(Closed) For those who are already married…

posted 13 years ago in Recaps
Post # 17
1423 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: May 2009

Geez, I’m cheating.  I haven’t had the wedding yet, but I’ve been a guest at many many many and have worked at many more.

Good things/ things almost everyone will notice and care about: 

1. food:  everyone eats — doesn’t need to be fancy, but it must be tasty!

2. open bar:  most people drink; all people who drink like free drinks.

3. music:  most people dance.  A good rule of thumb: a mediocre dj is better than a mediocre band: more songs to play, and they all sound like they’re supposed to — which makes it easier to shake your tail feathers. 

Another thing I’ve noticed is that a more formal atmosphere can make for a duller, more subdued party.  Whether or not you want a fun party is up to you, and you are the best judge of how to make your guests happy.  Just something to keep in mind.

Post # 18
148 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: June 2008

I didn’t pay for my DOC (she is my brother’s girlfriend) but I was SO glad to have someone making sure everyone had directions to the ceremony and finding people for pictures.  She was awesome.

I wish I had spent more on photography.  We spent $1500 and the photos were fine, but I’d recommend either making sure beforehand your photog can give you the kind of pictures you want (I wish I had more normal, frameable photos of me and my husband – I’m pretty bummed about this actually) or getting the best one you can afford.

I’m glad we spent $$ on a nice reception venue.  It was comfortable and homey with plenty of space to move around in, and our venue took care of EVERYTHING.  This really made the party.  Also, it was a hotel which we bought out for the occasion, and people really appreciated the funness factor – staying in the same location all weekend, running into family and friends, and being able to walk back to their rooms after the party.

In the end, the only thing I would have cut out was the limo expense – not really worth the $300.  We could’ve driven ourselves just fine.

Things I spent less (or no) $ on that were perfect:

-My dress (ebay) was just fine.  I loved it.

-Flowers – we went slightly cheaper than other bay area vendors, and we LOVED them

-Officiant, ceremony musician – friends.  This really made the ceremony personal.

-The aforementioned DOC.  She rocked it, and I was able to have a stress-free wedding because of her.

Post # 19
191 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: December 1969

we spent the most on the food for our reception since it was a chinese banquet so we don’t really see that as a  splurge….

however, hands down…the next vendor i spent the most money on was my photographer and TOTALLY worth it!


Post # 20
148 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: June 2008

I forgot to mention that I had a skilled co-worker do my makeup.  I am so glad I did that instead of a $$$ pro!

Post # 21
629 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: July 2005

I love these posts!

I splurged on Videography (Wedding Technology in WA). Even the photography was an afterthought compared to how much I wanted a quality video. I’m glad we did and so is everyone who views it…it’s the only wedding video I’ve ever seen that people actually wanted to watch. We just got a call from my guy’s mom saying that it was awesome and her husband (who wasn’t at the wedding) couldn’t wait to watch the whole thing.

Why it was important to us: no one in my family has any real home videos, and we’ve lost so many dear people that it became important to me to document our family. With video, you get to capture their mannerisms, sounds, and the way they interact with everyone. Our family won’t live forever, but they do in a way in video.

Everything else was a skimp, but not in a bad way at all. I made my own wedding cake. Not only did I save myself money, but I got the exact cake I wanted (my grandma’s wartime recipe). My dress was a skimp (ebay for $275), but was my dream dress. We skipped alcohol because it wasn’t important to us. We skimped on flowers (a gift from my boss) and only had my bouquet, two corsages and three bouts. Seriously, we made a game of saving so much money, that the video was half of our budget.

My advice is to have each of you pick your top three and decide that’s where you want the money to show. If you can get away cheap on your top three, it’s even better.

Post # 22
68 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: June 2008

In response to Rebecca–

 What I was saying is that IMO, you shouldn’t splurge on food.  Unless it is absolutely the most declicious thing anyone has ever had, they probably won’t remember it.  However, it wouldn’t make sense to go to the complete opposite spectrum.  Food that is bad and people can’t eat?  Well that’s not worth any amount of money, no matter how cheap.  My point was food at $200 a plate?  Probably not worth it in the end.  That money can be spent on something like photography or the dress or, or, or…..

Post # 23
180 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: May 2008

photography. so, so glad we hired who we did. the pictures were worth every penny we paid and then some!

didn’t spend money on makeup or videographer or flowers, totally ok with that. wish i had spent more on my dress – i didn’t love it, just liked it, and looking at my pictures i wish i was wearing something else. :/

Post # 24
13 posts
  • Wedding: August 2008

Our budget was really limited so we had to look for services that were pretty inexpensive but would also offer great quality.

Almost half of our budget went to the food and the rest were spread to different services. The least expensive items were the souvenirs, make up, invitation (DIY) and flowers. Videography was free, courtesy of my hubby’s friends. We saved on photography by choosing a photographer that agreed to take pictures and have them save it high-res on a CD since hubby wants to put the wedding album together. My dress was not too expensive as well but was still pretty in the photos.

