(Closed) Calling all frugal brides!

posted 8 years ago in Money
Post # 17
873 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: April 2013

still in planning stages, but so far:


  • photog: $500, cousin’s husband
  • cake: will have a styrofoam display cake decorated as my wedding cake, but will serve sheet cake. Styrofoam cake was $15 and will prob be $50 for fondant and decorations.
  • centerpieces: DIY paper flowers, cylinder vases from Dollar Tree and using succulents that I’m growing myself.
  • invites: $50 for 60 invites and RSVP cards using Michael’s coupons. Will email STDs.

Post # 18
58 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: September 2012

. Got all the guys ties for $3 each on eBay from a suit store in china 

. Won a bid on my sons tux for $20 on eBay (ring bearer)

. Got fancy frames as parents gifts at Home Goods for $5 each

. Having a local restaurant cater for $13 per person 

. Had all guys buy tuxes from studio suits.com for $99 as opposed to renting for upwards of $150

. Vistaprint for STD and invites

. Got all ribbon in bulk on eBay for $10 we got 200 yards!

. Bought all vases at home goods and Marshall’s for $5 each

Post # 19
2031 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: July 2012

I love a good deal!!  My mom finds the challenge or it exciting and fun, so between the two of us we will never overpay (or even normal pay LOL) for anything!  We’re not quite finished yet, but here’s how we saved a bundle so far!!

*  My dress was ordered online (it’s a sundress) from a website having a sale, and I used an extra 50% off coupon so the grand total was about $39.  My shoes were a Marshall’s find that were $19, I found them when I wasn’t looking.  

*  Our rings are Titanium (FI has an allergy to gold), and I shopped around for them.  I got an additional CZ band so I could have options, but all 3 rings cost us less than $80.

*  Invites were through Vistaprint, I only ordered 30 and they were about $20 (I didn’t include shipping, because I chose to have them shipped priority but I didn’t have to).  I didn’t do RSVP cards, because we invited so few people it was easy to follow up.  

*  All of our decorations (Vases, jars and bottles, Chinese Paper Lanters, etc.) came from either The Dollar Tree or The Christmas Tree store, or we had them at home already.  I used mod podge and food coloring (that I already had) to paint mason jars to match the rest of the decor.  No single item cost more than $1.50.  

*  I made all my own paper flowers, because I liked the look of them.  I made enough for 18 flowers in my bouquet, 7 flowers in my bridesmaid’s bouquet, not sure how many I’m using for my flower girl basket and some for the centerpieces.  The supplies (paper, glittery glue sticks, gems, floral stems and floral wire, and ribbon) cost me less than $20 and I still have some left.  

*  Instead of renting tables, we are just using the outdoor tables of everyone in my family.  They are different shapes and sizes, so we’re having a different ‘tablescape’ at each to make the haphazard look make sense.  So, those were free.  

*  Tablecloths were found at BJ’s (the tissue paper ones) in packs, I think I spent about $20-$25 on them.  They’re all white, and we’ll be putting squares of fabric over the tops in contrasting designs but matching colors.  That cost will depend on the fabric prices.  

*  Food is mostly coming from BJ’s (burgers, dogs, etc.) and the sides are being catered by a Deli that makes delicious food for almost the same price as we could make them ourselves!  All together, it should cost us less than $150 for everything, and my parents, sister and sister-in-law are all chipping in for the salads and extras.  (Serving dishes, etc. came from the dollar store.)

*  We found clear plastic disposable plates, cups in my theme colors, and thick paper napkins at Ocean State Job Lots…my mom got them so I don’t know how much they were but they were REALLY cheap.  Silver-looking plastic silverware was purchased in packs of 4 servings at the dollar store.  

*  Cake – My mom is making all my cupcakes, because they’re delicious and exactly what I wanted.  

*  Favors are a gift from a dear friend of mine, she is baking and decorating sugar cookies in the shape of a heart, some will have cupids on them and some will have our last initial.  

I’m sure I’m forgetting a zillion things, that’s just off the top of my head for now!  Smile

Post # 20
342 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: October 2012

I don’t have my cost yet, but we are trying to stay around 5500 for the wedding… To be fair.. I was an art major at school, so I am able to do alot of stuff myself because, why pay when I can.

We designed and made our invites and programs, I am still currently cutting and assembling programs.

My sister is making the wedding cake

I DIY’s the bouquets(fabric and antique jewels), the boutinneers, the mother’s gifts, paper flowers for decorations, napkins for my place settings, laterns, yarn ball chandelier, random special decorations (a photo line up of how we met, Mr and Mrs signs)

A bunch of awesome junk store finds for centerpieces and decorations.

