- 5 years ago
- Wedding: June 2013
I’m looking for some ideas/commisseration/thoughts from other Bees on a very tight budget! My parents are generously paying for most of my wedding expenses (my FI and I are both finishing up grad school, he’s dealing with student loans, and we have almost no money), but my parents don’t have a lot of extra right now, either. Neither my parents nor my fiance and I want to have a wedding that looks “cheap,” but we’re not willing to go into any kind of debt, either. I’m aiming for a total budget of under $3000, but I’m struggling a bit. Any ideas for further cost-cutting would be MUCH appreciated!
–Both the ceremony and the reception are in inexpensive locations. We’re getting married in a chapel in a state park, surrounded by beautiful flowers and trees. 🙂 Including free entry to the park for all guests, the total cost of the chapel will be $200. My grandfather’s church is allowing us to hold the reception there, so that’ll be free, aside from a donation to the church.
–We’re being married by the minister who married my parents. I’m slightly worried about this, because I’m not actually very religous (not an athiest–I do believe in a god; I just don’t believe in most specific faith tenants), but my FI is more orthodox, so I think this is the best option for us. He’s refusing payment, BUT I’m making him a quilted wall hanging with peace doves. We’re also going to ask him to accept a financial gift to use as he sees fit. So, total budget of maybe $200?
–My dress was a MAJOR area of savings. I’m not the right size to wear my mom’s dress (and her wedding was in December; I’ll be a June bride in the South), but I found a gorgeous dress online from Ann Taylor. It’s 100% silk, very simple, and (I think) also very elegant. It was originally about $500, but I got it on clearance sale for just over $100. SCORE! It was a bit too long, but after I lost a couple of pounds, it only needed to be hemmed, which cost an additional $100. Here’s me in the dress:
Ack, I think that came out bigger than I wanted! Oh well. To complete my outfit, I’m wearing a single-strand pearl neclace (an early gift from a friend), and if I get cold in the air conditioning, I’ll have a lace shawl that I’m handweaving (long story. will post pictures when it’s done!). The shawl was admittedly a bit of a splurge; it’s made from a gorgeous merino and silk laceweight yarn. But for $80 of yarn, I’m getting a shawl for me, a shawl for my sister (who’s my maid of honor), and a shawl for my grandfather’s wife (who’s been doing a LOT to help with the logistics; my mom’s been sick). I should also have enough leftover fabric to make a small clutch purse! So, all things considered, clothes aren’t too bad.
–Food is a relatively big expense. We’re planning for about 40-45 guests, and when it’s all said and done, I think we’ll be spending about $650-$700. I was aiming for less, but our ceremony will end RIGHT at noontime, and I have no wish to stave our guests! This will include chicken BBQ, vegetarian sandwiches, a big cheese plate, a fruit display, a marinated veggie plate, hummus and pita, black bean salsa and tortialla chips, lemonade, and water. It will also include a server, serving plates, and dishwear. We’re going to provide champagne for the toast, but that’ll be the only alcohol. Most of my family doesn’t drink for health reasons (including me–I get migraines!), and since family will be a big percentage of our guests, we didn’t want to spend a lot. And for a noon wedding, that seems OK, right?????
—The wedding cake is another big savings. I’m making two flourless chocolate cakes and a gluten-free vanilla two-layer cake with coconut frosting and strawberry jam spread between the layers. (Yeah, we have a bunch of gluten and dairy-intolerant people coming, and I’m one of them…) I’m REALLY excited about this! I’ve already tried the chocolate cake, and it was amazing; I’ll be trying the vanilla cake this weekend! My total cake budget is about $100, which includes ingredients and a stand.
–Flowers and decor: We’re keeping it simple, but I don’t know how much to budget! Any help with this? We’ll be doing a bouquet for me and for my three bridesmaids (my two sisters and my SIL), maybe corsages for my mom, my FMIL, and my grandfather’s wife, and one largish centerpiece for the chapel, which we’ll then move to the reception hall. Anybody have ideas for pretty, but inexpensive, purple, rose, and green things? We may skip the men, since, according to my FI, they don’t really care. 🙂 I’m aiming for a total flower budget of UNDER $300, and even less would be wonderful!
For reception centerpieces, we’re DIYing mason jars with candles inside and lavendar tied around the outside. Figured that would be both inexpensive and pretty!! Total budget for this of maybe $50?
I’m also making a handwoven tablerunner in green for the table with the food buffet on it. I may do matching placemat-sized things to go under the mason jars. I’ve already got the yarn for this, so it’s “free.”
–The photographer is a family friend, and she’s refusing payment. I’m making a quilted wall hanging for her; also for my uncle, who will edit the pictures. I’m thinking maybe to put the quilts on display at the reception–is this bad for any reason? The people for whom I’ve made them will collect them during the reception, but they can also be part of the decor…
–I’m a bit worried about hotel rooms for guests. I really don’t want to reserve a block because I don’t think we’d meet the quota for rooms filled; a lot of our guests are family (who would rather make their own arrangements), and many others have friends in the area. Would it be OK just to distribute a list of hotels and tell people that I’d be more than glad to help if they’re having trouble finding a place to stay?
I think that’s the major outline of my plan! Does this sound workable? Inexpensive without being “cheap?” I guess I’m looking for reassurance; the weddings I’ve been to recently have been MUCH larger and more elaborate. The most important thing, clearly, is that this is the right wedding for my FI and me. Even knowing that, however, I’m worried about overlooking or omitting something that will make the wedding more beautiful and a happier place for our guests. 🙂
EDIT: I forgot to say that I’m doing my own makeup (I go pretty light on it, anyway!) and my sister-in-law will do my hair!