Calling budget brides – How did you do your under $8000 wedding?

posted 5 years ago in Money
Post # 3
1118 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: August 2013

Hi! Well my wedding is still coming up but I’m pretty sure its under $8000. Its pretty much just as inexpensive as we could make it but still look nice.

First of all, almost everything is being done by family/ friends. In fact, my dad is cooking for it, meaning about $1000 of food for over 100 people. If you have a friend who is a caterer it is a HUGE saving!

Also our venue is in the middle of nowhere. This could make some things more expensive, but we found that that made us rethink everything before we bought it. So we’re using an ipod instead of a DJ, because travel costs would be crazy. Besides that we pretty much just kept everything simple. We picked a beautiful location so that we wouldn’t need lots of flowers etc. The hall is pretty empty nd boring, but we are decorating with  white christmas lights and lots of candles instead of more expensive things. Pretty much the secret to keeping it cheap is to be creative with what you choose!

Good luck!

Post # 4
437 posts
Helper bee

Hiya, my budget is about $11,000NZD which works out to be about $8400 USD. The main thing for us was to determine what things we were willing to skimp on (for us it was flowers) and what was important (food, rings etc)

I think it is really easy to get caught up with wedding hype and spend money on things that may not even be relevent to you or that you would notice. 

Our budget looked a bit like this

Food and venue 6500

Dress 800 (LOVE my dress- was second hand)

Rings 1500 

Suit 600

Attendents clothes 1000

Photographer 600

The decorations are DIY- think mason jars, milk bottles etc as we’re going for a vintage theme. Food’s going to be your main expense so I would look into that first! 

Post # 5
3296 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: August 2013 - An amazing non-profit retreat

We are right around the $5500 goal:

We chose a non-profit venue with everything included and free reign of the entire retreat for the weekend. It’s perfect for our smallish guest list of 75.

ceremony, reception (including linens, dishes, etc…) $ 2800
dress- $200 plus $150 alterations
renting tuxes- $150 each
bridesmaids dresses- $50 each— which is a good thing because no one seems to be ponying up for their dress…
rings- $425
dj- $600
photographer- free
floral- $600
Decor- $100 (lots of freebies/dollar store ribbon, etc…) This number could change though
Cake- $68 (just getting a plain white sheet cake and topping it with flowers or berries)







Post # 6
337 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: June 2013

well it was pretty easy sort of.first you look for a venue that all inclusive and does most of the work and includes just about everything,most important the food and bar and servers.also the cost will depend on how many people you are inviting.ours was 65,i think 63 showed up.

we decided to have our in a hotel,it was very beautiful and included everything,we paid $4500,it included

a free night for my husband and i,the room had a hot tub 🙂

2 hr rehersal

ceremony room,chairs and arch included

1 hour cocktail hour with 2 food station and 3 or 4 butlerd passed orderves

beer and wine bar

4 1/2 hr reception with dance floor


all linens and napkins in our color

soup and 3 course sit down dinner


champane toast for everyone

DOC for months planning and for wedding day and a madrea D the day of to

$99 discount rooms for any other days/night we and our kids wanted to stay and also our guest with a room block 

other cost

groom and father of the bride tux free with purchase of groomsmens tuxes so our 15 year old son tux $75 it included the shoes to 🙂

my dress $399,alterations $100,shoes(satin ballet slippers $10

necklace,earings i got after prom season was over and paid only $20

veil and taira,ebay $45 or $50

did my own hair and make up,so products $120 to $140

photographer/videographer were friends and not professionals $150,

DJ,a friend he gave us a $400 discount,so $480

flowers,silk,ebay my bouquet and groom bout and our 11 bridal party,my dad,grandpa,my aunt,Father-In-Law,mil,smil $150 free shipping.they were beautiful

invitations bought at joanns fabric and a friend printed them out $14.99 a box,i bought 3 boxes,i only really need 2 and bought a book of stamps hand delivered alot though,ink $60  🙂

jop offiant $50,marriage lisence ect under $200

ring bear pillow,cake topper,cake server set,unity candles,guest book and pen all at walmart all under $80

madr 4 flower girl baskets,got baskets at dollar,other stuff at ac more $25,also couple bafs of rose petels at the dollar store.

favors for 65 people cost me $20 to $25,i went to the section in the dollar store were they sell wedding stuff,got there favor boxes and filled them with hard candy,everyone loved them


Post # 8
117 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: July 2013

We kept ours really simple. We are coming in at around $5000.

We rented a beach house in Galveston for $2000 and that is serving as both ceremony and reception venue as well as lodging for family.

Chair rental ($130)

Food – Outdoor BBQ and s’mores for about 40 people ($400)

Dress – I kept it very simple with no beading and added an sash with some bling on the waist ($350)

Accessories – necklace/earrings/hairpiece (Under $50)

Doing my own hair and makeup 

Used printable invitations ($15)

Flowers – Bridal bouquet ($125), baby’s breath for wine bottle vases ($60)

Officiant ($400)

Photography – good friend just starting a business ($300)

Tent for wedding – my parents bought this for their own use, but we are decorating it with lanterns and fabric ($50)

Sparklers ($30)

Guestbook ($60)


You just have to be creative and really ask yourself if you need it/will people really care. Like with invitations, I knew they would get thrown away and did not want to spend a lot of money on them.

Also it helped to talk to a friends who recently got married about what they wish they would have cut out or what details they actually remembered/felt were worth the money.

Post # 9
6123 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: August 2012

@tiredanonabee2:  We had only 2 guests!  The wedding and all things wedding related cost us $3500.  The photography alone was $1200.  Then we went on a $3500 vacation (actually got married while on that said vacation).  No regrets!

