(Closed) Okay, but REALLY… how do you pull off a wedding for 10K?

posted 10 years ago in Money
Post # 3
2 posts

The wedding is but a mere blip in your happy married life together. Gain some perspective, Frosting! 

You can either have many guests at a modest venue, or a grand wedding with just a few guests.

I’ve been married 2x.  The first time was a medium sized wedding and I was totally stressed. The second marriage was an intimate, immediate-family-only event in a gorgeous location, and was much more enjoyable for me.

Post # 4
11324 posts
Sugar Beekeeper
  • Wedding: February 2011

The real, brutal answer: You don’t pull off a wedding for 10k unless you make some VERY real sacrifices. You cannot have a “normal” wedding for 10k in most parts of the country I don’t think. You have to sacrifice something— cut the guest list waaaaay down, find a super cheap venue, don’t do dinner, skip alcohol, skip a dj, skip florals, etc. 

We’re doing about 13k for the wedding itself (not counting rehearsal dinner, rings, or honeymoon) in Ohio and the big sacrifices we’ve made: 

– DIYing all paper

– found a cheap venue

– found a venue that allows us to supply our own alcohol and it will be beer/wine only (and pretty cheap beer/wine at that)

– ipod reception instead of dj

– almost no florals (my floral budget is $250 and that needs to cover boquets, bouts, and corsages, we will prob DIY this to make it work. all decorations will be non-floral)

-DIY everything— all decorations, etc. 

– No hired DOC (i have a friend who will help)

– no transportation

– beg for price reductions (i have negotiated EVERYTHING seriously… saved $500 on my photog by begging and about $2000 on my venue/food)

– have your wedding in the off season (we’re in Feb)


so um yea… it is hard. Honestly if I were you I’d take the 30k and have it where your parents want. 

Post # 5
1806 posts
Buzzing bee

With the exception of my dress (a gift from my step-dad) and our honeymoon (a gift from my FMIL) we’re doing our entire wedding for around $7,500. Use your friends! DIY! Start doing things now! Only buy things from Michaels if you have coupons! Look on retailmenot.com for coupon codes when ordering online! Use craigslist for vendors! Buy from etsy.com! Enter blog contests for wedding items (I already won my guestbook!)

There’s a million ways to get about it. Our venue is FREE because it’s a winery my FH works at. That saves us $3,000! I know that’s not possible for everyone out there, but we’re also doing our own flowers, and decorations! It’s definitely doable, you’ll just have to work at it and compromise!

Post # 6
2111 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: July 2010

Our wedding was a bit less than $10,000 but we only had about 95 guests.

We had it in a hotel. We had to pay for the ceremony room and then the reception room was free if we had 90 to 100 guests.

Here is our approx. breakdown…

Photographer – $840 (she was just starting out so her prices were great!)

DJ – $660

Cake – $375

Flowers – $500

Venue – $3369 (ceremony room and meals for 95 people)

Dress – $825

Veil – $100

Alterations – $230

DH’s parents paid for the bar. We had a toonie bar ($2 canadian). The hotel charged about $5 a drink so then guests paid $2 a drink and DH’s parents paid $3 for each drink bought… hopefully that makes sense.

Plus the gifts for the wedding party, little things like place cards, cake serving set, supplies for favours, etc… I have it calculatated to about $9K but I’m sure I’ve forgotten to add something in. I would guess our wedding cost less than $10,000.

We saved a lot by having it in the hotel. We didn’t have to buy very many decorations. They even did the centrepieces for free!! They were simple and I was fine with that.

We also didn’t do anything like chair coverings, limo, etc… My aunt made our invitations as our wedding gift.

And Michael’s 40% off coupons saved a ton of money!!

Post # 7
1806 posts
Buzzing bee

that being said…i’m not having chivari chairs…just plain garden chairs. I’m not having floral centerpieces, we’re having an open beer/wine bar..no liqour because we aren’t allowed. I’m not having a photobooth, even though I really want one.

so it’s definitely not going to be easy. you need to be realistic. I’m compromising on a lot of my choices, but it’s still going to happen, and it’s going to be gorgeous.

Post # 8
2394 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: April 2010

Unless you can cut your guest list significantly, I don’t think $10K is a workable budget in a major metropolitan area.

Taking money from your parents may be more trouble than it’s worth to you, though, so I would suggest the following:

– Slash your guest list by about 75%

– Extend your engagement to allow more time to save

– Look for an outdoor venue a la Miss Sandollar

– Self-cater

– White bridesmaid or off the rack white dress

– DIY decor

– iPod DJ

– Costco or paper flowers, if any

Even if you don’t wind up accepting financial assistance from your parents, I would look outside your city, as prices are almost guaranteed to be lower.  I’m in NYC which, granted, is a bit more expensive than Philly, though not by much, and we paid ~$30K for 35 people.

