(Closed) DIY weddings?

posted 5 years ago in DIY
Post # 3
8453 posts
Bumble Beekeeper
  • Wedding: April 2013

@FutureMrsHolmes:  The cost for my decor (flowers, centerpieces, escort cards, programs, etc) was about $400 for everything.

I have a bunch of other pics, but I basically DIYed everything except for the attire, the catering, DJ and photography.  All of the stationary, decorations, gifts, jewelry, favors, etc. were all made by me.  My total wedding budget was around $12k for 50 guests which included a welcome dinner, cocktail hour, reception, unplanned after party and thank you brunch.  Alcohol was hosted and served at all events.

Post # 5
580 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: August 2013

I DIY’d most of my wedding and it came out to be about $12k. It’s totally possible. I didn’t feel as if I skimped on anything or went without.

Post # 6
8453 posts
Bumble Beekeeper
  • Wedding: April 2013

@FutureMrsHolmes:  well my venue was all inclusive, so linens, servers, dinnerware, etc were all included in the cost.  My total catering came to $5800 for the evening of the reception, but included a full open bar for the entire duration, plus cocktail hour.  This also includes tax and gratuity.  I think it can be done for less, however I had a few requirements for my guests: had to be indoors, had to be handicap accessible, and had to be within walking distance from the accomodations and other dining/shopping/activities.  We ended up doing the welcome dinner and thank you brunch at the same hotel as well.  If I would’ve had the option to go with an outdoor/backyard type set up, it probably would’ve only cost me half.

Post # 9
9201 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper
  • Wedding: August 2013 - Rocky Mountains USA

@FutureMrsHolmes:  Things add up!  Our DIY wedding budget was originally 12k but it got up to 17k at the end.  (We did have a DIY Friday night BBQ for ~120 and a DIY Sunday bagel brunch for ~100 and those costs are included.)  That does include a few thousand for the weekend rental of our outdoor venue, too.

We spent about $375 on 25 tablecloths, $120 on napkins, rented 170 chairs at $2.50 each, and rented 25 tables at $7 each.  So that alone is a big chunk.  Add in tent rentals, cups and dishes if not included with your caterer, BATHROOMS cause your dad’s septic system probably can’t host more than ~50 people’s needs, etc etc….

How big is your guest list?  That’s the easiest way to cut costs – everything from food and drinks to numbers of tables, chairs, linens, dishes, etc etc.  But you can have a bigger wedding and keep it cheap if you really work at it.  (Inexpensive dress, thrift store and dollar store stuff, DIY flowers, etc.  Just be aware that DIY = lots more stress and pain-in-the-ass leading up to your wedding and even on your wedding…)

Post # 12
344 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: October 2013

@FutureMrsHolmes:  Be careful… we’re using my parents’ lake house, and I thought it would be cheaper. But we’ve had to rent tables, chairs, and lighting becuase it’s PITCH BLACK outside at night. And fancy porta potties, which are crazy expensive, HOLY CRAP! And a generator, because home electrical systems aren’t meant to power lights, photo booths, DJ equipment, the caterer’s tent stuff, etc. And then there’s the parking situation… the lake house is on a cul de sac and there’s no room for guest parking, so they’re parking at a nearby church and we had to rent a shuttle.

It’s ended up costing AT LEAST as much as a more inclusive venue that would’ve had ample electrical wiring, a parking lots, enough lighting, plenty of toilets, etc. To put things in perspective, we’re having about 130 guests.

On the bright side, we bought out own booze at Costco, and we’ll save a ton on the bar bill. I hope that evens things up a bit.

Post # 13
344 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: October 2013

@FutureMrsHolmes:  P.S. I LOVE the look you’re going for, especially the linens in the pic with the scrabble letters and the DIY bouquets.

I wanted similar linens and couldn’t find anything like that for rent, so we rented a simple ivory table cloth, and my Mom sewed runners for us with special fabric that we bought. Buying the fabric at Jo-Ann with a coupon during a sale made it super cheap.

