I, too, am not sure about your area, but we had a budget wedding ($6000) and here are some things I saved on. I think the thing to keep in mind is that you’re NOT going to have a style-me-pretty wedding on a shoestring budget…BUT your guests don’t care about SMP. They care about you and the love you two share.
We got married in a county park, they have shelters that you can rent for very reasonable prices, and are not really ugly. My cost for venue was $550 total.
I was lucky to borrow tableclothes from my husband’s cousin who was just married last year, but I’ve heard of people using white paper or butchers paper on tables….provide crayons or markers which gives guests added entertainment.
We catered our own dinner….We had a taco bar with beef or carnitas, fresh salsas, queso, layer dip, crudite, and a fruit tray. The total was about $600 for 100 people, though I over-bought and could easily have fed 150. We provided our own beverages. We bought a keg and made a vodka-spiked lemonade or alcohol. We had iced tea and various sodas and water for those who don’t drink alcohol. Total was probably around $200-250 for beverages. I also overbought on soda and water.
My biggest expense was our photographer, but I know there are lots of options out there to save money on that, I’ll defer to others who have experience.
I wanted to pay for our bridal party’s outfits, so we went simple. My husband wore a suit he already owned. The GM wore slacks I bought at Kohls, BOGO, a white shirt that they provided, and ties which I found at Sam’s club for $7 each. My mom, bless her awesome heart, sewed the BM dresses for me.
I went to garage sales as soon as I was engaged and starting purchasing vases for the centerpieces. We used various shaped milkglass stem vases and I bought the flowers from Sams.com. I used only baby’s breath (though had intended to use some hydrangea, but due to a mix-up on their part, that never came.) It is cheap, but eveybody commented how lovely and light it was.
We had an ipod dance. My husband is pretty good at throwing music together, so that was his job, and he did a great job. Luckily my FIL owns some nice audio equipment so we didn’t have to rent speakers or anything.
Our cake was gifted to us, as was the hairstyling….but I know people save by getting sheet cake or grocery store cakes.
We DIY our makeup.