Post # 1
My fiance and I are both from small towns (ten miles apart – high school rivals!) and we know everybody. Plus, I go to school six hours away and we have a bunch of friends from there plus my basketball team and coaches will be attending. We wrote our guest list and it’s over 500 people. We don’t think over 400 will come, but STILL. Our budget is $8000, not including rings or honeymoon. Can we make it??
What are your budgets and how big is your guest list?
Post # 3
Think about doing a cake-and-punch reception in the afternoon, rather than serving a meal?
Or do a more casual, picnic-style buffet reception in order to be able to accommodate more guests?
I have a huge, sprawling family, and FI and I decided that our priority was to accommodate people rather than spend a lot on anything opulent or elaborate, a fancy venue, a lot of extras, etc. We also split our guest list into “must-invite” and “wish list” (I like that better than A-list and B-list). Many of our “must-invites,” especially relatives, would have to travel a long way, and so we sent out those invites on the early side. As declines started coming in, we sent invitations for those places to our “wish list” people.
Post # 4
Wow, I thought it was hard trying to do 250 people on $10k! You win 🙂
I do know how you feel. There are a lot of people that we feel like we have to invite (as in we couldn’t imagine getting married without them there), but it does make it challenging to plan. Even if you had unlimited funds, there are only so many places that will accomodate that many people…once you start limiting the money, the options get even fewer. That being said, you can do it. A couple of ideas:
If you have your heart set on having a dinner reception, consider inviting everyone to the ceremony and doing a cake/punch and/or hors d’oeuvre reception right after. Then, later on in the day, do a more intimate reception for immediate family and your closest friends. That will help you save on the costs while still showing hospitality to all your guests.
One thing my Fi and I have been doing as we plan is asking ourselves if we really need it. Will it add to our and/or our guests’ experience? If not, we don’t need it. Make a list of what things you care about most, and budget around those things.
DIY if you can, keep it as simple as you can, and don’t be afraid to ask friends and family for ideas or help. From what I’ve found, people are genuinely pleased to be asked to be involved, and it makes your day that much more personal. That’s the great thing about being part of a community–people are ready and willing to step in and help out.
Remember that at the end of the day, the important thing is that you are going to be marrying the one you love.
Post # 5
We can’t invite everyone to the wedding ceremony because it’s my hometown church and only holds 250, and that’s pushing it. We actually just found a GREAT caterer, for $6.95 per plate! So I think we’ll be okay now. Before it was nothing under $13, which was going to be too much. And we’ll probably skip save the dates and favors (even though I love them!) to save money. And we’re looking into ordering flowers online rather than going through florist. Any other suggestions???
Post # 6
@MrsCanoodle: We never really set a ‘budget’ but it ended up being $10k total for about 200 people. I think our food was around $7 a plate for 200, buffet style, so was $1500 and the liqour we capped at $1000. I DIY’d almost everything. We ordered flowers online from fifty flowers, 325 roses (gorgeous garden roses!) and made the bouquets, bouteniers, corsages, and centerpieces for all the tables. (Looking back I would order the bouteniers and corsages – ours were falling apart pretty quickly – hairspraying the flowers may have helped).
All that said 5k is a tight budget for that amount of people. Definetly differentiate between what you ‘want’ and what you ‘need’, but that said there were a lot of ‘wants’ that I had to have – but did myself. Like chargers – I used paper doilies instead which were $20 for 500 and were gorgeous. All the flower vases for the centerpieces were blue ball jars that I collected from family or bought super cheap at garage sales/flea markets.
Watch craigslist/ebay for other brides selling their stuff…