Advice: Self-planning, Short Engagement, Small Budget

posted 2 years ago in DIY
Post # 2
1300 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: February 2015 - Chapel on Base

If you know anyone in the military or ex military and they are a member of the American Legion your costs are greatly reduced for the venue.  You can also pay someone’s membership and still save a few hundred.  

Post # 3
127 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: February 2015 - Backyard

I’m having a five month engagement on a budget of about $3000. It’s definitely do-able. Everything you’ve listed seems pretty reasonable to me. You might have to make some concessions (like fancy centrepieces, flower arrangements) but it’s very possible to have  beautiful wedding day on a budget. You shouldn’t worry so much, as long as you get married on the day it’ll be a success 🙂 

Post # 4
903 posts
Busy bee

bmaus1493:  Overall, it sounds reasonable to me. We had a four month engagement and smaller budget as well and it was fine. The main thing that helped me through on the short timeline was just to let go of things if they weren’t important to me. For example, I thought I might have a birdcage veil, looked at some photos online, but when it came to actually going out and buying one I felt like I didn’t want to spend the time, so I just crossed it off the list – no veil. 

One thing that did end up costing a lot more than I thought it would was hair and makeup.

Post # 5
269 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: April 2015 - Miami, Fl

Looks pretty good so far. Have you given photography a thought yet? I’m also on a small budget and it has been difficult finding an affordable photogtapher in my area.

Post # 6
2493 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: October 2010

There’s this thing called the wedding industrial complex, and TBH they are the ones who parrot the whole “1 year to plan.” You can plan a wedding in less time–I did it, others have done it, it can certainly be done. Prioritizing is the right move because as flossy.lou says, it’ll help you let go of stuff that’s too expensive (and there will be a lot of that) and/or you can’t get in time. 

Having said that, there are a few things that would worry me a bit with what you said. One is that you’re sort of working on speculation, rather than with cold, hard, numbers. How many guests will you invite? If your venue fee doesn’t include tables and/or chairs, then you’ll have to rent them–how much is that? You may have indeed done this research and the budget, but from your post, it sounds a little hypothetical, and if money is tight, then you need to button things down. You asked for things you might be “forgetting” so there’s a list of things that you didn’t mention in your post and might be forgetting (I tried to put things that are on the “need to have” side).

The second is that you “budgeted” $500 for your dress but spent $900. I’m really not trying to finger-wag, and a budget certainly requires flexibiity, but recognize that $900 is almost twice your original budget (possibly more if you need alterations).

Now, the reason I bring that up is because you want to use your income tax return to pay for the wedding, and the two things in combination–overspending a budget and relying on money you don’t have yet, *can* be a recipe for disaster. I’m not saying that’s you–I don’t know you and you might be a whiz with numbers and perfectly responsible–but it can be. It’s not necessarily a bad idea to use income tax money, but I’m not sure that planning on paying for a whole 50% of your wedding with money that you don’t have yet is a great idea. Personally, I’d calculate a smaller percentage, like 20-30%, or none at all and use the income tax return for a honeymoon. If you want to continue as planned, then make sure you know what you’re dealing with–ie, check return policies and cancellation fees, have a contingency plan, etc. etc. And get those taxes in early so you can get your return early!!

Here’s the list: 

– taxes, insurance, service fees, tips, and those otherwise “hidden” fees. Read the fine print. 

– the license 

– dress alterations

– accessories, like a veil and shoes

– bridal lingerie–like if you need a special strapless bra to wear your dress

– cleaning and preserving dress afterwards, if you intend on keeping it

– your wedding rings

– entertainment (and if you hire someone, will you need to feed them and/or pay extra to transport equipment)

– drinks/alcohol (you said bar service, but that may be just the service, not the drinks)

– rentals: tables, chairs, silverware, plates, tablecloths etc. (it sounded like your venue doesn’t provide, but it was a bit unclear. Caterers sometimes provide the plates and silverware, but not all do)

– cake

– valet fees, if needed

– gifts for BMs and GMs and maybe your parents

– something to go in the centerpiece vases (plus bouquet and other flower decor if you’re using)

– invitations and POSTAGE (both for the invites themselves and the reply-cards)

– clean-up fees (check your vendor contract) 

– overtime fees if your event goes long

– transportation fees

– photographer/videographer

Post # 9
7531 posts
Bumble Beekeeper

bmaus1493:  With your FILs paying for the meal, and what you have listed, it looks like your budget is very good, -although, you don’t state how many people you expect to attend, either.  It sounds like you’d rather not paper/plastic products.  Depending on how many people you have, you may be able to get dinnerware at DollarTree, and sell it after?  Serve cake/dessert on paper plates, etc.

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