(Closed) Iowa & Other Midwest Brides!!! Big wedding, small budget?

posted 6 years ago in Iowa
Post # 3
Member
3697 posts
Sugar bee

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
Member
807 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: April 2013

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 # 6
Member
591 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: August 2012

@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…

Good luck!

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