That’s our plan! My FI is still in school (though should be graduating in May before our July wedding) and we’re both living on my entry-level salary, so our wedding planning is all about being thrifty. AND we’re planning on inviting 150 guests. We’ve got a lot done already, so here’s what our budget looks like at this point:
Already purchased/contracts signed:
Ceremony Venue (Catholic Church): free, but we’ll have to pay an organist, cantor, and altar servers, plus we intend to make a donation to the church, so we’re planning on a total cost of about $500
Reception venue: $900 for four hours plus $200/hour after that, so we’re planning on a total of 6 hours for $1,300. It’s an additional $150 to have them open the cash bar (which includes free non-alcoholic beverages including coffee, tea, sodas, etc) for a total venue cost of $1,450
Food: The venue has it’s own caterer and the food was AWESOME so we’re going with them. It’s italian food and we’re going with the most expensive option (chicken parm, 2 different pasta options, salad & garlic bread) total cost (which includes all the plates, silverware, etc.): $780
Photographer: Our original plan of using a pro photog family member didn’t pan out, but we have decided to take a chance on a fantastic photog who is just now getting her foot in the door to the wedding industry. Her photos look great, but she’s a newbie to weddings, so we’re getting a huge cost savings in exchange for taking the risk. Total cost for all-day coverage and including an engagment session: $550.
My dress: Found at a consignment bridal shop for $450 (actually more than I had intended to spend, but I fell in love with it!)
Paper: We’re DIY-ing all the STD’s, Invitations, and programs. We’ve already got most of it designed and just bought all the envelopes (I’m going to get a head-start on the caligraphy for the addresses) and a ton of printer ink. Total cost this far: $190. Plus, we figure it’ll be another $150 for paper & postage.
For FI’s attire, we’re going casual (because, who wants to wear a full tux in mid-july?) and he’ll wear just a white shirt with either a tie or bowtie, so we’re budgeting about $100 for whatever he doesn’t already own.
We’re DIY-ing the flowers for the bouquets & centerpieces and plan to order the blooms in bulk for no more than $500. We found the vases for the centerpieces at a garage sale and paid $5 for 23 vases! yay!
Also we’ll be self-DJing. The reception venue has a sound system which is free to use and FI and I will devote a lot of time to creating playlists (apracticalwedding.com has some pretty great lists already available, by the way)
That puts out total spending at just under the $5K mark, which we’ll use to cover whatever we haven’t thought of at this poing (like the license itself…$50? $100? I’ve got no idea). Whatever is left over, we’ll use to buy wine for the reception. We’re hoping to put two bottles on each table, but we’ll have to decide when it gets closer if it will put us over the budget (or if it’s worth it to go over budget for)
Anyways, long story short: We fully intend to pull off a 150 person wedding for right around $5K.