(Closed) Bride on a budget

posted 5 years ago in Money
Post # 3
979 posts
Busy bee

Only suggestion I would have is to cut your list.  More people, more cost for food, unless you can find an “exclusive” venue that includes everything for a price under $5000 for 150 people. But that is hard to find.  


Or …find a DIY venue to rent for $500 – this will save you money.


Post # 4
38 posts
  • Wedding: September 2013

Alright, so aside from my dress and shoes are budget it LOW. We don’t have an exact budget but I’m thinking like 1000 tops! The best advice I can give you is accept some DIY help from family!


We’re having a barn wedding, so for food we’re having a fish fry and smoked meat plus pasta salad and stuff like that- we’re not making it ourselves, but my fiancees grandparents are because they do all the catering for their HUGE church events. His grandmother used to make cakes, so she’s making our cake and she’s also hand painting all of our thank you cards (they are ridiculously pretty).

We’re making pretty much all of the decorations or we’re picking up odds an ends at yard sales and antique stores.


The most of our budget is being spent on a photographer (We found one for $650, all day coverage because it is the photographers trainee). And flowers (we’re having ALL of them for just $250)!


Basically, just figure out what you really NEED to spend on! And you can always renew your vows a couple years later and have the big, fancy wedding you’ve always dreamed of

Post # 5
492 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: May 2014


1. pick an inexpensive venue; for instnace if you have reletives with a big back yard, or a public beach (I am getting married on a public beach for free), or a publice park, a rose garden or anywhere free.

2. dont have too many food options when it comes to catering. the more options you have the more it will cost.

3. Go the ipod route instead of a DJ. Dj’s can be expensinve

4. buy your wedding dress off ebay, Etsy, Craiglist or anywhere else that sells preowned or clarenced wedding dresses. You can find some beautiful dresses onthose sites.

5. use silk flowers. Silk is less expensive than real.

6. DIY as much as possible. Anything pre-made will be more expensinve.

there are soooo many ways to stay under budget you just have to be willing to put in the time and effort


Post # 7
2685 posts
Sugar bee

You may need to consider different catering options, such as a cocktail reception or brunch reception (both of which are cheaper).  When searching for venues, try to find ones with minimal catering restrictions; some venues may only allow you to use their expensive wedding caterers.  Local parks and community centers tend to be inexpensive and don’t care which vendors you use.

Post # 8
492 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: May 2014

@Mrs_C_Sep7:  the last wedding I went to was a small plate recption “tappas”. it worked out really well.

Post # 9
633 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: April 2014

I’m sure it can be done…but it would be HARD, depending on where you live. Our budget is $5000 and we’re going to be pushing it with 75 guests! If you absolutely can’t cut guests or go with a cheap photographer, then you’ll have to go cheap on the venue and catering. Use a community building and have a small, local restaurant do the catering…barbecue or something like that. If you’re social circle is tight-knit, they could help you with a lot…cake and food and whatnot.

The main issue I’ve found with looking at the cheaper venues in my area are the rules…usually no alcohol or music outside or no decor on the walls. Our original venue was a big barn…that looked like an old gym on the inside. We ended up choosing another one, ran by our caterers, but now that we’re choosing a new date, and their prices are going up this year, we’re not sure what we’re going to do.

Post # 10
9677 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper
  • Wedding: September 2013

Considering I think good photographers cost around $2,000 (and up!) I would look for a really talented student.  There’s no way you can have a $2k photographer if your budget is $5,000.  So I would look for a student or someone who is trying to build their portfolio and will do it for less than $1,000.

Is $5000 for everything (dress, cake, music) or just the reception (food, drinks, venue)?

1. I would say find the cheapest venue (free is even better) you can first. Does one of your relatives have a nice big backyard or something?  You might still have to rent tables and chairs in this case, so don’t forget about that when looking for venues.  Make sure you take care of this before anything else.

2. I don’t think you can find catering for less than about $10 per person.  So that is about $2k (at least) of your budget right there unless you have family caterer it for just the cost of food. You could consider brunch or lunch to see if you can get things cheaper. Also if you have it at lunch time you don’t necessarily need a DJ, just some background music from an iPod.

3. Don’t have a bridal party.  Then you won’t have to buy them flowers or gifts or anything else.

4. I’d try to find your dress for under $500 for sure…or even cheaper if you can.

5. Fake flowers over real ones will save you money

Post # 11
603 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: September 2013

If you are having it catered for that many people and also paying a good photographer that is I would think almost all of your budget right there….I think you need to re evaluate if you are going to pull this off for that amount of money….everyone has given great suggestions so far.

Post # 12
2103 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: April 2011

We planned a wedding for about 100 with a $6,000 budget, but we self-catered. You’re going to find that the biggest expenses will be: rentals or venue, depending on if they include the chairs/tables/linens, etc; photography; food/alcohol. I think the goal is to get those figured out and then you’ll see what you have to work with for the other little things. You have to adjust your expectations. You’re not going to have a formal affair for $5,000…but you can still have a gorgeous wedding.

Things we saved on: flowers. I bought them through Sam’s and made my own bouquets/centerpieces. Our venue was owned by county park system and was only $600 for the day. We made our own food…but I’ve heard a lot of people who’ve catered through their local grocery store with good results, also look at grocery stores for the cake. Sheet cakes save money.

Post # 13
7977 posts
Bumble Beekeeper
  • Wedding: July 2013 - UK

Could you self-cater? I could maybe help out by suggesting menus where you could do most of the prep the day before, and have a friend cook it and place it out as a buffet on the day?

Or you could try catering colleges? Students often want the experience.

Post # 15
601 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: December 2013

@Mrs_C_Sep7:  Some parks have pavillions and shelters you can rent that are really nice for just a few hundred. My sister did this and came in at 4,500 or so for 120 people. Everything was catered but placed in individual boxes with bows or you could make the sides and cater the entree for the wedding. 

Post # 16
8446 posts
Bumble Beekeeper
  • Wedding: April 2013

@Mrs_C_Sep7:  Consider flowerless centerpieces (i.e. vellum luminaries, old glassware, etc), and definitely look at what you can scavenge throughout the house.  I made my centerpieces for less than $2 each using trash items (old jars, disposable dressing cups, cardstock scraps, etc). 

Another huge money saver for me was DIYing all of my stationary (invites, programs, menus, thanks you, etc).  I purchased 8.5×11 paper and cardstock, pocketfolds and envelopes (although if you’re trying to save money, pocketfolds are pricey to make and mail), then designed, print, cut and assembled at home.

You may also want to consider having your wedding during off peak times (Fri/Sun, winter, etc).  I know we got a pretty hefty discount because we’re having a Fri wedding. 

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