Lower budget brides ($10-20k)

posted 3 years ago in Reception
Post # 3
1581 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: August 2014

@lollygagon:  Here, here! Our budget is around $15k, $10k of which has been graciously gifted to us by my parents. The rest we’re covering.

For us to stay under budget, we made the sacrifice of having a cocktail reception instead of a sit-down dinner. We found an amazing venue that was way under-priced, but we wouldn’t have been able to have tables and chairs set up there, so we made the executive decision to go cocktail instead. (We also have around 120 guests!)

Post # 4
3618 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: October 2013

@lollygagon:  My budget started at 5k but we quickly learned that using that budget wouldn’t get us what we wanted (our whole family to be present). Our final buget was 12k but I think we ended at 10k (under our final budget). 

We did normal things to cut cost and had a absolutely perfect wedding, everything we wanted. 

EDIT: We used a cabin rental instead of a wedding venue

we went to garage sales and other places to find unique centerpieces (we did not want them matching which was a cheaper choice)

we used a local rental company and did set up by ourselves

we did our own makeup/hair but did spend  good amount of money on quality products 

We searched long and hard for a good catering company (we found a affordable and delicious mom and pop shop) 

I decided to not get my wedding band until later on because it was an extra 3k that could go to the wedding (I don’t regret this) 


Post # 5
3265 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: February 2014

My wedding will be about 7k, not including honeymooon and rings, but I’m estimating higher than expected. We are getting absolutely everything we dreamed of. I’ve just done a lot of DIY, no flower centerpieces (never wanted them anyway), always using 40%-50% off coupons.

Post # 6
559 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: June 2014

$10k budget here!  9k after hiring a planner.  She’s a family friend.  Main reason is to manage finances and keep us on track!  It’s working so far!

Post # 7
8388 posts
Bumble Beekeeper
  • Wedding: April 2013

@lollygagon:  Our budget was originally $10k, but then we were gifted about $2k from parents, so we upped it to $12k (includes tax, gratuities, rings, all events, etc).  I think the key thing is to track how much each option costs you completely (I used a spreadsheet to keep track of this), so that you don’t get surprised with last minute fees/charges (i.e. cake cutting, service charge, etc).  The majority of our budget was spent on our guests (food, alcohol, entertainment, etc) so we would be able to host a welcome dinner, thank you brunch, etc.  In order to do this I slashed my decor budget, flower budget and DIY’d almost everything.  The key to cost cutting DIY is to cross utilize materials and keep everything in house (i.e. design, cut, print and assemble at home).  Also, look for materials you already have and can repurpose.  I made these little centerpieces for less than $2 each using an old pickle jar, cardstock scraps, disposable salad dressing cup, some moss and an LED tealight.


Post # 8
5432 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: June 2014 - Ontario, Canada ♥ EDD- April 2016

We didn’t really have a budget, but my mom was hoping to keep it around $15,000. Right now we’re at $14,000 and we don’t have much more to pay for. I think we’ll come in pretty close to ‘budget’. It’s funny, because in my area our wedding is actually considered really expensive!

Post # 9
298 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: October 2014

@lollygagon:  a lot of DIY with coupons – all of our centerpieces, favors, decor… Invites/RSVP/STD’s were from vistaprint, with a groupon, and double dipped from retail me not. $202 for all that.

will probably spend like 14k when all is said and done.

Post # 10
2501 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: September 2014

@lollygagon:  Hi!  our budget is 25K for everything

We are tying to keep our catering costs ( thats the highest expense) down by cutting people. I am only inviting my boss from work, being a little stingy on +1s ( meaning we arent giving our friends/family who are single a plus one, they know people at the wedding)

We probably will not do favors and our flowers will be done by Costco or something… We are trying to save for our next house in the next 5 years so we do not want to go crazy on the wedding 

Post # 11
3202 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: January 2014

We are having an intimate wedding (20ish people) and then casual family parties afterward. There were a few reasons for this, mostly unrelated to costs (e.g. our families live 1000+ miles apart), but it certainly has helped us keep costs down! It’s allowing us to skip things like bridal party, DJ, elaborate wedding cake, and other things that I probably would have felt compelled to do if were were having a more traditional wedding. And I don’t feel so guilty about spending lots of money on stuff that IS important to me (like the photographer) since we’ve saved a lot elsewhere.

