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

posted 10 years ago in Money
Post # 32
157 posts
Blushing bee

Either you can pay for the wedding yourselves and make sacrifices regarding what you consider your ‘dream wedding’ or you can have your parents pay for it and play by their rules, that’s just how it generally works.  Is you large guest count due to your parents inviting friends or family that is a priority to them?  If you are paying for the wedding yourselves then you have all right to reduce the guest count to the people you feel you couldn’t get married without their presence.  After that, it’s all in the details, and deciding what is more important, the wedding or the act of getting married.  If you wanted to, you could totally do a wedding for under 10k.  You just have to understand that you will be making sacrifices that I am not sure you are completely willing to make based on your post and what it seems constitutes your ‘dream wedding’.  

We paid about 13k, but our parents helped with about 4k, and so they requested we invite close friends of theirs and extended family that ‘they just wanted to see’.  This accounted for an extra ~30 ppl so, had we exclusively paid for it ourselves, it would have been totally doable to come in under 10k.  We found a relatively inexpensive caterer, did DIY flowers and decor, almost all DIY paper products, used and iPod for music, still had an open bar but served only beer and wine (used Trader Joe’s two-buck-Chuck) and didn’t have champagne, rented a school bus for guest transportation instead of a coach, chose a venue where we could have both ceremony and reception, kept our rentals limited to tables and chairs and plates/forks and we picked them up instead of paying the delivery fee, I bought my couture dress pre-loved and at a third of the price, a friend hand rolled truffles as our favors (and her gift to us), I found an “up and coming” photographer who only cost us ~$500, and we had a super casual rehearsal dinner bbq at the hotel.  It’s all about making it work!  : )

Post # 33
15 posts
  • Wedding: October 2011

My fiance and I are having a destination wedding in Hawaii. Everything included, venue, food, alcohol, accomodation/flight, spending money, wedding coordinator, photgrapher is coming up at under $15K. If you want to go that route, I highly suggest it. It is not as stressful as planning a home wedding and your family and friends can make a vacation out of it.

Post # 34
743 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: June 2012

I hear ya Vanilla!  FI and I started out this process with an attitude of “it is just ridiculous to pay so much in one night – WE are going to keep it cheap.”  And reality is now creeping in.  Who knows, maybe I am really off base (I am still in the early planning stages myself), but the impression I get is that if you want to keep it less than 10k with 100+ people, you have to make a major cut: either no DJ, no pro Photographer, no booze, not on a Sat night, or MAJORLY cur the guest list.  

Someone correct me if I am wrong, but this seems to be the case.  And while I am very happy for the lucky couples who have friends with venues/dj skills/photo skills, these are not great examples to share with the rest of us who have friends with no talent 🙂  

But it looks like you will have to loose the booze, the DJ, or half your guests, or go with a lovely Poconos wedding curtesy of Mom and Dad.  Honestly – if they are offering, let them pay – I bet your friends in Philly will be willing to drive up the road a few hours for the weekend for your wedding.   Good luck!  



Post # 35
6571 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: February 2010

We cut out a lot of things that we didn’t care about. No dancing, so we didn’t need a dj. No transpertation, b/c we stayed at the venue and ceremony and reception were in the same place. I DIYed a lot, everything I could. We found a venue (historic inn and spa) that was beautiful but cheap, all they charged was $35 per person for everything except cake and alcohol. You just have to do a LOT of research to find the best prices.

Post # 36
1115 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: April 2010

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@Rock Hugger: 

LOL at "friends with no talent". 🙂

Like I said, when I started planning I was going to hire a DJ, officiant, and a florist.

The DJ and officiant we ended up with were friends-of-friends. And the girl who did my flowers…I had no idea that she had put herself through college working in a flower shop. And I’ve known her for 5 years! (She’s married to one of DH’s good friends.)

It doesn’t hurt to ask around. Especially in the early stages of planning.


Post # 37
7691 posts
Bumble Beekeeper
  • Wedding: August 2010

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@ohheavenlyday: Greensboro, Georgia so I cant speak for all Publix! I can show you pictures…they did a horrrrrible job

Post # 38
11324 posts
Sugar Beekeeper
  • Wedding: February 2011

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@SophiaPetrillo: normal might have been the wrong word… maybe “standard”? What I mean by that is what I think most people would consider the basics for a wedding: 

– guest list of your choice

– nice venue

– catered dinner and cocktail hour

– full open bar

– florist to do all the decor

– good photog and dj and cake baker

– favors


Basically having all the standard components of a wedding done by the standard vendors… not having to DIY everything and not totally skipping some things (like dj or whatever). 

Post # 39
157 posts
Blushing bee

View original reply
@CorgiTales: perhaps ‘traditional upscale’ would be more appropriate then

Post # 41
194 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: January 2011

our budget is $12k.  and as of right now, we are coming in under budget – YAY! hehe. I was looking to spend over $1k on a dress but ended up loving one that was half the price – score! We did splurge on our venue $3500 and photog $3000 but to me, those are important parts of the day. a great, fun place, and awesome pictures to look back on. a high school friend is doing the catering – light h’orderves, I will have a candy table, and we will have beer and wine and a little liquor.  Our venue is outside of city limits so it’s a BYOB place but we will still provide some alcohol.

