(Closed) $4,000 or Less Brides – What did you cut?

posted 8 years ago in Money
Post # 17
1902 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: October 2012

The easiest and most cost effective way of cutting down is on the guests. The less people to cater for, hire chairs for, accomodate the cheaper the costs.

We opted for a weekday (friday) which is cheaper than on a weekend, and are having a later ceremony in the afternoon, again less time to cater for the guests, and at least before the wedding they would have already had breakfast and lunch, so only one buffet dinner is needed with some canapes when they get to the reception

Pay bar – sure it’s ideal to pay for everyones drinks, but people can get out of control and drink more than if they had to pay. Make people purchase drinks at the bar if they want but supply a few bottles of table wine for speeches/toasting

And you may already know, but DIY is far cheaper than paying for a service, so more the better. 🙂

Post # 18
290 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: August 2011

We did a 3:30 ceremony so we didn’t have to do a meal.

We ordered cupcakes from Sam’s Club as the grooms cake.

We only did “wearing” flowers, no flowers in the decor.

DIY centerpieces, backdrop, and favors.

You may or may not want to do this, but we had no alcohol, definite money saver.

Here are some pictures… hope they help!

Post # 19
23 posts
  • Wedding: February 2012

No flowers, no cake, spent more for nicer venue which cut down the need for decorations, heavy appetizers and timing eliminated need for tables, chairs,centerpieces, etc. also, location let us bring alcohol which was a big savings. Cut guest list. Borrow, borrow, borrow. 

Post # 20
347 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: August 2012

We decided to elope cut the expenses.

Post # 21
254 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: July 2012

While we are still planning this is what we are currently doing:

–Bought a used wedding dress, he’s looking for a sale on his attire (shorts and a shirt, due to outside wedding).

–DIY flowers: for my bouquet, the girls are carrying kissing balls that I found online. We will only have one flower on each table

–Dinner from a catering at a local restaurat ($7/person). We found many afforable options, but we really love this place.

–table linens: we bought these online, they we cheaper than renting. 

–getting married at a state park, and reception at a local Elks lodge. Look at local places like Elk’s lodges, VFW’s, community centers.

–no favors or gifts. I did “splurge” and buy my girls a green necklace braclet thing (could be either) because since I am asking them to wear it. And it doubles as a gift from my travels where I picked it up. We aren’t gifting our parents or anyone else. It seems silly. They will apprciate a heartfelt card. 

–photographer: we found a guy who takes amazing pictures but is just starting out. So we got a full day of coverage for $1000. I put out a Craigslist add and he had the best deal. I would suggest doing this- my friend did and got 18 quotes. I did it and got about 10 (she lives in Chicago, I live in small town FL). 

–videographer: a local company that offered by the hour, so we only got our ceremony and a few hours of the reception

–no dj. We aren’t having any dancing (he doesn’t like it the spoilsport). So we will just be putting a mp3 player on low in the background.

Post # 22
2135 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: September 2012

  • We are having our wedding and ceremony in a State Park.
  • The officient is a family friend (also the judge of this State Park)
  • We will only be serving wine and beer (maybe a signiture cocktail)
  • I am wearing my mom’s wedding dress (altered by my cousin to be way more modern and way less 80’s)
  • I will be DIYing as much decoractions as posible

Post # 23
3977 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: May 2011

Our was a little over $5000.

1. Biggest savings was the location. We did it at my childhood church (which is beautiful and recently renovated, but not a hot spot for weddings so it was less than $1000 for everything there.

2. We used a lot of “friendors”. SIL made our cupcakes (she’s a baker), friend of the family did our flowers (she’s an amateur wedding planner), close friends did music and officiating in the ceremony, Father-In-Law drew our fingerprint tree, friends helped serve/organize/decorate, etc.

3. We used a very expensive pro-photographer’s Second Shooter as our primary photographer so we got a great deal, with a young photographer who had worked extensively with a seasoned professional, and we got our pics edited by the seasoned pro! We also only had 4 hours of coverage rather than a whole day.

4. We did “hors d’oeurves” rather than a full sit down meal. The food was great and there was way more than enough (shrimp, pork sliders, turkey wraps, fruit cavered into crazy shapes (lol),  chicken skewers w/ peanut sauce, a few other things I forget). Also, we never used the word ‘wedding’ with the caterer, just said it was an event at the church. Food was $10/head.

5. All the decor was DIY. Oriental trading company, random website for tablecloths, Chinese market for vases, etc. And we used our own books for centerpieces along with ribbon (bought at the chinese market), scrabble tiles, and flowers. We also borrowed some decor from a friend who had recently gotten married.

6. I designed my own invites! They turned out fantastic.

7. It actually turned out to be less than $5000 because I sold a lot of stuff after the fact. All my table cloths, my dress, paper cranes we used, on and on. I sold everything I could and got hundreds of dollars back.

Post # 24
1128 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: November 2011

-We did not do bouquets for the bridesmaids or flowers for the guys, grandparents etcand not ONE person even noticed…or they didn’t say anything.

-We bought our own invitation kit from Wal-mart but made them look professional, saved us a ton!

-My SIL made our cake-free!