And I made my own bouquets, I actually made the flowers by hand too. This pic was taken before the stems were wrapped with the same fabric used for the runners. It can be done!! Smile

Post # 15
9550 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper
  • Wedding: August 2013

I just had a backyard wedding for 160 people where I did a huge amount of DIY. Overall we spent about $17,500. Here’s a price breakdown:

  • Rentals: $4,172 (tent, sidewalls, basic lighting, tables, chairs, porta pots, handwashing station, generator)
  • Catered buffet dinner and 2 hot apps: $3,624 (we supplemented with DIY cold apps)
  • Disposable plates, silverware, cups and napkins: $532
  • Tablecloths: $145 (we foudn them on CraigsList for cheaper than we could rent)
  • Bartender and alcohol: $1,300 ((this was our biggest cost savings and we have a ton of left over alcohol that we’ll be working on for years to come)
  • Photographer: $800 (we got her for a great deal)
  • Day-of-coordinator: $1,300 (essential when you’re doing things in a non-traditional venue
  • DJ: $780
  • Shuttle drivers and parking attendants: $230 (again a particular issue in backyard weddings)
  • Save-The-Date Cards and invitations and postage: $373
  • DIY paper flowers: $213
  • Candles, luminaries and lanterns: $126 (4 long burn tea lights per table, 1 citronella candle per table, luminaries to lead the way out of the parking area, and some DIY lanterns hanging in trees)
  • DIY Programs, seating cards, information card, table numbers: $93 (paper, ink, pictures, tape, glue, sticks to make fans)
  • Port-a-Pot accessories: $195 (we made signs, hand towels, lights, bathroom baskets, toilet paper)
  • DIY Guestbook: $45
  • DIY cake topper: $34
  • Bride Dress: $142 (my grandmother paid for the dress, I did some alterations myself but paid someone to cut off the train and bought a bra and undies)
  • Bride Shoes: $15
  • Bride prep: $211 (teeth whitening, eyebrow wax, and I bought all my own makeup and applied it myself)
  • Groom apparel: $29 (he already owned the suit, bought tie and shirt)
  • Groomsmen apparel: $170 (bought tie and socks for 4 grooms men and 2 bridesmen)
  • DIY Bridesmaid jewelry: $9 (for 3 girls)
  • Hotel room: $560
  • Welcome Dinner:  $685 (my dad gave us the food as his gift, so this was for liquor and the band and the room we used at the hotel)
  • Presents: $1080 (the bridal party, both sets of parents and grandparents, plus we had a lot of friendors who got presents – 2 officiants, hairdressor, ceremony music, videography, bartender)
  • Pre-marriage counseling with officiant: $115 (we paid for 2 dinner and a personality test)
  • Dance lessons: $70 (we had a groupon)
  • Marriage certificate ($35)

Overall I think that the cost of rentals is at least the cost of renting venues so you don’t actually end up saving any money by having it at home. However, you can save a lot by doing the bar yourself. And if your family is willing to cater then that will save a ton as well. DIY can save money but it’s easy to let costs add up. I was lucky that I only had about $40 worth of craft materials that I purchased and never used. It’s really temping to just start buying stuff that you think you might use but don’t buy unless you specifically know how you’re going to use it. And even then, things change and I wound up not using a ton of ribbon that I bought. 

You can definitely do a wedding for $12k. No question. Tons of brides do it. But you have to be very contientious about it. Costs have a way of adding up.

Everything is a matter of priority. My best advice is that when you get engaged, sit down with your fiance and make a list of priorities. Think about what’s important and what’s not important. Think about general things: small vs large, formal vs informal, etc. Also just think about things that are important to you that you would like to incorporate in some way. And write it all down. And keep it. That way you can go back and refer to that when you get all caught up in “Oh, but I just have to have the chiavari chairs even thought they’re twice as expensive and uncomfortable” at that moment you can go back to your priorities and see what’s really important. 


Post # 16
344 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: October 2013

@FutureMrsHolmes: Yeah, we thoguht we were going to have it easy cuz the previous owners hosted a wedding on the property not too long ago. They built a gorgeous round patio by the water, where the ceremony will be held. That’s super cool, but it didn’t actually save us any money. Undecided

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