Post # 1
So there are countless advice columns and articles on how to work your numbers to have the wedding you want for less, but inevitably something will happen in the planning process that forces you to compromise on something you want. What did you give up on, or what did you do instead to make it easier on your pocketbook? Or what did you splurge on? How did you feel about it afterward? I’m inspired by thebrokeassbride’s blog column called Can’t afford it? Get over it! where she posts pictures of the “dream” (dress, shoes, etc) and a comparable “reality”. Let’s share our budgeting stories! I’ll go first.
About our wedding: Low-key 35-40 person affair on a rooftop garden with grilling out and playing games.
Total budget: About 6k
Couldn’t afford it: Professional entertainment. Since we got engaged I had this idea of swing dancing instructors teaching the group a few basic steps then doing a performance for us. Also wasn’t opposed to fire eaters, caricature artists, musicians…I thought weddings were boring as a kid. Since then the idea of performances have stuck!
Got over it: Still don’t want a boring wedding, especially since we doubt anyone will dance. But instead of spending thousands in professional entertainment, we’re going to be bringing in board games, lawn games, and having various trivia competitions with prizes throughout the night. Food is also a little more interactive, and instead of a sit down dinner we’re having some guys grill favorites like burgers and hotdogs on site.
How I feel about it: I still think professional entertainment would be a lot of fun, but hanging out with our families playing games is always a blast without having to drop an exorbitant amount of money to do it. I’m okay, and happy we’re sticking closer to budget!
Post # 2
- Wedding: February 2015 - Chapel on Base
Interesting thread. I hope Bees respond. We wanted a made to order pasta bar. Caterer said it would cost more than a served dinner. We got over it too.
Post # 3
- Wedding: September 2014 - Cadillac mountain
So we have a TINY budget ($1500) but I really don’t feel like we compromised on anything. We are having an intimate sunrise ceremony and then a lunch reception/party the next day. My dream dress was knee lenght and all lace & I got that. One silly must have for us was custom converse & we splurged for those and even got them for our MOH & Best Man for our gifts for them. My parents are chefs so they are doing all the cooking for us & my pastry chef momma is making our cake. I never imagined having a huge wedding – we are both pretty quiet & introveted.
Post # 4
- Wedding: February 2015 - Mount Hermon
chickspartan: We wanted a gorgeous venue, and we got it. But the one we got has done big downsides. No alcohol allowed, no dancing. We saved on the alcohol and decided a DJ was pointless. FI’s dad will emcee. There was another place we wanted, but it was out of budget.
Saves: flowers, and decor. Mostly DIY. I have a lot of ideas, so we’ll see what we have time to do. No DJ. Catering. The venue we picked is only $22 per plate. And I’ve heard it’s good food.
Splurges: photography and videographer (but raw footage only). My dress. His suit. Our rings.
One more save: we’ll be selling my dress. No reason to keep it in a box when another bride could feel gorgeous, right?
Post # 5
chickspartan: Honestly, even though we tried to go with budget options a lot of the time, as PPs mentioned I don’t feel we compromised on anything. For example, I bought two replica dresses from Jasmine’s in China (originals were $2500 and $8000 – ended up being ~$600 each) but the quality was very good. Same with my mantilla veil (original ~$1,000, replica $80). I bought my rhinestone belt online from eBay for $40 and it was GORGEOUS but I ended up bearly wearing it. Would have been $350 if I had bought it from a local store. I found my earrings for $5 at Target! I also got a bunch of cool affordable stuff from Etsy, eBay or Light In The Box. I got an underskirt on eBay for $10 when they wanted to charge me $100 from bridal stores here..
We decided to go with a DJ instead of a live band for the reception which was about 50% cheaper – he was great so no regrets there. That was mainly because I splurged on a string quartet (my dream!) for the ceremony. We had a friend do the emceeing, which saved a bunch because MCs were expensive. Also, we were able to negotiate 10 free wine corkage bottles in each location and did BYO, and because it was a small wedding that saved a LOT. We hired a home-based cake maker on the cheaper end and she did a great job.
I think we saved the most by deciding to have a destination wedding in a cheap location. This was not purely for our own benefit since most of our guests would have been travelling anyway, and we wanted to get married in a place with cheap flights, food and hotel options. Our home town and nearby is very expensive. We also haggled hard on virtually everything and almost always got a discount or perks. So extra time for photographer, a 10% discount for flowers, free AV stuff from the DJ, free corkage from venues, discounted or upgraded rooms from the hotel. It’s always worth asking as long as you are polite about it. All in all I feel we got amazing value for our money, as we had multiple gorgeous historical waterfront locations, canapes, champagne fountain, eight course sit-down dinner, unlimited alcohol and cocktails, multiple dresses, a fantastic wedding coordinator, two photo shoots and excellent award-winning vendors for under $15,000 including flights, hotels, honeymoon and rings. If we had done it locally it would probably have been 3 times that at least.
