(Closed) Anyone else having an under $5000 wedding?

posted 11 years ago in Money
Post # 3
509 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: July 2011

I’m working hard to keep mine in a really low budget.  But I’m not sure I might be more like the $6,000 wedding.  I think you can do it as long as you DIY a lot and you keep the guest list low.

Post # 4
983 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: February 2011

We came into some money (woot woot) and raised our budget a little, but when we were thinking about doing something along the lines of $5K, I researched and came up with the following tips:

1. The three big things that tend to make the most difference in your bottom line are: guest list, venue, and food. To give you an idea, if it’s costing you $75/head to feed and entertain people, cutting just 14 people from the guest list will save you over $1000. Having pasta instead of lobster and steak will also save you a lot and people will be quite happy with a good pasta.

2. Try looking into state and municipal locations for venues. State parks and city halls might have events spaces and those can be cheaper. Also, don’t overlook your friends’ backyards (if they’re willing), non-profit organizations, and off-season summer camps. We went to a friend’s wedding at a campsite with the reception in their mess hall and with simple decorations, it was quite nice.

3. Daytime weddings tend to be cheaper than nighttime because people drink less and you don’t necessarily need dancing.

4. You CAN have a traditional wedding with all the fixings, but you can’t “have it all,” if that makes sense. Pick 2-3 things that matter to you and be willing to sacrifice elsewhere. If the cake is not one of those things, then be okay with a sheet cake from Costco, gussied up with fresh flowers.

Definitely ask bee members how they’re saving money–particularly when you’ve got a specific idea in mind (like how can I DIY this or whats a cheaper alternative to xyz)…lots of crafty kids here.

Post # 5
107 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: June 2011

Our budget for the wedding is around $3500, not including our honeymoon. We are not doing favors or very expensive invitations. We are getting married on a Sunday which is literally saving $2000. We are having a new, but excellent photographer do our photos. We are  having Hy-vee cater. At  first, I was very skeptical, but the food is delicious and the most reasonable that we found. I am having a vintage dress remade for $830. Our venue includes linens, dj, beer,wine, soft drinks, centerpieces, officiant so that helps alot. I am doing feather boquets instead of flowers. I’m doing everything I can to make it inexpensive but gorgeous! What are you doing to stay within your budget? Its not easy with all the temptation around, but we can do it! Smile

Post # 7
87 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: September 2012

We’re having a backyard, lunch wedding on a Sunday, with BBQ for the food ($15/person) and only roughly 40 people in attendance.

$600 for food (includes setup, it’s a self serve buffet)

$250 for officiant

$200 for cake (generous, I don’t think it will actually be this much for 40 people)

I think rentals and chair covers are running about $400 for tables and chairs.

We’re building the arbor we’re getting married under, I think the wood was about $70 total including nails and wood glue.

I’m budgeting about $600 for silk flowers (my bouquet and maid of honor’s, plus 2 boutonnieres for groom and best man) including the centerpieces (we only have 5 tables plus the cake/food table) and various accessories like flowers.

No dancing because it’s a fall lunch wedding, ipod for ambient music. My family just aren’t dancers.

I think the total so far has been about $2000 before we buy our rings. Plan is to stay under $3000 and I think the decorations will be cheaper than I’ve planned them to be. We did e-save the dates and I’m making the invitations by hand (total cost, going to be about $45).

Unfortunately, the photographer is going to be a budget buster so I am doing what i can to cut the cost of the furniture rentals and cake. Our photographer is thankfully not that expensive ($200/hr, includes 5 images for every hour she works) but the prints/book are going to be expensive and that’s not negotiable for me.

Post # 8
640 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: September 2008

Yes, but ours was nowhere near a “traditional” wedding!  We did a quickie JoP ceremony, then took our immediate families out for dinner to celebrate.  It was pretty much last minute, so there were no STDs, invitations, flowers, DJ, cake, etc.  After dinner, we all went to our house and my parents stopped off at the bakery near the restaurant and got a small cake for us to cut.  

