Our officiant is free, as he is a friend of ours. Our church is free (we’re giving a donation as a Thank You however) and our pre-marital counseling is free. The only thing we’ve been asked for is to attend church once in a while (which we now do about once a month). Our officiant used to be the head of the church, and now his good friend is.
While the rental price is high for a public park pavilion ($1,100) we get 1/3 of that back if we don’t destroy anything and its a historic building with tons of charm, french doors all over, and a 180 degree view of the lake front and beach. It comes with tables and chairs as well as a sound system, fans (to help keep people cool), and a full kitchen. Also, a full playground and beach are merely steps from the doors.
I bought our lily bowls off ebay for $80 for 27 vases AND 100 floating candles! The vases normally run from $8-$15 depending when you buy them and what size. We’re getting the sand free from the beach (where it will be returned to at the end of the night) and the rocks are $1 a bag at the local dollar store (1 bag for 1 bowls). My sister works at at local food co-op where she is getting me 3″ round 5′ tall real bamboo 3 for $10. Those will be cut in half in 1ft pieces, filled with sand and candles. We’re also buying all our lighting when it goes on sale after Christmas. My friend did this 3 years ago and bought 30 sets of Christmas lights for 10 cents each!
My sister’s ex-boyfriend is a professional photographer. He’s only done a few weddings but his work is stunning, so we hired him. He cut his normal fee in half and agreed to take pictures all day (basically from when we get up until we leave the reception!). All I did was ask politely if we could work out a deal and he said yes (and what a deal I’m getting!). My sister is hinting that the reason he doesn’t want a deposit is because he’s thinking of just gifting us the all day photography as a wedding present. I’d love this as it’d save us some $, but his discount is already so great that I don’t mind paying him either.
Now, this is not 100% yet, but it looks like we’re getting catering for 100-120 people (apps, buffet dinner, dessert) for around $1000 because my FMIL is negotiating a deal where she creates a professional website for the caterer (who currently use Myspace of all places!) and we pay a little $. Since my FMIL usually charges $$$$ to do from the ground up website design and implementation, the caterers save a ton of money and we too save a ton. Its a win-win (as long as negotiations don’t fall through! *crosses her fingers*). Plus, the food is local, organic, and vegetarian!
I am getting it custom made for me on Etsy. $465 gets me a stunning dress cut and sewn to my exact measurements and done to my specifications by an amazing designer. That is way less then I would pay for a similar dress elsewhere (although more then I’d budgeted. This is one of the few splurge places in my budget though!)! this has not been ordered yet, as I am still in talks with the designer.
Invites and Other Paper Goods-
I am making my own pocketfold invites. I got the pocketfolds and envelopes off cardsandpockets waaaaay early because they were running a three day 25% off everything in the store sale. I bought envelopes which were already on clearance, which combined with the 25% off saved me a ton. I bought a packet of 250 100lb cardstock from Office Depot for only $7. I used coupons at Michael’s to get the glue dots and strips to adhere everything to the pocketfolds. I am estimating the final cost to be about $150 total for the whole suite- invite, RSVP, Directions & Map, Reception card, and Rehearsal card (though we only need a few of these for the wedding party!). That’s about $1.76 per invite!
I ordered my STD magnets from VistaPrint with a 25% off coupon. I am sending them in Christmas cards for double duty- Season’s Greetings AND STD! Since I’d use the stamp and send Christmas cards anyhow, I am not spending a dime more for the STDs that I would have spent any other Christmas. I am making fan programs to keep people cool and impart information (and use up extra cardstock) for the ceremony. We’re buying our Thank you cards at Wal Mart (50 for $7! in cute prints) and all signs, menus, etc. I’m making. I am also making out guest book- whenever I decide what form that’s going to take. By DIYing all the paper goods myself, I am saying a poop ton! (even if I am giving up beautiful letterpress or thermography for it!)
A friend’s parents own a farm with fields of wild flowers. A few days before the wedding I will be going out there to pick buckets of flowers and grasses and combining them with a few bouquets bought at Sam’s Club. I will be making all the bouquets, bouts, and flower arrangements for the wedding. They will be put to use at the church, reception, our home, and at brunch the next morning. i will also be sending most home with friends and family as thank you gifts. The ribbon is all purchased from Michael’s with 40% and 50% off coupons. I bought 1′ tall vases for the church and head table for only $1 each at Goodwill.
i bought favor boxes on clearance at walmart ($18 for 100 boxes instead of the usual $42). We’re putting kisses in them (tasty and symbolic). I’m also printing seed packets from a template I found and filling them with wild seeds native to this area as favors. $18 (that’s with shipping) for enough seeds to throw and give as favors and using extra cardstock. So, $36 for 2 different favors for 100 people.
We’re buying all our wine from Trader Joes ($4 a bottle is fantastic!) and having a limited selection of beer and hard liquor. We’re hiring a friend of my sister to bar tend at $15 an hour. Buying nice plastic glasses for this with a few real glasses mixed in for water and wine at the tables themselves.
We’re thinking of buying nice plastic plates (the kind that look like real plates) through a wholesaler and then selling them after the wedding. Same with the silverware (Sam’s has 36 knives/forks/spoons for $5-$8 a pack!) and paper napkins for the bar. I’ve been pricing out tons of rental companies for linens in hopes of finding ever better rental prices (and today I found chair covers for $1 each!).
I still have lots of planning to do myself, but I am sure I’ll work something else out which will be discounted. (I hope so anyhow, my budget is too tiny to afford not to!).