I did spend 800 on my dress.

all day photography, 600.

venue is my parents horse farm.

Post # 21
2031 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: July 2012

Oh and I forgot!!  I am having 2 photographers, both happen to be good friends with someone.  My mom’s friend is working for free food (lol) and my BFF is gifting me the other one by paying his friend her fee.  

Post # 22
57 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: December 2012

Our total budget is about $8500, but we want at least 1K of that to be “wiggle room”–i.e., just waiting for the kind of emergencies or extra charges that tend to crop up.

–Premarital sessions (required by church): $250

–Venue: Church, reception held in the hall: $200

–Stipend and gifts to altar boys: $200

–Photography: free.  Yes, you read that correctly.  My fiance’s grandfather is a wonderful photographer, and he’ll do photos and video for us for free.

–Cake: I’m making the wedding cake and the groom’s cake myself.  I’ll also be making some cookies and a few pies for those who don’t like cake.  Supplies, including decorative supplies and groceries: $75

–My outfit: Dress: $300 online.  That includes tailoring to my size and shipping.  I LOVE DressilyMe!  I’ll also be getting a jacket and petticoat from them, and may buy a veil if a friend’s doesn’t work out.  Shoes.  Total budgeted amound: $500

–Flowers: DIY, ordering from GrowersBox.  $400

–Stationary: We’re not doing STDs.  Everyone really important to us will know already, and we’re sending the invitations out very early because of getting married during the holidays.  We’ll get them done through VistaPrint.  Including postage: $130

–Reception decor: I’m budgeted for $150, but I’m trying to keep it lower than that.

–Food and tablecloths/dishes/etc: $4500.  We’ll use Blue Mesa, and we’re not doing an open bar.  We will have 2-3 bottles of wine on each table, but the caterer won’t be providing those.  Instead, I’ll go to a local grocery store with a good wine selection and purchase the wine, and just have it put on the tables before people walk in.

–Rings: somewhere between free and $500.  His parents have offered us the set they wore when they got married.  I haven’t seen them, but for sentiment I would LOVE to use their rings if at all possible, as we both love his parents and hope for a marriage as wonderful as theirs is.  I’m not making a decision on using the rings until I see them, though.  πŸ™‚

–Hair: I’ll get mine done, as it’s very wirey and curly and generally unpredictable, and I want it to look great on that day.  I’ll do my own makeup, though, and probably do hair and makeup for most of my bridesmaids. 

–Maid of honor’s dress: $200.  She and her husband have two small kids, and are on a very fixed income.  I’d feel horrible asking her to pay that much for a one-time outfit, so I’m buying it.  It’s the least I can do, considering all that she helps me with.

–Programs: I can use the work printer for my programs, so my costs are paper and ribbon.  $30

–Bridesmaid and groomsmen gifts: Our budget is $20 each.  Neither of us have figured out what to get our respective parties.  Right now, I’m kind of leaning towards gift cards to favorite restaurants or stores for my girls, but I’m not sure.

All of these prices have extra funds built in.  For example, I anticipate my programs actually being about $20, and my outfit being about $430.  I did this deliberately.  If we end up with extra funds in some areas, well, great!  If we don’t, then at least we won’t go over budget.  In addition to the “extra funds” method, each of us has about $500 left from our budget that isn’t allocated; it can to go an expense that runs a lot higher than we anticipated, or towards having an even more wonderful time on the honeymoon. 

Post # 23
418 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: November 1999

So far, ive managed to find many bargains.

– Aisle runner: Store price: $2500  DIY price using wrapwithus.com: $75

– Dress: David’s Bridal Price: $600  JJshouse.com: $217

– Jewelry: Several Thousands if bought. Mine was free, made by my mom

– Invitations: Bought: $450  DIY: $280

– Shoes: Free, using my sister’s (something borrowed)

– Photography: $4500+ Professional. $100 using disposable cameras and a photography student

– Flowers: Florist – Dont want to know.  DIY using Hobby Lobby: $150

– My tiara: $25 Walmart   $11 Ebay

– Garters: $45 Walmart for two. $10 Micheals for two

– Vases for centerpieces: $4 each at walmart.  $1 each at dollar tree

– Cake: $250 Baker.   $40 Made by my Fiance, decorated by me and my Maid/Matron of Honor