Post # 9
1288 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: June 2010 - Indiana Memorial Union

Cut your guest list, which I’m sure you don’t want to hear. My wedding was 15k for 50 guests, but I splurged on some unnecessary (but great!) things. We could have stuck to 10k without the splurges.

My venue wasn’t anything unique or gorgeous, but it was suitable. Also, it wasn’t in a major city, which cut down on the costs of flowers and catering, just because it wasn’t city prices.

Post # 10
6391 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: September 2011

We’re just a hair over our 10k budget. We went with a country club that does a ton of weddings, which has made everything easier. You can rent chair covers and decoration from them.

The biggest thing is to just keep it simple. I’m not talking plastic silverware simple, though. For example, our cake will be blue with a white ribbon tied around it. Our decorations are going to be mostly hand-made from paper and a ton of glitter (the finished product isn’t as tacky as it sounds, I’ll post pics soon!).

The things you don’t really need: a live band, top shelf liquor, dessert (they can eat cake), several courses, huge Bridesmaid or Best Man bouquets, a videographer, a hugely expensive dress.

Here’s what we spent on everything:

  • $6,000 for ceremony site, reception hall and food (buffet dinner with four entree choices, salad, and four sides)
  • $1,500 for dress (I probably should have gone cheaper, here)
  • $2,500 for fabulous photographer
  • ~$250 for cake
  • $500 for DJ

Yeah…like I said, we went over budget a bit. But choose your priorities, and you’ll still be able to have a great wedding! You’ll probably have to drastically cut your guest list, though!

Post # 11
3148 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: July 2010

MY wedding )minus the honeymoon) cost a smidgen over 10,000.00 I could have dont it for UNDER VERY EASILY if i didnt get suckered into my Maggie wedding dress *laugh*. MY theory is…be super resourceful.

My wedding was featured on the bee. http://www.weddingbee.com/author/real-budgets/ take a look, it might help.

Photographer – $1200(she was just starting out so her prices were great!)

DJ – $650

Cake – $100 (she was just starting out so she was cheap!)

Flowers – $230 (works from home and i was very carefree about what she did as long as it was the colours i wanted!)

Venue – $1700 (including rentals of chair covers, dishes etc.)

Veil – $30 (EBAY BABY!!)

Alterations – Bustle and steaming for 60.00

Post # 12
3219 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: November 2010

For that amount of guests you will have a really hard time. I would cut the guest list A LOT and then you can do it easily!

Is there a venue that allows outside catering? That could be a way to cut down, I dont think DIY catering is a good idea.

Don’t be affraid to tell people that their quote is more than you budgeted for. I for my dj down $300 when I told him that.

Find a photog/ vendors on craigslist or one that is just starting out but has still done a lot of weddings. My photog has done at least 30 (by the looks of her blog) and is charging $400 with a disc of edited images!

Look on etsy for invites- make an alchemy request you will be AMAZED what you can find for cheap!


Post # 13
2312 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: August 2011

We budged $15,000 (paying for it ourselves) and I will be amazed if we even spend $10,000. Here’s what we’re doing:

-Inviting at the most 100 people. Assuming the 20% decline rate holds true for us, we’ll only have about 80 guests.
-Our reception is being held at a popular/famous local restaurant that has a GREAT deal on food. $25/pp, including tax and gratuity for a full dinner buffet. Only $200 to rent their banquet room! Check restaurants rather than “popular” reception venues. We got a great deal this way.
-Because the banquet room isn’t huge, I don’t think we can fit a dance floor, so we’ll have the music done from an iPod on a computer, and after the reception, the younger guests are going to be invited to join us for drinks/dancing downtown.
-Instead of a full open bar since most of our guests don’t drink, we’re just going to offer beer and wine. It saves us the cost of paying SO much for an open bar when probably only 20% of the guests will even drink at all.
-The only florals I’m doing are my bouquet and the 2 bridesmaids’. No bouts, no corsages, no floral centerpieces, and no arrangements in our chapel since it’s beautiful enough on its own.
-Instead of buying my dress at a bridal salon, I plan on trying on ones I like, finding out which fits me best, and ordering an “inspired by” dress from an eBay seller who got good reviews. This will save a TON of money.
-We’re getting our cake done by a local grocery store, Publix. I don’t like fondant cakes and prefer buttercream, their cakes are DELICIOUS and I’ve heard nothing but good about their wedding cakes, and we’ll be able to get the cake to feed 60-70 guests for about $170.