Post # 9
362 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: January 2011

our budget is under $5,000!  it’s going to be very simple, probably only around 30 people.  it’s going to be small, but nice.

Post # 10
22 posts
  • Wedding: June 2011

I am lucky enough to live in a small town where there are plenty of cheap venders!

Outdoor ceremony site – $400

Reception venue (golf club banquet hall) – $375

DJ for 4 hours – &440

Photographer for entire day – $400 (no idea how she is able to charge so little money!)

The ceremony musicians are my friends (I’m a professional musician myself) but we’re paying for their hotels – probably around $300

Dress & accessories – $900

Food – $2500 (for about 100 people.  $23 per person, and it’s a nice dinner buffet with prime rib and stuff! and we’re having an open bar)

Flowers – $600

Cake – $300

I’m making my own invitations and centerpieces which will help.  Total it will cost about $7000 and I’m getting everything I want and need!

Post # 11
35 posts

Have the wedding at your church and there is usually not a fee for your wedding

Use your pastor, they usually don’t charge a member but do accept love offering

Use an up and coming photographer who needs your business to build her portfolio, they are generally cheaper ( Don’t pay all that money for a photographer because I ended up with several sets of pictures taken by my friends and family, they downloaded them on a disc and gave them to us. We have so many candid and funny pictures of use, I think I cherish the ones made by our family and friends more.

Use an online bulk company for your flowers, this is way cheaper.

Do away with cocktail hour, it is unneccessary, Take most of your pictures before the ceremony and after the ceremony take the remaining pictures and head on over to the venue. I did not do a cocktail hour and I saved money by having my wedding at 4pm and having the reception at 6pm. This allowed us time to take pictures after the wedding and people would not  be waiting around on us. Just as we figured ,people would be arriving at the reception around 5:30, we arrived 10 minutes later. People ate around 6:50pm and this was appropriate dinner hour.  Food is a majority of the budget. If your budget does not allow for steak don’t try to afford it, this is your wedding and people will eat what you give them.

Good luck




Post # 12
1334 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: December 2010

Our wedding will be right in that range and we just cut out a lot the fat, so to speak.  We’re having about 25 people total:

  • no STDs (ugh, I hate that acronym lol)
  • invitations from VistaPrint, $43.00 (no RSVP cards)
  • getting married at 4 pm in a private room at a restaurant (during the holidays-bonus save on decorations πŸ™‚
  • heavy apps and cocktails for about $1500 total including tax and gratuity.
  • DIY flowers from downtown flower market (cost: don’t know yet but should be minimal), no favors
  • ipod music
  • live musician (a super adorable bagpiper, kilt and all πŸ™‚ $180.00
  • photog on Craigslist ($750 including a TTD shoot the next day)
  • dress on sale at David’s Bridal for $250.00

I would rather entertain on a smaller scale and make sure my guests are well-fed, watered and amused than to spend a bunch of money (it’s amazing how all those small things can add up too!) on stuff that no one really cares about. Just make it fun and that’s what the guests will remember πŸ™‚

Post # 13
17 posts
  • Wedding: September 2009

We did!  Most of that was just food and beverage for 150, but we got beer and wine all night, dinner, late nights snacks and cake.  I took on my new job as aquatics director 3 months before our wedding and our old venue went under so we were scrambling.  Luckly my new position is at a country club and our date was open.  We changed everything around and had it there.  Then 4 days before our wedding I took over the Event Coordinator job there!  Our ceremont was on a historic soccer field in town and we only had to pay $90 in chairs.  Everything else I DIY.  The best part was at the end of the night my boss/owner came up to us and told us she was covering the reception!!!!!!  I couldn’t believe it.  You will definatly find people to help you out:)

Post # 14
7086 posts
Busy Beekeeper
  • Wedding: June 2011

Our budget was just 6000 for 150ish people and I will come in right about that. It is an evening semi-formal wedding.

