Post # 1
I just wanted to vent a worry that I’m sure a lot of people have, but right now it’s bothering me.
I live in Massachusetts, where people easily spend $40,000 on their wedding. My fiance and I don’t make the greatest money and have a house, so we don’t want to spend that much… but at the same time, I’m a designer and I’m really excited to craft a beautiful party for our guests. I really want a nice photographer and maybe a videographer if we can swing it, but what is the norm for people to spend just on those two things is our entire budget. All the photographers I’d love to have are way out of budget. And even if I do manage to get a good photographer and have to scrimp on everything else, is it even worth it since they’ll be taking pictures of dollar store items?
Sometimes I feel like if we’re going to have a crappy wedding on our meager budget, we should just not have a wedding at all and do the courthouse thing. We have actually talked about it, but it truly is important to us to have a wedding.
Sigh. I know the important thing is getting married, but I want to make it a beautiful day, too.
Post # 2
somethingbee: dollar store items can look really great if you present them right. Since you’re a designer, I’m sure you’ll martha Stewart / pinterest the eff out of your wedding!
Post # 3
To keep my costs down I used a lot of students and just emerging vendors. Don’t forget most great photographers were students at some point! Experience is great but you can get talent without a lot of it. Example: my baker worked out of a little shop and was pretty unheard of but was just coming into her own. After my wedding she was featured in Well Wed and Modern Bride and her prices doubled. My venue had just undergone a renovation and was also unheard of when I booked it – now its gone from 100 a head to 250 a head. Same story with the photographer – also i used shutterfly for my album and got a huge album (over 1000 pics) for 350$ vs the $1000 for 100 images in an album which is the going rate in my area. I did have trouble with the videographer but finally (over a year later) the video is done and the quality is decent. So basically all of this is to say you can do it beautifully on a budget, you just need to think outside the box!
Post # 4
somethingbee: i know how you feel. My fiance and I make decent money, but we live in California so most of our money goes towards rent and other bills. We have a small budget of $10k for our destination wedding. I couldn’t see myself spending a ton on my wedding and I really only wanted family and close friends to come. I originally wanted just family, but felt like I couldn’t have that overall wedding experience with just them, so we decided on close friends also.
I have more money saved than my budget, but I’m not touching that. Most vendors only ask for a small deposit to book them, so my fiance and I have been saving $500 a month to pay the rest of it when its due like a month before the wedding. Maybe that’s an option for you since your wedding is a little ways away.
I wanted to book a certain photographer, but she was over a third of my budget and I just couldnt spend that big of a chunk of my budget on it because there was no where else to skimp on, so I decided on a photographer that had really good reviews, and isn’t exactly the photography style I want, but I’m sure they’ll be good. So with going with a cheaper photographer, I could hire a videographer that’s really good and the total for the two will still be less than the photographer that I originally wanted.
I’m sure you’ll make it work. Keep shopping around for photographers. You’ll find a decent one.
Post # 5
somethingbee: Look at it not as a negative, but rather as a challenge — to create an amazingly beautiful, creative and memorable wedding on a shoestring budget.
If I were in your situation, I would make the wedding as luxe and glam as I could by keeping the guest list teeny tiny. Just immediate family and only the closest of friends — and splurge on the photographer or the dinner or whatever it is you have in mind. Short guest list = fewer decorations to buy, etc. Although I realize that might not work for you. But it’s just an idea.
Also I noticed you mentioned you’re a designer. Could you and/or your Fiance barter services with vendors? I saw a story on Good Morning America about one couple that did that:
Post # 6
I also live in mass and I’ve been to a ton of weddings on a budget and they pulled it over beautifully. I didn’t get married in the state but I was also on a budget. I just started buying things here and there from day one so I didn’t start breaking the bank as the time got closer. I also just did a ton of research online to find an affordable good photographer and they are out there it just takes a lot of time but totally worth it. I also ordered a ton of my stuff from China, it takes forever but it’s so much cheaper then buying stuff here. It’s totally doable and as long as you have time you can totally do it. It just gets overwhelming at first I found but then you get into a good flow. 🙂
Post # 7
somethingbee: When is your wedding? Try finding a college student who is a photography major. A friend of mine did that, and it really helps the student to make a name for themselves as well as saving you a TON of money.
