(Closed) CALLING ALL BUDGET BRIDES!! (under $5000)

posted 6 years ago in Money
Post # 3
3170 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: October 2012

We had a park ceremony, $75 to rent the park for the full day. We rented chairs and didn’t worry about any decorations because the park is already so pretty. The reception was at the Holiday Inn Convention Center. We chose a plan so that if we spend $2500 in food the room was free. We had a taco bar and used the chips and salsa that would have been included in the meal as an appatizer for our cocktail hour. We made pom-poms for decor, bought little wooden bird houses ($1 each) for part of the centerpieces, get a lot of sale stuff at michaels and hobby lobby for more decoration. We stopped worrying about all the random decoration because in the end, it doesnt matter.

Figure out what is most important to you and take on those projects. You’ll drive yourself crazy trying to do everything and like I said, in the end it doesnt matter.

Good luck!

Post # 4
1112 posts
Bumble bee

Budget is my middle name.

But seriously, our budget is $5,000 although we are trying to spend as LITTLE as possible. 5k is our max. And that includes everything from rehearsal dinner to wedding bands…you name it, it has to all equal under 5k. No pressure, right?


We are cutting out costs by having some things given/offered to us by friends OR just doing it ourselves:

My grandmother gave me her wedding band to have as my own.

A friend offered to do my makeup.

We are all doing our own hair.

I am doing flowers by myself (grocery store + floral arranging supplies = CHEAP and pretty).

My father is marrying us, so no officiant cost.

The father of the groom is doing the prelude music.

We have many musical friends, so some of them will do the ceremony music.


Our biggest expenses:

We are getting married in a church that will cost us about $700 (a HUGE deal). It includes custodian, sound guy, pre-marriage counseling, and day-of coordinator. How awesome!?

We are spending $800 on a wedding photographer. We are using her hourly rate, which makes it cheaper than the “wedding package.” Ask your photographer if she would be willing to cut frivolous things out of the wedding package – print credit, online gallery, lookbook, etc.


Compromises and out of the ordinary money-saving tips:

My bridesmaids (my little sisters) are all going to get their dresses at places like Target and Forever 21 to save a ton of money.

The groomsmen are going to be free to buy their own grey suits, and I will give them links to really well-priced options (JC Penney has some inexpensive ones).

I am looking at a dress right now that only costs $198. It is Nataya brand. If that dress doesn’t work out, I am still setting my dress budget at $500 or less.

The biggest compromise…no “reception.” Instead we are having a receiving line leading onto the patio of the church, where we will have music, snacks, and drinks. No tables and chairs. A few benches and seats along the walls for elderly guests, but nothing that encourages people to sit. Everyone will be walking around and mingling.  So our total “reception” budget is $200. AWESOME. A load off my shoulders. When we decided to do this, I literally stopped having nightly nightmares about reception stress.


I hope this helps! Your wedding is only a few months after mine. Feel free to PM me if you want to talk about any of this stuff or need encouragement or ideas. I have tons!  I love budgeting and being thrifty in every area of life, so it’s almost fun to me. Haha!

Good luck!

Post # 5
5271 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: October 2009

My wedding was a little bit more than yours (7K total)

BUT, as far as advice on catering, we got a STEAL from a caterer we found on craigslist.  They were two sisters who were just starting out their catering company and only done like 1 wedding, hence the great price, but we did a tasting with them and laid out a VERY detailed contract and were SO happy with the food and service. They were very professional and their staff did an excellent job the day of.

The beauty of craigslist is that you can find talented people who haven’t quite made their mark yet; you just have to be sure to meet them, and have a specific contract laid out. In fact I found my baker, dj, and photographer all on craigslist as they were talented and looking to grow their business, while offering great prices. 

Post # 6
249 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: May 2013

We’re renting a great big pavilion at a local park (a barn pavilion) and doing a bbq style reception. Super cheap and fun and unique. The food for 200 people will be about $900 and the alcohol about another $900-1000 (beer, wine, and soda/water only). DIYing a lot of things (table runners, etc). Should beabour $4000-4500

Post # 9
2 posts
  • Wedding: August 2013

All great ideas but just wondering if there are any in ventura county and no park

Post # 10
551 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: April 2013

I got a lot of stuff on the classifieds here and on weddingchannel and craigslist and dress on used gown sites.  He is rewearing a suite he bought for his friend’s wedding.

There are a lot of diy sites out there, one that is really helpful for invites decor is weddingchicks. Vista print has deals for free postcards (save the dates) and groupons for like $10 for $50 worth (to use for invites) we are skipping menus, programs and some of the other items just you just don tneed.

The food, we custom made our menu-bbq chicken with a couple of sides. Only beer for dinner, cash bar for the rest. We found our baker online-she does not have a store front=savings for us $$ and does excellent work.

Cut the guest list-no children, no cousins we havent seen in ages, not a lot of folks that we dont see that often.

