(Closed) Brides on a budget

posted 13 years ago in Money
Post # 17
282 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: October 2008

Superstar – 

Please don’t feel badly for spending more money than most people in the US make in a year on your wedding. I have a friend whose parents spent around the same amount on her sister’s wedding – and they have three more daughters. I almost choked when she told me that. People’s money is their own and they can choose to spend it however they wish; I don’t begrudge anyone that. But a beautiful, meaningful wedding can be had for FAR less money. 

Post # 18
218 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: April 2009

oh no no, not me, i’m not spending that much… just that a lot of people/weddings I have gone to recently have been  that type.  I’m glad that my friends could do that… i don’t think I would ever be comfortable spending 60K+ on my own wedding… (even if I could)

Post # 20
1238 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: August 2008

We are doing it for under 20K with the help of my parents and his parents.  We went to a wedding last summer that cost  (at least) $300,000! And while we were there we made the decision to have a reasonably priced wedding that we would not go into debt for and everyone would have fun. We made lists of our priorities and started shopping. 

  • Dress $700 with alterations
  • Flowers $695
  • Invitations $200
  • DJ (this was a splurge) $1500
  • Photographer $1100
  • Venue: $65 per person includes: 1 hour cocktail with hors’dourvres and open bar, 2 bottles of wine per table during reception, sit down dinner with coffee and tea service, viennese sweet table, all the linens and service wear, the ceremony location and chairs (we have 115 rsvp’s as of today, 1 week after the deadline)
  • Arbor rental and set-up $160
  • Officiant: Free (he is a good friend of mine)
  • Wedding Coordinator (day before/day of) $400

Okay, so there are obviously more expenses, but these are the biggies– and this is a southern California wedding!


Post # 21
402 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: November 2008

ahhh…i forgot to mention that i’ve bought a lot of little things (flowergirl basket, wreaths for chapel doors, candles) on clearance at rock bottom prices. i just told everyone with an ear i was looking for sales and they all called me when they heard about them.

i’m also doing diy makeup….hair will be done for about $60….

and reminding myself (constantly) that no one will see my shoes….lol.


Post # 22
83 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: March 2008

We didn’t budget because of the economy, but we decided it wasn’t valuable enough to us to spend $30k on a wedding. 

We eloped, and with transportation, lodging, flowers, photographer, lift tickets, and dinner for 8 people at a lovely French restaurant in Telluride, it was about $2500.

We’re having a reception in September at a breakfast restaurant that’s closed at night, so buying them out was much less expensive than another place.  Their minimum food amount is $1200, though we’ll probably spend $4500 on food and booze for 100 people.

Guest list size was limited by the venue size, but we wanted to keep it moderate anyway.

We made the invitations ourselves (FI is fabulous at graphic design) and they were also our favors (I’ll post pics soon, I’m so proud).  Total: $500 including postage for shipping a boxed invite and a CD.

We both love spider mums, which turn out to be a very inexpensive flower, so $150 for flowers for the party.

Several of my close friends are swing DJs, so they’ll do it for free, so music $500 including sound system and gift cards to thank them.

My mom is making me a vintage cocktail dress, probably $75 in materials.

Cupcakes from local bakery: $300.

Hotel room, accessories, his clothes, decorations, guest book, makeup, hair, and other bits and pieces will be another $1500 probably. All told, elopement and reception, we’re expecting to spend $12k, which was our original budget.


Post # 23
290 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: September 2008

