Overwhelmed by wedding costs

posted 3 years ago in Money
Post # 3
3735 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: September 2014

Once you start getting prices, you may realize that $27K adds up quickly. There are plenty of ways to cut costs but lots of people spend lots of money and still host a fairly average wedding.

It’s a heart stopper!

Post # 4
951 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: July 2014

@doubletrouble:  The lower number of guests will help.  AND CONGRATS!  I’m planning a wedding in the Seattle area and my total will be pushing $27,000 when all is said and done, even with all my DIY stuff.  But we have a guest list of just over 150.  There are plenty of bees on here that have planned weddings with $10,000 or LESS so there’s lots of advice out there.  🙂

Post # 5
689 posts
Busy bee

@doubletrouble:  There’s ranges of prices for everything. I don’t like those “average” cost stats bc I don’t think they are very fair. Some pple blow $100,000 on weddings while others are ok w/ going to the courthouse and calling it a day.

First, set your budget. Then, figure out what you absolutely need, and then what you could potentially cut if you absolutely had to (for ex, favors). You should just start doing your research and see what’s available in your area (for ex, a cake from the local grocery store bakery will be probably a fraction of the price a bakery will charge you). If you’re budget is super tight, try to DIY some items to save some money. 

Things like flowers, venue and food can eat up your budget really easily, so be mindful of those. 

Post # 6
922 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: April 2014

everything adds up quicker that you’d believe. My 10k budget quickly doubled, and I’m seriously budgeting everything. my one splurge was the photographer, and I had no idea they could cost so much (mine is about $3600). Add in venue, food, drinks, dj, flowers, dress and suit, wedding party gifts, decor, rings… You get the point. You could spend 27k without evening trying. 

Budgeting takes work, but it can be done. 

Post # 7
975 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: September 2014 - Banff, Alberta


I am a budget ninja. I am planning a budget wedding in one of the most expensive areas to get married. Afew things:

Ipod music, with the MC operating it.

Officiant is a family friend who has done a few weddings. Make sure this is someone who is very outgoing and okay talking in front of crowds as they have to say a lot of stuff. Some areas are picking about who can be the officiant (need to be ordained)

We are having an hor deurve reception, so not a sit down meal. 

If you have an afternoon Sunday wedding (we are!) you can limit or exclude alcohol all together. We wouldn’t have had alcohol if my mom wasn’t paying for it.

DIY DIY DIY! I am making our own invites, programs, flowers, centerpieces, card box, cake topper, guestbook, photobooth. 

There are gorgeous wedding dresses available for like $350 online, that are still new.

Favors really aren’t necessary, unless you find something really cheap!

We are doing their own make-up. My mom is a hair dresser and bringing one of her staff to do our hair for free. 

Recruit friends – for dj/mc, hair, make-up, food if your venue allows it, cake.

Slim the guest list

Non-Wedding Venues

Try to use non-floral decor as flowers are expensive and don’t last

Save the envelopes and stamps with online RSVP

Use a budget planner like on the knot or weddingwire



Post # 8
975 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: September 2014 - Banff, Alberta

@doubletrouble:  Oh and my guest list is 80ish. Original budget was $5000, now at $8200


Post # 9
4441 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: January 2013 - Harbourfront Grand Hall

@doubletrouble:  It is DEFINITELY possible to spend less and still have a nice wedding!  I think the most important determining factor in price is how many people you invite.  So keep that in mind!

The one tip I didn’t see you listed is flowers, I so wish we hadn’t even had bouquets, etc.!  We did candleabra centrpieces instead of flowers to cut the cost.

Sheet cake.

Etc. Buy “Budget weddings for dummies” LOL

Post # 10
1532 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: August 2013

I had exactly the average wedding, cost wise. And you may have found it to be that boring and stuffy wedding with bad chicken you’ve been to a million times because it was quite traditional. The only exception being that our venue has the best cocktail hour ever. 🙂


However – I live in NJ where everything is stupid expensive. So that got me 105 people on a Friday night (cheaper). Sit down dinner. Cocktail hour, 4hr open bar, cake, DJ, photographer, photobooth, flowers (went super cheap with hydrangea and free fake centerpieces), new dress, tux rental, plain metal wedding rings, officiant, pro hair & makeup. What we did not have: no limo – we rented two suvs – best idea ever. We did not have a videographer.


So – there are lots of ways to save money, and people throw weddings for 10k all the time and you can find lots of them. But if you want the average wedding, it’ll hover around average price.


You should totally do a cocktail reception if your guests are cool with that. That’s what they call your finger food idea. I wish I could have done that. The fingerfoods are always so much more awesome anyway! I love variety. Who wants to chose just one thing for dinner when you know they are capable of making a thousand different little bites of awesomeness back there? (Buffets are not cheaper)


Photography prices are gonna make you cry. Prepare yourself. 🙂


 Edit: Oh and Congrats!!!


Post # 11
8850 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper
  • Wedding: August 2013 - Rocky Mountains USA

It can be tough to keep it at 10k, especially if you’re in an expensive part of the country.  Boston, or western Mass?  That probably makes a difference.  Keeping the guest list at 75 will help, so DON’T start adding more people!

Things you can do cheaply: dress and accessories (David’s bridal, white evening gown from a department store, pre-owned dress) – music (iPod) – booze (try to find a venue that allows you to bring in your own!!!) – flowers (DIY, fake or paper alternatives, etc) – cake (grocery store) – rings (tungsten or something similar) – bridal party stuff (keep it as small as possible, those costs add up) – officiant (a friend or family member can get ordained for free).  Skip a videographer, favors, limos, a super fancy wedding suite, extravagant gifts for everyone, etc.

Finding a cheap venue and cheap food will really make the biggest impact.  For example, $20 a head vs $50 a head will save you $2250…

Post # 12
3845 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: June 2014

@doubletrouble:   Welcome to the hive!!  

Try to keep the guest list small (75 is good!) and comparison shop flowers or DIY.    If you could consider a Sunday brunch reception that helps with the cost, too.  That’s what we’re doing and it has helped with many of the vendors.

And a huge congrats on your engagement!!  Wishing you both every happiness!!  🙂 

Post # 13
1627 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: September 2010

Sure you can spend less, but you may not get exactly what you want. You may have to settle.

My dream venue came with a $5,000 rental fee. To me there was no point in throwing a big event if I couldn’t even have it in a place I liked. 

Post # 14
343 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: May 2014

It’s possible to plan a nice wedding for 10K, but you’ll have to make sacrifices and be careful with spending. I suggest taking a look at the budget on the Knot that shows you pretty much everything you might have to spend money on for your wedding. Adjust it to fit your wedding, and cut out the things you don’t care for. I find that I have been falling prey to what I think weddings “should have” and “should be like”. That has caused our costs to go up..along with items we flat-out didn’t know we would have to pay for. FWIW, our budget went from 10k to 12k to 15k to what it is now…a FIRM 20K. We are lucky to have help from both our families so that we can make this work. But weddings are unfortunately a huge money sinkhole. Good luck and congrats 🙂

Post # 15
1627 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: September 2010

@Pixienickie:  who is setting up your venue decor since you are DiY centerpieces? Logistically hoe are you grtting them to your venue thay day?

Post # 16
523 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: May 2014

I’m planning a wedding in NYC and my budget is $6,500, but it’s for about 30 people. What helped was my wedding being on a weeday during the day time, that lessened the costs of mostly everything. Most of our vendors have given us discounts because its early on a weekday. 

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