(Closed) Broke Bride's Guide to Wedding Bliss???

posted 6 years ago in Money
  • poll: How much did your dream DIY wedding cost?
    $5,000 or less : (22 votes)
    40 %
    $5,001 or more : (12 votes)
    22 %
    $10,000 or more : (21 votes)
    38 %
  • Post # 3
    5428 posts
    Bee Keeper

    What was your biggest expense?

    • it’ll be the food, at $20 a head

    Any tips or advice?

    • Shop around, even though you like the first thing you see

    What all did you DIY?

    • I will do my bouquet, shoes, centrepieces, invitations and anything else I think of between now and May LOL

    What was the biggest waste of money?

    • To me it’ll be a waste of money but i need it, a pro-videographer for our vows, pictures will be taken by a non-professional

    Anything else you think would be helpful (:

    • smile and be friendly to everyone you meet!



    Post # 4
    13 posts
    • Wedding: January 2013

    I understand completly. A few years ago I was planning my wedding and it was way over the top and over my budget. So we decided to wait. Now we have waited and i have completly changed everything I wanted. I guess I am more logical. I can still have my dream wedding, its just going to include a lot of DIY and a small budget. Rather use the $$ on other things such as a new car! & I cute out the use of flowers which took out abt 2000!! Im using all candles and bows && pearl & brooches for bouquets saving a lot of $$ there alone!!

    Post # 5
    1357 posts
    Bumble bee
    • Wedding: October 2012

    What was your biggest expense?

    Our reception. We’re spending around 8,000 for everything, including food, bar, room rental, gratuities, taxes, service charge, champagne, hors d’oeuvres, etc. It was all one big package deal, which is a great way to bundle your costs and potentially save money if you don’t mind that some people snub their noses at “cookie cutter” weddings. But the food and drink are the best way to get the most bang for your buck on overall wedding experience for your guests, so I would cut costs elsewhere before cutting our budget there.

    Any tips or advice?

    Mostly, I have abided by the perennial advice of keeping your guest list small. There are fewer centerpieces, chairs, meals, and bar tabs to worry about, and you can rent a smaller space. We are also doing only half floral centerpieces and candles for the other half, which cut around $500, and we chose a naturally beautiful setting for our ceremony so we don’t need any decorations there. We found a DJ with his own LED lighting for mood/dance lighting, and we’re working with several vendors who work out of their homes (who are usually cheaper).

    What all did you DIY?

    Very little, actually. It doesn’t always save money, and I didn’t want to go crazy, so I found a lot of deals for ready-made stuff. We’re DIYing programs, menus, acorn-filled hurricanes with candles for some of our centerpieces, aaand…that’s pretty much it. Unless you count printing and framing photos DIY.

    What was the biggest waste of money?

    Invitations and Save the Dates. We got a Groupon for both, but it was for a pricey website, so our money didn’t go nearly as far as it could have if we’d just had them printed somewhere instead of ordered ready-made designs online. We ended up spending around $350 for only 80 invitations and 80 Save-The-Date Cards (and the Groupon was for $300 for $800 worth of stuff!).

    Post # 6
    4675 posts
    Honey bee
    • Wedding: August 2012

    What was your biggest expense?

         The food (which was paid for by my parents) at around $15 a head..  and the bill ended up being $700 more than my mom expected!  So I am not sure what it was at the end

         My biggest expense was my dress (around $900 after alterations) and beer and liquor ($800 after tip) 

    Any tips or advice?

         Look around, go to garge sales and thrift stores, if you have people that are offering their services use them (I went through a family friend who alters dresses and got my dress altered (lace hem and taken in at the bust) for $100, a friend of my mom’s did the flowers for $500 (we provided many of the flowers from our garden and farmer’s markets, she got the rest from Sam’s Club and other garden centers) 

         Research what it would cost you to have it made for you versus how much it would cost you to make.  

    What all did you DIY?

         Almost everything!  Invitations, Save the Dates, Bunting, burlap table runners, dessert buffet, groom’s cake, guest quilt, signs, tissues pom poms, jr. brridesmaids and flower girls dresses, bridesmaids jewelry, my jewelry, my head wreath, ect.  

    What was the biggest waste of money?

         I don’t think I would consider cutting anything that I did for my wedding.  I would have to say though that all the little DIY projects did add up, I didn’t keep reciepts so I am not sure how much.  But I would have to admit there was some wasteful spending on my part there though.  

    Post # 7
    1297 posts
    Bumble bee
    • Wedding: November 1999

    What was your biggest expense?

