(Closed) OMG! I refuse to spend 20k on ONE day!

posted 8 years ago in Money
Post # 3
1932 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: June 2008

Firstly, there is such a thing as ONLY inviting people to a ceremony. You can invite your really close friends, and immediate family to a small reception, and all the extended family to the ceremony.

Secondly, who says you need to have a sit-down dinner? We’re doing a 1pm ceremony, then a reception at 2 with cake, punch and a few desserts and a short dance. I assume it’ll be done by 5-6pm. 

Or, you could do just a ceremony. For real.

Then you and your fiance go out to a fancy dinner together, or with you immediate families, that way it’s more special, and intimate.


There is no way I could spend that much, not even afford it. And I won’t go into debt over ONE DAY. It’s not that important. 

You can do it, you just have to think a little out-of-the-box

Post # 4
115 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: October 2010

I plan on having 150 people at my wedding and doing it for under $5000.  And I WILL do it!  Everybody thinks I’m crazy, but I swear I’ll do it.  I plan on having 2 bands and a DJ.  Yep. 2 bands and a DJ.  Ways I’ve saved…well the dress is bought.  Paid for by my mother.  That was on clearance.  It has a few snags here and there, but one of my maids is a whiz with that kinda stuff.  My friend is a DJ, he said he’d do my wedding for $100!  Yep.  A few of my other friends are in this really great 80’s cover band and their doin it for $300 and my fiances friend has a rockabilly band that will do it for the same price.  Im putting a cap on my bar tab at $1000.  After that my guests can pay their own way…sorry.  I’m providing entertainment and food, if they wanna get good and drunk they can do it on their own dime.  I know that may seem harsh, but HEY!  My grandmother is giving me her wedding band so thats done.  We’re renting a hall for $350.  My best guy friend is getting ordained for $35 and he’s marrying us….I still have a lot to figure out but I plan on doing this.  OH and another one of my maids has a good friend who does wedding cakes and she agreed to do mine (I want cupcakes) for $225.  Phew.  I know I can do this!  And so can you, you just have to think outside the box a little.  Good Luck!

Post # 5
1932 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: June 2008

@leah, what are you doing for photography?


That’s an EXPENSIVE area that I really am blessed, my sister in law owns her own photography business and is doing my whole wedding free of charge. She is soo amazing.

What about flowers?

I was going to go wholesale on my flowers, from a farmers market, and do them the day before. But then my SIL offered to pay for them too.


Post # 6
3219 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: November 2010

Wedding stuff is out of control price wise! Look on CL for vendors and ask for cheaper rates if they need the business they’ll do it!

Post # 7
1932 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: June 2008

Also, on the craigslist note – you can find a lot of student photographers, make up artists, stylists etc- they’re still in school – but are generally REALLY talented and do great work. Just be sure to ask to see their work! Esp the photogs

Post # 8
2196 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: January 2013

It bothers me a little when people talk about how they’re doing a great wedding on the cheap and then explain that they have family in friends in all the relevant industries who are giving them free or heavily discounted services.  I don’t know ANYONE who could perform or provide ANY of my wedding services, and unless I go seek out friends in the next year and a half solely for the purpose of using them to obtain wedding services.  I don’t think I’m alone in this.  leah, it is SO AWESOME that you know people who can do all these things, but many of us don’t, and for us it’s a heck of a lot more expensive to try and plan a wedding within a certain budget.

Post # 9
2821 posts
Sugar bee

Renting a place and feeding 200 people and entertaining them is expensive, even if it’s not a wedding.   But………….you can get it below $50 a head for food.  I had a lot of food, and really good food at $32 a head, which includes appetizers dinner and cake, and that wasn’t cutting back at all so I’m sure you can do it for less.  But we didn’t do it at hotel and had someone who was a good cook but was just starting up a business.  There’s ways to do it.

Figure out a price you’re willing to spend.  Even if you say $2000 you can always do potluck or rely on close family to help with cooking.  I’m in my late 20’s so people my age have stopped doing this but my sisters friends in their early 20’s have opted to go this way for some of them, especially those just buying a house and she’s had a blast at those weddings just as much as any other. 

Post # 10
2186 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: September 2010

girl i know how you feel – i actually set a limit at 19K just because i didnt want to go to 20! lol

but its hard. i picked a venue with a limited amount of space which forces the guest list to be down. so we are doing about 120 folks for our budget. small for us since if you just do my family alone = i have 18 aunts and uncles, 36 if you include spouses, and about 74 first cousins…. ugh.

and quite frankly – those who pay have a say who is invited. if your FH and his fam is paying for this wedding, then let them do what they want. if they are expecting your family to foot the bill for this big huuuge church wedding that you cant afford, then put your foot down.

it helps too when Grooms understand that each person you invite is $XX of money. my FH finally stopped randomly inviting people and demanding we do this or that when he realized SOMEONE HAS TO PAY FOR IT.

so if you are in the beginning stages, its ok to dream big, but once you get a budget, you realize you have to reign it in a bit.


