Is it possible to spend 5k on a wedding?

posted 1 year ago in Reception
Post # 16
2021 posts
Buzzing bee

We spent about $3,800 for 30 guests


The breakdown:


Suit: $400 – Men’s Warehouse BOGO sale, so he actually got two


Dress: $500 (?—it was $399 plus some tax, no alterations but did buy shoes, also on sale) total (on clearance from Davids Bridal)


Photographer: $900- it included an engagement photo sessions as well as 8 hours on the day of. We found her through Facebook, she was an assistant to another


Photographer who was looking to branch out and start being the principal photographer


Venue: Free—we used a family friends cabin


Food: #500. We had a local, small catering “company” (aka two sisters who do catering gigs on the weekend) do lasagna, chicken alfredo, rolls, salad, dressing


Cake: Free—it was a gift from my sisters Mother-In-Law. She bakes professionally and made us a small wedding cake + 48 cupcakes as our wedding gift!


Alcohol: $200ish? We bought wine from Sam’s Club, and had several bottles of red left over, the white got used pretty heavily!


Chairs and tables: $400 for the rental for the day—we ended up needing 35 chairs and 5 round tables + 2 serving tables


Linens, flatware, glasses, plates: $300, we purchased all of the linens online at those cheap linen discount outlet type of places, plus some cheapy overlays that turned out nice! Then we hit up World Market when they were having a super sale on plates and got 48 full sized and 48 dessert plates for 40% off plus an additional 10% off from an online coupon code; we also bought 48 stemless wine glasses from World Market with the same coupon code and the site was running 20%(?) or so off on those, we got away with a steal! We bought the flatware from Old Time Pottery.


Décor: $100 – we bought 5 lanterns from Kirklands that were $20 or so with additional discount off, and I already had some of the Edison bulb string lights to use around the deck of the cabin we were getting married in. A friend of ours hand made our arbor as a wedding gift (it’s now in my garden) and my Mother-In-Law grew some of the flowers we used.


Flowers: $500—this was my one splurge, I HAD to have David Austin roses in my bouquet—and since I didn’t have a bridal party, decided to go all in on my flowers. Worth every penny!

Post # 17
331 posts
Helper bee

My first wedding was about $8000 for 120 guests. We only did dessert for an afternoon reception, and we had it in a park. Here’s a link to how we did our budget (sorry for the broken pics–I haven’t been actively blogging for a while).

And here’s how the wedding turned out:


Granted, this was 6 years ago, so some prices have gone up. But we also had a lot more guests than you’re looking at. That blog (my old blog) also has a bunch of other real weddings (all from 2010-12) that had under $10K budgets, so it might be a good source of ideas 🙂 

Post # 18
342 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: October 2017

svargas :  We hosted 44 people (50 invited) at a wonderful lunch reception at our favorite restataurant.  There was no fee for the event room and it was gorgeous and needed no decorations.  We only had to meet a $750 minimum which we easily did.  We hosted a consumption bar, had no dance.  Here is a breakdown:

food and drink $1200 (or so, hubby paid the bill plus he is a generous tipper!)

Pro musician to play guitar: $350 plus another generous tip, he was a friend from high school!

Photography:  $500, she was starting out but was referred by a friend, I saw lot of her work, loved it!

Ceremony place:  $500 in an arboretum

invites, postage:  $100 or so

Flowers: $120 (or so, we needed a bouquet and a few boots and corsages, that was it!)

Cake was a professional cake from a bakery but was a gift from friends.  It would have been about $150 had we paid.

We did no save the dates, favors, none of the extras.  We concentrated on good food and drink and the comfort of our guests!  We had a very small bridal party (two for me, one for him)

So as you can see we pulled it in for under $3000 – it can be done.

Look into art schools or your local high schools for the Art Teacher – many moonlight as photographers.   My dress was $60 – I did not count that or our rings as they don’t contribute to the comfort and hosting of our guests.  

Food and drink will be your biggest expense and please do not self cater.  It is putting the cost of your wedding onto your guests……don’t do that.  Your party, your guests, your bill.

Good luck!

Post # 19
3670 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: November 2019 - City, State

fromatoz :  Your wedding sounds gorgeous!! Do you have any pics you’d be willing to share?

