(Closed) A DIY "1950s" "Rockabilly" "Pinup" Wedding with a $1,500.00 budget

posted 6 years ago in Themes
Post # 47
137 posts
Blushing bee

Does your $1500 include photographer? If you care about having photos reflecting how the day looks and is styled this is potentially an important thing and you tend to get what you pay for, tbh.

Otherwise I actually think DIY party style relaxed food is totally doable with your budget – if you can DIY it for another type of party you can do it for your wedding as long as you don’t have too many ideas of what a wedding should look like which you feel obliged to stick to.

Post # 48
533 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: July 2016

My theme is “and after today we will be married.” ๐Ÿ˜›

Unfortunately other than the dress I don’t really have budget tips because ours is immediate family only and for dinner, we are all going out to a nice restaurant which is the majority of our budget after rings. We found an officiant through thumbtack for $85, but we are having a super simple ceremony so that’s keeping the budget down. 

We splurged a fair bit on the rings (they will be $500) but hes going to wear something he already owns and I’m keeping the cost of my dress and my accessories under $100 although $50-$75 would be better. I’m making my own jewelry and getting shoes from the thrift store so that will help. 

His sisters have asked of they could be our photographers, and one of them is making my bouquet which is very sweet of them both. I’m not doing decorations, or any frills. Everyone knows what they are getting into and that it’s not gonna be a big fancy wedding. ๐Ÿ˜›

Post # 49
372 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: May 2016

I don’t think I’ve seen a budget wedding of 1500 done where the guest list was well above 50 AND the bride was more concerned about her dress and decorations than making sure the guests are getting well taken cared of and not treated like the help.

This isn’t considered bashing simply because you do not like the content of what is being said. The guest list either needs to be lowered, the focus needs to be on ensuring guests have a good time, or you change it to a time that is more suitable to a cake and punch reception, which is DEFINITELY doable with your budget and guest list, and you will still be able to decorate to your fancy.

But no, your wedding is not just about you And your wants once you choose to invite other people. Period. 

Post # 52
6804 posts
Busy Beekeeper

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sbaire:  Another option as far as food goes, if you are worried about people not wanting to volunteer (not even a problem at mine, the guys seemed to like helping out with the bbq so they could keep my husband company), we did taco salad for our rehearsal.  Not as all-american as hot dogs, but still yummy.

I prepped a bunch of chicken and froze it a month or so ahead of time.  Thaw, dump in a crock pot, reheat.  we made pico de gallo from my husband’s recipe, which was probably the most tedious part – it goes a lot faster if you use canned tomatoes instead of fresh and just puree the lot.  Crock pot of rice, another of beans.  The rest is open and dump in bowls:  cheese, olives, lettuce, chips, tortillas, avocado/guacamole and whatever else.  Easy peasy and pretty inexpensive.

Glad you liked my birdcage!  My mom made little feather fascinators to match for my sister/best friend as well.

Post # 53
1569 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: March 2017

sbaire:  OK, here is what I would do: 



If you’re a Marilyn (with sideswept, wavy hair and cat eye with red lips!)

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If you’re an Audrey (with a bouffant, I would die)


For the Bridesmaids:



Personally, I would avoid the kitschy decor and try to keep it subtle. Maybe a black/white/red color scheme as that always reminds me of a 50s diner. If possible I would love a vintage car (or 2, or 3…) outside and a jukebox.


Maybe red lanterns like here


$10 for a 10pack on Amazon – http://www.amazon.com/Liroyal-red-Round-Paper-Lantern/dp/B00K3GDZKI/ref=sr_1_11?ie=UTF8&qid=1452207755&sr=8-11&keywords=red+lantern


Definitely would do white or black table linens. I won’t include a link since I would guess you’re borrowing tables and chairs from friends and so they will be mismatched sizes, but generally they are around $8/table or $9 for a 4 pack of plastic ones.


I would also try to spring for one of these for each table as they are the cutest things I’ve ever seen

Amazon ($5.50) –  






You want hot dogs and hamburgers, and that is easy enough. You’re going to have to borrow a ton of crockpots though!


Hotdogs you can make in the crockpot (2 hrs on High) and if they are touching the sides they will still get brown and crispy.

