Post # 1
Hey guys! My fiance and I have been engaged for about 3 weeks. I’ve started browsing and looking over things for a lovely May wedding.
I had no idea it cost so much to have a nice wedding. It’s kind of crazy.
I was wondering if anyone had any ideas?
Post # 3
Just a few things off the top of my head —
– Limit your guest list
– Consider using an iPod instead of a DJ or band (if your venue comes with a pre-arranged sound system)
– Have the wedding on a friday or sunday instead of saturday
– Have beer and wine instead of an open bar
Do a search of the main blog for budget – I think there have been a few posts about budget-saving tips…
Post # 4
Depends on what you consider nice… do you consider ballroom, champagne flowing, fancy schmancy, black tie with fliet/prime rib and lobster? Or is it something else, casual, maybe very festive, a party like atmosphere…
You kind of need to come up with a feel you are going for and we will spew with ideas from there!
To give you a rough idea-I’m doing a beach wedding with a reception at the hotel just behind the beach. We’re having a full dinner, cocktail hour and only beer and wine for the reception. We originally budgeted $5,000 but I had to raise it to $6500 after we fired our planner and are likely spending more on the DJ than we originally budgeted.
Post # 5
What we’ve done to keep our budget under control is – have appetizers instead of a full course meal, sparkling cider instead of alcohol, small guest list (only close friends and close family), having the ceremony and reception at the same place and most importantly keeping an eye on our budget! Make a spreadsheet and enter every expense and look at it often.
Also try not to get caught up in the "keeping up with the jones" syndrome. It’s easy to start looking at what others are doing and start upgrading everything on your own wedding.
Post # 6
i am a budget bride as well…been engaged 4 weeks. but i have until November….
your biggest costs are going to be food and beverage. these are tallied per person so cut the guest list. it hurts, you will bleed, but cut it! that is the best way to slash costs significantly.
Cutting alcohol or limiting it is another great way to cut costs significantly.
Consider your timing. Going with a day other than Saturday can often reap savings. Also, go with a brunch or something like that instead of a plated or buffet dinner.
try to find a place that is all inclusive. the more the site does for you the less it could costs you in the long run….less fees and what not from different vendors. there are lots of other ways to save money….Google is your friend.
Good Luck and CONGRATULATIONS!!!
Post # 7
I highly recommend the book Bridal Bargains by Denise & Alan Fields. They have great tips for saving money.
Post # 8
I think you shop, shop, shop… you can price a whole lot of things on the internet now, and the various bees are really great about sharing information about the best place to buy this or that. I was stunned at how much invitations can cost – and also at how much less you can spend and still get something really nice. It takes time to research, but a lot of places send free samples, so you can be sure of the quality.
We are saving a ton of money on food and alcohol, and forgoing any facility fee, by having the wedding and reception at our local country club. Since the country club is generally a not-for-profit establishment, their fees for catering are really reasonable. They also usually have a great chef. And we will potentially save a lot on decorations – they have a decoration committee, who have told me to come see what they have that I might be able to use. You don’t have to be a member, you just have to find a member to sponsor your event, so think hard to see if you don’t know somebody who would do that for you.
And the guest list. It is amazing how big it gets, how fast. Try to make some rules and stick to them – remember that you don’t have to invite everyone you know. If you feel badly about not including friends and coworkers, have an open house a few weeks after the wedding.
Post # 9
we’re blowing our initial budget out of the water because our friends and family are important thus our guestlist is up to 440! The food and drinks will cost us about $30K because we love them and we want to spoil them this once by having a 9 courses dinner, lots of drinks and great entertainment..
What we’re doing to offset the cost is shop shop shop and using my artistic skills and those of my friends and family! Fortunately for me, I got talented friends and family members. I am making my own veil, buying on discounts and/or buying used things from recently married people for decorating. My brother has mad skills in photoshop and anything graphic..so he did the STD and invites. The friends make tons of calls around for price quotes! The best thing we did was getting the $ in front of us so we can decide…we cut cost where we know we can in this case.
the best money saving tip is to be an informed customer, so knowing how much things run helps a lot. Our budget for 440 guests stands at about $45K (that’s pretty darn good).
Post # 10
Try looking for a dress at smaller bridal boutiques. At two of the places I went to, the owner was willing to sell certain dresses as samples. I ended up getting a beautiful Ulla Maija for more than 50% off and I didn’t have to deal with a crazy huge sample sale where people line up at 6 a.m.!
Also, look for a reception site where you can bring in your own alcohol. And then if you are near a BevMo, stock up when they have their one cent wine sales! We will probably save thousands of dollars just on alcohol.
Post # 11
Yeah…. I’m closer to babagrlshell than lanny9. We will spend about $5000 on the venue and catering, including alcohol. That is for about 150 people. Photography (including albums), flowers, music, favors, cake and invitations are about another $5000. My dress, veil, and shoes are $800; his suit will probably be around $1000 but he will wear it a lot so its not completely a wedding expense. We have not priced our rings yet. We don’t really have a bridal party to equip. So I figure we will come in around $15k before its all over. You’re right, not cheap. We probably could have done better on flowers and photography, but those are both really important to my mom and she wouldn’t hear of anything less – and insisted on paying. So she gets what she wants!
Post # 12
LANNY9!! you are my hero – how did you get $45K for 440 people???
we’re at 400 people and food and beverage alone is right at $60K
i havent even priced limo, shoes, hair&makeup, photog, my wedding planner’s fee, etc…
ok sorry for the hijack!!
ummm, if you’re not too "picky" about your wedding gown, i’d look into alvina valenta or jim hjelm BM dresses and get it in white/ivory, rather than go to a budget bootleg bridal place and get something in a wierd fabric that will not drape well or look good in the pics.
skip the wedding favors, use simple centerprices, simple BM bouquets, do your own makeup and hair, skip the limo
Post # 13
- Wedding: May 2008 - United Methodist Cathedral & historic downtown hotel in Cleveland
I think it is important to pick 2-3 things (with your fiance) that will be your priorities. (Dress and photography? Location and food? Flowers and shoes?)
If you look at the "real budgets" feature on this site, it may help you get an idea about how much things cost- and the different things you can do within a particular budget. And if you are on a smaller budget, I would also take a look at some of the threads on indiebride.com- there are numerous ones about cutting costs and smaller budgets, with all sorts of tips that you don’t see in bridal magazines, the knot or planning books.
Post # 14
some things we’re doing that have helped us save money:
– ice cream instead of a cocktail hour.
– a smaller wedding cake that is nowhere near enough to feed all our guests, plus a cheaper sheet cake in the kitchen (that guests never see) which will be cut and served by waiters.
– worked one on one with a local printer instead of ordering invitations online, at a store, or through our wedding planner. custom invites at a fraction of the price!
– we emailed (as opposed to mailed) a pdf of our save the dates to friends and family who are internet saavy.
– Ebay, etsy, craigslist, and of course, Weddingbee!
Post # 15
Use your friends’ talents as much as possible. Got a photographer friend? Get them to do your photography in lieu of a wedding gift. Graphic designer friend? Presto, cheap invites. Great baker? See if they would do a wedding cake or cupcakes for you for free or at cost. Also consider doing a cocktail reception or dessert reception instead of a full 3-course meal.
Post # 16
FYI, we were also told by our venue that they preferred a smaller, more decorative (or several layers can be frosted styrofoam if you want it to look big) cake to display, and either sheet cakes or 9-inch round cakes to actually serve. AND if we went with that option, as they could cut and serve like one of their normal desserts, they would waive the cake cutting charge (which can be up to another several dollars per slice).