Post # 20
29 posts
  • Wedding: August 2018

svargas :  My biggest “if I could do it again” was to be more realistic with our budget from the outset. I think we would have actually ended up saving some money – or at least getting our full money’s worth. From the beginning I did not want to spend $15k+ on a wedding beacause that seemed like an outrageous amount of money. Our wedding is in 2 months – we have now spent the $15k on a 50-60 person wedding. Things are just..expensive. At the end of the day, we realized that we wanted to throw a really nice party for our family. We wanted to show off our local food, beer/wine, music, etc and treat the people that came out to support us. We also realized that we didn’t want to worry about things during the day, like setting up/tearing down, coordination, music, etc. So instead of doing the setup/tear down/music ourselves, we decided to hire a day-of coordinator, DJ, etc. So, be honest with yourself and determine what your realistic budget is (even if it seems like a large number from the get-go) and what you absolutely must have. 

I will say that the expenses could have been much higher for the services we are getting – maybe in the $30-35k range. Here are a few things I did to cut costs:

1. We are having a Friday wedding. This was because Saturdays at our venue were taken, but it did help us save a few grand. Before we booked, we made sure our VIPs were able to attend a Friday wedding and a Thursday rehearsal. Please proritize your VIPs during this planning. 

2. I got our professional photographer for 4 hours of the day, cutting costsby nearly a third. Then, we have a student videographer capturing the whole day so we have a just for fun wedding video to watch on our 5th anni or something. 

3. Our DJ is not a wedding DJ, but a professional club DJ. She will be there for the last 3 hours of the wedding to create our dance party. The rest of the wedding (cocktail party, dinner) is a spotify playlist from our phone. 

4. We are serving traditionally prepared paella, which showcase our regional cusine and fresh foos, but lends itself to large portions so our catering costs are much lower. 

5. We are using a local baker for our cake that has just started doing weddings within the last few years. 

6. We are using a nice big house that our family is renting for the rehearsal dinner and my fiance and I are cooking the meal. We love to cook for family, so it’s a bit of us and also saves a ton of money. rehearsal dinners can be upwards of $2-10k, depending on size. 

Another thing to play around with is timeline. We have had a year to pay for all of these things, which makes it almost unnoticeable. 

Post # 21
1 posts

anabolina :  Can I ask when your wedding was and where aproximately it was located? I am in Chicago and venues are outrageous! 

Post # 22
1843 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: May 2018

vcrdjr :  I’m in Dallas,  we ended up using our church because it was free. Our backup choice would have cost us almost $5000 between cost of the rental,  plus they charged for chairs and tables,  and you had to pay and employee and off duty police officer. Plus I think they may have had catering restrictions… Maybe, it’s been awhile. 

But it’s a beautiful historical building in Fair Park and the base cost of the rental was cheap.  Our 2nd choice after the hall of state was this local all-inclusive event venue surrounded by acres of fields and they do the ceremonies at a gazebo and you go inside for the reception.  It was really nice and they included a lot!  With food included,  for 175 guests, it was around $8500, and thats all in with food,  basic decor,   tables chair and their set up,  doc,  cake cutting fees, good,  and taxes.  And they had add on for DJ and photographer that were pretty economical.  Plus the event rooms were lovely and the gazebo wedding really appealed to me.  But it’s so hard to say no to free. I think it’s our culture,  the only weddings I’ve been to outside of a church have been for friends who aren’t of our culture 

In any case,  I have no regrets for going for free,  it was exactly the right wedding for us. 

Post # 23
1117 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: September 2018

We’re looking at about $1500. We aren’t having a photographer as the numbers we got were around 2k. 

The most expensive things are going to be venue and guestcount. We can’t know what your definition of “nice” is, but if you get a reasonable venue I think you can do it. You won’t be able to have a plethora of decorations and extras, but I think 5k is doable. 

Post # 24
152 posts
Blushing bee

anabolina :  haha, I have to ask are you Mormon? That is the only church I’m familiar with that offers so much for free 🙂 

Post # 25
342 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: October 2017

svargas :  Yes you can.  We hosted for 50 people (44 total were present) and we did it for under $3000.  Food and drink (yes we had alcohol) was around $1200, photography was $500, ceremony space was $500, musician at reception was $350, flowers were less than $100.  Invites and postage was around $100.

I had no bridal party, it was an afternoon wedding that was done by 3pm, no dance.  Hubby is a big tipper so staff, musician and photographer rec’d good tips.

Cutting the guest list is big help, and here is a tip:  Ask yourself the following:  “Would we take this couple out to dinner and drop $100 on THEIR bill?”  If yes, invite as that is what you are doing.  If not, cut them.  

Look into art schools or your local high school for the art teacher as many moonlight as photographers and charge less.  See if a photographer will work for only three hours.  Skip the getting ready shots, no one really cares to see you get dressed, lol.

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