Self catering? Friend as photographer? No DJ? Help!

posted 1 week ago in Reception
Post # 2
Member
933 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: October 2017

nwilbur1 :  I’m a budget bride too!! Question: how many guests are you having and what type of wedding “look” are you going for? Also, what region of the country are you In? This info will help us to be able to give better advice, especially concerning pricing.

Post # 4
Member
2120 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: May 2015 - St Peter's Church, East Maitland, and Bella Vista, Newcastle

iPod instead of a DJ, absolutely.  We spent quite a while “curating” our playlists; we had a cocktail hour and dinner playlist then a dance playlist.  It worked really well, but I’d definitely recommend spending some time on it.

Self-catering, on the other hand, will not end well.  Do you really want your family and friends slaving away on your wedding day, unable to enjoy the festivities because they are working in the kitchen? Do you want to spend your wedding morning madly preparing food rather than getting ready and relaxing with your bridesmaids? Do you have anyone who has food safety certificates and knows what temperature things need to be kept at to stay safe? How will you keep the hot food hot and the cold food cold? If you’re planning for it to be out before guests arrive, it could be sitting for quite some time, which can be super dangerous for a lot of food. Do you realised just how much food is required for 90 people? You can get BBQ or Italian catering for as little as $10 per person and you won’t get sued or be responsible for the medical bills if someone does get food poisoning.  If you self-cater, that’s on you.  If I go to a wedding and it’s self-catered, I just don’t eat out of pure self preservation.  I’ll probably leave early and get dinner on my way home.

Post # 5
Member
367 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: July 2018

I wouldn’t hire the friend as a photographer. Mixing business with friends is never a good idea. If something were to go down, you need someone you don’t have attachments to. You could even lose this friend because they take it personally. 

My friend got married and used her friend to be the photographer. Great price, just starting out. Well, it took her a long time to do the editing. My friend got super upset and kept nicely asking her when the photos would be done. Nope, months went by and nothing. Finally she kept asking and asking and the friend got so upset.  I think after 8 months she finally got them and they were awful! She couldn’t even tell her friend, now they barely have any friendship at all.

I know you want a low budget wedding, but photography should be the one thing you spurge on.

Post # 8
Member
933 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: October 2017

nwilbur1 :  FOOD – Splurge. Based on your headcount, self-catering could turn out to be a potential disaster – you have to prep and keep all food temperature controlled for nearly 100 people or they could end up sick. I would get a caterer – but, definitely shop around. Find a catering company that will work within your budget. For example, our caterer owns the entire business, so I gave her a budget and a theme, and she built our menu around that – no additional tax, no additional gratuity (unless you want to). It can be done, but research now. As the bride, you’re not going to have time to manage that nor do you want your family members, who should be enjoying your wedding day, slaving out in the kitchen.

MUSIC – Save. My fiance is actually a wedding DJ, so here’s my suggestion: Create a playlist for (1) the ceremony – the less songs the better, so there’s no big mess up if a bridesmaid walks before or after their cue, (2) cocktail hour – light jazz or blues, conversational music, (3) dinner playlist – still conversational music, and (4) dance party music – all the songs that will get your guests grooving, pay attention to beat and try to put songs of similar beat and tempo together. Better to save here than on food – 1000%.

PHOTOGRAPHY – Save / Splurge. You don’t need photography for 4 hours. From my experience, you need getting ready photos, ceremony photos, and photos at the beginning of the reception (just to capture bouquet toss, cake cutting, etc). If your entire event is 4 hours, you probably only need photography for 2.5 hours. Create a timeline. Reduce the time that your photographer is needed, and even consider taking getting ready photos yourself (for a more intimate feel). Then, ask your photographer to charge on a per hour basis. My fiance and I are having photograpy for 2 hours (sans getting ready pictures) for $250 total, with all digital copies. 

Hope this helps!

Post # 9
Member
933 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: October 2017

nwilbur1 :  Also, I should add that the absolute BEST way to maintain a low budget is to reduce your guest list. Your guest count is way high for a budget wedding, imo. It would be preferable to reduce the list (even by 50%) and have a dialed down menu, if that means ensuring that each guest has safe food to eat. Good luck, OP!!

Post # 12
Member
933 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: October 2017

nwilbur1 :  Did you send out invitations already? I ask this because my own wedding numbers started to soar all the way up to 115 people, and I went back to both sides of the family and calmly told them that since FI and I are the only people paying for the wedding, we would be taking control of the guest list. Guess what? Everybody was in complete agreement. And that list of 115 “close family and friends” went back down to 27. And this is what reduced my budget significantly…we’re talking about a budget difference of over $15,000!

Reduced your list. Some people will be upset, but oh well.

Post # 13
Member
217 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: September 2017

You can have a budget wedding for 100 people you just have to compromise on your vision.  Our biggest saving was food.  We hired a not for profit to do ours (they have over 10 years experience catering events).  They couldn’t do family style like we wanted so we compromised and went with buffet.  I made and printed our invatations myself at home, all of our stationary cost under $100 total.  We hired a DJ who is just starting out in weddings because neither of us wanted to make playlists.  We were not going to have photographers because like you I prefer candids. Our parents gifted us money towards the wedding so we decided to splurge on a photographer.  Turns out hiring one last minute saves you a ton of money.  We decided not to rent a vehicle and are driving ourselves.

Post # 15
Member
572 posts
Busy bee

nwilbur1 :  If you’re not expecting super professional photos, then I would go with an inexperienced photographer. Just keep your expectations in check and you’ll be fine. 

We half self-catered. We got all the cocktail hour food from Costco (no one knew!) or local restaurants. Got all the wine and beer from Trader Joes and Costco. We got drop-off trays of food for the dinner from a local restaurant–paid around $2,500 for 100 guests and we had steak, chicken, fish options along with the sides/bread/etc. We hired out a serving company because we wanted family style, but if you want a buffet then you can cut some of that service needed. Definitely look into local restaurants. They’re often inexpensive and it’ll be less stressful if you don’t try to prepare evvvverything yourself. Keep in mind that self-catering has other unexpected expenses (like serving dishes, all linens, all plates/silverwware, salt and pepper shakers, coffee, milk, cream, etc.). But if you plan on keeping it simple (BBQ kind of thing) or planning for those costs, you’ll be fine. 

We ended up getting a DJ, but my cousin did an iPod for her wedding. Honestly, the music part was perfectly great. She made the playlist. The only part that was lacking was some direction for the guests. If you don’t have a dj, then you don’t have anyone to announce a cake cutting/first dance/etc. if you plan on doing any of those things. If not, then you’d be fine 🙂 If so, then just think through those steps.

Good luck!

Leave a comment


Get our weekly roundup of the best of Weddingbee.
I agree to receive emails from the site. I can withdraw my consent at any time by unsubscribing.

Find Amazing Vendors