Post # 1
Hi all-I am newly engaged and we are starting to plan our wedding. The only thing is that we both have very large families and our guest list will be roughly 300-even though I expect that those actually coming will be no more than 250-we are planning for the 300 person range.
Because we are paying for the wedding ourselves-we are at crossraods because we only want to keep our budget small-ideally $5000 but I am prepared to go up to $10,000 if need be due to the amount of people. We have tossed around the idea of a destination wedding and having a large reception upon our return-but we just are not sure yet. I am also pretty crafty and prepared to do as my DIY as possiable to cut costs.
Does anyone have any advice or ideas to help us out?
Post # 3
Obviously, the first way to trim back the budget is to trim that guest list! We too have large families, but we had to stick to our guns about not inviting everyone’s second cousins and all 40 of their children.
We ended up with just shy of 200 people, and were able to stick to our $10k budget.
We served a lunch meal instead of a dinner meal (half the cost!!)
We used networking, acquaintances, and word of mouth reccommendations for our photographer and DJ.
I bought my dress off the rack at David’s Bridal, and took it to a seamstress for alterations instead of paying DB to alter it.
We also combined our centerpieces & favors… we had bowls of candy at every table, so our guests could get up, mingle, and grab some candy from other tables, and it also saved BOATLOADS on our floral budget.
Other ways to trim back would be to have a smaller wedding party (fewer gifts to buy), get married on a Friday evening or a Sunday, look at local parks and recreation centers instead of traditional venues.
ETA- Derp, I forgot to suggest having just beer & wine for the bar, instead of hosting a full open bar. Also, if you did a Sunday morning wedding, you could host brunch & have champagne & mimosas as your bar options- much cheaper than a full top shelf bar!
Post # 4
BBQ style reception at a local park or a family/friend’s beautiful backyard.
We’re having 200 people and doing everything, including the dress that I splurged on for around $5k by having a bbq style reception at a local park.
Post # 5
@DaneLady: I love the idea of a morning wedding! I didn’t even think of that! Thank you!
Post # 6
@sjprchal: No prob! I wish I had thought of that before my wedding! Hahaha, breakfast food is my FAVORITE! How cute would it be to have food stations- a belgian waffle station, an omelette station, a muffin tower, cute vintage syrup bottles that double as centerpieces, mimosas, ahhhh…
Post # 7
I would have to say the same as Danelady, try to cut the guest list. If that’s not doable, you’ll have to try to find a venue that can hold all those guests but not cost you a fortune – like a back yard or a park.
Invitations: In the end of the day, a wedding invitation is made of paper, i.e. most people will put them in recycling as the event is over. So I wouldn’t put too much effort into them. I don’t say they shouldn’t be nice, but you could perhaps make a simpler invitation (so no pocket folds for example) yourself.
The reception: First, keep it local! I would do a brunch or a lunch reception where people can mingle – so not a sit down event. That means that you won’t have to rent chairs and tables. The only concern is rain…
The food: I would make a smorgasbord spread – deviled eggs, cold cuts, salads, oven baked salmon etc. Map out all your ideas and estimate how long it will all take to cook, then get your family involved in helping out making the food. As for drinks, just serve beer and wine if you’re doing alcohol – no cocktails. If you want a cheap wedding cake, do it yourself – there’s books in the subject, get one and start experimenting.
The dress: Personally, I can’t motivate a dress for several $1000 when I’m going to wear it once. So I’ll get a dress from a department store (like JCrew) and then I can cut it off afterwards and make it into a summer dress!
Honeymoon: If you do end up with more than 250 people, I would definitely set up a honeymoon registry!
Post # 8
@sjprchal: There are no rules that say you have to have a full blown dinner for a reception. If you got married in the afternoon, then had a cake and punch receptionwith some cookes, cakes, etc during a non-meal time – that would be completely acceptable (unless the majority of your guest list has to fly in to see you).
This could had 300+ people but only had cookies, coffee and dancing.
A Sweet Handmade Church Wedding for 3K: Sara + Steve
We were less concerned about table linens and more concerned about THE REST OF OUR LIVES. We bought a house instead of a fancy venue. We planned our entire wedding for $3,000 and had over 300 guests. Just find ways to be frugal! We borrowed décor (Steves mom had hundred of doilies!), we made practically everything ourselves, we made iPod playlists for the reception, we had a dessert reception instead of dinner, we had coffee donated, and spent time being creative. Our guests all told us it was the most unique, beautiful, and creative wedding they’d ever been to. I was so proud to tell people we only spent $3,000. IT CAN HAPPEN! AND YOU CAN DO IT! 🙂
The key sounds like to make the food very inexpensive/informal and probably have a near free venue (park, pavilion, someone’s yard, etc).
Post # 9
@eocenia: Great ideas on the food-my fiance is a avid hunter/fisher and we have salmon stocked up and we also raise our own beef-so we could probally use up the roasts we don’t usually cook up and do like bbq sandwiches and salads and such! With our combined big families I sure some will be more than willing to help out with cooking!
I think we will look into the honeymoon registery!
