Budget Wedding Suggestions?

posted 2 years ago in Reception
  • poll: What is/was your wedding budget?
    $0-5,000 : (16 votes)
    22 %
    $5,000-10,000 : (18 votes)
    25 %
    $10,000-20,000 : (15 votes)
    21 %
    $20,000-More? : (23 votes)
    32 %
  • Post # 2
    70 posts
    Worker bee

    I’m also a lurker at this point as my boyfriend hasn’t proposed yet. However, my sister also had a tight budget for her wedding. Her dress is where she saved money! I think she spent a total of $100 on an awesome dress! She found is through a friend who’s wedding was a no-go and wanted to get rid of the dress. So, I would recommend looking on craigslist and thrift stores for wedding dresses! Also, if you have friends or family that can help you with photography, cake, DJ, food, etc don’t be affraid to ask! A lot of times you know people in those professions who will give you a discount, or they may be friends with someone who can give you a discount. She lost her photographer the day of the wedding while we were getting our hair done and the stylist knew someone who was good at taking pictures. She did an amazing job and my sister just gave her a $50 for her time and the cd of unedited pics! I am fairly good with photography also so i edited the pics for her later…. so what i am saying is… ask for help and that will save you money!

    Post # 3
    653 posts
    Busy bee
    • Wedding: June 2018

    sieacox :  MY friend had her wedding for 6k and it was fab!  She got married in SF city hall in december.  It was already decorated for chirstmas and it was JUST STUNNING.  Prettiest cermony I’ve been to so far.

    Then she rended out a nice italian restaurant that already looked great.  Food was served family style and no one was hungry.  


    The rest of her vendors she got from Thumbtack for really good prices.  She had ver minimal flowers, but the restaurant was already so nice it really didn’t need much extra.  There was no music, which was fine since it was mainly people in their 30’s and it was really fun to just eat, talk and drink.  Cash bar.  No cake either, just delicious finger sized desserts she got from thumbtack.  I did not miss the cake.  She only inveted 60 people.

    She had me be her day of co-ordinator, and nother one of her frined who worked in catering helped me with the execution.  The day was so much fun!  One of my favorite weddings.  Much better than my cousins stupid 30k wedding that I was miserable at.  

    Oh and she got her dress online from where she normally buys her cloths.  There are lots of affordable dresses online. she got hers for 100.  You really don’t need a crazy dress, just a white one that looks good on you.  She totally looked bridal. 

    Post # 4
    439 posts
    Helper bee
    • Wedding: June 2017

    sieacox :  ebay is also a great place for wedding dress savings. A friend really wanted a jcrew one however it was sold out in her size. I casually mentioned ebay over drinks and within minutes her dress, for 100 less!, was on its way to her. 

    I would put dress and decor on the back burner. Venue space can cost a fortune, so find your space and look at parks, backyards of friends and family and etc. Look for places you wouldn’t need to gussy up and might have tables and chairs or benches included. Then food/drink–which is our biggest expense. Cakes are easy to find in budget. A fave wedding was a 70 person backyard wedding with pulled pork bbq, burgers, and simple sides that did not need refrigeration with beers. They did it for 3k, dress included. And it was so.much.fun!

    Post # 5
    1298 posts
    Bumble bee

    How many people are you looking to invite? We did 55 guests for about 10k (that includes everything but my wedding band) We did our invitations and STD from Vistaprint. We used thumbtack for photography. We rented a historical home in our town which got us a discount for being residents. This was a bonus as the home was beautiful so we barely needed extra decorations. We did a lot of diy (bouquets, centerpieces, my shoes) There are plenty of ways to save money depending on what you want to do.

    Post # 6
    133 posts
    Blushing bee

    sieacox :  How many people are you having? That will drive the costs the most; fewer people means food and drinks can be a smaller portion of your budget. Without knowing that, here are some ideas to trim costs:

    -Look at BHLDN, pre-owned wedding dresses, sample sales, basically anything that isn’t a big box dress store for your dress. Also, consider a non-white dress or short dress that you could rent from something like Rent the Runway.

