Anyone who had VERY low budget weddings, how did you do it?

posted 3 years ago in Logistics
Post # 3
15019 posts
Honey Beekeeper
  • Wedding: June 2011

A lot depends on where you live, are you comfortable sharing your state and/or country?

Post # 5
48 posts
  • Wedding: January 2006

@freshflowers:  a town hall ceremony with your closest loved ones sounds great – maybe do a lunch or brunch at a restaurant or backyard afterwards.  I’d spend the bulk on my honeymoon.  Congrats!!!!

Post # 6
1275 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: September 2014

I think one of the biggest places to save is food –

My friend’s sister’s wedding was small-ish (maybe 50 guests?) and the families barbecued a light meal – dads were grilling burgers and the moms/grandmas brought tons of sides.  I only went to the reception, but there was plenty of food and it was kind of refreshing to have stuff everyone actually likes.

Our friends had a late evening wedding and just served dessert, which again, was homemade and contributed by the bride and the families.

Another couple we know of (we didn’t attend this wedding) had a Sunday morning brunch reception after they got married at the courthouse I think that previous Friday.  From the pictures, it looked like they served mimosas, fruit trays, finger-food type stuff.

If your wedding is the date listed, you have lots of time to DIY-improve the backyard and minimize the need for flowers by planting some and landscaping and so on.

Post # 7
1275 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: September 2014

Also, someone else I know peed on a stick a few weeks ago and is now last-minute planning a wedding for next month (when I say shotgun, you say wedding, haha but that’s okay!!) and they are doing a reception at a moderate restaurant, and guests will be buying their own meals.  Since it’s only like 30-40 people and largely family and close friends, people have seemed okay with the arrangements!

Post # 8
926 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: April 2014

My fiance and I are on track to spend about $4k total.

We got very lucky, however, and many of our amazing guests are gifting us with their services (i.e., one friend is doing our photography, a group of five friends are in a local band and are playing, my sister is making my cake… all free of charge). Do you have “friendors” that migh be willing to offer their services for free or at a discount?

Post # 9
329 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: July 2014

my budget is 5000 but im only planning on spending 3200 my ceremony is a beautiful location in michigan only cost me 550 and my reception free! my family member owns a clubhouse so we just have to do a lot of diy decorating which i love our rings we already bought mine was 5000 my dh was 2500 so im not factoring that into our budget for food our families are cooking i love there food! so pretty much everything is diy! i would say if you have family have them help out as much as possible and look for fun different ways and places to have ceremonys and reception then your trypical place llike a family members backyard! i have loads of diy ideas if you need any!

Post # 10
15019 posts
Honey Beekeeper
  • Wedding: June 2011

@freshflowers:  I’m not sure about Boston, but in many areas all you need to be an officiate is an online license. We had a friend do that and marry us. Officiates here are ridiculously priced so we really saved there. There are some wonderful ways to spruce up a backyard and have a beautiful ceremony site cheap. Wish we had done that instead of renting a place. I would check o utility thrift stores and dollar stores for any decorations you may want. Within the next few months dollar tree will put out their battery operated hanging lanterns. A friend of mine used my old ones for her outdoor reception this last summer and they were stunning. Some she sat on tables with hot glued dollar store flowers on them and some she just hung in the trees. I thought it was going to be cheesy, but it wasn’t at all. She also did pot luck for the reception. Again, I thought it would be cheesy, but it totally fit the relaxed vibe. They rented a speaker, hooked up a karaoke system (they are really into that) and hooked up an iPod for dancing. To be honest, it was one of the most fun weddings we had been too in years. It was also byob except the keg they were gifted and some champagne. I bet she spent less than 1k on the whole thing. Look at David’s bridal for their 99 dollar sale for a dress, that’s probably less than what the fabric would cost you to make one.

Post # 11
7290 posts
Busy Beekeeper

@freshflowers:  We had a high budget but most went into the cost of getting our guests to our DW. The ceremony only cost $500, my dress cost $300, my flowers cost $120 (brides and BM bouquet) and the reception cost the most at $2000 for 35 guests.

We cut out everything. No centrepieces, no pintrest/wedding industry inspired decorations (we had a handmade flag banner made by the grooms mother), small photography package, no corsages for the mothers etc, no bouts for the groom or groomsmen, a small one tier cake, no fancy transportation and a small photography package. We also used a restaurant as out reeption site.

The best way I found to save money was to keep it simple and if a list on a wedding website says you must have it then you probably really don’t need it!

Post # 12
1441 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: September 2014

@freshflowers:  You definitely can save money on an officiant. I think it is $25 to have the Governor designate a person of your choosing to perform the ceremony. Much more personal plus cheaper!

Post # 13
1590 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: March 2014

I would probaby do a nice dinner, similar to a rehersal dinner, with close family and best friends honestly.