Post # 10
4523 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: September 2014

My secret to having a low-budget wedding is giving zero fucks about sticking to tradition or any sense of formality. By eliminating things that mean nothing to us, and focusing on stuff we care about, we save.

Here is a breakdown of our budget, which I think we will come in under:

Beach wedding with backyard BBQ reception. 20 or less guests.

Dress: $1000 (including alterations and a second, shorter dress)

BBQ: $500

Alcohol: $300

Photography: $2000 (it will end up being a bit less)

Groom outfit: $200

Beach ceremony display/licenses/set-up/teardown: $1200

Reception decorations: $300 or less

Invitations and Save-The-Dates: $50 or less

Travel to and from Destination: $600

Flowers (as in ALL flowers): $300

Cakes: $100, all of which I’ll be making

Favors: $50 max, if we do them at all


With all of that, we are at about $6,600.

Post # 11
170 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: October 2014

my wedding will not be under $8K (mostly due to the location), when it’s all said and done it will be something like $30,000-$40,000 (including rings more than that even), but if we had the same wedding in the midwest (and without our $7.000 photographer whom I LOVE) it would be probably $10,000 for the whole thing.  The only flowers we’re ordering are my bouquet and my FI’s and groomsmen’s (and the father of the groom’s) bout. and probably corsages for the moms/grandmas, the bridesmaids are wearing pins and we aren’t having any decor flowers.  Our officiant is a friend (we’re paying his $40 one-day officiant fee or whatever it is in the state of MA) and the only decorations we’re having on the tables are candles (our reception location has GIANT floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the city so there’s no need to “decorate” much inside, it’s already gorgeous) and our ceremony site is already “decorated” as well.  FI insists on having it in the city so that’s why we aren’t having my $5,000-$8,000 wedding (if it were up to me honesly we would have eloped!), but really our costs are extremely minimal since choosing a good venue can really really save you a lot of $.  

Post # 12
1143 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: June 2011

I did as much DIY stuff as I could. I did a lot of shopping at Hobby Lobby and Michael’s for flowers and things to make decorations with. I did a lot of looking around to find good deals on food, venue, DJ, etc. The biggest sticker shock was finding a photographer, becuase they can get very expensive. I was finally able to find a wonderful woman who was reasonably priced, and gave me all of the photos she took on cd’s.

You have to be flexible as well, and figure out what is really important to you vs. what you could live without. Everyone in the bridal party drove themselves to the reception site, because I could not justify spending money on a limo, and neither my husband nor I are into old cars or anything like that. We didn’t do favors, did a buffet style dinner, and so forth.

Post # 13
11418 posts
Sugar Beekeeper
  • Wedding: May 2009

My DSD and DSSIL had their wedding for $8-10K. Parents provided the vast majority of the funding, and the kids’ bevy of amazing and wonderful family and friends volunteered to do so many things to help the couple.

The reception was held at a hall — not at all the couple’s first choice, but it was within their limited budget. Centerpieces and decorations were beautifully done but primarily were DIY. One of their friends had access to a great sound system and was permitted to borrow it for the wedding. Music was provided via an iPod. Friends emceed the wedding. Flowers were less-expensive varieties but were beautiful nonetheless. Boston Market was the caterer. Plates and utensils were plastic. It wasn’t ideal, but it was necessary due to cost and issues involving clean up after the event. No one minded — everyone was having so much fun and experiencing so much joy at the marriage of these two wonderful young people.

Post # 14
854 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: October 2013

My wedding will be under $8000 for sure:

35 or less guests

Venue: $1200  – food included

Alcohol: $200 – Beer and wine (sprits will be on the guests tabs)

Photography: 1200 – 4 hours

Officiant: $400

Dress: $75 on clearance from (will get the alterations free in store)

His suit alterations and shirt: ~$100 total

Invitations & stamps: $100 – total

Flowers: ~$100

Hair/Makeup/Nails: $50 – DIY


We are paying 100% of it ourselves.  There are other expences I haven’t included but this is the jist of it.  



Post # 15
278 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: April 2013

Our wedding celebration was right at $5000. I’ll go over the main things we did to get that:


We lucked up and found a venue that was all inclusive. It is owned by a woman who has been a caker decorator/caterer for 20+ years. She found and bought an old supper club on the bank of a river here (Alabama).

$3200 got us: buffet for 100 guests (we had less than that so we were able to substitute more dishes to even out the price), the venue all day, flowers (my bouquet, toss bouquet, bouquets for my 3 girls, and flowers for Darling Husband and his 3 guys. Only restriction was they were all roses, but I could pick any rose), and the most amazing wedding planner ever. We also got to use the venues decorations.

Dress: $600

Invites: $30 for 100 (We found some Wilton print-your-own that worked for us on clearance on Amazon. If not that then we had plans for plain white cardstock ones that we were going to print ourselves)

Pre-stuff: We got married legally at the courthouse and had a friend officiate for free.

Due to my family being relgious and not liking alcohol, we had a dry reception. The after-reception was BYOB because so many of our friends like beer, and different types of beer we just weren’t going to even TRY. We spent about $80 on hard liquor and mixers.

Post # 16
524 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: March 2014

My wedding will be well under $8,000.  We’re having our ceremony at church with minimal decorations – i.e., no flowers.  The only flowers are a bouquet for me and corsages/boutonnieres for the families, which we’ll probably DIY unless I can find a reasonable florist in the area.  Our reception will be at a local hotel but it’s brunch, so it’s much more reasonable than other venues.  The price minimum was $2500 and we were stretching to get there.  Our photographer is about $1200.  We aren’t having a DJ or dancing – we’ll just play some jazzy tunes from Pandora.  

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