Venue – 1000 for both ceremonies and reception

Officiant – free (we are having a friend do it, we signed him up online for free)

Dress – 100 at a sample store (I did find another one but my mom ended up buying it for me)

Food – 2500 a great heavy app service everything including servers included (and more than enough food)

Cake – 250 local old style bakery (best cake we tasted but then I hate fondant) she included mints, nuts, and a huge tray of desserts for that price

Alcohol – 500 (our venue let’s us bring our own and we have been buying it on the sales and little free from some of the reps)

Decor – 500 ( I bought at thrift store, 90% off sale at hobby lobby, and dollar tree) I also bought most of the flowers at dollar tree and cut up the bunches.

Tux – he already has

Bouquet – I wanted a bead bouquet so I made it – maybe 25

Paper products – 100 (at the high end) we ordered everything through the vista print free stuff and the invites at 90% off.

DJ – 200 (he works with the FH in his union and we got the “brotherhood” discount

Photography – free (mom is an art photographer)

We are making our own cake ball for favors – I have a freezer full of cake mixes that I got on a holiday sale with coupons) maybe $100 tops and the container from papermart 20

So it really is quit possible, outside of our budget my folks did spring for a few things like the dream dress (but the one I had would have done nicely) and my veil (which was really kind of high) and chair covers (but the chairs are really really ugly)

Post # 15
36 posts

DD’s reception was in the gorgeous garden of a family member.  We shopped around for the best deal on rentals of tables, chairs & linens and did some of the setup ourselves, then paid for them to be taken down.  We found a caterer through friends who was willing to prepare all the food and bring the dishes, etc.  We put up the decor (lanterns & lights), did a lot of diy to decorate, and had an ipod for dancing.  No alcohol (we don’t drink), but we had 300 guests and served them all a dinner, cake and a ginormous candy buffet!  The reception was short.  For that number of guests we still got out of it at $8000 not counting rehearsal dinner done by the groom’s family.

Post # 16
1 posts
  • Wedding: May 2010

Our budget is $5,000 and I think we’re going to be very close to it. We’re having a semi-formal evening wedding for 120-150 people. Our church is tiny, so it keeps that guest list small Smile

Ceremony: not sure on how much to donate, at our church

Reception: free, at the firestation (FH is a firefighter) and that comes with tables and chairs

Dress: $250 (which my mom paid for) There’s a local shop out here that gets designer dresses from places like Kleinfeld and sells them cheaply to benefit the battered woman’s shelter. I definitely found a Pnina Tornai at this store.

Food: $1000 or so…we’re doing BBQ (a guy on the fire department does an amazing job) and our cake person is doing the side dishes

Cake: $500, our cake person is helping us cut costs by doing a smaller display cake and sheet cakes for us to use to give everyone a serving

Alcohol: not quite sure what to expect…we’re planning on doing 2-3 kegs and a couple cases of wine. 1/3 of our guests are under the age of 21, so we shouldn’t need too much alcohol. My brother is bartending for us so I might just have him put out a tip jar if he wants. (The beer and wine are free to guests)

Flowers: $650, I found an up and coming florist who does an amazing job and is able to give me all roses at this price

Photography: $800, this includes our e-pics, rehearsal, ceremony, and reception. He isn’t giving us any prints, but we get all the pics from everything in high resolution with the right to print.

DJ: $600, this is the only area where I haven’t found a deal or used a connection. I actually asked my fh to take care of this for me because I knew he’d find a decent deal and then couldn’t fuss at me for spending too much on music.

Decor: $500, I’ve shopped around at discount stores and the clearance rack. My fmil is very thrifty and knew the design I was going for. She found a lot of things for me and paid for a lot of it too. I did splurge on a cake topper, knife and server set, and toasting glasses for us on ebay ($111) because they were a really pretty firefighter design.

Tux: $50-60, depending on when he gets it

Paper products: not too sure, don’t see more than $100

Transporation: free, we’re driving from the church to the reception in a firetruck Laughing

Favors: $100, we found favor boxes on the clearance rack at Walmart and we’re going to do the colored m&m’s to match our design

I just totalled everything up and I’m sitting at $4550. I’m not sure how much alcohol or the church donation are going to be, but I budgeted high for the things we haven’t bought yet…hopefully we’ll be spot on


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