to walk in the door. Then you have to add catering costs, and, in some cases, a dance floor and tenting. That's where the price really escalates."

-- Low: $25 per person for hors d'oeuvres and a chicken dinner.
-- Medium: $50 per person for a more elaborate meal.
-- High: $120-$140 per person for a cocktail reception with passed hors d'oeuvres, open bar and multi-course dinner designed to dazzle (choices may include sushi, caviar, and filet mignon).

-- Low: $1,200 for basic flowers -- and not many of them.
-- Medium: $3,000 for quality flowers, but in a limited number.
-- High: $6,000 or more for the ceremony and a reception where dinner and dancing take place under a tent loaded with fancy floral arrangements and greenery.

-- Low: $1,000 for a small album.
-- Medium: $2,000 and up for four hours of coverage, preview pictures, and a leather-bound album containing portraits and candids.
-- High: $5,000 and up for up to 800 pictures, shot in black-and-white and color. Photographer will work in the photojournalist style, where pictures will candidly chronicle the entire wedding experience.

-- Low: $500 to $600 for a simple, unedited video.
-- Medium: $1,500 for a running narrative of the wedding.
-- High: $5,000 for a sophisticated video that's been shot with three cameras and edited into a story.

-- Low: $500 for a DJ or four-piece combo.
-- Medium: $800 for an eight-piece variety band.
-- High: $2,800 to $3,000 for a 14-piece band, plus two vocalists.

-- Low: $200 for a standard wedding cake.
-- Medium: $400 for a cake with some fancy fillings.
-- High: $900 to $1,200 for a cake with intricate, lace-like decorations.


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