    The food! It was not that much per person (about $7), but Fiance wanted a big party and like everyone says, the more you invite, the more you pay.

    Any tips or advice?

    Pick what’s important and worth spending more on and what’s not.

    This might be somewhat personality dependant, but I was not the little girl that always dreamed of her wedding. I got more excitement out of making something nice for nothing or very little money. Part of it might be a mindset where you take pride and ownership of how you use your resources.

    Be a little out of the box/creative. We had a wedding at home (free) and had his dad marry us (also free). We dressed up a plain hall instead of getting a killer venue.

    What all did you DIY?

    Basically everything.

    Food — this saved us a ton but was an ENORMOUS pain. Really truly think if you want to do that to yourself.

    Decorations — we had a kindof down home country wedding, which meant it was easy to scour through the family’s stuff and find pieces that could be cleaned up and used to hold flowers, for centerpieces, etc. Decorative real flowers were all planted in various containers and grown by my aunt. I used silk flowers for centerpieces and bought them on a sale week at the craft store.

    There was a ton more but that was almost 3 months ago already! 🙂

    What was the biggest waste of money?
    Nickel and dime stuff from not planning ahead.

    Post # 8
    1991 posts
    Buzzing bee
    • Wedding: October 2011

    What was your biggest expense?

    Amazingly enough, it was the venue at $27.50/head (200 people). I was able to get food at $17.50/head. I was willing to pay more for the venue because I KNEW I was going to DIY alot.

    Any tips or advice?

    Be VERY sure of what you want. A good way to waste money is being uncertain and then having to go back and spend more money because you changed your mind. Pick what’s important and spend your money on that. The most important thing for us was photography/videography, food, and venue. So we spent the most on that. Think about what your guests are REALLY going to pay attention to.

    What all did you DIY?

    Quite a bit. ALL of the stationary and ALL of the decorations. There was some stuff I didn’t get to, but at the end, my wedding was still beautiful.

    What was the biggest waste of money?

    I don’t think I wasted money on anything that I did. Waste is subjective, but if you twisted my arm, I would say that favors were the biggest waste for me. I loved the favors that I did and so did my guests, but alot of them didn’t get taken (virgin sangria drinks in a bottle) plus some family members pitched in to get other favors without my knowledge and were also given out at the wedding.

    Post # 9
    2692 posts
    Sugar bee
    • Wedding: November 2012

    Hey another broke bride over here LOL! We’re older but we have 3 kids, private school tuition and household bills, so not much left over for wedding planning.

    What was your biggest expense? Food!!!  I was lucky enough to find a wonderfully priced ‘budget’ caterer but it is still more than I wanted to spend.

    Any tips or advice? DIY (that saved me money).  Take the time to search for vendors in your budget.  It took me a LONG time to find my caterer.  And I was not afraid to haggle with them a bit (and I haggled the florist down too).  I took my time to book vendors so I could be sure I was getting the best price: Comparison shop!

    What all did you DIY?  Veil, card box, shoes, garter, table numbers and signs, car just married sign, invitaitons, menu cards (programs, escorts cards), guest book photo mat, thank you cards, candy bar, favors, baskets for petals and programs, ring pillow, Rehearsal Dinner dress, engagement serenade outfit, sign in pen, etc.  Things my fmil diy: flower girls, ring bearer suit, table linens.

    What was the biggest waste of money? Nothing yet…. I can always sell stuff I don’t plan to use.

    Don’t stress out! I know it’s easier said than done, but you just have to remind yourself that it is only one day and most people won’t care about those small details…they are there for you and as long as they have fun, that is all that matters.  Take deep breaths often and think about finally marrying your love.  Make a list of all things you need to do/book/buy/rent/diy.  Check things off as you go.  It’ll keep you organized and sane.


    Post # 10
    128 posts
    Blushing bee
    • Wedding: June 2012

    What was your biggest expense?  BIggest expense was food. I think you’ll find that to be the case with just about anyone who forsakes a huge venue like we did. We fed about 90 people for a grand.  Look around the locals who may or may not advertise doing weddings.  The person who did our wedding was a local owner of a resturaunt who did this on the side.  We also opted for BBQ food, like salads red hot dogs and bbq chicken.  I’d left my husband in charge of the food since it was so important to me, so then I was a little surprised on the day of to find weird things thrown in there as well like mac and cheese and those meatballs in a weird not quite bbq, not quite sweet and sour sauce. Whatever, it was all delicious and we got many compliments!