I am DIYing everything that I can, eBay was a total godsend! I’m the person who’s always looking for a deal or the cheapest price on something so I knew that I would be able to create a low budget wedding that I could be proud of. I made the invitations and even the envelopes with cardstock that I got on sale at Hobby Lobby, Love that place. I got latex burgundy and orange calla lilies on sale at Hobby Lobby for the centerpieces, they were .99 a piece. They will be underwater in glass cylinders and bowls with floating candles, I rented the glass containers for a cheaper price than buying them. I hit the bridal sale at hobby lobby to get 50% on things like birdcage for cards (7.00), HUGE signature frame w/mat (12.00), votive holders, etc. I made mintbooks that look like matchbooks, coloring books for the kids packs, candle favors in burgundy and orange organza bags that I got from eBay, got the candles from walmart. I used clear address labels to put our names and wedding date on it to attach to the candle. I got most of the stuff for the kids packs at http://www.orientaltrading.com and http://www.save-on-crafts.com. I designed the programs but am thinking of changing them up to be fan programs instead, so that is in the works. I made the ringbearer pillow myself. I also made personalized water bottle labels from 8×11 ups labels that I already had, they were a breeze! The water bottles were about $40 from Sams Club, 30 pk for 3.88 and I got 300 bottles total. We are also getting most of our beer and wine from there too. I got both my dresses from eBay, the ceremony dress is a beautiful strapless A-line with awesome beading and embroidery on the bodice, it was $100 shipping included. The reception dress is stunning, it’s a Raylia ivory sweetheart fitted dress with incredible beading on the bodice, $60 shipping included. I love this dress!!! I also tried to keep costs down for my bridesmaids, they got their dresses from http://www.justthebeginnings.com and http://www.keepmeinstitches.com. A majority of the dresses run 59 to 99 depending on the style and they got to pick any dress that came in burgundy. So far all the girls have loved their dress they got. I got my flowers at http://www.flowersandfreshness.com, 140 burgundy and orange calla lilies for 199.98 shipping included. A friend is doing the photography for a great price. A local lady is doing the cake (for 200 people), two cop car groomscakes and cupcakes for the kids table for $220. The ceremony is on an island in a park, it is FREE. We are using a family members brand new pearl colored Chrysler 300 for our wedding car. I am also borrowing 60 votive holders, white lights and glass containers for the candy table from family. I made personalized labels for cellophane bags (50 for 1.99 a bag at Hobby Lobby, I got 250 bags) that I got for the candy table. I rented 30 table linens and some table skirts for $3 from the University where I work, which was so much cheaper than the $7 that I found elsewhere. I am making burgundy and orange table runners with fabric from walmart. We are using http://www.weddingwire.com for our free website so people can rsvp online. We registered our honeymoon trip to Cozumel since we didn’t need a lot of "stuff". My stepdad let us use his airmiles for our plane tickets so that saved us about 1200. I designed RSVP postcards from http://www.vistaprint.com, 100 for 4.95. I included these in the invitations for the few people that may not rsvp online. Our only big cost is the catering which is being done by a friend of ours so we are getting a good deal on that, he is also our DJ. My mom and stepdad have offered to help with that cost, so we are very grateful for that. We are skipping the formal reception dinner and are having a rehearsel/decorating party instead. We are killing two birds with one stone basically by having a quick run through of the ceremony and then just bringing in deli trays for sandwiches and such. We’ll do our thanks to everyone, gifts, eat, drink beer (lol) and then decorate the reception building the day before the wedding. I bought a bunch of paper lanterns from different places that I plan to sell afterward the wedding. I also bought led lights and batteries for "throwies" from eBay but have yet to put them together. I also bought cosmetic bags, bracelets, mary kay items for the bridesmaids and pearl brooches for the moms from eBay. I got wedding party cufflinks online for the guys, they were $45 but I got them on clearance for $5. I got 8 of them for what it would cost originally for just one! We got personalized mason drinking mugs for the guys for about $8 each. That’s about all that I can think of right now, we cut corners on every aspect of our wedding and that I am so happy about the money we have saved. Now all we have to do is see if it all comes together in September, lol. Here are some of my projects if interested:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/sets/72157605376524573/

Post # 24
8 posts
  • Wedding: June 2009

We’re buying our wedding ourselves & are creatives/DIYers who, if we had 20k, would rather put a down payment on a house with it.   We want a beautiful, festive, classy wedding, but even w/o budget limitations would probably do it this way…it’s just "us".

Venue – cheap!  It’s an old movie theatre.  Reception will also be here, and there’s a built-in sound system!

Music – iPod playlists.  Affordable DJs in the wedding location wouldn’t play what we want anyway 😉

Flowers – either Pick Your Own farm/nursery (to stay as local/in season as possible), or an online vendor like Flowerbud.com

Stationery – DIY STDs and I think we’ll go that route for invites.  RSVP online 

Food – our guestlist is 70, and we have found a reasonable caterer within our budget w/o skimping

Cake – I don’t like it!  So my niece (and possibly me) will be making flourless chocolate torte & strawberry shortcake for dessert. 

Linens, flatware, glasses – I need help…didn’t realize the rentals would add up! 

Booze – we can buy our own! We may limit it to red, white, sparkling & beer (no liquor? would equal fewer glass-styles to rent), as our friends, not fam, are the drinkers.  We will have to hire a licensed bartender, though

Tables/chairs – Enough for the elderly & wallflowers.  The theatre has built in seats (dancing area in front of stage, outside deck for caterer, tables) for resting.  We also want to encourage mingling and dancing! 