    -Look into having your reception at a restaurant. You can get away with less decor usually, and you won’t have to rent tables, linens, chairs, etc. Some restaurants also won’t charge for use of a private room with a certain food and beverage minimum.

    -If the majority of guests are local, have a brunch, afternoon, or late evening (after 7:30) cocktail reception. Having the wedding at a non-meal time can mean you don’t have to serve a full meal. Also, if the majority of guests are local, consider either Friday or Sunday, as some services may be cheaper (this might not work for Out of Town guests, though).

    -Don’t have a wedding party. This cuts out wedding party flowers, gifts, and possibly a rehearsal dinner.

    -DIY bouquets and button holes (this works best if above no wedding party advice is followed). Or, skip all the flowers.

    -Don’t have favors, programs, or any printed materials other than the official invitation. Save the dates, RSVPs, directions, etc can all be done via remain or a free wedding website service.

    -If a restaurant wedding doesn’t work for you, make sure you book a venu with no restrictions on vendors, and ideally one that will let you provide your own alcohol. Then, buy all the drinks from a store that permits returns.

    -Skip dancing, or have an iPod set up in lieu of a DJ.

    Again, these are starting points; we can probably give you better ideas if you have at least a rough guest count.

    Post # 7
    533 posts
    Busy bee
    • Wedding: August 2017

    To have a $5k wedding budget you’re going to have to think carefully about your venue and caterer because that’s usually the most expensive part of a wedding. You’ll want to choose a venue that allows you to bring your own caterer and alcohol and includes the tables and chairs. If you choose an all-inclusive venue, most likely you’ll break your $5k budget.

    My wedding is about $10k for 100 people and it would have been at least a few grand cheaper if I had gotten a venue that didn’t have preferred caterers. I had to pay a $1k fee for getting a caterer from outside their list. All of their preferred caterers would have been $5k plus for catering alone. 

    Post # 8
    6272 posts
    Bee Keeper

    Secondhand or sample dress – try on lots and when you know what you want hit the preloved sites and ebay. 


    Faux and fresh flowers mix in your decor (and tons of green!)


    dont bother with fancy transport options 


    no wedding party 

    Post # 9
    901 posts
    Busy bee
    • Wedding: January 2017

    sieacox :  We spent about $7,000 for 120 guests. We had originally budgeted $5,000, but decided to get kilts for Darling Husband and the groomsmen which added quite a bit to the budget. Here’s what we did to cut costs:

    1) Got my dress secondhand from preownedweddingdresses.com

    2) Only did flowers for my bouquet from FlowerMoxie. The reception decor was paper flowers I made and old wine bottles we collected from friends

    3) Afternoon reception (2-5pm) instead of dinner to save money on food. We had snack food (cheese and crackers, veggies and fruit, pinwheels, etc), coffee, hot chocolate, and wine/beer. 

    4) Groove music pass and playlist instead of a DJ

    5) No STD’s or favors 

    6) Our recpetion venue allowed us to self-cater and bring all our own alcohol which saved a ton of money. We also chose a cute place that needed minimal decorations. 

    7) A friend made our cupcakes as her wedding present to us. 

    Post # 10
    3450 posts
    Sugar bee
    • Wedding: September 2017 - Poppy Ridge Golf Course

    It really depends on your location, guest count and priorities. We live in the Bay Area and from the quotes we received the only way a $5k budget would have worked with standard all-inclusive venues was to have Sunday brunch or a Mon-Thurs wedding, for Fri/Sat/Sun evening the minimum was more than double which we personally thought was ridiculous. We also would have been restricted to their catering and I’ve had enough typical wedding food. Our budget is $7k, we were around $5k with 40 guests but now the guest count is 50 so its closer to $6k. more peeple = more money

    Main Priorities – food/beverage, guest comfort, music

    Lesser Priorities – photography, traditional dress, fancy venue, decor, make-up, hair

    Skipping and/or $0 – favors, flowers, centerpieces, transportation, DJ

    Catering $1658 – one of our favorite restaurants caters. 😄 No 18-25% extra service charge or fees just $20 delivery. Lunch menu is cheaper. 

