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What is the average cost of a wedding in San Francisco?

San Francisco, known for its extravagant eateries, scenic views, and luxurious lifestyle, is one of the most sought-after wedding destinations in the United States. However, with the city’s high cost of living and lavish reputation, it’s no surprise that hosting a wedding in San Francisco can come with a hefty price tag. If you’re considering getting married in the iconic city, it’s important to know what kind of financial commitment you’re getting into.

According to The Knot’s 2019 Real Weddings study, San Francisco ranks as the fifth most expensive city to get married in the United States, reaching an average cost of $39,329 for a wedding. This is approximately $6,000 more than the national average wedding cost of $33,900.

While the average price may seem staggering, it’s important to note that this is only an average, and the wedding costs can vary depending on a multitude of factors from the venue to the guest list. Additionally, it’s essential to take into account that this is just for the ceremony and reception, and additional costs such as honeymoon or post-wedding festivities are not included.

Factors That Affect the Average Cost of a Wedding in San Francisco

The cost of a wedding can vary depending on a multitude of factors, and San Francisco is no exception. Here are a few key elements that can affect the price tag of your special day in San Francisco.

Wedding Venue Rental

One of the most significant expenses when it comes to hosting a wedding in San Francisco is the venue rental fee. In the city, the cost of renting a wedding venue can range from $2,000 to $10,000 or more depending on the location, space, and number of guests you plan to invite. Some of the most famous San Francisco wedding venues include the Palace of Fine Arts, the Fairmont San Francisco, and the Four Seasons Hotel San Francisco.

Wedding Attire

Wedding attire, including the wedding dress, the groom’s suit or tux, and accessories, is another significant expense to consider. In San Francisco, a wedding dress can typically cost anywhere from $2,000 to $10,000 or more from high-end wedding shops in the area. Groom’s outfits, on the other hand, can range from a few hundred dollars to thousands, depending on the level of customization and brand.

Food and Drink

One of the significant areas of wedding expenses is the cost of food and drink. In San Francisco, a plated dinner consisting of four to five courses can cost an average of $150 to $300 per person. Furthermore, going for a four-hour open bar for your guests can range from $50 to $80 per person.

Wedding Planner

While hiring a wedding planner in San Francisco is not a necessity, it can be helpful to have a professional assist you in planning and executing your big day. Experienced wedding planners in San Francisco may charge around $5,000 to $20,000 or more to help with the multitude of responsibilities involved in planning a wedding.

Ways to Save Money on Your San Francisco Wedding

While a wedding in San Francisco doesn’t come cheap, there are some ways you can save money on your big day.

Consider the Time of Year

Choosing the right time to get married in San Francisco can significantly impact the total wedding cost. Typically, scheduling your wedding during the low season between November to April can save you money on venue fees and other wedding services. On the other hand, peak wedding season in the summer and early fall may come at a premium.

Get Creative with the Venue

Choosing a non-traditional venue for your wedding moment can be a creative way to save money; for example, a big part of the city’s appeal is its natural beauty, and outdoor locations offer excellent views and make for an unforgettable setting. Some of the options include Golden Gate Park, Muir Woods, and other national parks.

Cut the Guest List

Trimming the guest list can save money on food, drink, and venues. It may be challenging to have the list down, but consider inviting just the essential friends and family members, and you can always have a bigger reception later to include more guests.


Hosting a wedding in San Francisco can be an expensive endeavor, but with a bit of planning, creativity, and adjustments, it is possible to make your special day memorable and affordable. Be sure to establish a spending budget, determine which factors are priorities for you, and research, ask questions, and compare prices to find the best deals on services to save money while still making your dream wedding come true.


Is $30,000 a lot for a wedding?

The answer to whether $30,000 is a lot for a wedding depends on various factors, including personal finances and preferences. In a 2022 survey of 12,000 couples across the country, The Knot found the national average for a wedding is $30,000. However, it is worth noting that the average in many individual states is much higher, with New York and Massachusetts topping out at $46,000 for the big day.

Setting aside popular opinions and social pressures, it is important to consider personal finances when deciding on a wedding budget. $30,000 may be too much for some couples, while it may be comfortable for others. it is up to the couple and their families to decide what they are willing and able to spend on their wedding.

It is also important to remember that a wedding does not have to be expensive to be memorable. Many couples opt for lower-budget weddings and choose to focus on personalized details that make the day special and unique to them. In fact, some couples choose to elope or have small, intimate weddings that emphasize the love and commitment between them rather than the grandeur of the event.

At the same time, having a larger budget for a wedding can create opportunities for unique experiences and luxury touches that may not otherwise be feasible. Some couples may prioritize a grand venue, top-of-the-line catering, or extravagant entertainment when planning their wedding.

While $30,000 may be the national average for a wedding, the cost of a wedding ultimately comes down to personal finances and preferences. Couples should consider their own financial situation and priorities when deciding on a budget for their big day.

What is a reasonable amount of money for a wedding?

Deciding on a budget for a wedding can be a daunting but necessary task. It is important to consider financial constraints and prioritize what is important for the couple’s special day. There’s no one “right” answer as to what a reasonable amount of money for a wedding is, as it ultimately depends on factors such as location, number of guests, and personal preferences.

However, one helpful guideline is to follow a general rule of thumb for how much to spend on gifts for the couple. According to etiquette experts, coworkers or distant relatives should spend 50 to 75 dollars on a wedding gift while friends or relatives should aim for 75 to 100 dollars. If you are in the wedding party or a close friend or family member of the couple, it is recommended to spend 100 to 150 dollars or more, depending on your financial means.

When it comes to the wedding itself, many experts suggest that allocating a budget of around 10% to 15% of your income is reasonable. Of course, this can vary depending on individual circumstances, but it serves as a starting point for calculating expenses such as venue rental, catering, music, flowers, attire, and photography. If a couple has a bit more flexibility and wants to splurge on certain aspects of the wedding, it may be worth cutting back on other areas to balance out the budget.

Regardless of the exact amount spent, what truly matters is that the couple feels happy and loved on their wedding day. A wedding is a celebration of love, and with careful planning and budgeting, it is possible to create a beautiful and memorable event without breaking the bank.