(Closed) Budget Brides – Care to share your knowledge?

posted 7 years ago in Money
Post # 4
5655 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: April 2011

We’re looking at 7k from start to finish (e-pics to honeymoon) and thus far I’m really exicted to see how it how goes.

I’ve done alot of DIY! & have used my networking and friend for things like music, doc, cake, and photog

I would keep in mind the things that aren’t really all that important (these are the things that make your budget sky rocket & you want to pull out your hair)

Post # 5
4583 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: October 2011

We’re trying to keep our wedding under 8K as well, though I don’t have exact numbers as to how we’re currently doing. Anyway…

  • We’re keeping out guest list small – about 75 people.
  • We’re using a restaurant. We get the entire second floor for our wedding and we’re paying about $28 pp for a buffet meal with four entree selections, and $250 to use the grounds for the ceremony. There are no additional rental fees for the restaurant.
  • A coworker owns a floral design business and is giving me a discount because she knows me. I’m also planning on using in season flowers and not doing floral centerpieces to keep my flower cost down.
  • I negotiated with our DJ because his normal package was more than we needed (2 DJ’s). For our small wedding, he’s offering to do it by himself for $300 less than the original quote he gave me for 2 DJ’s.
  • I bought my dress online with a coupon code. It came to about $300.
  • I’m using Vistaprint for Save the Dates and invitations and DIY’ing escort cards with card stock.
  • My mom is growing pumpkins for my centerpieces and aisle decor.
  • I bought a bunch of silk leaves and other fall decor on clearance late last year.

I’m sure there are other things but that’s all I can think of right now. ๐Ÿ™‚

Post # 6
56 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: July 2011

My best budget tricks so far:

1) I couldn’t believe how much wedding cakes cost!  We are getting cupcakes from an incredible bakery (the one on the TLC show DC Cupcakes!) but they are less than half the price of a wedding cake.  To me, that’s a huge savings without sacrificing anything.

2) We are decorating our tables with vintage books and candles instead of tons of flowers. 

3) We are having a talented friend do the photography. We are paying her a little something, but saving thousands of dollars.  She’s going to give us a CD with all the pictures, and we’ll make our own album online. More fun that way!

4)  We are skipping the champagne toast.  People can toast with their regular drinks.

5) We are booking our hotel block within walking distance of our venue.  No need for limos or buses for our guests.  Also, we are getting our room for free!

6) We are having a cocktail reception instead of a traditional rehearsal dinner.  We are providing beer, wine and heavy h’ors doeuvres so people will have plenty to eat, but it’s so much cheaper than a full dinner.  Plus, they will get to mix and mingle a bit more, and it won’t outdo the wedding.  I think it’s actually a really hip and modern idea!

7)  I bought my wedding ring on Amazon.  Gorgeous with lots of diamonds and way cheaper than the jewelery stores I looked in.

8) A family friend is marrying us for free. Officiants are expensive!

9) We are honeymooning in Key West.  Super cheap airfare so we can afford a nicer hotel!

Post # 7
241 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: November 1999

First off I think the best plan is to make a list of your top 3-5 most important things and Top 3-5 least important things.  That way you can divy up the budget accordingly.

For example your top 3 things might be:

And your least important 3 might be:

So now you can go out and say ok on my least important list is entertianment, so I can rent speakers and use my ipod and that will cost $150, etc.  Work your way up from there to make up your budget.

DIY with caution:
While DIY projects can be great ask yourself how much time it’s costing you?  Are you a train wreck of emotions?  Are you tired all the time?  Your sanity can sometimes be worth more than a couple of bucks.

Post # 8
411 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: July 2010

I ended up making our wedding come in under $10,000 (which may not sound like budget, but when it was originally scheduled to come in at at $14,000, I thought it was pretty awesome) because of the following:

1.  Make a list of what the most important things are.  If it doesn’t matter so much, don’t be willing to shell out as much for it.

2.  Whenever possible, if you like something, see if you have the skills/time to make it yourself.

3.  Take advantage of friendors/talented family members if available.

4.  If people ask what you would like for gifts, don’t be afraid to mention little things for the wedding, like Mrs. Star did with videography.