-We knew our caterer so got a deal..it’s all in who you know

-We did not do favors for the guests, again no one said anything…

With that being said we had a beautiful wedding, it looked very classy but I’m a bargain hunter so everything was reasonably priced. Good luck to you!

Post # 25
2965 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: April 2013

We are cutting costs by having an Out of Town wedding (its only 2 hrs away but theres more competition in that area for weddings so prices are cheaper). The venue is all inclusive (inculdes decorations, centerpieces, tables, chairs, linens, food, dj) everything except minister, photographer, flowers, and cake at only 3K. We are DIY our flowers (its just for bouquets). We are either getting flowers in bulk at a Costco or Sams Club or farmers market. We were going to have a family member officiant our wedding (you can check it out) but I dont think anyone really wanted to (No men anyway) but when we booked our venue, the owner recommended someone for us (and it was only $150, much cheaper than the $250-400 quotes we were getting from others). I bought my dress off the rack ($489.27 to be exact taxes and price of the bag included). Im having some close relatives buy some things for me to have at the wedding like my veil, shoes, tiara, etc as gifts for the wedding instead of purchasing housewarming gifts we dont need (FI and I have been living together for 4 years now so we dont need anything). But I am coming with them to get the things (I can still be picky!). My cousin is purchasing my veil from valuveil.com (Im getting a 2 tier cathedral length veil for $15.99– $24.99 with shipping included, and if you want a shorter veil, its going to be cheaper than that). I do also suggest shortening the guest list. We are only having about 50 guests. I dont know how much my cake baker is going to charge me for my cake but she’s made cakes for me before and with her, it depends on how many guests are going to be there. I know a cake that feeds 30 is $100, and she gives a discount if you also order the groom’s cake with her. I also know someone thats a really good photographer and she has a day job as well (she was my son’s occupational therapist) so she’s cheaper because photography is not her main source of income. Good luck to you and happy planning!!!

Post # 26
134 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: September 2014

Yard sales/ Ebay/ Goodwill/ Salvation Army etc. my budget is 4,000 and those are HUGE helps! My beautiful shoulder length two tiered beaded headband veil was 25$ at a thrift store. It’s amazing how much cheaper used wedding things are!

Post # 27
69 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: May 2012

Our budget is right around $4,000.

Things we saved on:

FRIENDORS – huge $$$.

Photographer – free, I work for him as an assistant photographer. Extremely generous wedding gift to us. He’s giving us the CD with rights and we are making all albums at cost (I do this for him in his office!!)

Cake – free. Fiance sister owned a bakery which she just recently closed, but she has offered to do a cake for us. Nothing extravagant.

DJ – $200. Fiance college friend does this on the side. He’s a great guy and has his own equiptment.

Rentals – Free. I also work at a party rental store, and am getting flatware, stemware, dishes, tablecloths and chaircovers for free. Granted, I have to use things 1. they have in stock 2. that other brides haven’t reserved on the same day. I will be putting on the chaircovers and tying sashes. We’re setting everything up the day before.

Flowers – Fiance and I really wanted real flowers. We are getting a “wedding collection” from Sam’s club for just under $300, which includes bouquet, bridesmaids, bouts, corsages etc. From Costco we are buying these “European Mini Bouquets” that come in a pack of 18 for $120. Since they are kind of sparse and we would like fuller centerpieces, we are also getting 100 white roses from Sam’s at $80. I was originally going to do all the arranging the day before but Fiance convinced me that was too much stress. Plus, this way is basically the same, cost-wise. The downside is the “mini bouquets” are not color=coordinated, you just get whatever colors they give you. But, we figure with using the white roses and having neutral (gray) tablecloths, we should be fine. 

Venue – $600 to rent a hall that seats about 175. It’s recently renovated and very nice. Like a banquet hall without the caterer. We get it the full day before to set up, but must have everything down the night of my wedding. (There is another event the next day).

Honeymoon – We are driving to the Outer Banks (about a 12 hour drive from where we live) for three nights to stay at a beach-side hotel, $200 roughly for hotel and another $250 for gas. 

My dress – I got a sample for about $600 which fit like a glove. I also bought a sash (which I wish I wouldn’t have done now!!) for about another $100. I made my veil for about $3!

My accessories – I returned a few things at JCP I got for Christmas and used the $50 to buy a matching set of fake sapphire earrings and necklace.I also bought my wedding shoes at JCP for $30.

Groom’s Tux – Because we have a larger wedding party, and the Dad’s are getting tuxes, we are getting the groom’s tux for free!

Minimal/DIY Alcohol: We don’t have a ton of people who will be drinking at the wedding, so we plan on just buying a few cases of beer and a few bottles of wine.

Things we splurged on:

Caterer – This was technically not our splurge, since Fiance parents have generously agreed to pay for it. All said and done, $2500 for dinner buffet-style for 120 adults, 30 kids. We also are having app trays, and they are providing people to clear the tables after eating.

Hotel – $150 for the wedding night. This is a splurge for us because its the most I will have ever paid to stay at a hotel! It’s a Hampton Inn though, and I wanted it to be nice for the getting ready photos.