    Dress $308 – Nordstrom, love it

    Photography $1200 – 4 hour package, only available on Sundays. Four other places with similar quality photos started at $2500

    Venue $400 – local park, we adore this place so much but it requires all necessary equipment delivered and set up. We had a restaurant picked for the reception but the area we wanted to rent didn’t allow music.

    Equipment Rentals $2316 – this could definitely be cheaper if I wasn’t set on farm tables and upgraded chairs but I am cause I like the look. 🤗 Although I would pick cheaper options in a heartbeart if the cost strained our budget.

    DJ $0 – one of Fiance friends is a DJ and offered to do so as a gift so there’s no official charge but I’m sure Fiance will give him a few hundred. Personally, a playlist would have been fine with me.

    Thats where the bulk of our budget is going as an example. My advice is to figure out your guest count, decide what your specific priorities are and research, research, research to comparison shop. Good luck 😊

    Post # 11
    786 posts
    Busy bee

    Three huge money savers- buy a preowned wedding dress, use a park, & cut your guest list. I was able to have the wedding of my dreams that people still refer to as the best wedding they’ve ever been to for $7000 & a guestist of 65. My dress was bought off tradesy for $700 nwt & my venue was part of the Great Smoky Mountain National Park. I rented 2 locations in the park (one ceremony, one reception) for $600. Still had a dj, day of coordinator, & multiple food choices. I also make my flowers double as bridesmaids bouquets & table decor. I bought my own alcohol (wine & beer) & had self serve. 

    Research is key! & don’t be afraid to negotiate. I found most vendors would work with you on price if you are willing to give a little. Ex- my videographers price was too high for me but he was my favorite. I told him my budget & we took things out of the package so we were both happy

    Post # 12
    516 posts
    Busy bee
    • Wedding: October 2017

    Purchase budget is 8k or less. Here are ways we are saving.

    found a venue that only makes isnt guarantee 50 people

    bought a sample dress

    used aliexpress.com for veil and jewlery 

    simple centerpieces of low flowers

    bought a lot of stuff only on clearance or sale, ex, bachelorette dress was on clearence at GUESS I signed up online to become a member got 15% off plus free shipping. Did that for lots of decorations, clearance at Michaels or goodwill for flower girl baskets and mason jars

    and I’m sticking to my budget. If you set a budget of 600$ for your dress , stick to it! You will find something. Best of luck ! 

    Post # 14
    1352 posts
    Bumble bee
    • Wedding: July 2017 - The Lodge at Little Seneca Creek

    I think the dress should be a place where you save instead of splurge! Our budget was $10k, and we spent about half of that on the venue ($2,740) and food ($2,500). Then there’s the photographer and DJ (each $1,500), so we were left with about $2,000 to work with for everything else. I tried on a lot of dresses at a bridal salon to find a style I really liked. Then I searched on Tradesy (and similar sites) and found a dress in the same style for $200 (as opposed to $1,300 for the dress I had tried on at the salon)! We also cut out a lot of unnecessary stuff (photobooth, seated dinner, etc.) and are enlisting friends for as much as we can (officiant, cake baker, etc.). Good luck!

    Post # 15
    246 posts
    Helper bee
    • Wedding: May 2018

    You have to think a little outside of the box with your budget but it’s doable. Look for non traditional spaces for your ceremony/reception like parks, restaurants etc. Make sure you take a hard look at your invite list and cut where you can. Have a meal at breakfast or lunch time, on a Friday or a Sunday etc.

    My budget is $15K in the D.C. area for 120 (average is over $30K around here.)

    We have no wedding party which saves money and drama lol.

    I got my dress from a wedding dress secondhand like shop for $400.

    I joined a local wedding group on Facebook and I found my photographer for $750 for 8 hrs that way. 

    Month of coordinator was found via wedding sites where you can enter your budget and get the results. She was $795. 

    My DJ was found using a long thread on here of local brides. He’s $450 for 4 1/2 hours

    We are getting married during brunch time which saved us lots of money. Cupcakes from a small bakery and DIY bar  

    Flowers from flowermoxie.com

    My makeup artist is from instagram which I found using hashtags lol

    Using paperlesspost which is free when sent via email for most of our save the dates and the others and invites will be from vista prints with online RSVP via our free wedding website. 

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