Post # 12
975 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: September 2014 - Banff, Alberta

@lollygagon:  My budget was initially $5000 but as our parents added contributions we have been able to add things we wanted so now looking at $8000. 

1) DIY absolutely freakin everything. All paper, all decor, flowers. 

2) Recruit friends as much as possible for dj’s, hair, make-up, officiant, cake. Only use a friend as a photographer if they have shot weddings before! Weddings and flowers are very different to shoot!

3) Do just beer and wine for alcohol.

4) There are tons of places that sell cheap, quality wedding dresses online if you haven’t bought it yet.

5) Skip favors, no one will notice.

6) Have a casual rehersal dinner. 

Post # 13
8483 posts
Bumble Beekeeper
  • Wedding: September 2013

I spent $23k.  Basically like you, I started off thinking $10k was plenty. HAHA!

I think a lot of this depends on the venue.  I couldn’t find anything I liked for less than $1500 rental (plus I had to buy their alcohol/rental package which was $37 per person including all tables, linens, chairs, setup, and 6 hour open bar).  That dictated most of the cost.

You can cut costs in other places but cutting flowers or favors isn’t going to turn a $20k wedding into a $10k one without cutting out vendors or changing the venue.

I probably should have gone with my second choice venue.  I imagine I could have saved $3-$4k easily.  Still not going to cut my budget in half but it would have been nice!

I went with the best prices I could find and I didn’t go extravagant on anything and I still ended up at $23k.  My food/catering was only about $30 per person (including tax, service charge).

A lot of people that do weddings for really low budget use friendors as well (friend does the photograpy or catering or DJ or all 3).  I wasn’t comfortable doing that but some people are.  I just don’t have any professional photogs or caterers as friends and didn’t want to trust someone who only did it as a hobby.

I think the key is really the type of wedding (afternoon, cocktail, small) and the venue. 

Post # 14
3089 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: October 2012

@lollygagon:  Our budget started out at 5k, but after everything was said and done I think we were around 10k. 


The biggest help to us was our free venue. 


Our photographer was only $1400 (It pains me to say “only). 


We brought in our own alcohol, and we found a caterer that did all of the food for around $9/head (It was one of our favorite restaurants!). 


Instead of a cake we had whoopie pies. 


Our friend was our DJ.  We managed to get a big band for like $500 and a dixie land band for $200. 


We bought our linens off of Craigslist instead of renting them or buying them retail.  We ended up with WAY more linens than we could have ever used, too! We ended up donating them to the theatre we got married in after the wedding.

OH!  We also did our own flowers.  We went to Whole Foods the day before and I just picked a bunch.  We made my bouquet, 5 BMS, and 11 bouts for $98


I think those were our biggest money savers


Post # 15
1321 posts
Bumble bee

Our budget was 15K – 20K but as of now it’s going to be closer to 20K and maybe a little over.  So far we spent about 16K for the venue, catering, chairs, linens, centerpieces, lighting, decorations, wine/beer open bar, wedding cake, 2 bartenders/waitstaff (will also clean up), planning committee, and day of coordinator.

The BEST way we found to get the most bang for our buck and NOT drive ourselves crazy planning all the nitty gritty details (I hate doing that) was I found several awesome waterfront venues that actually offerred most of what I listed above in the cost of the venue — basically a one stop shop.  The waterfront venue we booked is AMAZING and actually really pricey ($6,000 JUST to rent the venue) but to keep the cost down we chose Friday evening and negotiated like crazy with the venue.

Post # 16
245 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: June 2014

*skips in* oh, what I could do with a $15,000 budget *twirls out*

LoL! My budget is now at $7,500 which used to be $5,000….and I pray it won’t be anymore than that!

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