(Closed) Don’t Want to Spend $20k

posted 8 years ago in Money
Post # 3
4123 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: October 2010

How many guests? I’m a photographer based in Hampton Roads so i know a few people up there that I’m friendly with or worked with…. 

From my own wedding, the catering is what’s killing me. If you find a venue that let’s you bring your own caterer AND supply your own alcohol it will help a lot. I’ve found good quality meals for 175 at about $10,900.  I’m hoping to cut it down to about $8000. I wouldn’t try and scrimp on photography. Guests honestly don’t really remember food, flowers, etc. They know they had a good time and you looked great. The only thing you’ll have are the images. A great photographer can make daisy’s look like an exotic import.  My own photographer (who is pretty high end since I care the most about that) did a backyard bbq VERY low budget wedding recently and it’s one of my favorites of his! Some of my favorites have been done for WAY way way less that 20 (which is my budget as well.)

Let me know how I can help you… I’m in your same boat 🙂 I’d love to save as much as possible to put excess other places 🙂

Post # 4
2208 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: July 2010

In general, as you know, those are the big ticket items. Some general advice:

– Look to non-traditional venues. I know many people can get freaked out over the cost of renting items that a more traditional venue would normally supply, but in my experience it can be a huge moneysaver. Look across the columns for this. For example, we went with a historic community center and have to rent all chairs, tables, linens, plates, etc. The rentals are not cheap. But, by going independent, the venue is $1000 instead of $2400, the price of the traditional spot I considered seriously, and we are saving over $2000 on the bar. Even after rentals, we are saving about $1500 by going independent.

– Photography is tricky, because it is one of those areas where you often get what you pay for. If cutting costs is the main concern, I would consider what you NEED from a photographer, and pay just for that. Do you think candids and two photographers are nice but not necessary? Cut. Do you really just need good posed pictures? Go with someone more traditional, which can be cheaper than the high-end art photographers. I wouldn’t skimp too much on experience, though.

– For catering, set a budget and just ask them to meet it. I’m positive that if I went to a caterer and told them what I wanted without naming a budget, it would go over. Instead, I’m not talking to anyone who can’t do what I want at the price I want. Period.

Post # 5
944 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: June 2009

My brain is mush right now to come up with some good tips—but have you heard of A Practical Wedding?  When I get home I’ll try and remember to look up the two or three absolute favorites from that website—I literally had an “Thank goodness!” moment when I read them.  That has helped me keep me grounded in my decisions and to realize what I do and don’t need to worry about.  I have a lot of other great websites if you want to know about them—PM me. 

Also, it will help to know how many people you are planning to have and do you have a dress yet?

Post # 6
1067 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: October 2010

I didn’t want to spend 20k either, but now I’m up to 23k and grwoing! I say try to select a venue with no or little service chare! Mine is 20% and it really adds on; over 2k for me. Also, if you can bring your own alcohol becasue alcohol is super inflated for weddings

Post # 9
510 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: September 2009

what about newton white mansion for the venue?…also check out st. germaine’s catering in vienna…

Post # 10
555 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: September 2010

I used to be an event manager and we always charged about 30-40% more for rentals than what we actually got them for so I’d say go with outside rentals. The alcohol is the same as well 25-40% mark up on that too! We used to have a florist service as well and the same goes for that, pretty much everything is marked up. If they let you bring outside stuff in then price it before you make any choices. The only thing to be careful of is make sure you have someone acting as a day of coordinator if you’re not hiring one and have them be on TOP of it. if the rentals are more than 15 minutes late call A LOT!! Also if you’re renting anything that needs to be turned on, grills, heathers etc. don’t let the rental guys leave without turning all of them on and testing them. Make sure they have all the necessary pieces etc. Also when you’re pricing rentals make sure there isn’t a fee for picking up and dropping off over and above the norm. A lot of venues don’t want rented tables and chairs sitting there the whole weekend and at least here in LA the rentals arrive often the day before and stay the whole weekend. If there’s a late night or weekend pick up it might be an additional fee above the normal pick up/drop off fee, Make sure to remember to factor that in when you’re weighing your options.

Post # 11
7 posts
  • Wedding: August 2011

My sisters wedding was huge – over 300 people – she only offered one choice of menu which was delicious and that cut down the cost considerably.  She had cheese and fruit stations and only a few passed hors d’ouevres and we all had a blast!  To be honest – people seldom remember the food at a wedding – they remember if they had a good time – music and comfort is the most important thing.


My most memorable wedding was in a firehouse with paper plates and plastic cups – hot german potato salad and baked beans and chicken – it was the best time I ever had – it was my brother’s wedding and my parent’s friends talked about it for years after – how great a time they had 


All that is important is the blessings of your friends and family – that is the purpose of a wedding – to shower blessings on the new couple

Post # 12
62 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: November 2010

if you want to save, go for the big stuff – limit the number of guests and your venue location. meal (and alcohol) prices go hand in hand with these two so if you pick a good venue and guest count, you’re 80% there to saving lots of money. DIYing stuff is great too, but hit the big ticket items first.

Post # 13
407 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: August 2010

I have to share my catering experience. My Fiance and I were really frustrated by how much we were being nickeled and dimed by the big catering companies we were talking to. We finally went to a guy our friend’s know, he did their wedding and they highly recommended him.  He owns a small restaurant, and it does not advertise as a catering company at all.  For the same stuff and better we will be saving 2 -3K on the food/alcohol (bringing in our own beer,wine, liquor), and he is way more flexible and fun to work with. It’s great – don’t rule out the little guys! This did allow us to splurge on photography – I agree with the above posts that this is a priority.

Post # 14
1045 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: January 2008

Could you do a brunch instead, or are you tied to an evening wedding?  Brunch means less alcohol, and often cheaper menu costs, but can still be wonderfully elegant and make the most of a gorgeous location like yours.

Also, try to CUT things ruthlessly that you don’t need.  For example, you don’t really need save the dates, programs, menus, favors, etc.  Nice to have if the extra money is there, but they’re not critical.  DIY-ing the flowers can definitely help the budget a ton as well.  Good luck!

Post # 15
22 posts
  • Wedding: July 2010

I would say: don’t skimp on the photographer or your venue.  Those are two big things that will matter the most.  The venue choose sets the feel for your entire wedding, and you want it to be memorable for you and your guests.  And your photos – well, those are the photos you will be showing your grandchildren, so you want them to be good!  

One way to save on the venue though is to have the ceremony and reception in the same location.  This is especially true for venues where you have to rent chairs, because this way, you get two uses out of one rental.  You could always choose to have the wedding on a Friday or a Sunday, or have it at brunch-time, instead of dinner.  (Saves on food and alcohol).

But, every penny counts.  Saving $50 on every element adds up quickly.  Here’s a great article with more tips on cutting down your wedding costs:  http://www.ehow.com/how_6033557_lower-wedding-costs.html

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