(Closed) Iowa Wedding – Budget Help!

posted 6 years ago in Money
Post # 2
7679 posts
Bumble Beekeeper

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MissMonica:  Venue, Food and Photography are usually top expenses.  If you can find an inexpensive venue, that may be the most helpful in keeping costs down.  About how many people are you expecting to attend?  What type of style/feeling would you like your wedding to have?  

Post # 3
2133 posts
Buzzing bee


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MissMonica:  I’m in Dubuque and we budgeted for a $6,500 wedding. We are getting married at an arboretum and reception at Hotel Julien. We wrote down an estimate in each category so if we are under budget in one category we can go over in another. (i.e food $1500 DJ $600 decor $500, etc)

Post # 4
1245 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: May 2015

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MissMonica:  Can you state what you envision for your wedding? Any wedding can be done on a budget, but it depends on what you are expecting. Also, how many people do you expect to invite?

Tips to cut down on expenses

  • have a courthouse ceremony, but hold a reception afterwards to celebrate with your friends
  • hold the reception at a restaurant. You’ll cut down expenses b/c you won’t need to worry about table, chair, silverware, tablecloth, etc. rentals. Also, you won’t need to worry about the decor as much b/c restaurants usually have their own decor.
  • use Vistaprint for wedding invitations. Or buy the kits from Michaels
  • use electronic save the dates and RSVPs. You’ll save a lot on postage
  • have a backyard reception. Hire a local mom and pop restaurant to do your catering. Buy alcohol from Costco. Make some cocktails in advance. Serve wine & beer.
  • Rent out a local park for the day and you can hold your ceremony/reception there. 
  • buy a white bridesmaid dress for your wedding gown
  • set up an ipod for music
  • hold a brunch reception on a Sunday. Vendor prices are highest on Fridays and Saturdays. You can set up lawn games for entertainment.
  • Instead of renting a tuxedo, buy a suit from Macys. The prices are about the same. Your husband and his groomsmen can reuse the suits at a later time. 
Post # 5
1226 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: October 2016


My first wedding cost $6,000.00.  I had the wedding and reception in the same place.  We didn’t have a band and people brought alcohol.  My family cooked and made a 4 tier cake complete with lights, tulle, pearls and a fountain and two sattellite cakes.  We served approximately 50 people a ham, baked potato and green bean meal with hors d’ ouevres.  The pastor, organist  and photographer we paid while special  music was supplied by the church bell choir which was given a free will donation.

The more things that you can do yourself the less expensive the wedding will be.  I know quite a few people who are getting married at  fairgrounds.  The fairgrounds  usually have airconditioned buildings, chairs, enough restrooms and parking.

Vistaprint is an inexpensive place to print your save the dates and wedding invites. While limiting your alcohol to a signature drink and one or two other options instead of an open bar will save you money.  You can get inexpensive favors and decor from Oriental Trading Wedding .com.


Post # 7
3679 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: August 2013

Even if 10k is just your food and drink budget for 350 people, you’re going to have a hard time finding catering in a nice reception hall for less than $28 per person. You may also have a hard time finding a reception hall that can seat at least 350 people. We considered getting married in the Iowa City area, and most places only sat 200-300 people and catering costs were at least $30 a person at the very lowest. YMMV in the Des Moines area. 

Post # 9
14492 posts
Honey Beekeeper
  • Wedding: June 2011

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MissMonica:  in Iowa, it’s allowed that you can bring in your own alcohol (of course this depends on the location itself). Diying a bar will save 70% of a bar tab. 

Talk to hyvee about catering. They have phenomenal food. They now have a trained chef in every location and can make whatever food you want. I used them and sent them recipes, food turned out amazing. They’ll even serve it for slightly more. If you dig back trough my history, I wrote a detailed review of them. 

I got invitations on Vista print. They did a great job and I received a 90% off through couponcabin.com. I did get tons of my paper stuff from them. Don’t sign up for the wedding emails, sign up like your a business, you’ll get better discount emails. 

I diyed all my table decorations through thrift stores, Des Moines has amazing thrift store so you should be able to get great stuff cheap. 

Post # 10
3 posts
  • Wedding: June 2015 - Country Club

We had a 90 person wedding but the most savings were found in making our STD and Invites through Vistprint and upgraded the paper quality, we also did postcards for the RSVPs.

We also got married and had the reception at one location so there was no need to shuttle people anywhere. I ordered and arranged my own flowers from a local flower garden, only served beer and wine, and hired college students to play music. I only had a day of coordinator and that was PERFECT. You will need help with logistics with that many people and it will help you stay calm 🙂 We did our cake through an up and coming baker who was LLC for business.  i rented minimual decorations and found milkglass at church garage sales.

You have plenty of time to plan your beautiful day! 


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