Photographer – well, this is tough.  Photography & food are where we don’t want to skimp, and we both have BFAs in photo.  If we had a wedding photo business, maybe we could afford one   Needless to say, we haven’t figured this out yet, as a great photographer often comes with a price, and we’re just beginning research.

Attire – I’m designing/sewing my own dress.  He’s buying a nice, yet hip, suit that he’ll wear again.  We’re considering these personal expenses & not including them in the budget.

No bridal party/groomsmen

Gifts, centerpieces, etc – I’ll make them 

Also have to pass on the photobooth  And if it were in a park, I really wanted a moonwalk (uh, for the kiddos, I swear!)

I love the tips about Michael’s coupons!  IKEA will also be my friend!

Post # 25
2373 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: July 2008

I’m fortunate because my parents are picking up the tab as a wedding gifts, that being said- we have a strict budget because my parents think wedding are out of control.


To cut down on cost:

1.  We are having ceremony and reception at same location (parents farm).  I thought this would be cheap… but when you think about all the rentals- it’s just as much as anywhere else (if not more).  We do get to personalize our venue though (linens are not stadard- we get to choose the color, type,  etc…) so our wedding appears to me much more expensive.  I’ve noticedin bridal magazines most wedding have special linens, either in pattern or color- We’re getting this effect without having to pay extra.   


2.  I am doing all my own flowers.  I saw a few florists, and for the arrangements I was after they all would have charge me around 5,000 + for flowers.  I am getting exactly what I want for 600 bucks :).  I did have a nightmare that the floral provider sent me the wrong porduct last night though. 


3.  I got my 1200 gown off ebay for 200.  Although, I may have to buy a new one because my seamstress is having problems altering it and just called me.  I found one on j.crew for 300 dollars that will do- not as nice as my original gown… but I can live happily with it.


4. Made my invites (100) for around 200 dollars.


5.  Having a small bridal party (just Maid/Matron of Honor and Best Man).  


6. Instead of going with a caterer from Detroit, we went with a local small town caterer.  Their food is home made, and delicious- but the "big city" caterers do things that are much more intricate.  I didn’t want to spend 5,000 dollars on meals though- our caterer is 9.25 per person…  So cheap.


7.  Cupcakes, in lieu of cake.  




8.  Making my own favors.  My fiance and I Looove almond cookies.  My Mother-In-Law has a recipe so we will be placing 405 homemade cookies in a nice white box and tying with some pretty ribbon. 

   Favors for 105 cost 40 dollars.   



Post # 26
282 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: October 2008

Just an FYI, in doing some shopping around I have found that cupcakes can be just as, if not more, expensive than a regular cake if you’re going through the same kind of baker that you would get a good wedding cake from. If you choose to go this route and are having a small wedding you may want to bake them yourself. They keep for a couple of days. I’m trying to decide between this and pies!

Post # 27
2 posts
  • Wedding: July 2009

I got engaged in February and even though our parents are really helping us out, it just wouldn’t be our style to spend a lot of money.  We’d love to do the wedding under 7,000.  It’s not until next July.

We found a little place that sells plants and has a lot of gardens with flowers that will host both our ceremony and reception.  The ceremony is outside in one of the gardens and the reception in a beautifully rennovated barn with a gorgeous view of a valley.  The whole rental for all this including tables and chairs is about $1300.  We will have 150 guests.

Our caterer isnt quite booked yet, but he has outdoor wooden pizza ovens and makes pizza at the reception–not a popular choice, but we found it convenient because we dont have to think about all the different dishes–pizza, salad, the end.  

I’m making my bouquets–i got seeds and bulbs at the Michigan Bulb company and so did my mom.  I  bought the fake flowers online for the centerpieces, and am getting the vases at Pat Catan’s.  My fiance’s uncles are hand painting our invitation.

I bought my dress on a whim on E-bay.  I didnt like anything I tried on in person.  I got a designer dress for $215 (incl shipping) that still has tags on it–never worn.  Try ebay out–just make sure there are still tags and if you dont like it whne you get it, you can just sell it again for the same as you bought it.

We are putting together our own music list and giving it to my techie brother and he will DJ the wedding. 


There is so much to think about it is overwhelming but just remember it’s about the love and  nothing else. 🙂


I wish I didnt have so much time to wait! 

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