Hi everyone, I noticed that the last large talk on wedding budget was dated 2009 so I thought I needed more updated information on wedding budgets (I also know that prices have increased with the increased popularity of destination weddings). I am planning to get married in Cartagena during the summer of 2013. Our invitation list will be between 75 and 100 people. My priorities are a good band (good music), ability to bring our own liquor because we have a lot of friends who are big boozers, a very fun Hora Loca and a very pretty wedding dress. I am willing to skimp out on expensive decorations and fancy food, we want dinner but it doesn't have to be top notch. We will not be getting married in a church but instead do a symbolic ceremony that can be outside or another room at the site of the location. I probably use a wedding planner since I don' t have time to go back and forth to Colombia. We are aiming for a 15k to 18k wedding budget. Is that doable? One wedding planner said it wasn't but I don't know if she was just looking for more money.
Dear Katherine and Eric: I think you are right on your perception of the wedding planner you contacted. Cartagena has very much to offer and there is something for all type of budgets. You just need to be helped in making the right choices. That is what a true wedding planner does. Unfortunately many that say they are "Wedding Planners" in Colombia and Cartagena do not follow the industry's standards and are only there to milk you. We have done beautiful weddings for that amount of guest within that budget. It is really a matter of compromising on the details that are not as important and splurging on those that are. I am sure we can help you in creating that dream wedding. Please visit our website to see what we have to offer: http://www.team-bride.com/. I invite you to email me to firstname.lastname@example.org or you can call me on my cell at 513-331-9071
Hi Kathy, I'm getting married on Feb. 4th 2012 in Cartagena (super excited!). I used a wedding planner to help me organize the wedding and obtain discounts, but even so things still tend to be pretty pricey. A good band with a DJ will cost you about $2,500 but that's a 2011 price. My wedding is for 50 people and my budget was $15,000 but I've spent a few thousand more than that due to those additional costs that you don't really plan to spend initially (such as a cake cutting fees, makeup/hair, rental car, etc.). I am having a church ceremony but my reception site is outside of the walled city at a beach house (tends to be less expensive than within the walled city).
What cost us the most was the food including tables, chairs, cocktails, waiters, and the buffet (which is just fish and chicken).
If you want to be able to bring your own booze don't have the reception at a hotel. They charge "descorche" fees which can be pretty ridiculous and won't allow you to bring booze from elsewhere. Our reception is being held at a beach house that we rented where we are able to take our own liquor.
Have you thought about having a beach wedding? Those can be beautiful in Cartagena. Just keep in mind that every year all prices DO increase by a certain percentage and a wedding for 75-100 people will cost you a much more than $15,000. Cartagena IS the most expensive city in Colombia thanks to all of its tourism.
I hope this helps! My wedding coordinator is Caribe Cordial. They can help you plan a wedding within your budget and know the best vendors in the city. Just remember, prices fluctuate depending on the number of guests.
Good luck and let me know if you have anymore questions!
Thank you everyody for the quick responses. It seems that we have to trim our guest list! Ill keep you guys informed about the process and updated budget. You were sooo helpful. Andrea, mucha suerte en tu boda!
Thank you for the reply a&j. Does your 15k budget include a ceremony at a church or are you doing a smaller ceremony at the site of reception? I'm trying to figure out how much money I will be saving by not doing the ceremony at a church.
Wedding Date: Mar, 2012
Cartagena, Bolivar, Colombia View Wedding
I'm not doing a church ceremony. We rented a Colonial house and having the ceremony and reception there. Unfortunately, now days most houses require a 2 nights minimum rentals... which raises the budget even more. So what we ended up doing was renting the whole house for the entire weekend... and are staying there and having some of our friends stay there as well. We paid for an entire night (since we were hosting the event there)... and the rest was split evenly among everyone else staying in the house by number of nights. This really helped a lot and you get to really spend quality time with some of your friends/family.
Thank you Jessica for the information. I'm glad you brought up the issue of the transaction difficulties. Thank you also for the breakdown of the costs, it was very useful. I am visiting Cartagena in a few weeks and the information that everyone has provided has been so helpful! Once I have more details, I'll make sure to share with others who are also trying to plan a wedding there. Good luck with your wedding!
Jessica, you have been so generous with your information. One of the reasons we are visiting Cartagena is to nail down a date but it's probably not going to be until summer next year so at least we'll have lots of time to plan.
Let me know how your band/hora loca turns out. I'm willing to cut down on decorations to fit my budget but I want to make sure that the music is amazing so that all guests are having a great time. So good music is key.