    Any tips or advice? Think of it less as your wedding and more as a party.  That’s what everyone else will think of it as, try to think outside of the box as far as decorations, ceremony or anything else goes.  If you can find things that really work that aren’t labled as “wedding” you’ll likely save cash. And for the love of pete, if someone offers to help, let them!  

    What all did you DIY? I DIY’d shoes, bouquet, centerpieces, flowers, cakes, food, tent deorations, brides maids dresses, signs, music, favors, hair, makeup, guest book and lighting. It all seems like a big daunting list until you acctually start doing it, one thing at a time.  Just give yourself enough time!

    What was the biggest waste of money? nothing.  If you carefuly think out how you’re planning this party then there really shouldn’t be anything you spend money on that you dont need.  What i think is a waste of money that is in more traditional weddings is flowers, they’re just gonna die anyway, tuxedos, over a hundred dollars for something you can’t keep? why? 25 tier cake… I just don’t get it.  Basically the over the top “wedding” stuff.  


    Post # 11
    1326 posts
    Bumble bee
    • Wedding: August 2013

    I’m totally a broke and budget bride. We’ve been getting help from my parents as well, but we’re still paying over half of everything ourselves.

    What was your biggest expense? Reception Venue, which includes the food, booze and all the other extras that come with our package, for 50 guests our total is just over $4,000

    Any tips or advice? Kijiji!!! It has saved my life during this whole wedding planning process. I found our florist, DJ (after FI’s friend backed out), Hair Stylist, Mehndi Artist and Photographer. They are all amazing at what they do, and used Kijiji as a means to advertise. I would never have come across them if I didn’t check out Kijiji. Also our wedding date has saved us HUGE amounts of money. We’re marrying off-season in February, and on an off-date of Friday. This gave us tons of room for negotiation with vendors and we got a great price on everything because there is no compitition. 

    What all did you DIY?  We’re not DIY much because our venue includes alot of stuff in our package like decor, centrepieces etc. We did DIY our STD’s, invitations, table numbers, favors, escort cards, bar sign, I spy table numbers, photo booth props and I;m sure there will be more to come but that’s all I have on my to do list at the moment.

    What was the biggest waste of money? Nothing yet. Everything I have purchased has been things we needed, not wanted. I negotiated with all vendors to get the price we were comfortable with and haven’t added anything that we didn’t want. We wanted a small and intimate wedding, and we know what we love so it’s been easy not to waste money on things that didn’t matter. 

    Post # 13
    515 posts
    Busy bee
    • Wedding: September 2012

    What was your biggest expense?

    We’ve spent about $15,000. Biggest expense has been travel costs. $3500 on plane tickets, $1500 for our hotel room for two weeks, and another $400 for the rental car.

    Since that doesn’t apply to most brides, though, after that my biggest expense was the venue ($3000) followed by my dress ($2600).

    Any tips or advice?

    Shop around and before you DIY something, find out if it really will be cheaper or if the savings are enough to justify the time it will take. A lot of things I wanted to DIY, but I just didn’t have the time and was able to find cute things on Etsy for reasonable prices instead. And don’t be afraid to ask for discounts or if a vendor has any promotions they are running.

    What all did you DIY?

    Invitations, aisle decorations, centerpieces, some of the party games for the reception, a lot of other miscellaneous reception decor, and the food.

    What was the biggest waste of money?

    I don’t really feel like we’ve wasted money. It has cost more than I wanted it to, but overall, I think I’ve done a pretty good job of getting the best value for money.

    Anything else you think would be helpful (:

    Keep an open mind and don’t get too wedded to specific ideas of what you MUST have. If you are flexible and willing to consider several options, you’ll save some money.

    Post # 14
    1086 posts
    Bumble bee
    • Wedding: October 2013

    We are still in the process of our wedding, but everything is going better than planned still… We will only be spending about $2,000 total out of our own pockets. A big part, is knowing people when it comes to saving money, for us that is. And of course the DIYs.

    For your questions:

    What was your biggest expense?

    Our biggest expense is going to be decorations. But since they are mostly DIY they will be super cheap

    Any tips or advice?