Post # 10
- Wedding: August 2013 - Rocky Mountains USA
@sjprchal: Hey, I can relate – we’re inviting about 200 people (expecting 150?) on a $13,000 budget. Which is, on one hand, a LOT of money, but on the other hand, not that much for this kind of shindig.
Things we’re doing:
– using a band that are friends – just paying travel costs and hotel rooms
– DIY flowers (centerpieces + bouquet/bouts) from my parents’ huge garden, thrift store vases – can order flowers wholesale if you don’t have access to wildflowers/gardens
– cheap dress from a department store (search for white/cream evening gowns – or try David’s Bridal, secondhand, or a Chinese replica)
– small wedding party = fewer gifts, hassle
– only beer and wine at the reception, not full bar
– rehearsal dinner will just be a big BBQ with my hubby’s elk from this year (plus sides and veggie options)
– all events at the same outdoor venue = somewhat reduced weekend prices
– inexpensive Save the Date postcards from Overnightprints.com, Paperless Post invitations (classy emailed invites)
I feel a lot of pressure to have a “traditional” wedding… several days of events, Saturday ceremony and Saturday night party, etc since our location is very much in the middle of nowhere and requires a lot of travel for ~half the guests. So this is our compromise to keep it simple and cheapish but still a full extravagant affair.
Good luck! Congrats! 🙂
Post # 11
@sjprchal: So glad I could help! If you are a hunting/fishing type of family I would definitely use that type of food for the wedding. I’ve fished my entire life and my dad is a hunter, so for our wedding dinner we’re having a game inspired started and arctic char for the main course. We love that type of food and it will be exotic to many of our guests!
Post # 12
I would suggest looking into food trucks for catering, the food is still great and cost WAYY less, also maybe looking into cupcakes instead of a large cake, and trying to DIY as much as possible, including bouquets and centerpieces and skipping favors- Shop around for photographers and such, could cut your budget way down (i found mine through a facebook page, she is amazing and her cost was really cheap for what you get).
Post # 13
I am very much in favor of prioritizing people over the trappings of the wedding, and cutting back on other areas so that you can include the extended family in the guest list. (Within reason, of course – you need to be able to be good hosts, etc. and provide a nice party for your guests, but “nice” doesn’t have to equal $100+ per plate.)
Other PPs have already given great suggestions, so I’ll just add: we had a fairly traditional wedding (with sit-down dinner, etc.) for 175 ppl on a roughly 10K budget. We spent most of our money on the food and drink at the reception. I found an affordable dress, we worked with local people on the invitations and flowers, we hired a talented student photographer, and we didn’t bother with things like chair covers, monogrammed anything, etc. Make “less is more” your mantra, and you can definitely do it!
Post # 14
Oh, I came up with one more! My FI and I got our engagement photo session for free as an art college close to us wanted engaged couples for a training session. We were there for half a day and got photos from 4-5 students. Sure, some of the photos were crap, but many were great! They told us that they were constantly searching for couples to use for training sessions and invited us back after the wedding. So, we get free pictures taken after the fact (will just have to pay to get my hair fixed once more, but I can live with that!).
Post # 15
I’m with you girl! We are trying to keep ours right around the $5,000 range. I’ve definitely had to make some sacrifices, but you can totally do it if you’re willing to give and take on some things.
We are getting married at an absolutely gorgeous site in a state park close to where we live, so because it’s state ran, the ceremony site is free and the reception hall is going to cost around $100 to rent and includes tables and chairs and everything…and it’s actually really nice (I had my doubts!). I made my own invitations for about $300 for 100. My wedding dress was originally $1,200, but because it was a discontinued style it was on sale off the rack for $199! And seriously, what sane girl is going to know that it’s a discontinued style? No one that I would invite to my wedding, I can tell you that haha! Instead of doing actual flowers, I am making my bouquets out of hand made flowers and brooches that I’m collecting here and there (there are some great tutorial threads on here) and my centerpieces will be made the same way. My aunt makes cakes so she is doing our cake for free as a wedding gift. Our photographer is a graphic design student who does photography on the side and does an excellent job and she only charges around $750, plus she’s bringing a photog friend to help her. I would highly recommend checking out a local college or trade school for an up and coming photographer before they realize how good they are and start charging an arm and a leg! I found our DJ on Craigslist – a husband wife team who are just getting their start, but are totally legit – for $400 for the day. I could keep going, but you get the picture :o)
Just do some shopping around for the right price and try to think outside the box. Anything labelled “Wedding” will have about a 150% price increase compared to the norm. And yeah, you may have to make some tough decisions when it comes to that guest list. The food and drink bill will kill that budget otherwise. Good luck to you!
Post # 16
I am a newly engaged bride-to-be. My fiance’ and I have been talking lately about this wedding and to my surprise (light switch came on) that I can just do things on my own (decorations). It’s hard to find the the items that I am searching for at a good price, but everything is so expensive. For example the rose kissing balls I found the flower rose heads but they are 12,25,100,150 and at a high price. I did find 1000 for 88.69 on http://www.aliexpress.com, but I dont know if that is cheap. The styrofoam balls are also expesive to buy. I am at wits end cause I feel like I am going in circles. Please someone give me some ideas. Please!!!!!