– Tuxedo: $2000 Bought from Mens Wearhouse.  $85 rented from local boutique

– Transportation: $400/hr limo/towncar.   $65 gas to drive my new car

– Veil: $75 David’s Bridal.  $5 Goodwill

– Rings: My wedding ring – $50 Amazon   $250 Gordon’s Jewelers

             His wedding ring – $20 Amazon   $250 Gordon’s Jewelers

– Guest book: Walmart $10 Boring.    DIY  $5 Interesting Scrapbook

– Honeymoon: Tropical Island – $2500 Airfare/Hotel/Necessities.   Hotel in San Antonio: $600 plus side trip to Six Flags and Padre Island afterwards

– Food: Hire a caterer to cook food nobody will eat: $5k for up to 100 guests. Cook some finger foods and set out some candy jars: $50-ish for 100 guests

– Officiant: $300 Professional.   $50 Donation: Small town preacher

– Marriage License: $70 Courthouse.   Free – with prewed classes

– Makeup and Hair: Pay a salon: $400.   Free – Go to dillards, do a registry, and use their free coupon on the day of the wedding. (when you do a registry with them you can get up to four people’s makeup and hair done for free one time)

Post # 25
701 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: June 2012

My parents know the mayor of the town so he is marrying us on the cheap.

A friend is doing the videography.

My satin teal flats were only $20.

We designed, printed and put together our own invitations and programs.

We are DIYing our ceremony and reception decor and buying a lot of the materials at discount stores.

I am DIYing our favors, the flower girl baskets, and the ring bearer pillow.

My reception hall is all inclusive flat rate per head with no rental fee, so I did not get nickel and dime’d on every “extra” such as setting up, breaking down, cleaning, cake cutting etc.

My aunt is going to put together our flower arrangements from flowers that have been purchased from Sam’s Club/grocers.

All of our vendors (DJ, photographer, and baker) were recommended by friends or family, but are not “big” name in our area.

I got my wedding ring second hand off of DiamondBistro.com.

We are honeymooning at a cabin in the mountains that we are driving to instead of taking a luxurious vacation.

We splurged on my ering, my dress, the ceremony music, the cake topper and the jewelry I’ll wear at the wedding. We also invited over our head count with no sign of RSVPS of “no” so far…. I went way over budget on gifts for the wedding party, my fiance and parents. I went over budget on getting “extras” for the ceremony and reception. In the end it will all be worth it. At least that is what I keep telling myself. Wink

Post # 26
45 posts
  • Wedding: March 2013

You bees are either going to think I’m crazy or genius but we are planning to elope in Paris, stay there for a week-long honeymoon, and throw an after party in the States for *drumroll* 10K. Here’s the budget breakdown:

Flight and hotel: 3100
Dress (I splurged! but might resell): 1000
Paris photographer: 900
Elopement location: free, we’ll exchange vows at a public site during our city photoshoot
Chaffeured car rental in Paris: 200
Food, entertainment: 1600 (plus we’re doing a honeymoon registry to get more fancy dinners paid for)
Acessories, veil: 150 but I’ll probably make my own birdcage and spend less
Bouquet in Paris: 100 but they’re pretty cheap over there
Invitations: 200 but they’ll be chaper I’m getting them through mixbook.com customized them myself (very cheap!) and then using a new member 20% coupon
Hair/Makeup: 75 but will probably spend more b/c we’re saving in other departments

Reception in the States:
Venue: free, using a friend’s backyard
Chair and table rentals for 70 people: 350
Thank you gifts: 150
Music: friend is playing cello with other stringed instruments
Grooms cake: grandmother is making her famous chocolate cake
Brides cake: getting a traditional french croquembouche (tower of cream puffs with spun sugar caramel sauce- baker said would be $100)
Food/drinks: 1000 (heavy hors d’ouevres)
AV rental/lawn games: 200 friend is providing a projector for our wedding video so probably won’t need this full amount
Decor/lighting: 400

EEEEK! I hope it can be done πŸ™‚ A little worried about the decor portion but hopefully anything we save on can get allotted to that. I definitely want a chandelier in a tree for 100 and I already bought a typewriter for 65 for people to sign in on. Will probably spend 100 on flowers and DIY


Post # 27
1936 posts
Buzzing bee

I really wanted everything of a typical wedding but not spend typical wedding costs… What I opted to do was to make choices that were cheaper and have it look like intentional choices b/c of style etc..

For example – bridesmaids held muffs instead of bouquets. Bought them from lightinthebox for $20 ea. no bouts for men except groom.

Made my own bouts for specials guest – FOB etc.. from grocery store flowers.

Hired a contra dance band instead of DJ – live music for dance and went very well with our pioneer wedding venue and cheaper!

Opted for cupcakes instead of wedding cake – waaaaay cheaper.

