Wedding cost!!!! Help!

posted 2 years ago in Money
Post # 2
2455 posts
Buzzing bee

Guard21coco:  DIY! Do your own flowers, ditch the favors, use an ipod instead of a DJ or band. Try to find a venue that is free or cost way less (like a park?).

Post # 3
110 posts
Blushing bee

Guard21coco:  It’s tough, but it’s possible! My sister and her husband got married in SoCal last year for about $7k (they had about 50 guests), so I think you could do it for a larger amount. Message me if you want details about their venue, etc. 

Post # 4
1926 posts
Buzzing bee

Venue and caterer is going to be the most important factor. With such a large guest list how much you need to pay per person for food/alcohol is really going to make or break your budget. Try to get a venue with a very small rental fee or one that is all inclusive so you can really nail down your reception cost quickly. Then you can assess other aspects of the wedding from there. You may want to go the all inclusive route with a place that does food, alcohol, linens, chairs, tablewear, rental fee, SOCAN fee, sound equipment etc.. alll in. To rent those things will really drive up your budget. You can also try to negotiate with the venue to cut down the alcohol or the food to get your per person cost down.

Post # 5
111 posts
Blushing bee

A few other suggestions:

– for the “arty” part of your reception (music, photography, etc.): lots of great art schools, especially CalArts, around, you can get students to play for you and/or take pictures

– for photography, and potentially, venue, are you willing to go the “ethnic” route? I’m having my family reception in my SoCal hometown (Westlake) and I didn’t want to pay thousands for a photographer after already paying $6k at my ceremony. I found a Chinese studio that will do four hours for $800, PLUS my makeup. (Full disclosure: I am Chinese, but it’s not like these people don’t speak English or wouldn’t be perfectly capable of taking pictures of non-Chinese people.) You may not get all the “frills” (and you may run into a few brusque/rude people), but if you’re looking for a professional at bargain rates, sometimes you can’t be too choosey. Google “Las Tunas Drive” + “photography” or “bridal” and you’ll see a lot of yelp reviews for some of the places…a lot of angry people who don’t like being treated “rudely,” but if this doesn’t bother you, hey, why not. These people are not handholders, but if it’s worth the price to you, do it. 

– for restaurants, Chinese restaurants also do huge banquet style dinners for much, much cheaper than American venues. That said, I am Chinese and I did not want to go that route, so I totally understand if that’s not what you want. However, I would definitely consider a Chinese bakery cake! Chinese bakeries can be AMAZING (check out Kee Wah Bakery and Diamond Bakery) and their cakes will be much cheaper while still being crazy delicious (I just wouldn’t try to get a crazy design). 

– my eternal cost-saving tip: COSTCO!!! Costco does wedding flowers (something like 200 roses for $100 if you’re willing to DIY it a bit). Wine–my venue charges $20 corkage per bottle, but marks up their own bottles 3 times the price, with their lowest bottle starting at $30 (meaning it’s a $10 bottle of wine). I’m getting Veuve Cliquot at Costco ($38), which the hotel would be charging $130 for. Costco also sells truffles (you can buy cute boxes for favors) and petit fours for your dessert table. They have discount invitations. We got our bands, there, too. Basically, Costco = the best. Membership is $50. 

– if you don’t want to do flowers, look into other pretty centerpieces, like fruit! For winter weddings, sugared fruits; for summer weddings, limes and lemons in a pretty glass bowl. 

– If your venue doesn’t provide plates/forks/etc., you can consider going to Ikea, buying everything, then selling it afterwards. That’s what the folks at Young House Love did (google their wedding, it’s adorable.) 


In short, search out ethnic options (for all vendors Chinese, look in San Gabriel Valley, also ask the families of any Chinese friends you may have) and go to Costco. 


Good luck!!


ETA: Oh, one last one. I’d search for unexpected venues, like a hotel in a super businessy part of town (like Chatsworth…it’s not exactly the coolest locale, but I bet they wanna attract your business), warehouses, etc. The vineyards/ranches/museums will probably mostly be expensive, but there are so many options!

  • This reply was modified 2 years, 4 months ago by  glasskey.
Post # 6
111 posts
Blushing bee

Woop, sorry, one last place you can check out: Fashion District is a good place to go for your dress and his suit/tux. You can get a custom suit for $100-$200. The dresses will be off the rack and no-name, but if you’re straight size it should be really easy. I got my dress, a gorgeous tulle ballgown, for $500. Don’t expect wine/gushing sales associates, these people won’t look at you twice. The area is also crawling with inexpensive, skilled seamstresses/tailors who will then make your gown look custom made. 

Bring cash and go on a cool weekday.

Post # 7
435 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: November 2014

I would recommend maybe having an earlier ceremony/reception. I am having mine from 12-4pm and serving lunch. It is still a full buffet lunch with dessert, but it is way cheaper than dinner. Also we are having it on a Sunday. If you are willing to get married on a Friday or Sunday Venues will be way cheaper!!!

DIY flowers, Ipod instead of DJ, simple inexpensive favors or none at all, not having a cake-doing something less expensive (we aren’t having a cake at all because the catering came with a 3 dessert buffet that we got to chose)

You don’t have to go the tradional route for everything. Think out of the box.

I got my save the dates and invitations at They have coupon codes all the time to make it very affordable. It is good quality cardstock, not the cheap stuff.

Make a spreadsheet budget. Keep track of what you spend. Prioritize the things that are most important to you. You might have to compromise on a few details, but at the end of the day you will be married and the little things won’t matter so much. 

Good luck! you got this! 🙂

Post # 8
2878 posts
Sugar bee

I agree with Stargurl101, the most important factor is going to be the venue and caterer. It usually represents 50% of your budget, unless you live in a very affordable area. Once you have set a budget, everything else can be manageable and you can make choices when it comes to vendors, decor (DIY?), attire and accessories costs, etc. I would start by looking at venues and food costs to give you an idea, then try spreading the balance of your budget on a theorical budget spreadsheet to see how much you’re willing to spend in each area. Maybe you’ll see things you can cut off the list right away. 

Post # 9
2074 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: September 2014

Guard21coco:  how about a lunch or brunch wedding at a restaurant? My colleague just had a brunch wedding at the Chart House in Dana Point and said it was budget friendly. 

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