Post # 8
- Wedding: June 2009 - Mountain Meadow/Mansion
Your wedding will be beautiful because it’s your wedding! One of the best I’ve been to had a small budget. The advice I’ve heard that makes the most sense is to choose your top 3 priorities and spend the most there. Since you are a designer, I also imagine you’ll be able to make more out of less while having it look custom/professionally done.
Post # 9
Is there anyone in your family or close friends circle who is into photography at all as a hobby? What if you bought them lenses (if they already have a mirrorless or DSLR camera) or a good camera (if they didn’t already have one), and some photography lessons? What if you took photography lessons yourself, and tried to network with someone else in the course? Like, you’d take family portraits for them if they took a few wedding photos?
What if you contacted some of those higher end photogs and asked for very specific things, which would take less time? Could you work together to bring their price down?
I personally feel like wedding photos are a better bet than videography, but that’s personal choice. On the other hand, there are a few cameras nowadays which allow you to take still photos at the same time you shoot video. You may be able to get the same person doing both things.
Post # 10
Have you booked your venue yet? I would look into alternative venues outside of MA. New Husband has a lot of summer camps that are available to rent for weddings. I would also look in Rhode Island and Maine. Consider doing an alternative type of event – heavy apps, lunch or brunch, week day wedding, etc. A friend of mine had a gorgeous wedding (albeit in CA) at a very nice restaurant. There was no music or dancing, but everyone had a wonderful time and it was very affordable.
Post # 11
We totally had some dollar store decor and got nothing but comments on how beautiful everything was.
Try to save on venue costs if possible. We saved about $5,000 on a hall by holding it outside in a state park (for free). Our reception hall was the American Legion (cost a $75 returned deposit).
I hand crafted our decorations and put them in vases that I found for $0.50-$1 each. Made our favors with leftover tiles and paint sample strips. Food was our biggest expense and that cost $400 because a family friend offered to cater for us. We got my mom to do our photography as well which saved us huge.
Overall, our wedding cost us a couple thousand bucks and it was lovely.
Post # 12
If you’re a designer, you may be able to barter for some of those services. Find a Facebook page or website that caters to photographers in your area and offer up your services in exchange for theirs. Depending on what you design (websites, houses, whatever) you might find there are a lot of small businesses willing to make a trade. Don’t limit yourself to just photographers, either.
Post # 13
Dollar stores and Hobby Lobby will be your best friends! Hobby Lobby ALWAYS has 40% off coupons. You can make beautiful decorations for super cheap, you just need to think outside the box!
Post # 14
somethingbee: I found a wedding band (theyre common place where I live) that weren’t well known and cost a fraction of everyone else. They were incredible!!! The best I’ve ever seen and are now massively popular and have won lots of awards. The point I’m making is, shop around and look for vendors who are fairly new but you have a good feeling will do a good job.
Post # 15
somethingbee: I was going to suggest delay the wedding by a year to increase funds, is that an option? You could get married by court ‘quietly’ if you need to get married for other reasons, and then have a designer’s dream wedding by allowing yourself to save for at least another year. I know exactly what you mean by photogs…that was one thing I just couldn’t pay $500 for, after seeing quality work, I was done. I upped my budget and that immediately blew my budget out of the water. I don’t currently have a mortgage but was hoping to not use too much of my savings for the wedding. What about a loan from mom/dad? I know not everyone has that option, I sure don’t but maybe you do. That way , no interest. As a designer is the most important part the flowers/props? If so, you could find a really cheap venue and then treat it like a fixxer upper….DIY flowers up to $600, rent props for less than $300 and I think you could still get a beautiful wedding out of it. The biggest money sucker after photog is catering! blah! but you could rent all the chafers and find a restaurant that does party platters and just have family set it up before wedding. gluck!