(Closed) FI and I came to the HARSH realization…

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

There are ways – depends on how ambitious you are.

No host bar

Ipod DJ

cut the guest list

have you asked a wedding party yet? If not, keep it small, that means less gifts to buy

skip things that don’t really matter – fancy linens, fancy centerpeices, fancy invitations

drive yourself (no limos etc)

your attire: buy a used dress, or a non-designer dress, don’t wear fancy shoes (no one sees them remember?)


I could come up with lots of things, but it depends what kind of wedding you are having. Any specific questions?

Post # 4
4385 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: May 2011

I’m sorry to hear this 🙁

You said you cannot afford 2500/month, but what can you afford? What is a budget that is reasonable to you?

Obviously the first thing is to cut your guest list. We’re having 45 guests to our wedding. If we had a 150 person list we’d never be able to afford it!! Have you purchased anything yet, like your dress?

Post # 5
3671 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: March 2011

I went through this too (although not to the same extreme).  Our original budget was about $14,000 and now it’s about $7,000.    We cut the guest list from 80 to 25, are getting real touch silk flowers online, have a restaurant with a private room with music so no music is needed, our ceremony is in a public park gazebo after hours (still cheaper than other places), we’ve talked to vendors like the photographer and the officiant about the situation and they’ve worked with us, etc.  Could you go to a smaller town outside of Philadelphia where costs might be lower?  And I agree about the wedding party.  We decided now to only have my brother and his brother so we cut down on gifts and flowers.

Post # 6
70 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: June 2011

I continue to battle with this (and our budget is far less than yours :)).  I’m outside Philly.  Remember that in Philly, I believe the tax is 8% sales and 10% on alcohol (!!).  Once you get outside the city limits the tax is 6%.  So it depends on how much you want to have a wedding in the city, how many people you are planning on inviting, and what type of wedding you’re looking to have.  I want a more relaxed, countryish style event, so I’ve been looking at venues that offer special packages for Sunday or Friday (or midday Saturday).

Downingtown Country Club has a package that includes food, centerpieces, and cake for $65 pp plus tax and gratuity.  If you’re open to doing brunch, that drops to $56 pp.

French Creek Country Club in Elverson, PA has a similar package and is absolutely GORGEOUS, but the wedding planner rubbed me so much the wrong way that we won’t be booking there.  Which is a shame, because I instantly fell in love with it, but I can’t imagine dealing with her hairy eyeballs and lack of communication through the wedding process.  Sharon at DCC was awesome, I just didn’t like the venue as much.

I’m continuing to expand my search!  I’m considering locations where you book the venue and then the caterer independently, and DIY’ing my own flowers since my one meeting with a florist left me with a bad taste in my mouth (I can’t pick my own flowers as part of this package?  What??).

Post # 7
2867 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: September 2010

I’d suggest doing a smaller reception. You don’t have to invite EVERYONE if you can’t afford it. You can pick to have a large group and a reception with appetizers & cake (no bar) or you can do a smaller group with a full meal.

What does your $30,000 wedding include? Perhaps that would help us let you know what you can save on.

Post # 8
941 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: October 2010

our only issue so far has been finances. it’s enough to stress us out to the point of wondering why we ever wanted all the hoopla to begin with. in the beginning, i cut my guest list all that i really *thought* i could….but 160 people at 55/per person really adds up. 

if i started all over, i would definitely have a smaller wedding and wouldn’t give in the the pressure of inviting people i don’t really want to be there. i’d actually rather do it on a cruise ship! 🙂

honestly, don’t worry about flowers, fancy invites, lavish decor….it doesn’t even matter!

Post # 9
641 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: November 2011

We had a chat last night and we realized that we won’t be able to afford our wedding by the time we wanted (Fall 2011)…so since we don’t really want to cut down on our guest list, we are pushing our wedding back a full year.  This will give us the time to make and save the money that we will need.  Although I am a little bummed about waiting, I know this is the best option for us.  Don’t know if that is an option for you (if you’ve already booked your wedding, sent STD’s, etc).  Good Luck!

Post # 10
396 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: April 2011

I agree. I’d need to know what you are including in your $30,000 budget. How many guests? Maybe you could have it further away from the city.

