Is it possible to spend 5k on a wedding?

posted 1 year ago in Reception
Post # 3
1846 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: May 2018

It depends on how much you are willing to diy and what you consider to be a nice wedding. Our budget was $5000 for 175 guests and we came in well under budget. I think it was $4000. IDK,  we broke in down on a thread recently. TBH though,  we weren’t looking to have a ‘nice’ wedding. We wanted to celebrate our wedding in a way consistent with how we live,  but with some extras.  Like we did spring for a caterer,  professional photographer, and  DJ. But we did set up, tear down,  and decor ourselves. My dress was custom made in China for $200 and looked exactly like the pic and was quality material.

Plus our venue was free and included tables,  chairs,  a sound system,  bathrooms,  ac, parking.  . All of those can be a concern with park or backyard weddings. Trust me,  we seriously thought about it, but the costs Vs doing it indoor for free at our church made doing it outside illogical.  And that worked out since it rained lol. 

I’d focus your money on what’s most important and stick to ypur budget.  It’s really easy to get sucked on and add extras that increase the bottom line.  For example,  we hadn’t planned to do professional hair and makeup,  but added it in only after we came in under budget. 

We could have afforded a more elegant wedding,  but it wouldn’t have reflected us as a couple.  We aren’t elegant,  we wanted to have fun and eat food and play board games,  all of which our guests got to do.  Unfortunately , we didn’t have time to play board games lol, but i wouldnt have changed anything. 

Make the party about you as a couple and enjoy it. 

For the photographer,  I’d ask around. If your budget is $5000 for the wedding,  it doesn’t make sense to spend $2000 unless it’s your top priority over food and your dress.  There are packagea with fewer hours. Also,  a less experienced photographer might be less expensive.  We spent $600 and she shot for 12 hours with the engagement photos included and bringing a second photographer to assist at the reception.  

She was cheaper because she’s still in school.  She’s already done 12 weddings on her own,  plus a lot of family portraits and reunions. She’s working most weekends and building her portfolio quickly.  She’s really talented and I’m so lucky to book her while she’s still a student.  I have a feeling she’s going to have a busy business in a few years.  We are going to keep using her for family portraits too if she continues doing it. 

Post # 4
114 posts
Blushing bee

We are trying to have our 65 person wedding for $5000. However, we are not hiring a photographer. One of my bridesmaids is a portrait photographer so she’s going to do our bridal portraits. We will only have guest photos of the ceremony. We have reduced the cost in many other ways.

  • We are having a daytime wedding and serving lunch.
  • We are not serving alcohol. If most of our guests weren’t family I don’t think we could get away with this. Luckily our families understand we are on a strict budget. 
  • I bought my dress unused off eBay: I found a couple dresses I liked and then searched for them on resale sites until I found one in my size in good condition
  • Silk flowers over real
  • Pastry bar with a small cutting cake we bake ourselves
  • No DJ
  • Limiting rentals. We bought all of our linens and will try to sell them after
  • We are DIYing everything possible: invitations, centerpieces, backdrops, signs, bunting, etc
  • We are doing yard games and picnics instead of dancing and cocktail hours. 


Post # 5
1173 posts
Bumble bee

A small guest list is key to a cheaper wedding. Because it is usually a per head cost for reception. If it’s a place that allows BYO, that would help bringing the alcohol cost down since you can source your own alcohol in bulk for cheaper. I think it’ll be hard around your budget for 65-70 people. 

I’m doing a “cheap” wedding with 40-60 people, but that’s still with a $10k budget, looks like it’ll likely be around $12-13k in the end. That is with a cheap dress even (only $269). I too won’t have a cake and will get some flowers but simple (haven’t looked into the cost yet but I’m budgeting up to $1k for flowers and decor but I think it’ll more likely be closer to $500). Photographer is costing close to $4k, but that’s because it’s one that I really like. Otherwise would’ve been more like $2.5k. Reception is the biggest cost factor as it’s about $100 per person and that is the cheapest we’ve found (and it is a more relaxed atmosphere at a place we both love), so having 10 more people is a $1k different, you know? I did consider doing food trucks at a nice location but usually there is a venue fee and all added up, not much cheaper than a “per head” venue where I won’t have to worry about liaising with caterers and sourcing alcohol etc.

I’m not having bridesmaids so that will save a lot of money. Also not having a bridal car rented so that will also save money. Also will be iPod music playlist rather than DJ or band.

Make up and hair is costing more than I would’ve liked. As most of them require min of 3 people to make it worth their trip I guess. Plus the trial. The cheapest (with the style I like) which I’m going with will be $630 in total for 3 people including trial. 

Edit to add: I’m in Australia so I think some of these things might be more expensive than in the US.