Things we DIY’ed:

Favors – my aunt will be doing chocolate covered cake pops!

Invites/Paper Goods – I also dabble in graphic design and have an etsy shop, so I designed and printed all of our paper goods! Total cost about $50.

Makeup – I am going to do my own makeup. I do not wear it on a regular basis much more than mascara, so I am going to practice like crazy and do something I feel comfortable with. I am having someone do my hair though because it gets a little crazy and if I have a bad hair day on my wedding day I might freak out!

So things I had to cut – we originally wanted to have the ceremony outside the venue in a tent, but I would’ve had to pay at least $600 for that, plus what if it rained? The wedding is in May. Plus I would have needed more chairs. I didn’t want to extra stress so we are just having it in a church.

Sorry if that was too much info!

Post # 28
886 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: November 1999

Lots of ladies here have had gorgeous weddings on tiny budgets. Ours was 60 guests for around $5000:

Found dress on eBay for $50 shipped. Had friend’s mom alter it for free. It was my friend’s wedding gift. The craft store and especially the craft store with coupons was my best friend! Got my veil and such from there. Also got hoop skirt for $35 from eBay.

His tux was from Goodwill. My shoes were from Goodwill.

Our invitations were invitation kits from the craft store on clearance. I think it ended up being just $1.00/invite with postage! Ditto for the “thank you” cards. Oh, and we set up a web site to allow electronic (or telephonic) RSVP’s to save more on postage.

We splurged on custom photo stamps for invites and “thank you” cards. Wanted to incorporate our pet into things since he couldn’t be at the wedding.

Venue was a state park: $350 for a two-day rental of a beautiful stone cabin on a mountain top.

Food was a buffet and basically a pot luck. Booze was donated by a friend.

Officiant was a family member ordained through the Universal Life Church.

Music was iPod.

Photography was a family friend, though still costs hundreds.

Videography was a splurge, but we felt we had to do that as we have family abroad who couldn’t be at the wedding– so at least they got the video (and so did we!). Nothing fancy, ie HD etc. That cost around $1,000.

My mom made the cake. The cake stand was a multi-tier number bought with a coupon from a craft store that eliminated the need for her to construct the cake.

Flowers were minimal: bouquet, boutonniere and loose stems for centerpieces and cost < $500 total.

Centerpieces were DIY with Goodwill-bought mismatched teapots.

I also bought dollar store props for a photobooth set up with my laptop and a free photobooth program online. We gave electronic photobooth photos as favors.

Wedding bands were a matching milgrain platinum set on eBay for just $500 total.

Honeymoon was a local bed and breakfast trip for a week.

 *Edit: don’t forget Craigslist! We got a gorgeous silver punch set for the reception and gifted it to my now Mother-In-Law. Also ended up selling a ton of things through Craigslist after the wedding to recoup some costs.

I loved our budget affair. We saw all the friends and family who’ve meant a lot to us over the years; but we didn’t blow thousands of dollars needlessly on just one day. Think of where else all that money can go. For us, it’ll be saving for a house someday!

Post # 29
120 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: July 2012

@katycm:  i love the sound of your wedding, especially the s’mores part. that is awesome and sounds so fun and different. wedding envy!! 🙂

Post # 30
127 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: September 2014

@GoddessofNerdvana:  my budget is $6000.00 things I am doing to reduce costs are ALOT of DIYing, check my DIY section for some pics.

I spent $100.00 on 4 packs of paper 3 shades of purple and 1 yellow. Thats 2000 sheets with this I am making, 500 kusudama flowers (centerpieces) 150 programs, 100 invitations and pocketfolds, 20 I spy cards, paper hearts garlands to string and hang for my decor. thats pretty cheap if you ask me =)<

We are also having a 7pm wedding so we will not have to serve dinner, instead we are doing a 10:00 snack bar that my family will help me prepare the days before. The wedding cake will be the only dessert.

Everything in 1 location so no rentals for chairs and Limo. I hired an up and coming photog…Only $500.00 for the whole day.

No open bar.. All drinks will be $3.00 each. The only people who drink for free are the wedding party.

Everything will stop at 1am so I dont have to pay the dj for over time.

Post # 31
68 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: May 2012

We have a guest list of under 50 people. 

That has honestly done the most for us – we’re able to take everyone to a nice steak house and buy them dinner and drinks after a small church ceremony. No way could we  host a full alchohol evening meal for 100+ people. 

We did super lovely custom printed invitations – again, no way we could have afforded if we had to buy 80 or 100 of them. (We bought 30.) 

Favors can be skipped entirely. We are giving what I think are awesome favors (50g of our favorite tea and a tea infuser with a charm as the part you hold onto outside of the teacup) but they make us happy.

We saved money by skipping save the dates, flowers, programs, most of the decorations, a fancy cake, and anything to do with an aisle. I picked up a pretty formal gown from Nordstroms (on sale for $80) and Fiance owns a tux already. We aren’t having any attendants. Whenever I think about having some centerpiece that will have to be set up, cleaned up, and then dealt with after the wedding, I recall that I’d rather have my guests be able to see and interact with each other and that both teh church and the steak house are beautifully appointed already. 

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