To me, none of these were sacrifices. I love where we’re going to have our wedding and it was just a bonus that it was so cost effective. I’ll have PLENTY of wiggle room and could easily upgrade to Chivari chairs or add more flowers or a photobooth or you know, whatever, but I just don’t care for any of that stuff. I know that’s not what guests pay attention to at a wedding, and I just don’t want it. I don’t feel like I’m paring down; I just want a relatively simple but beautiful wedding that’s not over-the-top and crammed full of extras that nobody wants or pays attention to, you know? Anyway, those are the things I’m doing, and even with having simple tastes and trying to do what I could to save money, we’re going to come in way under our original budget. It CAN be done!

Post # 14
71 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: October 2010

My wedding (not including the honeymoon or rings) will be less than $4,000. I have a gorgeous venue, but I’m in WV, where things are slightly cheaper I would assume.

What I recommend is… don’t get married on Saturday. My wedding is Friday. (Next Friday!) and I saved a TON of money. I made it for 7pm so people wouldn’t have to take off work. It’s going to be a gorgeous night ceremony in a chapel and my reception is in the same building.

Yes, have your wedding out of season. March, April or November.

Instead of full per person catering I’m ordering food from a restaurant and having it delivered and set up buffet style. We are going to feed 75 people for $600.

I didn’t go crazy on a dress. Nobody needs to spend thousands on a dress, unless they have the money to do so, of course. Wedding dresses are so much cheaper these days. My dress, crinoline, accessories, shoes, everything was under $500.

We’re doing the Ipod wedding, so no DJ fees. My venue coordinator is doing the announcing for us.

I’m doing the flower arrangements myself. I ordered bulk flowers from Sam’s Club and got vases from the Dollar Tree.

My photographer is AMAZING and she cut us a deal. Ask for deals. I assumed we wouldn’t be able to afford a photographer. I found one I liked, told her I didn’t have much money, and she cut me a deal. Simple as that.

I’m not having alcohol. Venue doesn’t allow it. I get to save money that way. It’s not popular with guests I’ve heard, but they can surely live without it for a few hours.

Didn’t rent limos or anything like that. Bought my invitations online and I got tons of compliments for under $200.

Cut things that you can live without. Candy bars are nice, but not necessary, among other things.

Take advantage of all the DIY things out there. I made my guest book myself from following a template on the DIY page of Wedding Bee.

Post # 15
1645 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: May 2010

We did our wedding on a 3k budget. Day time Saturday wedding. 125 guests invited, and 85 guests attended.

$150 venue. State park building. It was beautiful with tons of windows, and an awesome arched wood ceiling.

$500 bride attire. (dress + alterations, shoes, undergarments)

$100 tux rental

$130 rental chairs for ceremony, linens for tables provided, speakers for ipod reception

$1300 Food. Dinosaur BBQ catered.

$500 drinks. soda, bottled water, bottled beer, lemonade and sangria.

$90 kids bags, candles + ribbon for centerpieces

$50 DIY invites, seating cards,

$250 Day of coordinator plus assistant. (OMG a HUGE lifesaver! set up everything day of, managed buffet, refilled drinks, etc…


Flowers were paid for by my Mother-In-Law. We had 3 bouts (groom, Bridesmaid or Best Man and FOB) and three bouquets (bride, BMx2). We also had several loose stem flowers purchased for aisle decorations.

Cakes and desserts were made/purchased by my parents.

Photography was free from a giveaway. This would have added about $1000 to our budget.


It can be done!

Post # 16
141 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: July 2011

Don’t order or set your eyes on anything until you’ve found: the venue, food and alcohol (at least the prices), and photography. Those will be the most expensive, but necessary things. One you’ve decided what you need to spend on those, the rest of the budget numbers will fall into place. Remember, you won’t be able to cut costs on the flowers or dress after you’ve bought them!

A big thing I’ve noticed in comparing venues is that it’s really important to add in ALL of the hidden fees before making a choice. For example, one venue might have a low rental fee, but make you use their alcohol, bar, caterer, etc WITH a 21% service charge.  Having to rent tables and linens is another big add-on. Also, check to see if they require you to use their coordinator (usually another $300). It’s also possible that a certain venue will end up saving you money because they cover the cake, offer guest hotel rooms, etc. I created an excel budget sheet for my top venues and compared every detail in each.

Overall, I’ve found that the venues that let you bring in your own caterer and alcohol while providing chairs and tables are the best deals (unless you’re looking for a banquet hall wedding, hotels with packages are usually better deals in that case).

Good luck!

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