Post # 6
Penang1885: Do you mind me asking where you got married?
Post # 7
chickspartan: I decided to diy my invitations I couldn’t bear to pay almost 400 for invitations. I found a wedding invitation kit at Micheal’s in fell in love with it. I waited for a 50% coupons got 2 box for the price of one.
I am making my own frame seating chart. I DIy my Mr&MRs sign, petal aisle runner. For flower I opt for very cheap one like baby breaths carnations etc. We splurge on photography/videographer, our rings and our honeymoon. We went to a all inclusive venue who has their own in house catering and outside bakery. We was very fortunate they allow FI and I customize the menu to our taste it brought the price from $99 to $76 per head for a seat down dinner and cocktail hour with a open bar. Since we booked early and try to pay full in cash we was able to get 20% discount with some of our vendors.
Post # 8
NightOwl27: Penang. 🙂 We had our honeymoon in a few spots in SE Asia and it was amazing. If you’re thinking of going that route feel free to PM me about it.
Post # 9
chickspartan: I’ve probably done it all wrong. Except for settling for a DJ instead of a band, I haven’t settled on anything else in order to stick to my budget. That’s why the cost of the wedding keeps spiralling. I wont be in debt after the wedding but I have certainly made some pretty big sacrifices in every day life in order to fund the wedding. 8 weeks to go and I’ll finally have some money for myself!
Post # 10
- Wedding: July 2014 - Prague
In some people’s eyes I probably settled on a lot. My goal was to have an amazing party, with nothing unnecessary. So I had two rounds of champagne, but did not have an open bar (just wine and beer and non-alco drinks). I had no flowers other than my bouquet and two bouts. I haed my dress made for 400$ instead of paying a fortune. I did ipod rather than a dj.
I still think we had a kick-ass party and beautiful ceremony and didn’t break our bank!
Post # 11
My wedding is 50-60 people with a smallish budget of 10k. Here’s what I’ve done.
I got my dream dress second hand and saved 1500.
I am letting a friend of a friend do the cake seeing we are not huge cake eaters.
I’m not caring about the shoes at all . I’ll get whatever.
I’m buying bits and pieces for the favors (lolly jars) out of weekly spending money instead of out of the wedding fund. But I still add it to my running total of wedding spends.
I’m DIYing the invites.
No DJ (lunch wedding) just an ipod and dock.
We splurged on the rings! Because they are for life.
We got lucky to find the perfect venue at a great price.
We are dealing with ugly chairs instead of using covers.
Also having a belated honeymoon hopefully on our first anniversary.
Post # 12
Lots of our compromises focus on other peoples wants. I wanted 2 bridesmaids, FMIL and FSILs wanted my FSILs included, so now I have 5. For the sake of symmetry FI now has 5 GM. dad finds it difficult to travEl due to being out of the country so we changed our date from autumn to spring (peak season) these things obviously increase certain areas of the budget, so i had to take money out of other places. I know people say the wedding is about the bride and groom, but our camp out wedding requires lots of financial and physical assistance and these people have been supportive in helping in those areas, so we thought it was important to give back.
although we have what seems as a generous guest list of 130, this is due to large families. We can’t invite some friends, work colleagues etc that I would love to invite as it would blow our catering budget. I am expecting some fall out from this, but it is what it is. i hope they understand.
I strictly only looked at items that fall inside our budget. I only have $1000 for my dress, so I’ve only tried on dresses in that price range. I only have a tiny decorating budget, so a priority for our venue was existing beauty so we didn’t feel like decorations were lacking. Thanks to this, so far I have t wanted anything I couldn’t afford 🙂
Post # 13
Our wedding is about 125 guests in an all-inclusive venue that is not cheap, so that was our splurge and we have to find bargains elsewhere. We are having simple (but still nice) invitations, fake flowers, and cheaper favors than originally planned.
Post # 14
What did I compromise on? Everything, haha. I have a lot of DIY (dress, invitations, programs, handfasting cords, favors), cut a lot of things out (no bridesmaids, no live music or dj, no limo) and will be having cheap versions of other stuff (supermarket flowers for decor, hosted bar with a limit, cake being done by an at-home baker, hairstylist is a family member, accommodations are cottages owned by future in-laws, having a catered BBQ instead of a sit down dinner).
The splurges were the venue itself (botanical garden with a cafe building included), photographer (a friend, but we’re paying a competitive price for the location), nice makeup for me to wear, and we bought the groom and one male attendant a suit instead of doing rentals.
Post # 15
Penang1885: Could you post your suggestions on how you negotiated? I plan to do the same, but I’m not quite sure how to go about it.