Hamburgers, again borrow grills from friends, you could have 5 or 6 grills going and cranking out food. I’ve been to backyard weddings where the bride and groom manned most of the grills and were able to chat with guests as they came up for food.


Fries – nix this. Waayyy too much work


For sides I would do chili in the crockpot (side and good for hotdogs), potato salad (made the day before and no earlier),  baked beans, salad, and maybe crockpot mac and cheese.



Really nice speakers and an Ipod is fine. This has an aux imput, and is cut but I can’t speak to the quality of sound.







Post # 55
2543 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: June 2014

You know, crock pot pulled pork sliders sound pretty delicious to me. Throw in some sides like baked beans (in crock pot) and salad and I think people would be happy. 

Post # 56
274 posts
Helper bee

I was thinking pulled pork as well. I do think you’ll probably need to double your budget, but I respect that only you can make that decision and you have to come to that conclusion for yourself. I’d be babysitting or lawn mowing (or in my case, photographing) every spare moment to get there.


I would do pulled pork and potato salad. It has that fun vibe without the logical nightmare of French fries or burgers.

Post # 57
2074 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: June 2014 - British Columbia

I love 1950s inspired themed weddings! Mine was 1950s Rocky Mountain wedding though my budget was at least 4 to 8 times yours. I wore a tea-length wedding dress with teal heels and had a lace parasol. I received some help from my mom though. Everyone’s wedding is different and yours will be brilliant and fun, I would hope!

There are registries out there where you can list for HELP (or favours) as a gift instead of getting items you may not need. (Offbeat Bride is a great resource too! My favourite inspiration from there is their vinyl centrepieces)

Other things that you may have not considered: identify volunteers as photo wranglers for your group photos.

Food/venue would be the biggest expense. I didn’t care for expensive cake, so we just had an easy delicious sheet cake with an antique cake topper. My cake was only $140CAD. It fit the easy-going 1950s theme really well. It fed well over 100 people.


We did our own music — but I really should have had someone else (other than DH and I) guard the laptop as so many itchy hands tried to load music on YouTube that weren’t on our playlist.

$1500 is still do-able — you will just to plan ahead really well and avoid impulse buys. Plus, keeping in mind that it’s 1950s, you can get away with getting a lot of good items from flea markets, garage sales (depending on whether you live in an older neighbourhood), thrift stores and/or buy & sell.

For centre pieces, I used fresh flowers (which ends up being cheaper than buying silk flowers from Michael’s or Afloral) and placed them in Ikea milk bottle vases (0.99 each) and tie a twine around each milk jug vase.


We used a lot of babies breath and whatever flowers that were in season to keep costs down. My hairstylist made our bouquets and boutonnieres on a whim. Luck had it that Greyhound left my dream bouquet; etc. in a town 3 hours from our wedding venue — so that further reduced our flower costs from 300 down to $50 (plus a $30 tip).

It really comes down to priorities and how much help you can get. My DH and I did a lot of the work ourselves, but we also received as much as help as we could get. In the end, a wedding is about sharing your day as newlyweds with people that matter the most to you and your Fiance.

Happy planning,

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sbaire:  ! PM me if you have any questions.

Post # 58
485 posts
Helper bee

Haha, I wish your wedding was sooner.  I’m starting to plan, and I get super inspired by all these “ultra low budget” weddings and I always want to see photos/hear what actually happened. 

My problem is I don’t have a friend with a barn or other covered place, so a backyard wedding for me would be potentially ruined by rain, unless we rented a tent, which I just don’t think are cute unless you spend tons to get a nice one and decorate it (and then you end up spending almost what you would have spent on an indoor wedding…). ๐Ÿ˜›

I don’t know if it could be fit in your budget, but when I was thinking of backyard weddings and how it would work, my thought was I’d pay one or two of my younger brother’s friends $50-100 each (and food and open bar) to man the food and drink tables during the reception so my family wouldn’t have to worry about it.

Post # 59
372 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: May 2016

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sbaire:  you would have to follow Ms Pinks breakdown to a tee, and you know, pretty much know 90% of vendors that are your friends and or family….but hey, have at it. 

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