We’re not married yet (it’s in May), but it’s going to be under $4K.
A huge part of that is that it’s in Iowa, where things are cheaper. I’ve also lived in CO, FL, & NY, and I doubt I could have the same wedding for twice that in those states.
The most expensive part of our wedding is the location. We’re getting married at a stone lodge at a state park. We reserved the day before for setup, the day after for cleanup and a Sunday brunch, and a cabin (for us to stay at). It includes firewood, and limits us to 84 people total, so we’re having family only.
Second, I’m DIYing everything. Except for the groom & best mans outfits. Yeah, I might be crazy.
Skipping save the dates and sending out invitations early. I’ll post a how-to for our invites soon. The short version is that I chose a floral print it yourself version from hobby lobby (bought with a 40% off coupon for $16), used a website with free printable invites to create the lettering with more professional looking fonts than I own, altered it in gimp (free software that’s a lot like photoshop) to get the exact color I wanted for the monogram, printed them using openoffice (a free word-like program), and then gilded the edges of the invites using a steady hand and a gold marker (24 K gold I think was the brand). The part I haven’t done yet is the back because we haven’t been able to reserve a block of hotel rooms yet, so it’s hard to include maps, directions, etc.
We’re doing iTunes for the music. This is cheaper than you think if you spend a few afternoons at the library copying music for free to your computer. We already have great speakers that will work for our small venue. Even for the prelude I’m going nontraditional and including bluegrass and pop songs- for example, I’m going to walk down the aisle to Chantal Kreviazuk’s Feels Like Home.
We’re only having one attendant each- my sister and my FI’s best friend. We’re paying for their outfits, which is an added expense, but in our case they paid for our outfits when we were in their weddings, so if that doesn’t apply to you you can save that.
I want a fairly simple mermaid dress with a defined waist and an elaborate veil, but I’m plus sized and everything I found remotely like that was ridiculously expensive, so I’m making my dress myself by combining two patterns: The bodice from Vogue’s V8648 (which is also my bridesmade’s pattern), and the skirt from a costume pattern- B4954 (option C), which is a mermaid skirt with a short train. I’m making a belt I’m going to sew onto the waist of the dress when I’m done hand beading it – it’s gold ribbon with a lot of hand beading in our wedding colors on top (pale pink and gold).
I’m making a cathedral length veil. I found a ruffled lace trim at hobby lobby that I like and spent hours cutting off the edge of the trim to sew it to the edge of the veil. I haven’t started beading the veil yet, but there will be pale pink and gold beads added to the edging. I may do that last and make it more or less elaborate than I initially planned as time allows.
I’m printing the programs and everything else. I’m making them small, both to fit in pockets and to save on cardstock.
We can’t find beige/linen suits we like so we’re considering having the guys wear khakis with ivory shirts and brown belts & shoes instead of suits or tuxes.
We’re catering ourselves. This is not to save money as much as that I’m allergic to wheat and it’s impossible to find allergen-free options here in Iowa. The most expensive part of this is going to be the pork, purchased in bulk from Sam’s Club, which Fiance and his dad will smoke and freeze the weekend before. Instead of showers, we’re having a food prep party. A great help is that we have a discount grocery chain here called Aldi’s. I found scaled recipes by googling “cater your own wedding” or something like that. We chose wines we could buy in bulk from Sam’s Club, and I’m thinking of opting for an assortment of bottled beers rather than getting a keg. A keg might be less expensive, but the leftovers don’t last..
The most expensive part of the cake will be the pans, $40!, as we’ll be making a flourless chococate cake that uses beans as the main ingredient. I test made several for us already with different frosting options and recipes, and then tested a layer cake for christmas parties. It’s very rich, so we’ll be using a simple almond buttercream frosting. We’re making multiple heights of cake stands using a guide I found on pinterest instead of stacking the layers together (I’m confident about a lot of things, but making a stacked cake with more than two layers that’s not lopsided is NOT one of them).
Our favors will be s’mores, (enough for two each, put in cellophane bags purchased from amazon, and doubling as placecards) and we’ll end the evening by having those that wish to join us move down to the campground for a bonfire around 9 pm.
One thing I’m waffling on is the china. We could go with disposables (almost every wedding I’ve been to in Iowa does), but I’m from the south and don’t like that very much. We could rent, but it will cost almost as much as buying, so I think I’m going to go with buying china and inexpensive glasses & silverware from dollartree. Recently they’ve had some gold rimmed china that I like, though it’s not availible to just order from the website. ;( At any rate afterwards we’ll keep some for parties and either sell the rest or donate it to goodwill. I looked around at second hand stores thinking that mismatched floral china with gold rims would be charming, but each plate costs $1.20! I’m not sure when it became cheaper to buy new than to go with goodwill!?!
I’m skipping the bouquet/garter toss.
I found a fairly new photographer (she’s only done a few weddings, but she has a great eye) and she’s only charging $500 for the day and a cd with all the images. We have a lot of amateur photogs in the family, so I’m sure we’ll have great shots even if our “official” photographer doesn’t do a good job.
Flowers- my future sister in law is making a heart shaped bouquet with silk tulips after one I liked on pinterest. The centerpieces are going to be submerged orchids ordered from Sam’s club with floating candles on top, in vases from dollar tree fancied up by hotgluing glass candlesticks to the bottom. The tables at the venue are gorgeous wood, so instead of tablecloths I’m going with burlap runners as wide as placemats going across the table the short way instead of the long way.
If I have extra time after all of this I’m going to make DIY a rose runner for the aisle.
My advice? Pinterest for design ideas and tons of DIY.