Just to put it in perspective. (I don’t live in Philly) We’re having 400+ people. We are having a buffett style dinner. ($9-$12 per person depending what we choose) we are having open bar (which could be taken away if we needed to save on money) We’re having fresh flowers (could also be saved on). The venue is $700 the church will end up being about $500. DJ $500. Cake $500. Photographer $1200. Flowers $2300. Catering; drinks ect. We are planning to be under $12,000. If we save on flowers or bar we could easily be under $10,000.

I’m not sure why there is such a price difference that people say in bigger cities. Not sure where the costs are differing but those will give you an idea of how much you can save by having your wedding in a smaller town or not so populated area.


Post # 11
14186 posts
Honey Beekeeper
  • Wedding: June 2009

If you can’t afford the wedding, that is A-OK. Have what you can afford. In hindsight, spending a lot of money will be more of a thorn in your side than anything. It won’t be worth it, I promise.

Vanilla, what are your options as far as changing the wedding completely? Heck, look at what you CAN afford. That’s it. Lop a few grand off it (just in case you go over, you don’t want to be crying about it) and change it all up. If all you can afford to do is elope, ELOPE. If you can afford a honeymoon, have a destination wedding. If you can afford a simple backyard ceremony, have that. Have a reception in a restaurant. Change your vision of “THE” wedding a little and I promise it’ll all come together.

Just do WHAT you can afford.

Post # 12
201 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: June 2012

We’re waiting an extra year and just saving money too, although we definitely won’t be spending $30k. My Fiance has offered to just drive me to Nevada and elope, but my mother would kill me, and I’d rather have a traditional ceremony and reception, anyway.

Post # 13
806 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: August 2010

You’re far enough out to make some changes and probably cut that number in half.  I think it comes down to –

-drastically cut the guest list (if you had 150, bring it down to 50-75).  You’ll still pay the costs that don’t matter how many guests you have (music, photo, your dress, etc) – but at least your catering bill won’t be five figures on its own.

-or, keep your guest list but have a much simpler event without so many of the “standard bells and whistles” (like a morning/afternoon wedding with much less elaborate food and hopefully people won’t go as crazy at the bar).

It’s great that you really crunched the numbers far enough out that you can change course easily!

Post # 14
824 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: April 2011 - The Tribute Golf Club

We realized this same thing within the first couple of months of being engaged.  Some things we did were to push it back a year, do some DIY to cut down on cost and the big one was cut down the guest list.  Hope things work out for you!!

Post # 15
1048 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: June 2011

We are in a similar situation.  We are looking at 150-200 guests in Baltimore – not Philly, but pricey all the same.  What we did was find a hotel package near the airport where we could have everything.  Our main goal is to have everyone we want there.  We want waterfront but we can’t afford it.  So we found a Holiday Inn at the airport that has been completely renovated and is beautiful inside at $50 PP including venue, cake, catering, and open bar w/ liquor. 

I’m DIY’ing a LOT.  I will be doing some type of candle centerpieces that I have budgeted only $300 for….but may drop it to $200. 

I found that Ollie’s bargain outlet sells invitation kits (the same ones at Micheal’s – not all of them, but must be the discontinued ones) for $5.99 a pack.  Could be anywhere from 20-100 a package, it just depends on what you choose.  My budget for invitations is currently $200 but if I find invites at Ollie’s I’ll probably only spend about $30 for 120ish invites. I may DIY our STD’s but I really want magnets so they will probably be more than the invites!

Also, to make the postage a bit easier to swallow, I’m going to the post office once a week to buy 1 book of stamps.  This will come out of my regular spending rather than trying to budget another $130 for it.  I won’t even miss the money.

We are looking at online wedding flower DIY combos.  We can get all of the wedding party flowers for probably $200. 

Good luck!  Search for non-traditional venues and look outside of the city at hotel packages.  Don’t be afraid to try to negotiate with the hotel either!  If you don’t want something in their package, tell them and then ask them to drop the price.  All they can say is no!

Post # 16
214 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: October 2010

RE: bigger cities…it just is how it is. They know they can charge those exorbitant amounts because people expect to pay a lot of weddings. 😮


My friend’s wedding that I went to yesterday had almost 400 guests in a VERY nice hall and the venue rental was $500! And only $90 for linens. But it’s over an hour outside of the city. In the city; that size venue??? Easily $2500 – $3000.

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