Bottomline, it really depends on your priorities. As long as it makes you happy, I say go for it! 🙂

Post # 25
80 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: May 2008

A great question, I loved that I spent extra on getting 2 sets of photographers! One to start the day, the others came in in the middle and eneded up with me until my after party. It gave us such a wide range of different shots, from the beginning of nerves, prep, ceremony, to relaxing with our closets friends at the end and dancing the night away.


If you cannot do that, Spend a significant amount of photography, I cannot begin to tell you how important it is to look back on these.

Post # 26
296 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: March 2008

Ok, I wrote this big LONG post and then realized that it was just too much detail for this thread. So, I’m going to post it on my blog and just make my friends read it. 😛

The most memorable things from my wedding really had to do with decisions I made that didn’t cost me a thing. For example, chosing not to hide in a bridal suite and to stand out and greet my guests as they came in. That (among many other decisions I’m so glad I made) gave me the opportunity to greet my aunt and uncle who I hadn’t seen in years and I knew had drive many, many hours to be at the wedding as well as all the other guests.

That being said all the little details that no one even notices brought me so much pleasure both before the wedding, during, and now with the pictures. Guests don’t notice the invitations, the flowers, the signage that I designed to put all over the reception area, but they were worth every DIY hour I put into them. However, I’m very thankful that I ditched a few projects at the last minute for the sake of my sanity. No one noticed they were missing, and I was a much happier, calmer bride.

I’m extremely thankful that I was fortunate enough to have a wonderful detail orriented, OCD friend who would be my DOC. I’m not sure what I would have done without her. And if you don’t have a friend like that who is willing to do that for you, then I highly recommend budgeting money for one.

I’m very thankful that we stayed within a budget and had a celebration that we could afford and we didn’t not go into sufficating debt for. I loved our small, intimate, community orriented wedding, and I do not resent that we didn’t not have the money for a formal dinner, or an open bar, or a DJ, or anything else. The only thing I wish we’d had more money for was the photography. Sometimes I covet the gorgeous photographs that other brides have. But we simply did not have the money. Our friends did a much better job than any photographer that we could have afforded, but I really do wish that we could have had one of the $5000 photographers whose blogs I stalk.

Good luck everyone!

Post # 27
296 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: March 2008

Wow… that still ended up being long. Sorry.

Post # 28
4 posts
  • Wedding: May 2008

Definitely the food and open bar. . . everyone had a blast at the reception!  Watching my aunts, grandma, and parents tearing up the dance floor with our awesome friends is something I’ll never, ever forget.

Remember that it’s all about having fun with your family/friends and celebrating your marriage!

Post # 29
2292 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: July 2008

We didn’t spend a ton of money on food (about $30 per person, including appetizers) but it was really good – we had a great chef – and people definately noticed.  We had a lot of people ask us who catered (although I have to say that I think part of the reason the food was so good is that our chef came with the venue – his kitchen was there.  I have not had a lot of good "trucked-in" food, and I think that food catered off the premises is perhaps more likely to be dried out, overcooked, and generally inedible.)

We spent about $1500 on our band, who played all evening.  We definately could have spent less (and certainly could have spent more) but the band was great – and everybody really enjoyed the music.  The music and dancing is definately our greatest memory of the evening – because frankly you don’t get to eat a lot at your own wedding.

The cake was really great – not just to eat but as far as decorating.  we had it decorated with a whole list of words related to marriage and our relationship.  Not only did people eat almost all of it, but they spent a lot of time reading it.  Every one of our guests who sent pictures has a dozen of the cake!  It was about $800 for 150 really generous servings so again, not on the cheap side but certainly less than we could have spent.

I would agree that you have to set your priorities – where you spend your money will depend on what is important to you.  We didn’t really "splurge" on any one thing, IMO (we did the whole thing for just under $15k).  What we tried to do was to find something really nice for a price we could afford, in every case.  And you really don’t have to spend a ton of money.  My cousin got married last weekend, and her FI’s sisters did the food – which was homemade tamales, enchiladas, posole, spanish rice, and carne asada – and it was fantastic.  We went back for seconds.  I think that people get into thinking that more money equals more better, but you absolutely don’t have to spend $5000 to get nice wedding photos, or $100 a head to get really good food.  Shop around, think about what YOU like and what YOU want, and don’t get suckered into thinking that you have to spend a lot.

And I do have to say something about the dress.  I spent ~$700 on my whole kit – dress, shoes, undergarments, veil – including alterations.  If you fall in love with a $5000 dress, I can certainly understand that. But you can absolutely get a gorgeous and well-made dress, at an actual bridal salon, for well under $1000.  Don’t be fooled into thinking that you have to order internet, or shop at DB, or buy secondhand – although those are all reasonable options, I would do some actual shopping first, because it’s likely you CAN get a dress made just for you at an affordable price, and support a locally-owned business at the same time.

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