The ultimate budget wedding how-to

posted 3 years ago in Money
  • poll: How are you saving money at your wedding?
    Alternative/non-traditional venue : (46 votes)
    20 %
    Self-catering : (12 votes)
    5 %
    DIY-ing flowers : (44 votes)
    19 %
    Saving on photographer : (24 votes)
    10 %
    iPod instead of DJ : (26 votes)
    11 %
    Other (tell us!) : (26 votes)
    11 %
    Stocking/running my own bar (i.e. no liquor markup!) : (39 votes)
    17 %
    Saving money on my wedding isn't a priority : (12 votes)
    5 %
  • Post # 3
    Member
    2057 posts
    Buzzing bee
    • Wedding: June 2014 - British Columbia

    APW is awesome! 🙂

    We are DIY-ing our own music. We have family members that play. It’s an intimate wedding anyway. FI’s best man (also best friend) has offered to carry my electronic keyboard (88 keys) along with other instruments to the venue. So, I’m hoping to ask FI’s cousin’s wife to play! (I will also play a song or two at the reception) We’re playing music on an MP3 player.

    DIY Videographer. We’re just going to have camera(s) on tripod or get volunteers (guest) to take videos. They can send it to me and I can edit it myself. (Only attempt this if you don’t care for cinematic quality videos. I’m more of a fan of home-quality videos anyway — like my parents’ wedding video.)

    I had a lengthy discussion with FI in regards to professional photography — as he thinks anyone with a camera can shoot; he talks wedding photography in terms of roof dollars. We met in the middle by getting the most basic package, with the possibility of extending 1 hour extra. It’s not cheap, but we will get all digitally processed pictures on a disc!

    For me, since it’s a semi-destination wedding, I would rather have a venue where I could have an outdoor ceremony and an indoor reception at the same place. I’ve been to so many weddings where so much driving in between is involved. Self-catering or bringing our own booze are totally out of the question, but we overcame this by offering limited liquor service during dinner. This avoids the awkward cash bar or choking ourselves with an open bar that we can’t afford.

    The venue is providing a kids’ room for free!

    Not having chair covers = big budget relief. For decor, I’m asking previously married relatives to see if I could borrow their sashes; etc. That would be my “Something Borrowed”.

    Post # 5
    Member
    600 posts
    Busy bee
    • Wedding: November 2014 - Historic cinema

    We’re getting married in a cinema a friend owns and which I used to work at for free. Our reception is at a theatre run by a community trust made up of our friends for $50. All our other vendors excepting hirage of furniture etc are friends who so wanted to be involved in our offbeat wedding they are giving us mates rates to secure their booking! My H&MU is a trade off with a friend for whom I did flowers for her December wedding.

    Between us FI and I have many contacts and this has helped greatly. Our two favourite photographers actually competed against each other offering lower and lower prices to get to shoot the wedding which was fun and overwhelming!

    Use people you know!

    Post # 6
    Member
    2057 posts
    Buzzing bee
    • Wedding: June 2014 - British Columbia

    @Kazza:  July in Vancouver will be lovely! So many gorgeous places for photos.

    I would add that you could contact a greenhouse to find what flowers are in season in July, if you wanted fresh flowers. (I did that and got a really good answer from West Coast Gardens)

    For wedding decorations, Ikea and a Christian thrift store have been my go-to.

    Instead of having cupcakes, we’re getting two Swiss bakery cakes enough to feed 80 people as the venue provides a dessert buffet. 

    $20 per person is a steal! Mine is buffet; before PST and gratuities, it’s $26 to $29 per person.

    Post # 7
    Member
    905 posts
    Busy bee
    • Wedding: September 2015

    A friend of ours has the greenest thumb I’ve ever seen, and she recently started her own flower business.  She’s doing our flowers as our wedding gift.  I wuv her.

    Another friend is a very talented graphic designer, and she’ll be designing all of our stationery so all we have to do is pay for printing/postage.  I wuv her.

    Yet another friend will be acting as our quasi-DJ (though he doesn’t know it yet).  We’re just going to set up a computer with an iTunes playlist and let him go crazy.  I wuv him.

    Much as I’d like to go all out and provide a fancy sit-down dinner, we just can’t swing it with our budget, so it’s going to be a pig roast!  All of the places I’ve looked at offer sides and (disposable) plates/utensils/etc. for ~$13/person, and they cut the pig up and serve it themselves.

    And finally, we’ll be heading to our favorite liquor store to stock up on beer and wine, which we’ll hire somebody to ride herd on at the portable bar we can rent from the venue for $35 🙂  

    Post # 9
    Member
    7997 posts
    Bumble Beekeeper
    • Wedding: December 2013

    We invited 4 people.. that was the big saving. We took them out for a nice dinner.. didn’t pay a caterer in a large venue. We rented part of a botanical type garden for $500 for the ceremony.

