Questions Regarding Wedding Planning and Costs?

I'm trying to plan my wedding and I am shocked at how much everything costs and by how little I know about planning a wedding. I found a beautiful place that I fell in love with, but the ceremony and reception alone will cost $8,000 (min.) with only 50 guests (we want closer to 100). That is cutting it super... show more I'm trying to plan my wedding and I am shocked at how much everything costs and by how little I know about planning a wedding. I found a beautiful place that I fell in love with, but the ceremony and reception alone will cost $8,000 (min.) with only 50 guests (we want closer to 100). That is cutting it super close to our budget of $10,000. This doesn't include the officiant, photographer, florist, D.J, e.c.t. How much does each of these typically cost? I live in California if that helps.

Also, how much do women typically spend on a wedding dress? A friend recently told me that her friend spent $3,000. I was looking at the David's Bridal website and saw wedding dresses for $500. Is that super cheap and will people notice if I did not spend thousands of dollars?

How much do Bride's Maid's dresses usually cost? I'm guessing it's my responsibility to pay for them as well.

How do you find a "witness" to sign your marriage certificate? Can this be anyone or do you have to have someone who is licensed.

How much did you spend on your wedding? I feel like I am in over my head. I don't want a backyard wedding but it's looking like that's my only option. Any suggestions for cost cutting would be so appreciated.
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