5.  Don’t be afraid to ask for ideas on Facebook.  I found a videographer through it!

6.  Have a small guest list and stick with it.

7.  No one seems to like this idea during wedding planning, but the cash bar saved us a ton.

8.  Scour the internet and don’t buy until you know EXACTLY what you want.  It doesn’t cost anything to window shop!

Post # 9
64 posts
Worker bee

I second using friends and being flexible. Our flowers are from a lady at the farmers market, she can do them for practically nothing becuase she gets the flowers at cost, and I think it’s pretty cool that they are local. My coworker is doing the photography, she’s a professional and does amazing work, but has never done a wedding. Will they be the best wedding photos ever, no, and I’m okay with that. My best friend’s husband is playing the guitar for us and I’m taking them out to dinner later.

I would say be careful on the DIY stuff. I started with grand DIY ideas, and realized that sometimes you have to buy a lot of supplies you don’t first think about and you end up not saving as much as you think. Unless you already have a craft, like I had everything I need to make my jewelry, it might be best to look on etsy.

Decide what is important and what you are not willing to compromise on. For me, I was not willing to do my own hair and makeup. I have no skill in this area and would rather pay a pretty penny to have a professional do it.

Post # 12
5890 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: May 2012

one way we are looking to save is using a venue that lets you bring in your own caterer and alcohol…that’s pretty much all i’ve got so far lol. 

Post # 13
477 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: March 2011

I’m getting married next Saturday (eek!) and my best advice would be that for your sanity, you should build in a “month of the wedding bride’s discretionary fund” to your budget.  Set aside like 10% of your budget in a savings account that you WILL NOT touch until the end of your engagement and use it for those last minute surprises or DIY projects you want to just throw money at so they go away.  Your fiance and your family members and bridesmaids will thank you.

Friends and family are helpful, but when you’re exhausted and emotional, all you want is for someone to step in, do the work, and be accountable for it.  Which means contracting out the project for efficiency’s sake.

In our last month of planning we’ve dipped into the fund for:

  • A card box I was going to DIY
  • A paper cutter that I fought buying until the bitter end
  • Flip flops and pashmina wraps for my BMs as gifts
  • Groomsman gifts
  • My bridal clutch that I forgot to buy
  • Reception flipflops for me (I gave up on looking for cute comfy flats for the reception)
  • Getting my bridal bouquets done my a professional after I decided I didn’t want the stress of DIYing them anymore
  • Crafting supplies like paper punchers and ribbon 
  • Floral supplies (I AM still making the corsages and boutonnieres)
  • A faux fur wrap to wear outside with my dress
  • Clip in hair extensions
  • An engagement session I originally had not planned on
  • Stupid things like baskets to hold the programs, table numbers, etc.
  • A videographer to tape the ceremony for our grandparents who can’t make it (total last minute thing!)
  • A cardigan to wear with my reception dress – to go with a reception dress I didn’t even realize I wanted until a month ago
  • My bridal hair clip
  • My alterations
  • Cookies and snacks for our Out of Town bags
  • Wedding gift for my Fiance
  • Leftover monies will go to our vendor tips

Also, don’t be afraid to semi-DIY.  I was going to DIY all the flowers, and did test runs on a bunch of stuff using cheap flowers from the grocery store.  Through trial and error, I found that I could make corsages and bouttonieres and the pew decorations really easily, but the bouquets always stressed me out and took forever.  So I’m contracting out the bouquets.  I was also going to do my own centerpieces but then realized those would take me forever too.  So I’m getting cute milkcrates with bottles in them and just slipping in a few flowers in each.  The milkcrates cost way more than the flowers will, but they will look just as put together.  I designed my own Save the Dates and invitations, but I got them printed professionally and rubber stamped a design on them instead of trying to do something labor intensive.

Post # 14
546 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: September 2010

Our wedding was $8000 and here are some of my tips:

Find a student/starting out photographer.  I searched Kijji and found a lady that was looking for more experience.  She had done quite a few photos, but only one other wedding.  All in all though I loved the photos!

Cut the guest list!  We had 104 guests.