    Think of people you know that could really help, and don’t be afraid to ask. They mostly seem “honored” to help. We didn’t ask for anything for free, we offered to pay everyone but with fiances friends and family and mine, we’re getting the reception hall for free, the ceremony spot for practically free, food free, alcohol free, music free, dress free, invitations and Save-The-Date Cards free, honeymoon free, the list goes on and on and on. What we did, like my fiances Uncle works at a printing shop. We just asked him how much it would cost to get our invitations printed and he insisted he do them for free. We already recieved our 150 save the dates all for free and now he’s just waiting for us to finish up our invitations and he’s insisting on us letting him do that for us. It happened that way with nearly everything, although we didn’t plan it. Basically don’t be afraid to ask or accept help

    What all did you DIY?

    I’m doing the flowers all, my shoes, I have three flower girls and I’m doing their dresses, I’m doing the name cars, the gift bags witht he favor (candy flavored vodka)I did my head piece, I wanted to make my dress but mom convinced me to let her buy me one. I’m doing mine and the bm’s jewelery the bouquets, the garders, the bouttaniers, centerpieces, the signs, the invitations (but I’m not printing them myself) the guest book, and a ton of other things I can’t think of atm, I have a huge binder full of DIYs I’m breaking into 🙂

    What was the biggest waste of money?

    I don’t believe in wasting money so I’m cutting all useless or unnecessary items off my list, within reason of course. I only plan to spend money on things I feel need to be at my wedding to make it personal really, the rest of the things are either free or we are going without.

    Post # 15
    2269 posts
    Buzzing bee

    Here’s my tip; contact your local Parks & Recreation and see if they have venues you can reserve. We’re reserving a park for free and it has a lovely flagstone pavilion. That is saving us a lot of money. I included a pic of the venue below. The flagstone pavilion is in the background to the right

    Also, the less people there, the less expensive it’ll be. It’ll just be very close family and close friends, about 30 people. My SO’s family is buying all ingredient to make food and barbecuing on site so that will cost me nothing. I am making my flowers from coffe filter and adding baby’s breath and fresh greenery the day of the wedding. I am making pretty string lanterns too to decorate. I am buying tablecloths inexpensively onmline and selling them afterwards. I am using silverware we own, buying plates and buying stemware cheaply and selling them afterwards. I’m selling lots of stuff afterwards!

    I’m making my own cake. I can freeze the tiers and quickly frost them the day of the wedding. The bottom tier of my cake will rice krispie treat shaped like a round tier with dowels in the middle and  cake stacked on top. The top tier will also be rice cereal mixed with melted marshmallow. This makes the cake less stressful to make, lighter, and easier. It’ll all be frosted with this very pretty design which ANYONE who can make a spiral with a piping bag, can do. The whole thing needs  base coat of frosting first, btw. 

    Post # 16
    3461 posts
    Sugar bee
    • Wedding: May 2012

    Note: We’re in our 30s with savings, so ours was only partially DIY (many of the small touches).

    What was your biggest expense?

    Food & alcohol was 43% of our wedding.

    Any tips or advice?

    • Cut guests, then cut again.
    • Pick your top three things, then spend accordingly.
    • Research prices on major things (e.g. venue, DJ, photographer) before finalizing your budget, to know if it’s realistic.
    • Do ahead as much as possible so you don’t need to spend for convenience sake as it gets closer.  You can research better prices and take advantage of sales as well.
    • Ask your friends and family for help.
    • Ask only 1 attendant each.

    What all did you DIY?

    I am probably forgetting a few things, but here goes:

    • Invitations (pocketfolds through Cards & Pockets)
    • Programs (paper from Cards & Pockets)
    • Centerpieces (quilted base made by my mom, Mother-In-Law made flower arrangements in pots, I made cards with pictures of locations we had been for the table names, I tied ribbons around votive flowerpots found at candles4less )
    • Veil (made by mom)
    • Escort cards (leftover paper from Cards & Pockets)
    • Created an “Up” theme mailbox for cards
    • Thank you cards (paper from Cards & Pockets)
    • Guest book (groupon-like place for a photobook)
    • Bag to smash the glass in (made my mom)
    • Chapel decorations (bought flowers from Costco and tied with ribbons I bought at a craft store with a coupon)
    • Pie bar & guestbook labels (paper from Cards & Pockets, frames from the house)
    • Favors (handmade caramels made by a very talented friend as a wedding gift)
    • Rehearsal dinner – BBQ at my parent’s house, inviting all guests. 

    What was the biggest waste of money?

    Hard to say, I thought we spent it really well for our budget and priorities.  I did buy a dress online for a rehearsal dinner dress that I decided against in person.  (Want a cheap short casual summer wedding dress?)

    Anything else you think would be helpful (:

    Set your budget 10% less than you can afford.

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