I love talking about budget wedding stuff :). I would decide what’s worth a splurge for you and also set a budget and stick to it. I was talking to a coworker who moonlights as a DOC/wedding planner and she mentioned how stressful and common it is for weddings to go over budget . My budget is $5000 and there’s no way I’m going over. Now, I’ll be real and admit I make in excess of $70,000 per year and fi’s salary is comparable, so our combined income is pretty decent. Plus neither of us has any kids or dependents. It just doesn’t seem sensible to us to spend so much on a wedding. Our goal was to pay bills as they come in without going intondebt or using savings, and we onlybhave a 5 month long engagement. That’s how we arrived at the budget. Then my parents offered to pay the caterer as their contribution to our wedding (its a sweet gesture) and we accepted the offer, but I’m still including that as part of the budget.
You can certainly negotiate. My caterer started at $750 and we talked her down to $600. The budget was $1200, so now we have money for professional hair and makeup. I’m currently negotiating with a team that charges 55 per person for either hair or makeup, so 110 total for both.
Photographer is also $600 and includes engagement photos.
Dj is 300, caricaturist is also 300, babysitters are 200.
Invites cost $124 for printing and mailing. My dress cost $250 for the 2 I bought(i custom Chinese and the other a pre-owned eBay dress).
I have a budgeting $600 for decor/kids room activities and $300 for the donut wedding cake and snacks.
The marriage license is 75.
We’re giving gifts to each set of parents and a gift for the person overseeing the ring ceremony which will be 150. We have 1500 left in the budget to splurge on hair and makeup or for cost overruns. I was going To send my dog to the dog sitters for the days before the wedding and honeymoon, but my sister has offered to care for her after the wedding and a friend will care for her in the week leading up to it. That’s $500 saved right there.
There are a lot of venues out there at different price points, some are surprisingly cheap, but dont include basics and require you use their vendors. I found a lovely art deco museum that was only $1700 but you needed to rent tables and chairs, pay a staff person, and pay a police officer on top of that. It still might have been worth it, but fi didn’t feel strongly about it and we decided it’s hard to compete with free.
In the end, fi and I are cheap and are using our church because it’s free and has a full kitchen, bathroom, mc system, tables, and chairs included. Plus no vendor restrictions lol.
Etsy has some great designers for invites and I found the local printer costs to be comparable to the big online shops.
People in my area are crazy about their used decor on facebook and Craigslist. I haven’t found any good deals. So I did aliexpress for some of the little things, like favors, and cake topper. I’ll buy string lights off Amazon, we could scrounge them up from friends, but we really want to have some to keep.
That said, Amazon does have some nice options for save the dates in the amazon print shop.
I have found a good local custom jeweler who is going to make my 5 stone moissanite wedding band for 275(i supply the stones and bought some really pretty ones for $25). Fi is getting a much more substantial band, so we’re looking at 500 for his.
My local wedding dress consignment shop has beautiful, like new, and modern dresses. They have a lot of mermaids and trumpets.