8 weeks out – and I have to cut my budget by a third! Where to start…

posted 3 years ago in Money
Post # 3
3519 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: March 2012

@MrsDinosaur:  *hug*  I’m sorry you’re going through all of this right before the wedding!

For flowers, silk might be more expensive than DIY with grocery store flowers.  Take a look–we got our roses for $7/dozen at Wegman’s, some small accent flowers and greens, all for less than $200 for 12 tables.  I did my bouquet and MoH bouquet in silk so we could keep them.

Check Craigslist or your local university for music students–they will generally do special events for a fraction of the cost… and they don’t mind auditioning!

Backyard DIY can be more expensive than an all-inclusive hall with rentals, etc.  You might want to see if you can pick a lower-tier menu or provide your own alcohol.

What are the details of what you have planned already?

Post # 5
606 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: November 2013

I agree w/the above, backyard events can cost more than a hall once you add in all of the rentals.  

Can you cut back on food and drinks at your current venue?  Like, just have a chicken and veg option instead of something pricier like fish or steak?

Can you do a limited bar, either beer and wine or cut the hours of the open bar?

For flowers, yeah, you can probably get grocery store flowers for the same as silk.  If you have a small wedding party, it shouldn’t be a problem to pick up everything you need from the grocery store or warehouse club, like Sam’s/Costco.  Then, you could do non-floral centerpieces like candles.

Can you cut your photog hours?  We aren’t doing getting ready shots or exit shots so that cut a few hours from our package and saves $$. 


Post # 6
2657 posts
Sugar bee

@MrsLongcoatPeacoat:  +1 on the point about backyard weddings.  Backyard weddings can have some sneaky expenses, particularly rentals.  We’re doing a backyard wedding but we still have to drop over $1000 on a tent for the reception (there’s nowhere to put people in the house if it rains) and additional money for tables, chairs, and linens.  Do your research ahead of time because these expenses can add up quickly.

Food and alcohol are the first expenses I would look at cutting.  If you are doing a buffet or plated meal, you could even look into downgrading to appetizers or desserts only.  For alcohol, you could switch to beer/wine only, or go to a lower tier of liquor.  

Post # 7
334 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: September 2013

@MrsDinosaur:  Definately check out silk flowers, i paid $50 for enough flowers for bridal bouquet, toss bouquet, 3 BMS, corsages and buttonhols and arch. Also what pp said, check out your local supermarket for fresh bunches for cheap. Another way is to not get BMS bouquets, instead they can carry single stems.

Also just stick with the dj, no one is going to miss the duet who is only playing for an hour.

What is your cake like? could you change to a single tier or smaller cake and then have sheet cake?

Is that hair and makeup just for you? If so i think you could find cheaper and if not could you ask the BMS to pay or go the DIY route.

Post # 8
215 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: October 2013

@MrsDinosaur:  get rid of make up and hair. I am having my 2 BM’s do my make up and hair. I feel like paying someone for that is sucha waste of money. If you have some friend that is good at make ups and stuff I would see if they could do it.

My sister did my hair and make up for my first wedding ( I am divorced) and although it wasn’t amazing I was happy with it thought it looked lovely (you can see picture here if you want http://oi40.tinypic.com/2a8q04x.jpg

Also, are you set in stone on your officiant? 500 seems a bit much to me, we are paying $250 for ours (including her being at the rehersal dinner)

I would get rid of either the DJ or the string duet. Maybe do regular dancing and stuff with lap top and your own music but keep the string duet?


