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).