Just shop around for everything else! That’s what I’ve been doing.  Your budget is just fine and will work out if you pay attention to everything 🙂

Post # 42
286 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: November 2010

We are doing our wedding for about $7,500 and about 90 guests. My parents are paying $5,000 and we are paying the rest. We are getting a deal for the catering and hall because my parents are lifetime members of the fire department and we are having the reception in their rental hall.  Here is my approximate breakdown:

catering $1,300.00

alcohol $250.00

gown $800.00

Maid/Matron of Honor dress $125.00

tuxes $300.00

accessories $300.00

invites/STD $300.00

videographer $450.00

photographer $450.00

dj $500.00

limo $225.00

choc fountain $385.00

paper goods $100.00

decorations $100.00

linens $500.00

cake $350.00

flowers $450.00

centerpieces $100.00

misc $500.00


My future stepdaughter and stepson are the Maid/Matron of Honor and Bridesmaid or Best Man so that is why their dress and tux are included in our cost.  Misc. costs are favors, candy, guest book, ringbearer pillows, flower girl basket, wine flutes, cake set, etc. Believe me, i’m frugal as hell, and i checked prices 10 times over before i bought something, but i still wanted my day the way I want it. I got both my videographer and photographer off craigslist, flowers and cake were from high school friends who have a florist and bakery.

Good luck!  It can be done on a tight budget.

Post # 43
31 posts

Wow. You can def plan a wedding for under $10k. You have to decide what kind of wedding you want instead of letting the wedding machine tell you what kind of wedding you need.

This couple planned a beautiful and intimate $2000 wedding. I just read it an know it had to be more fun than some of the cookie cutter weddings I have been to.

We decided to cap our budget at $6000. If other family want to help that’s fine, but I want an intimate celebration. Not a party for everyone I have met in the last 10 years.

You just have to sit down and figure out what you want. I found a park that has a mansion on site and the rental is $600 for the site. $50 for use of two rooms in the manor. $50 for the alcohol permit and another $450 to rent a tent for the outside area if wanted from them. We are having an afternoon ceremony/reception that will save us on dinner costs. We will just serve heavy h’ordeuvres.
We are doing our own flowers from fiftyflowers and since my Fiance is a graphic designer/web developer, we are doing our own STD, programs, invites, place cards, table numbers, and anything really that has to do with paper.
We are buying our own alcohol and offering 3 different types of wine, 3 types of beer (Guinness and Murphy’s because his family is Irish and 1 domestic) It’s a wedding reception, not a bar. After the reception is over, then my bridal party and some other friends are heading out for a night on the town. I’ll change into a party dress (already purchased for $120. 1950’s white ivory halterneck full circle dress) We are not traditional and don’t need to rush up to the room to be with each other. We will want to spend the rest of the night with his cousins from Ireland and NY. It’s going to be wonderful and beautiful.

Also don’t take the price quoted! Don’t mention the word wedding! To make this short we called around to limo places. I called and said we needed a limo for an after the wedding reception after party and was quoted $1399 for 5 hours. My Fiance called and asked for a night out for his friends birthday and was quoted $750 for 5 hours min. When I got on the phone and called them out on it, the company said “The wedding package” costs more because it comes with a bottle of pink champagne and a red carpet. I asked if I didn’t want the red carpet or champagne, would it be $750 for our after party and he said no because the event was a wedding. Yeah, guess who is writing a bad preview for that company. Same thing with party rental places. We called about chiavari ballroom chairs just because it seems like it’s the fad right now. I was quoted $9.50 per chair for an outdor wedding. When my Fiance called and said an outdoor dinner party, he was quoted $3.50 a chair! Florist do the same thing. Everything is marked up for a “wedding” But isn’t a wedding reception a glorified dinner party?

I wouldn’t get stressed. Even if you don’t like the $2000 wedding I posted, check out this couple. They had a beautiful $5000 wedding.  

Post # 44
550 posts
Busy bee

The drexelbrook says it starts at 93 a person on an off day and that includes a TON, including the food, drinks and centerpieces, table settings, wedding cake, your taxes and tips etc…they also are open to negotiating so maybe try calling them?

Post # 45
31 posts

Oh, and we are also skill swamping. The day of wedding coordinator had a horribly designed website, but she was awesome! She had done over 1000 weddings and had beautiful photos of her work. Her website looked like one of those old geocites drop and drag things. So her and my fiance are working out a contract right now. The website design and develop time is going to cost way more than the $250 she charges for DOC, but perhaps it will open more doors for my Fiance as a freelancer.

We are doing the same thing with a photographer. We are looking for someone just starting out who needs a website. There are a lot of people who are amazing starting out and want to expand but don’t have the means to create a great looking website without dropping a few hundred.

Give away give away give away!!!! JC Penny gave us a free beautiful wedding planning book and binder for just signing up for a registry on their site! Some photographers have contests. Google is your friend!

Post # 46
294 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: October 2011

My budget is 5k.  Havin around 60 ppl, with very fancy venue as well as lots of DIY trimmings to make it look that much more exquisite!  Talk to the caterer, buffet is cheaper, offer to cut cocktail hour or just have simple stuff.  Also lowering food choices ie 2 entress instead fo 3, will bring price down.  i was able to negotiate with my vendor to have what I wanted for alot less.  Also have beer/wine instead of open bar, have a set tab for mixed drinks  ie $300, and then it closes to just beer wine or soda and juice.

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