(Closed) Anyone planned a ceremony and reception under 5K?

posted 7 years ago in Money
Post # 3
4951 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: October 2018

I’m civil ceremony + nice family dinner + all inclusive resort “eloping” for that price! I tried the church wedding thing, and it just got too expensive and complicated. I live near Atlanta, though, so it might be a different story if you live in like… Idaho. 

Cake and punch mid-afternoon receptions are your best friend.

Post # 4
3461 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: July 2015

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@mepayne:  how many people are you having to your dinner? Your plan sounds great! SO and I want a small wedding, but its hard to figure out the money and the mechanics of everything lol

Post # 5
4951 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: October 2018

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@prettyinpink11:  I haven’t actually counted yet… maybe 15-20? My parents, siblings, and grandparents; his dad and siblings; and a couple close family friends. We’re going to do that on May 31st so I can keep the date I’m so attached to, then fly out June 1st and spend a week or so at a resort and have a “vow renewal” in the Caribbean somewhere and then send out wedding annoucements to everyone else. 

Post # 6
12244 posts
Sugar Beekeeper
  • Wedding: May 2013

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@prettyinpink11:  Church wedding with a luncheon (42 guests), then we rented a party bus and went out dancing that night (and paid for drinks for the 20 people we brought with us).

It totalled out to 4K!

Post # 8
208 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: November 2013

I did!


Ceremony site was 200, at a park gazebo that’s known for weddings

officiant: his dad, was free (but we could have afforded 200 for an official officiant)

sams club flowers for the bridal party

$100 dress from DB during $99 sale

Reception: a banquet center where we were able to get appetizers, two meat three sides buffet, and cake buffet for 3k

Centerpieces were sams club flowers again for about 100

All the details and decor took about $1000 

but we came in right at our budget

Post # 10
434 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: September 2013

Yup I mannaged to keep mine under 1500! The church was free because we are members and the reception will also be a the church. Photography was a favor from a friend I met in college. Dress was 549 at DB. Cake is 150 (a family friend). DIY bouquets from flowers from Michaels when they had a HUGE sale. DIY baked goods for reception. His ring was 30 bucks (he won’t really be wearing it on his hands, his job won’t allow it), my ring was 193. Other than those main expenses we are just keeping things VERY small and simple!

Post # 11
140 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: July 2013

Ours was $1200 and everyone is still raving about it


No cards/order of svs we texted and Fb’d our people but they thoght it was a joke so we ended up with 40 people even thou we had budget food for 100 people at about $5 a plate buffet style and everyone had 2nds and 3rds


No deco at the reception just plain white table cloth on tables and plastic white chairs. By 6pm we were done and then we went for after-party at the club


No reception dress


cake was offered free


music was free


rings were gift from brother


Basically we kept it simple! 


What I have learnt from other bees’ recaps is that Photography and the ceremony matter most so thats where we focused. Plus DH is a great huggler! He loves a good deal, bless him.


Post # 12
1767 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: December 2011

It occurs to me now that I never actually did a full recap of my wedding… but we had a ceremony and reception for 90 people for about $2000.

We rented out the hall at the local Eagle’s Club- it was a little bigger than the Knights of Columbus, but that would work too. The rental fee was $300 for the entire day Saturday, and they gave us all day Friday to set up since there were no events that day. Tables and chairs were provided at no cost, but we did rent linens for about $150 because I just couldn’t stand how ugly the tables were.

We set the tables up in long rows leading to a stage at the front. We set the chairs up facing the stage instead of pushing them in to eat, which created the illusion of a ceremony space. There were 4 very long tables, and I used the space between the middle 2 as an aisle to walk to the stage, where we had the ceremony.

Our best friend got ordained online and we wrote the entire ceremony ourselves, which made for the most personal ceremony I could have imagined.

We borrowed speakers and a microphone from a family friend, and designated our friend with a stage management degree as iPod DJ. She also did the music for our ceremony and dinner time.  It worked out really well!

For table decor we borrowed wine glasses, champagne flutes, candle holders, and interesting glassware from family members, and filled them with tea lights (some were floating in water, some weren’t). We set these up down the middle of the 4 tables, and it was beautiful. Cost of tea lights: About $15 and I STILL have a lot of leftovers 2 years later.

Food: My mom, my Mother-In-Law, a couple aunts, and my grandma made all of the food. There was pasta, potatoes, chicken, salad, rolls, sourkraut (it was New Year’s), Sausage and Peppers… Everyone made their best recipes, and it’s hard to determine exactly how much money was spent here, but the people who contributed food also did not give gifts because I made it very clear that their help was enough!

We were able to purchase our own alcohol, and my husband’s uncles took turns mannng the open bar. I have no idea how much the booze and drinks came to, since so many different aunts/uncles contributed to that as well, but I would estimate around $500-$700.

One of my bridesmaids made cupcakes in place of cake, and they were DELICIOUS. That was her gift to us.

Another of my bridesmaids did my hair. We had no flowers. Instead, I took a tattered copy of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix and made origami flowers out of the pages. This was a bridesmaid bonding activity. We hot glued them to pipe cleaners and wrapped it in ribbon. Total cost for 7 bouquets- like $10 in ribbon and pipe cleaners.

My dress was $99 at David’s Bridal. My veil was actually $150, but I would NOT have purchased it for that price- my mom insisted on buying it for me as a gift, which I was grateful for, but otherwise I was going to make my own birdcage veil for about $5.

I told my girls to wear a knee-length black dress that they liked with black shoes and silver jewelry, and they looked awesome. We all helped each other with hair/makeup/nails.

We didn’t hire a photographer, but I actually regret that. We have some decent pictures that my grandpa took (I designated him as the one to do all the group photos) but I’d have liked some professional pictures.

Overall, we were able to have a pretty decently sized wedding for VERY cheap by using friendors and staying as far away from the wedding industry as possible. It wasn’t the fanciest, or the most beautiful, but we were able to invite the people that we loved and share in our day with them, and everyone had a wonderful time! I’m glad we did it the way we did.


Post # 13
3461 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: July 2015

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@mepayne:  thats great! It sounds like an awesome plan 🙂


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@BrandNewBride:  wow!! you did a great job with your budget!

Post # 14
7426 posts
Busy Beekeeper
  • Wedding: February 2013

We had ours for $3000 (about $1000 went to my dress, alterations, veil, accessories, and hair).

We had the wedding/reception with 40 guests at my mom’s cabin in Lake Arrowhead (free)

We did not have invitations. We created a wedding website and sent out links to it (free). This was due to the fact that we had to move our wedding up because DH got a job we had to move across the country for.

My best friend’s mom made our wedding cake as a gift to us (free)

I did my own makeup (free)

Our officiant is a friend of my stepdad’s, so he did our wedding at a very discounted price.

We purchased the flowers from Trader Joe’s and Costco and arranged them ourselves.

We bought food from Costco and my mom cooked it herself. It was tri-tip or pulled pork sandwiches, Mac and cheese (the good kind), rolls, salads, corn etc.

We only purchased enough alcohol for a champagne toast.

No DJ. We used music from our phones/computer.

A family friend who is a photographer did our wedding for free. The pictures below aren’t from her, just pictures my sister took on her phone.

I loved our wedding, and I wouldn’t change a thing about it! 🙂

Post # 16
1317 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: May 2014 - NH

MangoLover4Life…if you PM me just the state you live in (and city or county if you want as well) I’ll be happy to send you some examples of how you can swing a wedding and reception in your area for that price.  I like doing things like this and maybe I can find you some locations you haven’t thought of 🙂

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