(Closed) Low budget brides please offer some advice…

posted 13 years ago in Money
Post # 33
255 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: October 2009

Definitely DIY’s have helped me alot. I shop at Michaels, Walmart & Goodwill. Also consider looking up coupons for Michaels – which you can get online & plan out your projects so you get one each time you go & it will save you alot of money in the long run.

Keep the guest list low. We have a 10K budget with 75 guests in Miami – its hard but we are making it happen.

As for your dress – check out bridal events in your area – especially Running of the Brides. I got my dress for $250 w/ alterations – everything will be $500 – that really helped out the budget.

Go for semi-formal rather than formal – this can help out with attire cost – consider your FH can wear a sit rather than a tux – perhaps find one at a sale or look online.

Also, DIY your centerpieces – by keeping the guest list low you have less tables – which means more DIY possibilities. Dont need a florist – just go to the flower stand about a month before scope out what you like & then photo it & have some friends get together to help you the day before & leave them at your venue so they can place them on the table.

Less guests = less linens, FOOD, DRINKS –  less costs!

With a budget – remember, quality over quantity is what I feel works best!


Post # 34
442 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: January 2009

Biggest money saver ever- Costco roses!!!  We ordered them ahead of time, and got incredible flowers that lasted for two weeks after our wedding, and they’re $15.99 for two dozen.  We got roses for 20 boquets (mine, bridesmaids, centerpieces), 7 bouts, 4 corsages and other decorations for undre $250.  That plus about $10 for supplies like florists tape and wire, and some bribes to our friends to help us and we were set.

 Second biggest money saver ever- finding a venue that let us bring in our own alcohol.  Again, Costco- big bottles of wine are cheap cheap cheap.

Post # 35
4 posts
  • Wedding: August 2009

Congrats BlueButterfly! It’s great seeing another CNY bride on the boards! I’m an under 5K bride too. I don’t know how big of a guest list you are going to have, but IMO that will be what determines where your budget will be spent. You might be able to get better deals if you do an off day like the sunday before columbus day.

I’m having small intimate wedding. Just 30-32 guests and we are having a sit down plated dinner at a restaurant in Utica. Our cost is $40.00 per person including open bar for the duration of the event. A friend is doing our cake as a gift. My dress was a sample from a local bridal shop, the total cost with alterations was $600.00. I found my shoes for $8.00 at Payless. I got my headpiece & veil at Michaels for about $25 thanks to their 50% off coupons. My flowers cost $250.00 at a local florist. I found a photgrapher on Craigslist for $800.00. I found a limo for $250.00. My Fi’s ring was $500.00. His tux rental was $120.00. Our officiant charges $500.00. We are going to iPod our reception. I found Michael’s to be great for DIY projects like our invites, centerpieces &  favors…they always have 40-50% off coupons and they will take competitors coupons, but you can only use one at a time.

I really recommend you pick up a copy of Bridal Bargains….it has great tips in it. The best $15.00 I spent so far. It has saved me a ton of money.




Post # 36
26 posts
  • Wedding: August 2009

I agree about Bridal Bargains, good read.  However, I checked it out at the local library.  They had several shelves of wedding books. I’ve also seen it on craigslist and at used books stores.

Post # 37
59 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: May 2010

Hello again bluebutterfly… I did a little research and created a post just for you listing some finger lake region venue options. Hope it helps! 🙂

Venue Ideas for bluebutterfly

Post # 38
27 posts
  • Wedding: July 2009

I’m also on a low budget..like $3000.  My FH works on a military base and we are getting married in a garden area in front of a fountain–FREE.

Reception in the club/bar at the base $250 includes clean up.

Photgrapher:  local photography student $200

DJ: wife of FH coworker, she does karaoke also $200 for 4 hours

Invites: from Hobby Lobby on clearance for $9, printed for $4, postage for invites and RSVP was about $40

FLowers:  Fake from Hobby Lobby, Daisies and sunflowers 50% off

Dress:  ordered tea length bridemaides dress in white $90 including shipping

Shoes: clearance at Deb $7

hair/makeup:  sister in law FREE

FI/groomsman outfits:  khaki pants and button down shirts

bridesmaid dresses:  sundress of their choosing

centerpieces: Mother-In-Law found heart shaped dishes at garage sale 14 for $7, adding colored gems with water and a floating daisy; gems at dollar store $10 for 10 packs

food:  hor doerve reception starting at 2pm, food being made by myself and MIL’s

I’m looking for deals everywhere I can find them, not spending a bunch of money on decor

Post # 39
5280 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: November 2010

Cut your guest list if you can.  Check etsy for everything!! Lol! I love etsy!  Consider getting married the day before a holiday.  For example, the day before the day before Thanksgiving.  Most people have the day before Thanksgiving off.  Having your wedding on these non-holiday holidays will save you a ton of money.  You can also work on some DIY things.  Invites are a sure fire thing to do diy as well as your centerpieces.  Candles in a votive with ribbon wrapped around them go a long way.

Post # 40
7 posts
  • Wedding: July 2009

Wow, you have gotten a lot of suggestions!!  I love this website for that reason, but I didn’t have time to read them all, so sorry if I have repeated some. 