Post # 14
1878 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: April 2013 - Valparaiso, IN

  • Dress 450
  • Alterations 100
  • Undergarments 100
  • Shoes 50
  • Makeup 100 (half paid for by Grandma) and I did my makeup, but I bought some high end stuff for the wedding
  • Hair Free (My mom did it)
  • Food 500 Paid for by my grandma
  • Flowers 350 Paid for by my Grandma
  • Cutting cake (gift from one of our friends)
  • Serving cake 70 (paid for by Grandma)
  • Decorations 100-150 All DIY
  • Ceremony AND Reception Venue Free
  • Music Free
  • Rings 300 for mine and 150 for his
  • Pictures (engagement AND wedding) 400
  • Bridesmaid/Groomsman gifts was 25/person so 250
  • Invitations were 55


Add it all up and our wedding cost around $3020. And, my grandparents gave us 1000 to spend on whatever FOR the wedding, so we only spent $2020.


 We had A LOT of people willing to help us out, and like I said ALL of our decorations wer DIY. Our guest list was 150 people. My wedding dress was a sample dress from David’s Bridal. Our caterer only charges for the cost of food. Our Photographer was a friend of my who was just starting a photography business. We had our ceremony and reception at our church, and they don’t charge members. If there’s any expense I left out, let me know.


Post # 15
4750 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: September 2012

@freshflowers:  My brother and SIL had a very low budget wedding. I would assume that it was most definitely under $5k although we never really went over final numbers.

For starters they kept their expectations and guest list small. They actually origionally were planning for immediate family and a handful of VERY close friends – and were going to do it at my house. Once they decided they did want to invite a few more people their guest list got up to around 50 people, they started to think about possibly doing a venue. 

They rented their venue (a winery) for $500, which was discounted from the normal rate for being a Sunday and also because my parents knew the owners. The venue included ceremony setup w/ chairs (at the edge of the vineyard), as well as the room for the reception and all tables/chairs/linens. They only needeed like 6 tables, so that helped to keep costs down on how much they had to decorate.

She DIYed a good majority of decor – with the exception of flowers. They chose not to have a bridal party (saving money of BP gifts, extra flower, etc). She purchased metal flowerpots to use as centerpieces, and the flowers inside them were ordered and arranged via the local grocery store (I’d say probably $300?) – they also did her bouquet and his bout. They got married in October, and went with a vintage/rustic theme and “fall” decor. They purchased a lot of mums, pumpkins, and gourds to add to decor.

They purchased a couple cases of mason jars w/ handles – and chalk stickers. She wrote the names of each guest on the cup – that trippled as table decor, place setting for seating chart, and favor to take home. They also purchased a few cases of tealights to help decorate and add ambient light

The opted for a local BBQ restaurant for catering – and paid around $7.50/person for: pulled pork BBQ, BBQ Chicken, Mac & Cheese, Buns, Cole Slaw, Baked Beans. They also purchased all their tea through the restaurant as well. They purchased some apps (fruit & cheese, etc) from the grocery store. Getting married at a winery meant they ordered all wine through them, and also had beer – but it was a laid back casual affair and so there wasn’t really heavy drinking happening.

They hired a ceremony/reception musician. A single girl who played guitar for the ceremony, then during cocktail hour she played the guitar, and during dinner/afterwards she played/sang. They didn’t have any dancing, and didn’t do a first dance. 

The biggest saving was photography. I’m a full-time professional wedding photographer, and I shot their wedding for free (obviously). They did not have the budget to hire anyone (at least not anyone that procuded quality professional work) and I honestly was not about to let my brother get married and have crappy wedding photos. Had they been having a full large wedding it would have been different – because I’d want to enjoy myself – but their wedding was very laid back and small. 

Post # 16
139 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: May 2014

My sister had a beautiful NYE wedding for around 5k. It was very simple with a great crowd and everyone still talks about how great her wedding was. 

Venue: Our local community church for ceremony and rented out a local community fire hall, both of those things cost less than $300. The hall was simple, white walls and wood floor. Since it was NYE, also got to stay until 1am for no extra cost. 

Food and Alcohol: They bought in all of the alcohol themselves and got it catered by a local catering company that was about $8 a person, so it was buffet style. My BIL’s parents paid for the alcohol as their contribution and they spent about $800. The fire hall came with two bartenders! (a Local firemen and a volunteer in the community)

Tables, Linens, Chairs: Came with Venue

Decor: My sister did it herself finding things at the dollar store and goodwill. She just had a simple glass bowl piece in the middle with swedish fish in it (my gma who passed away always had swedish fish at her house in a glass jar, so it was a personal touch) and bought dollar store NYE party stuff to decorate the table with (beads, confetti, noise makers, nye hats)

Table Assignments: Printed from her computer on cardstock paper she had and we cut them into squares and folded in half. 

Photos: Hired a family friend who was just starting out so she was really cheap for everything, about $1000. 

DJ: Got a local DJ who was starting out as well, he cost $500. 

Flowers: Grocery Store. Kept this low, just for her and bridal party, didnt have any on tables, etc. 

Favors: Hershey kisses with stickers on the bottom that said their names and dates. She got little white bags at the craft store and put a few kisses in each bag and wrapped them in ribbon to close. Got the sticker label sheets and template online and printed them off the computer. 

Hair and Makeup: Did her own makeup and hair was done by local shop for $50. 

Bridal GIfts: Giftcards for each, I think $50 a piece. 

Great wedding!


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