Post # 11
1676 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: July 2010

Ok, first of all, deep breaths.  I totally hear you, and when I actually stop to think about how much my wedding is going to cost it pretty much makes me sick.  There are so many other important things that we could be doing with that money… so I just try not to think about that giant sum of money getting dropped all at once on one day. 

If it is so important to your FI’s family to have EVERY single one of their distant family members in attendance, maybe they will want to pitch in some $$? 

Good luck!

Post # 12
179 posts
Blushing bee

Maybe Fiance will come to his senses when he sees how much money it will cost to invite everyone he knows. 🙂 He’s probably really excited about the wedding, which is a good thing. If this is what he wants, then he’ll definitely have to come up with a way to accomodate all of those extra guests.

Have you guys set a budget yet of what you can spend? Budget is the most important thing from the get go… not the guest list. Don’t freak out though, it’s likely that he’ll be reasonable with you and hopefully you can come to a good compromise on who can be invited later on down the road.

Post # 13
7779 posts
Bumble Beekeeper

You can so do things! I was able to pull together my budget by seriously slashing my guest list. For real. My mom has about 150 people she wanted to invite and we absolutely put our foot down. There are about 62 on our current list. You need to give your Fiance a reality check, or do what the other bees have suggested. You can do an afternoon wedding with a cake and punch reception. You can have an open ceremony and then go to an intimate dinner with JUST the immediate family. It’s not really good etiquette to have an invite-only reception. Kinda a no-no.

I also was able to cut down my costs by doing LOTS of shopping around, going with small, mom-and-pop vendors and haggling my butt off. I talked our photog down from $4k to $1500. Our venue agreed to waive our room rental fees. The tiny florist I found is about half the cost of everyone else. I’m DIYing what I can. I’m using craiglist, ebay and other internet vendors.

It takes effort, but you can definitely find the good deals. You may also consider an off-day wedding. It’s much cheaper.

Post # 14
1562 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: June 2010

i agree (even though our wedding is at $18K…) it’s REDICULOUS how expensive weddings are.

I’ve DIY’d a lot of stuff. our invitations, our flowers (well, a friend at work is doing them as my wedding gift – and they were all silk bought from old time pottery), our centerpieces, part of our favors – the other favors I bought from dollar tree!

the reason our wedding is costing a lot – my husband, who’s a catering manager (thank god for that – our catering for 100 people is ONLY gonna be like $550 – getting everything at cost!) but he’s done a few weddings at this spectacular place in downtown indy that he HAD to be married at…the venue alone cost us $7,500 – AND that was “cheap” compared to what the venue normally costs – because my husband has worked parties there before the owner gave us a discount!

everything else just adds up…dress, shoes, hair, jewelry ($1,500 total) their tuxes, alcohol, videography (which we’re getting a kick-butt deal on too – all day – all images – $1,500 whereas a lot of photog places charge $3,000 but she’s just starting off).

however – you CAN do a FABULOUS wedding for SO much cheaper!

honestly call every single caterer you can to find out prices – if you don’t want to do catering, what about a restaurant such as fazolis? there are a ton of restaurants that cater for MUCH cheaper than catering places.

and how about a public park for your venue?

DIY your cake. DIY your flowers. look in the classifieds or on craigs list for your dress.

believe me, i HATE looking at the number we’ve spent on our wedding cuz it’s like “seriously? i could have paid off ALL my debt and had some left over for what we’ve spent on “one day”…but for us it’s worth it because it IS something you only do once and we will have the photographs, video and memories forever. ya only live once, right?

but again – there are SO many ways to do up a grand wedding for not a lot of money.

good luck!

Post # 15
4547 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: September 2010

Sometimes I get sick when I think about how much is being spent on one day. Granted my future in laws are paying for half but STILL. We could put a downpayment on a house. I wrestle with it all the time.

Post # 16
31 posts
  • Wedding: August 2010

@veganglam I don’t know why you would be bothered that a couple can do a wedding on the cheap because of friends and family help. That’s a big part of budget wedding planning, looking at the resources you have available — even if it’s a little help or almost the entire wedding! It doesn’t make it less of a budget wedding just because a couple has a lot of the convenient connections. I didn’t think I had ANY friends or family who could help us out until friends contacted their friends, and family reached out to their conections. Networking really helped. What bothered me is that people assumed I couldn’t do it on my budget. I’m showing them I can. So what if I have help? I’m still accomplishing my goal!

Even if you don’t have those connections at all, you can still be budget savvy and frugal with how much you spend. Being a bride on a budget, you have to be resourceful, whether it’s coupon clipping, researching, negotiating or maximizing your social network.

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