 I am doing my own flowers.. I’m just going to Whole Foods or a farmers market a few days before and picking them myself and then doing a simple bouquet.  I’ll attach a picture of my practice bouquet (I’m not married yet).  Keep in mind the flowers aren’t the ones I’m actually using since it’s just cheap flowers from WalMart, but I’m budgeting about $50.00 on flowers.  Also, my centerpeices are potted flowers.  You can find some cheap containers and spray paint them.  Mine look great!  I would attach a picture, but I don’t have them all made yet.  Also, ask around!!  Other people are your best resource!!  My Fiance found our baker from someone at his work who had recently gotten married.  We are getting a beautiful and delicious cake for $230. 


Post # 41
6 posts
  • Wedding: June 2017

So you’ve gotten some great advice so far, but here’s my two cents:

1. Have the reception at a restuarant, as opposed to a hotel or other venue. (This can save you thousands!)

2. Make it a small guest list.

3. Think outside the box. (You could spend hundreds or even thousands on save the dates and invitations. Why not do something creative instead? You could make a YouTube video of yourself and your fiance for a save-the-date or an invitation! I would be thrilled if I got this from a couple – it’s so creative! And CHEAP. You could then direct them to a wedding Web site for more information and to submit their RSVP. Total cost for this? If you already own a Web cam, camcorder or can borrow a friends – just 9.99 for the Web site.)

4. Look to local universities, community colleges and trade schools for your vendors. Hire grad students in the local university’s graduate film and photojournalism programs to do your videography and photography. Hire students in a culinary program to do catering. (Most culinary programs do this on a regular basis….and they’re so much cheaper than hiring a caterer). Hire students from a floral program to do flowers, etc.

Post # 42
210 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: July 2009

I would also have to say the top 5 ways to cut your budget are:

1.  Guest list – keep it as small as possible

2.  Do a Friday or Sunday wedding – HUGE savings!

3.  Do a late wedding with just simple appetizers and cocktails. (make sure guest know so they can arrange to eat a Real meal before hand)

4.  ipod Dj for the reception and student musicians for the ceremony

5.  DIY!!! Flowers, Invitations, and decorations (I would also go without favors or give a donation to your favorite charity.  You can get cards printed for free at VistaPrint.com to let each guest know that a donation was made in there honor.)

Good Luck!! 

Post # 43
365 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: September 2009

I see you’re from Central NY? I am having my wedding in the Finger Lakes and one of the MAJOR budget savers for us has been using a local grocery store (if you’re from CNY I bet you can guess which one) to cater! For 130 guests, the cheapest quote we got from a caterer for food and hors-d’oeurves as well as service for the reception was well over $5000, yikes! This was for the bare minimum buffet style food and paper service. Weggers cut that to less than $1500 and we are getting MORE food and, in my opinion, better quality food as well as servers!

We hired a photographer from Craigslist who is looking to expand into wedding photography.  We aren’t having any prints done by her (will do that ourselves) just a DVD full of the pics she takes. This saved us at least $1500

We are ordering flowers wholesale from fiftyflowers. For about 500 stems it will cost us around $550. Vases and ribbon/fabric for making the arrangementswill cost an extra $100 or so.

We ordered plain gold wedding bands from iWeddingbanc.com for $150 total, this including the engraving and shipping. We both love our rings!

We are using speakers we already own and our ipods for the reception music, that saved us anywhere from $500 to $1000 right there. We are splurging on the ceremony though, looks like its going to cost us more than we had wanted ($1200 instead of $600 or so).

We rented a city park for $50, we’re bringing our own alcohol and foregoing the bartender (self service with adult friends/relatives taking turns supervising). This probably saved us about $1600.


Good luck! There are tons of choices to cut the budget!

Post # 44
59 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: May 2010

I got a super informative comment on the post I did w/ venue suggestions… I really hope this helps 🙂

"I found your article and I think that I may be able to assit. I was planning my own wedding in the Finger Lakes for two years. One thing that I found living in the area is there are not a lot of venues, especially wineries that would allow you to have a ceremony and reception for under $5000!

However after much research I did find a place for our wedding and a winery that would have accommated our reception.

Norton Chapel is located on the edge of Keuka Lake in Penn Yan. It is a beautiful church and in the Fall the view is unreal. Plus it is minutes away from a number of wineries. One in particular that seemed to be inexpensive

Hunt Country Vineyards.

I looked at Heron Hill but to rent their space alone without food was over $5000, and that was way over our budget.

Many people I talked to from this area often have their weddings at Norton Chapel and then go either to

Hunt Country Vineyards for a tented weddings or Sarrasins on the Lake.

That is a restaurant that is right on the water.

Another idea maybe to arrange to have photo’s taken at places like

Bully Hill Winery, Hunt Country, Heron Hill, Ravines, McGregors any of the wineries on Keuka Lake that would give you the lake and vineyards in the background but then have your ceremony and reception somewhere else.

I hope that helps.

Best of luck with your plans"

– <strong class=”fn”>eventweddinggirl


Post # 45
124 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: August 2009 - Eastside Catholic Chapel and Lake Union Cafe

Besides all the DIY, I can’t endorse Craigslist enough.  If you put out there that your looking for something, however unreasonable it might appear, you might find someone great looking for a break.  If no one answers, then you don’t lose anything.  YOu just have to be patient and willing to do a little research on the offers.  I love my rehearsal dinner caterer and I found her on Craigslist.

Post # 46
299 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: September 2011


These people did a fun and inventive wedding that was personal to them! You have more than 2x the budget they did! A very lovely event can be done on 5K! You may have to get inventive and I would definitely say start planning early so you can really compare prices and get the best deals possible and things that can be DIY you will have plenty of time for them! 

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