(Closed) Need inspiration from other brides on a tight budget

posted 11 years ago in Money
Post # 3
1157 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: August 2011

First off, congrats on your engagement and marrying the man of your dreams.

Secondly, I am also on a bit of a tight budget.

One suggestion I would give is looking into restaurants. I will be getting married in the basement of a restaurant (they have a banquet hall there).
There is no fee for renting anything, the restaurant is known for great food and it is well within my price range.

Also, look into cheaper alternatives for centrepieces. Or check if your venue offers them.

There are a lot of other threads on here with good advice also! Good luck!

Post # 4
523 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: November 2011

Congrats!!  We’re getting married on a really tight budget as well.  We’re getting married on the beach and having a restaurant reception (cost of rental for everything is $400).  Of course then food on top of that, but the food is delicious and the variety is fantastic for the price!  Also, I know a lot of people feel strongly against cash bars, BUT my family and friends realize we’re paying for everything ourselves and are totally ok with a cash bar.  We found a couple for our photography who are building their wedding portfolio, so it was DEEPLY discounted… plus they do great work!!  We’re doing a Publix cake and I got my dress at Running of the Brides (samples, incorrect orders, all discounted).  Fortunately we have a florist in the family, so I just had to purchases vases and vase gems ($70).  All flowers and other decor they are doing for us (THANK GOODNESS)!!!  Vistaprint is my best friend – I got 7 $50 vouchers for $5 each with some help of family members buying LivingSocial deals for me (since it was limit 1 purchase per account)!! 

There’s lots of cost cutting approaches you can take!!  It just takes some time and research to make sure you’re getting the best value for your money!

Good Luck!

Post # 5
2906 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: November 2011

Congrats!!! Get a small wedding cake.. and sheet cakes in the back to serve to guests. We saved alot of money by serving different kinds of pasta instead of a steak or whatever dinner. Get a photographer that is just starting or find a photography major at a college near you.. shop around.. go to expos maybe get coupons.. and diy I saved 500 on floral bc im doing it myself. You have to shop around and it takes time.. but its worth it in the end.. you can do it i think we are doing around 8k for 112 people so you should be ok with your size guest list ona 5k budget. Good luck! 🙂

Post # 6
198 posts
Blushing bee

Our dream wedding didn’t include dancing and a large reception.

Both of us wanted a small outdoor wedding with close family and friends, a dinner reception to relax and celebrate with our families.

I’m a very much a DIY person, so making the decorations and invites is something I looked forward to doing.

Post # 7
548 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: September 2011

Congrats on the engagement!!

My Fiance are also footing the bill for our wedding/reception ourselves, and I put us on a $5,000 budget.  I just don’t want to blow all our hard work in saving for the past 11 years together for one day.  What I did before I started looking into anything was to write out a budget, and then create an xcel tracking spreadsheet.  I divided everything into categories (Ceremony, Reception, Attire, Cake, Flowers, etc).  Witin each category I listed the individual items.  I created a budget amount for each category based on the Typical % of your overall budget that normally goes to that category (taken from sources online, wedding planning books).  What I found was:

Ceremony 5%, Attire 10%, Photography 9%, Videography 5%, Stationary 4%, Reception 35%, Music 5%, Bakery 2%, Flowers 6%, Decorations 3%, Transportaion 2%, Rental items 3%, Gifts 3%, Parties 4%, Misc (license, newspaper announce, etc) 4%.  If you run these #’s you will probably be overwhelmed like I was that some of your categories seem to only have pennies to spend…but don’t freak out…get creative.

After seeing these numbers in black and white it helped me prioritize what we could do without to put that $$ back into another category that is more important (For example, we threw out the transportation, no limo for us, we are not hiring a videographer, we are not throwing an engagement party or any other party pre-wedding that we are paying for).  I then re-organized that ‘leftover’ money into the categories that were at the top of my priority list (photography, attire, reception).  Doing this gives you a GREAT guideline to work within, and really helped me to keep $$’s in my head when I was planning, so that I didn’t blow the budet.

Now, onto how to keep costs within the budet #’s.  I 100% agree with the brides that already posted on looking into resturaunts for the reception.  We are hosting our reception at a local italian resturant on a Sunday evening.  Since they are normally closed on Sundays, there is no fee to rent the space.  You will find this with a lot of eateries that are closed on Sundays or Mondays.  If you are willing to skip the traditional Saturday wedding, you can save $$’s on the reception venue going this route.  Most will just have a minimum dollar amount they want you to guarantee.  Shop around to find one that is reasonable and don’t forget the power of negotiation.  Also this takes out the need for riduculously up charged catering, and bar service at a traditional venue.  I also agree 100% with doing a hybrid of a open/cash bar.  We are just providing a couple of kegs and four cases of wine, after that our family and friends are on their own…and contrary to some people’s beliefs, they are fine with that, they are there to celebrate our love for one another.  A Resturant setting also can eliminate the need for decoration at the reception site and floral at the reception site.  Our venue has single rose and candle centerpieces normally, and that is just fine with us!  They also have nice linens, so that gets rid of that rental need.  It also eliminates the need for table/chair rental that you would run into at a hall.

Next, figure out what you can DIY or halfway DIY.  Etsy.com is a great site that offers tools for DIY’ing invites, and also great prices on pre-done invites.  I found great things there for our stationary.  We also decided to work with family to make our own cakes, HUGE savings… Can you say FREE other than the butter and eggs.  I bought off the rack for my wedding gown, which got me into an extraordinary dress for minimal $$’s.  Then I found a private, local seamstress to do my alterations.  For my veil, I ebay’d it.  And for my accessories and shoes… I have told myself that I can only buy it if it is on sale, from the stores I normally shop at.

We did splurge on photography, as it is my #1 prioirty, and on the band for the reception. All in all, I am only ending up over in the photo, music, and reception categories…but all in all am going to wind up right around my mark since I excluded things that weren’t that important to me.


Sorry for the long post, but I totally feel you…and You can totally do this!!!


Post # 8
16 posts
  • Wedding: July 2011

I don’t know if it is an option for you, but I was able to save a substantial amount by using vendors in my hometown. I am from a tiny town about 30 min from the “big city” and i am using my hometown florist and photographer for a fraction of the cost. The best part is that I’m supporting local, family-owned business AND the florist also did my brother’s wedding many years ago.

Post # 9
548 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: September 2011

@emperesss: Totally agree with looking into this if you can.  I have had many friends of mine (I am also from a small town) user vendors from back home, and their price points are drastically lower.

Post # 10
163 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: June 2011

You can save a LOT of money on invitations, if you design/print them yourself. Mine, in total (including the invite, RSVP cards and envelopes) were under $250 and I had a blast making them in photoshop 🙂

Post # 11
949 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: July 2011

Congrats on your engagement. Fiance and I have a tight bidget as well, I think we’re going to come in right at 3k, a little more if you add my dress and cost of our rings.

My tips are:

Get married in a smaller town, things are generally a lot cheaper all around

Enter contests and search around for deals from local vendors. I won my wedding photography and found a florist that was offering 1/2 off wedding flowers.

Pool your resources. I would love an outdoor wedding with tented reception, instead it’s a church wedding/reception because there is no rental fee. Also, no expectation of drinks. We’re also getting the rehearsal dinner/lodging for free at my uncle’s hunting plantation (it’s like 20, min away from everything else, but free is free)

Cupcakes instead of wedding cake was a lot cheaper in my case.

Keep decorationsflowers to a minimum.

David’s Bridal or websites like OnceWed to get a deal on a wedding dress….or the classified section on WB, great deals there. (I found my photographer, STD designer, and invitation designer on the classified boards)


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