I borrow or used thigns I alreadyhad like my shoes, jewellery, borrowed my veil…

My venue provided lanterns for centerpieces so I used those and added silk rose petals from petal garden for super cheap.

Used lotts of pinecones in my decor which I collected off the ground myself for free!

I hunted around for a new-ish photographerto get a cheaper rate.

Had family member video the wedding

Cut down the bar to beer and wine – hard alcohol guests had to pay

made my own alter arrangements from grocery store flowers

DIY’ed invited from micheals and used michaels coupons for EVERYTHING I needed to buy there – they have coupons every week!

Used tea lights and some decor peices I already had – candle holders, candles, already framed pictures of us using our engagement pictures.

Opted for a large matted picture for our guest book – only $20 at Michaels and used a coupon πŸ™‚

BM’s bought their dresses from netbride – lotts of savings!

Splurged on one essential item which was a wagon to transport guests from parking lot to church in the village – was necessary bc i envisioned ice and snow, on the day everything was muddy due to warm temps so VERY necessary! AND guests absolutely loved the horse drawn wagon! Added a special touch πŸ™‚

Post # 28
701 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: June 2012

I forgot to add the most frugal thing I did. My wedding is on a Friday!

Post # 29
43 posts
  • Wedding: October 2011

Had my Maid/Matron of Honor do my makeup for free. Did a trial first to make sure we got the right colors, etc. The cheapest makeup artist I found was $200!

Michaels was my second home during wedding planning. DIY invitations, labels, menus, decor, etc. Sign up for Michaels email list and get weekly coupons. Have the Fiance sign up too and get double the discount. Download the app too!

Dollar Tree for more DIY stuff. Nice frames to display table names and signs. Ribbons and candles for DIY unity candles.

Groupons, LivingSocial, and similar voucher websites. I used a groupon to make our blurb photo guestbook and saved a lot. Look out for coupons/vouchers for deals on photobooths, flowers, and other wedding stuff as well.

Craigslist. I was able to book our videographer for $800 for the whole day. He was just starting off his business at that time. He now charges ~$2500 for the same package we got. I know some people don’t recommend going on CL but if you do your research wisely and meet/interview these people first (in public places like a cafe) to make sure they’re legit, you’ll save a lot.

Not getting a limo. I don’t regret this at all. My mom really wanted this but I felt like it was such an unnecessary expense. The bridal party were all okay with driving themselves or riding with each other. I had one of our groomsmen drive me from home to church, DH drove himself, and after the ceremony, DH and I rode together in his car. Also preferred it much better than sitting with others during your first moments as husband and wife.

I wish I could’ve saved on FLOWERS. Out of all the things we spent on for the wedding, flowers were on the top of my list of things we overpaid for. It was the last thing we booked and I felt like I could’ve done more research on it.

Post # 30
43 posts
  • Wedding: October 2011

Also, I want to add, for honeymoons, check out Costco for their travel packages. They have lots of places to choose from and many are all-inclusive.

Post # 31
4 posts
  • Wedding: November 2012

We are trying to keep our budget under $1,000

Found my dress for $100 and I am going to (with the help of one of my bridesmaids) hem it myself.  Centerpiece candle holders I found at the gas station $1, then used a 50% off coupon for battery operated tea lights, about $2 for ribbon matching my dress, and 2 sheets of card stock for a $1 a piece gives some bling.  Total center piece cost about $1 each for 26.  Joined a food club for $100 for the year to have up to 60lbs of food every two weeks so a couple months before I will start cooking and freezing  veggies for eggplant parmesian.   Found discounted DIY card kit at target so with added cardstock  total cost $32 for 100 invites. Found clearence price paper goods at Walmart for $25 (just need bowls, punch glasses and silverware and a friends has laready offered to buy the glasses and bowls for us).  Friends are purchasing the cake as a gift for us.  Having a friend do the service for us so we only need to buy a thank you gift.  Making a childrens coloring book and using crayons on sale during back to school sales (estimated price $5 to make).  Estimated meat to cook in a nesco and drinks $200 for 100 people.  We are not having alcohol. Friend of the family is going to keep watch on the buffet as well as another friend will take pictures for free. Wedding venue with kitchen $50 donation.  Decorations, old white Christmass lights-free- bought on clearence some pretty light up flowers for $20 as a splurge.  Flowers -cricket flower maker $25 and paper $5 for everything.  Already have flower tape and some pretty flower add ons to make flower arrangements.  Music, using an ipod- free just time to create play list. Friends helping to make guest book estimated cost $5.  Overall, we seem to be staying within our budget for a November Wedding. 

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