We also eliminated the rehearsal and dinner. We dont have a brides maid, moh or groomsmen.

Our venue was discounted beacuse we booked a friday evening, before busy season.  

We are doing grocery store flowers.

ceremony at a local park (almost free) and found a retired officiant through the city of Boulder, ($75) and found our photographer on the knot/wedding channel search and asked for a custom quote for 6 ish hours and a disc ($600).

The most expensive item is the food $12 is -per person and booze ($425 a keg or $6 per drink :/ boo) plus service fees: 21% and tax: 8.9% and gratuity) so keep an eye on that and watch the guest list 🙂 

it’s doable, good luck!!!

Post # 11
845 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: May 2013

@myluverbuny:  How large is your guest list and where are you located? 

Post # 13
1297 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: November 1999

How did you do it? Take a critical eye to every single aspect of your wedding, and think, “What is the cheapest way to get something I’ll be happy with?” 

Where was/is you venue? Ceremony was in our pasture. Reception was at the local hall. 

What sort of reception are you going to have? It was a casual dinner and dance reception. We did all the food (which was INSANITY but we got a fantastic meal for cheap!), decorations, and a friend did music.

What about the ceremony? We basically set up a site in the pasture. So we used stuff we had around, which for us was haybales with boards on them. My aunt was kind enough to plant flowers in cute pots/tins for us and let us use them at the site. Our dads officiated, so no cost there.

Have you talked to caterers yet?

Post # 14
153 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: May 2013 - The bride's hometown United Methodist Church near Kalamazoo

Hi all: I’m a budget bride too, and our budget is $5,000 as well! We’re getting married in May so I don’t have all the details yet, but I definitely know how we’re saving money. I definitely think a great, beautiful wedding on a 5k budget is TOTALLY possible, but it also requires a lot of thinking outside of the box. A lot of what I’m doing for my budget wedding will be on the main page blog throughout my planning, but here’s the short version: 

GUEST LIST: Over 200 people. Cutting size is the biggest way to save money, but clearly we’re nto doing that. We both come from big, tight-knit families and I have a great, supportive church family, and I wanted to invite this community that loved and cares about us and supports us. Because we wanted to invite everyone, we’re cutting our budget in pretty much every other way possible including…

VENUE: Both wedding and reception in my church; reception in the gym. It’s kind of ugly (but hopefully will look better with decorations) but all tables, etc. are included–no rentals!, we can bring in any caterer we want, and since we’re members the venue for BOTH ceremony AND reception, including musicians, etc. is less than $400!!

PAPER: Luckily, I’m not really a big paper person anyway–I wanted something pretty for our guests, but I knew most of them wouldn’t appreciate anything super-fancy anyway. So we used Retailmenot (free) coupons and got our Save the Dates, and will be getting our invitations, on Vistaprint, which are super-affordable: under $100 for both! We plan to get our programs printed there too. 

FOOD: Our biggest expense: that’s a lot of people to feed! We’re having a lunchtime celebration so we won’t need as much food, and it’s going to be quite casual–we’re having our favorite chain Mexican restaurant, Qdoba, cater it, and they only charge $10 a person and $25 for delivery! A steal in the wedding world!

FLOWERS: We’re not having any. I’m making our bouquets out of ribbon (which is super-cheap) and making all our centerpieces, etc. too. We are doing super-easy DIY because i’m not particularily crafty!

CAKE: We’re having cupcakes instead; we found them to be cheaper and more delicious!

ALCOHOL: We’re having a dry wedding. This isn’t only for budget reasons, but also for other personal reasons (we have alcoholics in our family and my Fiance isn’t really comfortable around alcohol in social settings for that reason), but it definitely saves a lot. 

DRESS: My mom is making my dress. If she wasn’t, I would buy a white prom dress–I’ve seen plenty of beautiful ones under $200. I would not buy a dress over $400…I just couldn’t justify it (for me, not for others; if the dress is a priority for you and you can afford it, I say go for it!). 

PHOTOGRAPHY: I definitely advise student/just-starting-out photographers: mine is an acquaintance from high school who takes beautiful pictures and is giving us a GREAT deal: $75 an hour with all the pictures from the event on CD! We plan to make albums from Shutterfly, which also runs tons of great discounts and deals. 

I know we’re cutting money in lots of other ways I can’t think of right now–if you have any questions, feel free to ask!

Post # 15
298 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: May 2013

holy crap my venue alone is 5k!

Post # 16
1724 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: October 2012

A family friend helped me come up with a menu and another went and bought the food from Sams Club. Depending on the time of day, some people won’t even stay for the reception and some people won’t eat much.

We had white grape juice and ginger ale punch (tastes like champagne) and used dessert sized plates (the bigger the plate, the more food people will put on it).

We had veggies and fruit, chocolate fountain (rice krispie squares, pretzels, marshmallows), crackers and cheese and I think spinach dip, meatballs, deli spirals

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