(Closed) Budget wedding. What are the absolute essentials?

posted 9 years ago in Money
Post # 3
2965 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: April 2013


This is helpful. Perhaps since the guest list is so intimate you could DIY the wedding cake and have family cook the meals. Check out sams club for platters and such. You can also still find a beautiful wedding dress within that budget. I would check davids bridal or any resale shop. Sometimes they have new never worn dresses there. Ebay, craigslist, freecycle and dollar tree will become your BFFs! Also check thrift stores for centerpieces… that is if you even want that. Check your area and do some research for venues first. You could have your wedding in a family members yard if you want to save that money. Don’t worry sweetie it can be done and you are in the right place for ideas, inspiration and advice. I’ve seen a $600 wedding that was just beautiful!

Post # 4
112 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: August 2012

The only essentials to any wedding are a marriage license, you, Fiance, someone to legally marry you & as many witnesses as our license requires. 

Post # 5
470 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: November 1999

We are having about a $500-600 wedding of about 30 people. Mine is really casual and low key because of my budget.

We are having it in the park that has a pavillion, picnic tables and a huge area that has a playground for my kids ( I picked this pavillion because of that but there were ones overlooking the dam, etc with no playground.) for $45 for the entire day. No alcohol is permitted at the park.

My dress was about $100. I also dressed Fiance and 3 kids for about $100 (He is wearing a polo shirt and shorts)

Food we are cooking a lot ourselves. We decided we aren’t splurging on a cake and instead are doing homemade cakes of different varieties since we are doing a picnic layout for the food. The only thing we are catering is the chicken.

Music is a laptop with speakers.

Decorations are table cloths, with rose petals sprinkled down the middle with pretty reflective bowls and floating candles. Bows on the pavillion posts.

Post # 6
1423 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: March 2013

What I think is essential you may not. It’s really your call about what you feel is a must and what isn’t and can be cut or re-worked to be done cheaper.

Post # 7
2721 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: November 2011

View original reply
@Absolute:  +1

Here are 2 budget weddings:

Real Wedding: Matthew & Alwyn’s $600 DIY Wedding


I think the best way to slash your budget is to have an afternoon ceremony with a cake and punch reception.

This cake is easily DIY or DIY by a friend:


Post # 8
9916 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper
  • Wedding: June 2013

What venue have you chosen?

Post # 10
470 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: November 1999

For the dress I would recommend trying on different styles to see what you like and then order from online if you want. I’m sure you still could pull off a more semi formal wedding dinner with the $2000 budget.

I have a friend taking my pics who is an inspiring photographer. I will have to get them printed elsewhere but she is doing them for free which I love because I don’t like a ton of printed pics and would rather have them online. I have seen her work and she is very excited and planning the poses she has in mind and her ideas I have loved. A photographer could really eat up a good portion of that budget so you need to decide how important pictures are for you. You can also save by having a wedding on a different day than Saturday. Venues are cheaper and so are photographers.

Happy Planning!


Post # 12
325 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: June 2013 - Piney River Ranch

If you decide you want a photographer, definitely check out craigslist.  A lot of aspiring photographers will post on there and do weddings for super cheap – or if you have a friend, maybe they can do it for free.  Also if there are any colleges near you with photography programs, contact the department chairperson or a photography professor and maybe they can give you contact info for some of their students.

Post # 13
1658 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: July 2012

View original reply
@redorchid86:  Chairs, tables, and linens do start to eat up your budget :-/

For your dress, I was going to suggest the nordstrom wedding suite. Mine was $198 off the rack!


Post # 14
2692 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: November 2012

You can have an elegant wedding on your budget, you just need to know what your must haves are, where you can cut costs and save money and DIY some elements.  Oh and search the net: google, youtube and sites like Craigslist, Amazon and Ebay are your friend.

I am having a 150 person guest list on a $4000- $5000 budget. It’s a traditional wedding too (sort of LOL) and I want an touch of elegance and class (but nothing super fancy or stuffy).  We just want it to be fun!

I think for you wedding, DIY ideas will be great ways of saving lots of money.  I made my own veil, garter, and ring pillow by watching youtube turotirals.  I made my cardbox with unused boxes I had at home and wrapping paper. They all all cost next to nothing. Before we added a DJ to our budget, we were going to have fi’s cousin help DJ  with his DJ equipment and a music playlist on our laptop.  

I found local vendors for a steal.  I think for you, the idea of finding venders on CL or at a local college will do wonders for your budget.

Also, as far as the food goes, for your guest list, you can totally self cater.  I host parties all the time and cook for that amount of people (one year I hosted Thanksgiving with over 40 people) and I usually have over 30 people at my kids parties and I make all the food then too.  You just need to rent a few chafing dishes to keep the food warm.

Also, plates and glasses can be found at thrift stores or the dollar store for cheap. And if you know someone with some sewing skills, they could make your linens for you which you can sell back after the wedding. 

And as for the venue, I agree.  Renting chairs, tables and possibly a tent will kill your budget.  So I would recommend looking around for a venue with all that already inlcuded. Maybe a A community center, Rec hall, a lodge, like an Elks logdge would work or a VFW or Columbus hall, or a park with an attached bulding.  I hear brides gush about their park venues all the time, costing less than $400 for an entire day. 

And I would go to the gorcery store for the cake and maybe even for the flowers.  They tend to have great tasting cake (and could probably custom make a wedding cake for you).

Good luck.

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