(Closed) $5,000 for a decent wedding… can it be done?

posted 8 years ago in Money
Post # 3
23 posts
  • Wedding: June 2011

That’s awesome your parents can help you out. I think if you keep your guest list small and can find a place that will allow you to bring your own alcohol you can pull off a wedding for $5,000.  (The country club where we’re having our wedding for 100 guests is going to be about $3,000 for food and alcohol, which is fairly cheap!!)

Post # 4
4485 posts
Honey bee

People have beautiful weddings with less money than that frequently. It’s all about priorities. You have sit down with your fiance and decide what things are most important to you and what you don’t want to include or that you can’t afford. Also, make sure to think outside the box since anything labelled “wedding” is automatically 10x the cost of its identical counterpart found elsewhere without the “wedding” label, and is usually better quality without the wedding label as well.

If a full meal is a must-have, talk to your favorite restaurant about catering. Otherwise have desserts and coffee at a non-meal time.

Skip the alcohol if you know you won’t miss it since it makes the budget skyrocket. If you must have alcohol, skip the champagne which most people only drink out of obligation and toss the rest which is $$$ wasted that could have been spent elsewhere.

Cake is optional but if you must have it, get one from a local grocery. Otherwise, serve your favorite dessert instead.

Rent whatever you can from your florist since it will be much cheaper than buying your own in most cases.

Do not order glass items online as the shipping costs are ridiculous.

Shop locally whenever possible so you don’t have to pay high hidden shipping prices.

Skip the favors since no one will miss them if they aren’t there and most get left behind anyway.

Unless you want exotic flowers that are not local to your area or that are out of season, fresh flowers are much cheaper than silks.

Skip the limo and drive your own car or get a rental vehicle for everyone to use.

Check out the vendor reviews section at projectwedding.com to see who is reliable in your area and who to stay away from.

Post # 5
382 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: October 2010

I sure hope so, that’s my budget too!

Post # 6
814 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: June 2010

we spent a total of $5000 for ours, guest list of 125

Post # 8
558 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: August 2009

We did our entire wedding for less than $5k. 🙂 60 person guest list, simple buffet dinner, cheap alcohol from Sam’s, DIY everything else. 🙂 It’s totally doable! My best piece of advice: Avoid using the word “wedding” if at all possible. When I first started planning, I told EVERYONE I came into contact with that I was consulting them for a wedding. Boy, did I learn my lesson! I even pulled a little sneaky-action with one vendor – I called and asked about prices “for my wedding”, and then had a friend call a few days later and inquire about almost the exact same menu for the exact same amount of people for a “birthday party”. They wanted to charge twice as much for the same thing just because I said it was for a wedding! What crap! From then on I tried to keep the word “wedding” out of the conversation. Caterer? I just said “I need to feed 60 people on this day at this time at this place. What are my options in this price range?” Cupcakes? “I need 75 cupcakes delievered here on this day.” Weird, I know, but doing that saved me almost a thousand dollars right off the top. Good luck to you!

Post # 10
2889 posts
Sugar bee

I think it depends on location and size. My lowest catering quote for 100ppl w/o alcohol or cake came in at $4500 which included apps and a seated meal served on location. I found a restaurant which offered an all inclusive solution for $50pp (apps, dinner and wine/sangria) but it had to be before noon on Sat. A friend of mine did lunch at a restaurant and claimed she paid less than $20 per person for food and location but you still need all the other things. At minimum beyond food you will need a dress and tux (plus shoes and acessories), some form of invitations, fee to the person who marries you, rings, some sort of entertainment, thank you cards. There are other things you could do without which are pretty standard: cake, photographer, favors, table numbers, programs, decoration, boquet, rehersal dinner, honeymoon, champagne toast, etc.

Alternatively, you could have a destination wedding. 5k should fly you and your parents to an all inclusive resort for a week and cover the basic wedding package without extras.

Post # 11
2867 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: September 2010

You can definitely do it but just know that you CAN’T have everthing under the sun and you’ll have to compromise on some things.

You can do a larger gathering at a more basic venue (like a meeting hall) with desserts only or a more intimate gathering with more food at a smaller nicer venue.

Also think about things that you don’t absolutely NEED, like china if you’re doing a buffet (you can get plastic plates from caterers) or full lenght table cloths. Those things don’t seem like much but $300 here and there adds up quickly.

If you find a venue that has some character then you don’t have to do much for decor – so it might make more sense to spend more and be able to decorate less.

Good luck!

Post # 12
1250 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: June 2010

It can definitely be done as long as you are willing to make tough decisions and keep yourself in check. The most fun I’ve ever had at a wedding was a bbq style wedding in a city park – the iPod dance party went on until past midnight! Its all about your attitude and getting creative.

Post # 13
333 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: June 2010

You can definitely do a wedding for that much money if you are willing to do more leg work, set up, lots of shopping around, and purchasing/prepping the food yourselves.  We are spending more than $5000 because we wanted a venue that would do most of the set up for us, take care of food in house and alcohol at a local winery here due to our families traveling as well as our work schedules. Our venue waived their site fee but we are paying a bit more for food. Had we gone with state park pavilion and done more of the items above, we would have definitely been able to stay within your budget.  

A few money savers that we have found: 

Family member giving us photography (they are professional photogs) as a wedding present

Found my dress on clearance off the rack for $200 and only needed $60 in alterations to fit from a local dress shop 

Buying flowers from a local flower farm – $384 for 18 full centerpieces, chair flowers, my bouquet, bouts, and coursages where the grower is putting together everything except the centerpieces. 

Invites from a local artist (1.65/invite) that are gorgeous.  PM me if you would like her etsy page.

Having our ceremony and reception at the same place. 


Things we decided to spend money on: 

A full meal (big one!)

alcohol (we are at a winery… so it is beer and wine anyway)

BBQ the for everyone the night before

A nice place to stay near the venue (venue is ~1hr from our house)

DJ so that we wouldn’t have to coordinate and iPod


As many previous posters will say, set your priorities.  Food, fun, and set up were a priority for us so we set our budget accordingly.  Definitely find options that keep you within your budget and stick to your budget.  A beautiful wedding is definitely doable within your budget!  

Post # 14
142 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: May 2011

You can tottaly pull off a wedding with $5,000.00. I have seen it done with diy brides and the formal wedding that I planned was about that much. Those most money goes to the reception and flowers.

Post # 15
529 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: October 2009

I feel like there are two ways to have a wedding for $5,000 or less, although I may be totally off-base.  My wedding was under $5,000 and we had 35 guests.  So we pulled out the stops for our 35 guests and had it really nice, but since we had so few people, it was easy to not go overboard with the spending.  Then my best friend just got married with 75 guests for $5,000.  I believe she was able to negotiate roughly $20 per person for food, so that was a HUGE saving, and the food was still very good!  It also helped that both her and I bought fancy bridesmaid dresses for our wedding dresses, instead of actual wedding dresses, so we only spent under $500 for our dresses and alterations.

If you can get friends/family to help out, that will save you a ton!  We had a friend do our photography and give us the raw photos to edit ourselves.  My friend had her cousins do the same.  I was also lucky enough to have my Mother-In-Law prepare all the food – she’s a chef and used to be a caterer – so doing the food was her wedding gift to us.  I also DIY’d the invites, favors, centerpieces, Save-The-Date Cards, and other items, which saved a bundle.

I would suggest taking your $5,000 and figuring out your budget ahead of time.  Often the reception/food is 60%, so figure out how much of the $5,000 you can spend that way, and go from there.  Then you’ll know how much you can spend at each place and you won’t go over!  Good luck!

Post # 16
333 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: June 2010

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