Post # 7
1173 posts
Bumble bee

svargas :  I would imagine it depends on the food trucks you’re thinking about. When I looked into it, the ones I looked at just had a min spend, which is fine and priced pretty reasonably. You could look into some of the food trucks in your area and see what you might like then go from there.

Post # 8
3016 posts
Sugar bee

svargas :  yes you can! But it is going to take some compromise and some research.

I spent hourssss looking for a photographer i loved in my price range. Most were just too expensive. I am talking about typing “photographer and location” into google or wedding wire and start clicking on each website. Read reviews, click on pricing or just email them for pricing and on to the next. another option is to Reach out to photography schools in the area and help someone build their portfolio

Venue: Local park or rec centers are great. And there are really nice ones around that don’t always look like a rec center room. And they are GREAT prices. Look into any restaurants around that have a large private or semi private room. Most of the time there are no rental fees, just a food and beverage minimum to meet. I vote this option because they have everything there! Anywhere else you will have to rent tables, chairs etc. Bonus if you find a venue that lets you bring in your own alcohol. 

Dress: SAMPLE SALES! I got over 50% my dream dress at a sample sale (and FYI i am NOT “sample size” lol).


Post # 9
497 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: Greenspot Farms

All of our definitions of a “nice” wedding will be different. I tried to keep mine under 10k and we went to 15…. and we had a very simple wedding but everything was exactly the way we wanted it! It was so much fun so I don’t regret going over. We had 150 guests present. 

Post # 10
1366 posts
Bumble bee

It’s possible, but might need to adjust your expectations. Will probably be pretty difficult if you are set on having a pro photographer. I think I spent about that for 70 guests, but had a friend do photography for free and the reception was in my parent’s backyard. 

Post # 11
2889 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: November 2018

svargas :  It is definitely possible if you go into it realistically! My fi and I are hosting 100 guests for just under $7000. We are able to host so cheaply partly because I did a shit ton of research before booking vendors and mostly because we live in a low cost of living area. I haven’t had to “do without” on anything that we really wanted. 

Venue: Found a kickass ballroom for $600 in a nearby city. 

Florals: We are only doing florals for the bridal party so didn’t have to worry about centerpieces. Bridesmaids are carrying single stems instead of full bouquets. 

Food: It ended up being cheaper for us to pay mileage for a caterer back home than it was to hire one within city limits (bbq buffet for $10.50 pp). 

Attire: We are paying for their dresses, vests, and ties. Renting the guys stuff and ordering the dresses from Azazie. My dress was $399.

DJ/Officiant/Table Linens: Came from the same company and getting a slight discount because my Fiance knows the owner. 

Photographer: Photos were super important to us so we went for one in the $2K range. 

Post # 12
794 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: April 2018

We had a very extravagant wedding for 55 guests for about $16,000.00 so I am sure you can do one for 5. 

Key factors are find a place to have a reception for FREE… a park or someones house, or maybe a reception hall at the church.  SHOP every vendor and do not sign anything until you read all the fine print.  DIY project can end up costing more than ready made – so be careful. (big exception is flowers)  Do not shop for a wedding dress in places you know are over your budget.. 

Edited to add – make a list of what is most important to least .. but that still does not mean you have to spend the mot $$ on your #1 item.  

svargas :  

Post # 14
6018 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: September 2016

My cousin had a destination wedding in Vegas in a traditional(ish) wedding with a beautiful dress and ceremony and hosted reception as part of a package. I think she said her wedding was less than $2,000 total. She chose a simple dress, she went with a package that the hotel offered (for ceremony, reception, dinner, flowers and photographer, I believe). They also had a streaming option for the people who couldn’t be there to watch online. It was beautiful; smaller than the 60-70 you mentioned, I believe, but still significantly larger than an elopement or super intimate affair.

Post # 15
2061 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: October 2018

“We had a very extravagant wedding for 55 guests for about $16,000.00”

I envy you. We are having a very nice wedding for about 55 guests (I wouldn’t necessarily say very extravagant) and we are already at $30,000 with still more expenses coming up.

OP, I would say the key is to try to get the big ticket items for free or really cheap. Our venue was $6000 just for the rental. For my first wedding, we had it in a friend’s beautiful backyard for free and catered from a local restaurant. For this wedding, we are hiring a live band for dancing. For my first wedding, we had an iPod for dinner music and no dancing. My dress this time around was about $1800 without alterations, veil, shoes, or accessories. First time around, I bought my dress at the mall (a Betsey Johnson) for $300 and borrowed the veil from a friend. Our photographer is over $3K. First time around, we had a friend who was a photography student do it for free as a gift. Our flowers are over $2K. First time around, we went to the floral section of the grocery store the night before the wedding. You get the picture.

Leave a comment

Find Amazing Vendors