My wedding is coming in right over $5,000. I am a major bargainista. So, it hasn’t been so hard on me. Here is what we’ve done/spent:
Wedding ceremony package (includes lots of goodies, including two nights in hotel for honeymoon)- $750
Reception room fee (includes room, tables, chairs, linens, and silverware/glasses/plates)- $750
Food for the reception- $2500- $3000 (not sure yet)
Save the Dates- Free from Vistaprint
Invitations- $22 on Vistaprint
Aritificial flowers- Bought on sale at Michael’s for $.99/stem.
Vases for centerpieces/accent artificial flowers- Borrowing for free
Water beads and Aqua Brites for centerpieces- $24 on eBay
Favors- We’re doing a candy buffet. We just saved all of the salsa jars that the Future In-Laws bought, so those were free. Future Mother-In-Law bought the vases that we’re serving candy out of. I spent about $14 on fabric and ribbon to decorate the jars. All I have left to buy is candy, which we plan to spend $100 on.
My dress- Bought it for $233 at a consignment shop. They had much cheaper gowns there, but I had to have mine!
Veil- $30 on eBay
Shoes- $40 at TJ Maxx
My bouquet- Someone is making my bouquet out of the artificial flowers I bought.
Programs- I spent $3 on cardstock paper at Wal-Mart and about $2 on flip-flop brads at Michael’s, then I made them myself for a grand total of $5.
Photographer- We found an amateur who will do it for $500
My originial budget was $3000, but obviously that didn’t work out. We’re almost double that now, even though I really have been trying to be thrifty. I’m still not even done shopping and getting things and I just calculated that with all of the things listed above (which doesn’t even include everything I’ve bought), I will have spent over $5000. Maybe more like $5500. You CAN do it for $5000 or less. My mistake was choosing a pricey venue, which you do not have to do.
Here are some tips for making things as cheap as possible, but still nice:
- Lower the guest list! This is the number one tip I can give for cutting costs. The more people you have, the more expensive it is going to be. You’ll have to have more seats, more programs, more favors, more food, etc. if you don’t cut the list down. If it is not too late for you, cut that list down to the bare minimum.
- Look into cheaper venues. Most parks let you rent space out to have your ceremony, for cheap. If you know of a nice park in your area, check out your town’s parks and rec website or call them for rental rates. Also, if you know someone with a nice property, they may let you marry in their yard for free. Of course, if you or your parents attend a church, a lot of churches will let you have your wedding/reception there for free for just a small donation.
- As far as food goes, try to find a venue that will let you self-cater. Some venues will not allow outside catering, they want you to pay for their catering, or to use their preferred caterers. If you can find a place that will allow your relatives to make food and bring it in, that would save you so much money. FI’s cousin got married in a church and only had to pay a donation (of her choice) to the church, and a lot of her relatives brought food and drinks so she ended up not paying for food at all.
- Photographers can be expensive, but we all want pictures of our day. If there are any amateur photogs in your family/friends, they will probably do your wedding free. That’s how FI’s cousin got her wedding pics. I don’t know anyone, so I am actually looking on Craigslist for an amateur photographer and have found several that I can surprisingly afford.
- Dress, try a consignment shop. That’s what I did. You don’t have to have a $3000 designer gown. The dress I bought is beautiful and has no signs of wear and it cost me $233.
- Favors. Either don’t do them at all (they’re not necessary), or try to find something around your house that you can re-use, or something you can collect from others. I collected all of our salsa jars (we eat a lot of salsa) and am using them. You can ask friends/family for baby food jars and make cupcake in a jar, or fill it with Jordan Almonds or something.