(Closed) Is there such a thing as a DC wedding that costs $8000 or less?

posted 4 years ago in Ceremony
Post # 16
Member
24 posts
Newbee
  • Wedding: August 2016

I had the same sticker shock when I started planning earlier this year. My heart broke. So did my wallet lol

Try county-owned or historic venues…60-80 people is a good number and will help keep your costs down. Restaurants with pretty courtyards are another options too. You’ll have WAY more options for venues with the smaller guest count (we have over 100). I bought my dress used from OnceWed.com, and it’s perfect (Preownedweddingdresses is great too!), and I’m getting a veil from Etsy. I’m doing my own hair and nails, wearing shoes I already own. Flowers are from Costco. We aren’t doing favors, we got a friend to DJ and take photos.

BUT–my wedding is at Newton White Mansion, and we’re doing a brunch reception. Minimal decorations are needed and I was able to save some money by not doing a full three-course dinner with a full bar (mimosas and beer). I’d save more if I could cut my guest list, but that’s another issue for another post. lol

Something else that has saved me too is Thumbtack. I had no idea that site existed, and I was floored when I got a day-of coordinator for $350! She’s amazing, and I wish I would’ve found the site earlier for some of my other vendors. 

Good luck!

Post # 17
Member
107 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: October 2016

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tmpierson:  

Don’t feel bad about beer and wine!  I’ve been to EXTREMELY expensive weddings (think probably 100k+) where they had top shelf alcohol, cocktail servers, bar stations, AND bottles of red, white, and champagne on every table for the entire thing.  And honestly, I had way less fun than the times I went to a wedding that was lower key on the alcohol.  The guests were all trashed by 20 minutes into cocktail hour and I can only imagine the train wreck that was the dedications the videographer filmed after the dinner.

You can get top shelf or specialty beer (we are serving the groom’s favorites from Dogfish Head) and really awesome affordable wines (Costco actually sells some nice Napa wines by the case) and I doubt anybody will be unhappy.  If they are, well, i would ignore them.    

Another way you could get around that or sort of “split the difference” is to do one or two top shelf drinks (bride and groom’s favorites) and then wine and beer.  Sometimes caterers will charge less or do consumption-based cocktails than if you did top shelf open bar.  Our caterer is providing the beer and bartender and we are providing the wine since I am a bit of a wine snob (grew up in CA close enough to Napa for it to stick).  I get to keep the unopened wine, I can find a wholesale deal, and they aren’t charging a corkage fee.  Honestly I don’t think top shelf liquor is a proverbial hill your budget should die on.  

As for flowers, ask for wholesale prices!  Some places will do it, some won’t.  But if you are buying in bulk then it can’t hurt to ask. My coworkers swear by the weekend Amish markets.  

Post # 20
Member
107 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: October 2016

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dcgardenia:  

I can’t believe I hadn’t heard of Thumbtack either!  We are getting married out near Charlottesville and Culpepper, what area was your coordinator coming from?  

Post # 21
Member
107 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: October 2016

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tmpierson:  Yeah trashed people aren’t fun wedding guests.  Granted not everybody’s guest list includes a long list of heavy drinkers so my experience shouldn’t be a global generalization.  However, with that said, I’ve just noticed as a rule people tend to drink a lot at weddings, especially if on a Saturday evening.  

I love the idea of a sangria bar!  It wouldn’t fit our theme at all but it’s super cool!!

Post # 25
Member
24 posts
Newbee
  • Wedding: August 2016

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volcomgirl850307:  She actually lives down the street from Newton White, so I didn’t have to go far.

Post # 26
Member
32 posts
Newbee
  • Wedding: February 2017

I would honestly try outside of DC. I can’t even imagine a subpar ceremony/reception for 8k. 

Around dc you’ll probably spend 500 minimum for dj on a nonsaturday, 35 bucks minimum a person for food (2800), 200 minimum for cake, 500 for dress…and theres half your budget right there. I’m sorry Bee, you’ll either have to comprimise big time or up your budget.

Post # 27
Member
13889 posts
Honey Beekeeper
  • Wedding: November 1999

I’d agree with going outside DC.  My venue alone cost almost your entire budget.  Even with discounts and DIY, your costs are going to add up quickly.

Post # 28
Member
1837 posts
Buzzing bee

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tmpierson:  I hear Meadowlark Botanical Gardens in VA is affordable and it is a gorgeous venue — even in winter. 

ETA: I don’t want to make any assumptions about your religion, and this wouldn’t work for everybody, but historic homes and places like that tend to be beautifully decorated for Christmas. Given that your wedding is in December you could save big money on decorations and flowers if you choose a venue that will already be decked out with lights, garlands, decorated tree, etc.

  • This reply was modified 3 years, 12 months ago by  alamana.
Post # 30
Member
107 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: October 2016

View original reply
alamana:  

 

I actually looked at Meadowlark and their prices for 2016 were way more expensive than you would think.  Their cheapest rates were Mon-Thurs events and if you were “in jurisdiction” aka lived in the Virginia area, it was $3,400 for 8 hours at the venue.  Friday’s were about 2k more, Saturdays were $8550, and Sundays were $6,700. Non jurisdiction rates added about $600 to Mon-Fri rates and $1000 to Saturday/Sunday rates.  Obviously this didn’t include catering.  The prices may have changed since then but that’s what I got when I asked about October 2016 back in March 2015. 

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