Do a small wedding party! We only had one each.  Saves tons on dresses, flowers, etc.

Search around for a venue.  We found one that was fairly cheap and also included corkage fees in the price.  It was not “top notch fancy” but it was nice and I was quite happy.

Make sure you can bring in your own alcohol.

Do your own decorating and center peices.  I got vases from a dollar store, stones from outside, and gerbers in bulk.  I think each centerpeice cost maybe $5.  I also made my own favours and decorated my own head table.

Cupcakes instead of a cake.

Post # 15
1166 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: December 2010

The major expenses are venue, food, liquor, music/entertainment, flowers, photography, and sometimes dress and stationery (invitations/programs/etc.). Decide which one or two are the MOST important to you and focus on cutting corners on all the rest. You can also save on the important stuff, but I guarantee it will be harder to sacrifice on those.

DIY can save a ton, but you need to recruit help – especially for the week before and day of when everything gets crazy! Choose people who you REALLY trust will come through for you, and give them specific assignments. Play to individual strengths (creative people for decor, organized people for logistics, outgoing people for greeting/directing guests, etc.). I was so gratified that my friends were excited to help in any way they could, and they really stepped up for me.

Specific ways I saved money on the big and small stuff:

– Had the wedding in the “off season,” which cut the site fee in half.

– Picked a venue & caterer that let me supply my own wine/beer/liquor. This probably saved us $2500 vs. fully catered liquor at per-drink or per-head prices (for 75-80 guests). You can also save by limiting options –  just beer, wine or sangria, and possibly a signature drink that uses a popular liqour like vodka or rum.

– Bought a sample dress that was not from the latest season, something without a lot of detail. Got a $25 veil from etsy.com. Even cheaper is to buy second-hand, or off the rack from one of the retailers that now offer gowns. I just saw some beautiful gowns on http://www.bcbg.com for less than $500 retail. Also try Nordstrom/Macy’s/J Crew and other major retailers.

– Minimal flowers. DIY candle centerpieces ($5 hurricane vases, pillar candle, bit of sand at the bottom, and inexpensive starfish from orientaltrading.com – less than $15 each). Bridesmaids carried $7 parasols instead of $50 bouquets, which made for great photos and minimized the last-minute DIY. We just made two bouquets (for me + MOH), a few bouts/corsages and some accent arrangements. Flowers were from Sam’s Club online – they even have wedding flower packages that come with everything already made up for very low prices. (Just can’t be picky about the flowers – mostly roses.)

– DIY’d the invitations and programs.

– Skipped the expensive photo album and spent the $$ on a better photographer instead, with full rights to all images in hi-res. Willl make my own photo books.

– Did my own makeup (but not hair). I wanted to look like me! Just might want to study up and practice photo-friendly makeup techniques.

– Used “friendors.” We had a friend officiate, for example.

– Served alternative desserts. We served pie as the main dessert and got a small cake (for his grandma!) – total cost was under $200 for 80 people, and we had way too much left over. Could have been under $150.


Post # 16
371 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: February 2011

I did my wedding for about $8000 and I had almost 300 guests, and I was really really happy with how it turned out- that does not include our rings or our honeymoon. Getting ready for my wedding on the day of my bridesmaids all kept saying they didn’t want to know how much I spent (because it all came together so well it seemed like it must be more expensive than it was- and I had everything I wanted, pro photog, videographer, florists, etc) I agree with a lot of pp’s, don’t do floral centerpieces- we did vintage colored glass jars and just put some flowers, feathers, and candles in them (picked most up at local flea markets or salvation armys). Do beer and wine instead of a full open bar. For our food we had a local restaraunt do it (mexican food- because I’m hispanic), EVERYONE loved it, and it was CHEAP! And ask for deals, negotiate! A lot of your vendors need the business right now and they should be willing to work with you, I got married in the off season (Feb) and I got deals from almost all of my vendors because of it, but they didn’t offer it, I had to ask, it can be awkward, but it was worth it and I still had great service!


Good luck!


The topic ‘Budget Brides – Care to share your knowledge?’ is closed to new replies.

Find Amazing Vendors