    We did the whole thing on $2,000… very pleased.

    The only thing we proportionally splurged on was my $300 bouquet. My dress was < $100. We just didn’t care about spending thousands on a few hours… you’re married the same either way.

    Post # 10
    Hostess
    8680 posts
    Bumble Beekeeper
    • Wedding: October 2014

    Yep.. we are saving money in many of those ways – without the honeymoon our wedding will cost around 13,000 – we are saving in alot of ways to have some of the “extras” that we wanted.

    Alternative/non-traditional venue : We opted for a beautiful historical house for the ceremony/cocktail hour, and the reception will be held in a typical hall. Nothing fancy, but we will have gorgeous ceremony photos, and that’s exactly what we wanted! We are saving ALOT of money on this alone.

     
    Self-catering : Not really self catering, but we are using a local eatery – it’s much cheaper than traditional catering [there is only 1 catering option near our reception location, and it was over $60 a plate for VERY bland food]. We are also having a buffet so there will be TONS of options.
     
    DIY-ing flowers : Not really DIY, but we are getting our bouquets/flowers from Costco, it’s like $99 for 10 bouquets, you seriously can’t beat that deal.

     
    Saving on photographer : Photography will actually be one of our splurges.. if we hadn’t saved so much on everything else, we wouldn’t had been able to afford ours. The one we are looking into costs $2000 for print release on thumbdrive, 20 page album, 2 photographers, 8 hours and all photos editted/retouched.

     
    iPod instead of DJ : This will also be another splurge.. the dj we are looking into is $600, which is more than I’d like to spend, but once again, saving so much allowed us to afford a dj.

     
    Other (tell us!) : I am doing all of the decorations/centerpieces myself, we’ve used the dollartree to purchae all of our vases/candleholders and this has saved us ALOT of money. They are the exact same thing you get at hobby stores for a fraction of the cost. I am also making all paper items [menus, invites, stds, ect].

     
    Stocking/running my own bar (i.e. no liquor markup!) : We are purchasing our own liquor and doing our own bar. We are still considering whether we should do a mix-your-own type bar, or if we should hire someone to mix drinks.
     

    Post # 12
    Member
    260 posts
    Helper bee

    It’s still going to end up being expensive, but we’re doing a destination wedding.

    For the cost of an average wedding here, we get a dream wedding and venue with dream flowers, and a whole week vacation with our friends and family. (Huge win IMO)

    I am ordering my BM dresses off of Etsy.  They’ll be quite a lot cheaper than from a salon, and as a bonus, made to measure.  I will likely order my invites off there, too.

    Post # 13
    Hostess
    8680 posts
    Bumble Beekeeper
    • Wedding: October 2014

    @Kazza:  Yeah. We’ve had a few people offer to take turns mixing drinks – many of our family members have fully stocked bars in their homes, and really enjoying mixing drinks. I’m just not sure if I want to go that route yet. We don’t mind paying someone, but I’m not paying someone $200+ to mix drinks for 4 hours, when everything else is provided.

    Post # 14
    Hostess
    8680 posts
    Bumble Beekeeper
    • Wedding: October 2014

    Here is a list of extras we are having due to saving so much money with DIY :
    cocktail hour
    caricature artist during cocktail hour
    candy buffet
    cigar bar
    late night snack
    chandeliers and other large decor
    bar with bar stools
    outside smoking area w/ outdoor heater
    fire put w/ hale bale seating
    draping around doors
    uplighting

    Post # 15
    Member
    260 posts
    Helper bee

    @Phamnomenon:  

    You’re so lucky for all your talented friends!!!

     

    Post # 16
    Member
    2057 posts
    Buzzing bee
    • Wedding: June 2014 - British Columbia

    @Kazza: WOW! Gorgeous viewpoint! 🙂 Is that North Van?

    I actually was recommended by @julies1949:  on this thread to ask Forum of Gardens West Magazine, who then referred me to:
    Jason VanderMey, manager of West Coast Gardens (http://www.westcoastgardens.ca, 604-541-1117) He emailed, saying that he does floral design on the side as a hobby. You could try contact him.

    $500 is a do-able budget! Try Costco as well.

    I’m planning to use narrow glass vases with fuller flowers — for the cost-effective part. For cost effective bouquets, DIY hand-tied bouquet for bridesmaids. I’m planning to save on my bouquet by getting a small size nosegay-shaped bouquet, using silk cherry blossoms (otherwise very expensive fresh!) I found from afloral.com for a small cascade effect — the thought process is that I don’t want too big of a bouquet to obstruct the view of my dress. 🙂

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