I am sorry you have to deal with this 🙁

Post # 9
9137 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper
  • Wedding: November 2013 - St. Augustine Beach, FL


Reception for 55, meals and alcohol all inclusive – $4500 I think this is pretty reasonable but you might be able to downgrade your food or alcohol package to save money; you might be able to do a limited bar with draft beer, house wine, and well liquor up to a certain cap (say $1000) instead of paying per head for people who may not even drink; rentals for a backyard wedding add up fast unless you’re willing to go the super casual paper plate and plastic cup route with no tent in hopes it doesn’t rain

Ceremony hall – $250 hire this would only be better if it was free so I’m not sure there is much to save on here without finding a free venue

Photographer 4 hours, disc images – $910 you got a good deal on photography so I am not sure you could cut much here without sacrificaing quality but you might get lucky like I did with a Craigslist deal for $500

Officiant – $500 you should definitely be able to save here; what are the laws where you live? we are having a friend who is a notary public marry us for FREE

Flowers – $355 I am DIYing my flowers from Sam’s Club for approximately $100 which includes 125 stems plus the floral tape and ribbon to wrap the bouquets; I cut out bouts and corsages to save more money; I am doing a bridal bouquet, 3 BM bouquets, and 10 centerpieces only

Attire (already paid for), grooms BMs, bride – $700 paid for so there’s nothing you can really do here

Music, DJ – $605 you might be able to find a cheaper DJ but you would probably be sacrificing quality as well; it doesn’t hurt to look around for a better deal but I don’t think you’ll find one; fwiw we’re doing spotify for the whole evening since we couldn’t find a DJ in our budget in our area

Music, String Duet 1 hour – $220 using an ipod or spotify will save you money and while it’s disappointing it’s an easy place to cut because you already have a DJ for later which will be greatly enjoyed by guests

Cake – $200 check with your local grocer to see if they sell individual small cakes (do not say wedding cake!) and whether that would save you money; we are doing one small round cake to cut and 48 cupcakes (less than $100 to serve 50 guests)

Hair and Makeup – $550 this is where you absolutely need to save money; DIY your own makeup and you should be able to find someone to do your hair for around $100 or if you have a friend or family member who is good with hair you might be able to ask for it in lieu of a gift

Post # 10
217 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: December 2014

Cut the hair and makeup-people complain about someone else doing theirs anyways.  You can always get an updo at a beauty parlor for less than 100$!!

Cut the alcohol-SO much $$$$$$$$$

Do your own invitations

No favors

Skip save the dates

Good luck!

Post # 11
12900 posts
Honey Beekeeper
  • Wedding: June 2011

Can you cut out the alcohol?

“Fire” the officiant, and have a friend get ordained?  (DH’s Aunt did it for like $25 or $35 and performed our ceremony)

Flowers, supermarket, whole foods, costo?

Can the cake be less expensive if you do single layer and display them on different height tiers?

Any way to DIY make up or hair?


Post # 12
3519 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: March 2012

Lots of great responses here!  Regarding the alcohol, you could always check with the caterer about limiting it to certain drinks, wine, and sparkling wine.  I went to a wedding where wine was served with dinner and at the bar, you could have any vodka, rum, or whiskey drinks with mixers or on the rocks.  Nothing else–and it was fine!  Their signature drink was sangria, and no one complained about the streamlined bar menu.  The bride saved a ton by providing the top shelf liquor bottles, so essentially just paid for the mixers, sangria, and wine (which was a tier lower than full bar).

Post # 13
604 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: May 2013

Small things can add up as well. Things like programs, etc. are not really needed.

Post # 14
361 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: December 2013

@MrsDinosaur:  You totally got this! Cut the officiant, have a friend get married in the Universal Church of Life.  Stick with the real flowers, but get the premade bouquets at Whole Foods for $10 each.  Cut the duet and the DJ, pick a friend to be your emcee, and use the wedding dj app for music (http://www.steamclock.com/weddingdj/).

Ok, that cuts some!  Thoughts?

Post # 15
361 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: December 2013

@MrsDinosaur:  Oh, and if you’re having dinner, why not change it to brunch?  Less expensive and less booze!

Post # 16
7531 posts
Bumble Beekeeper

@MrsDinosaur: *** I am assuming you have a contract with the venue, if you cancel, what amount would you be responsible for?- with all vendors?  ***

As stated by others:

If you can get out of the contract/s, Costco/Sam’s club can be your friend.

Can you have a friend get “ordained” online to marry you?

Can you DIY flowers?


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