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

posted 11 years ago in Money
Post # 47
171 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: October 2011

I’m doing e-card STD-Free

Got invites on clearance at Micheals, 50 for $6

Using vases, candleholder, baskets, etc- as many as we can from home, my sis and SIL…brought down cost DRAsTICALLY!!!

Consider centerpieces – mirror with petals and 2-3 votive candles

I made all centerpieces for my borhters wedding with $1 store flowers, like $15 for 10 centerpieces

-Use discount coupons from crafs stores to get items- Micheals gives you a 40% 1 item following week with each purchase.

Classified here have awesome deals- I’ve gotten my mirrors at less than half of store price here.

Do you have any friends marrying soon?  When I planned BFF’s wedding, 2 other friends marrying within few months, so they shared costs of some decor and used at all 3 events, changed some ribbons, etc.

It can be done!! Dont loose hope

Post # 48
858 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: October 2012

Sit down with your fiance and decide what elements are your must haves and what you have no interest in. Figure out what you can afford from the first list and nix everything from the second list.

Be aware that while alcohol is nice to have, it will make your budget skyrocket. If a full meal is a must, have your favorite local restaurant cater to your venue as they will have better food and be cheaper than a regular caterer.

Skip the favors. No one will miss them.

Post # 49
983 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: February 2011

I didn’t read through all the responses, so I apologize if any of this is a repeat.

The big 3 things: number of guests, and the fact you have to shelter and feed them. So anything that you can do to affect the guest list, the venue, and/or the food will probably have the biggest impact on your budget: slash the guest list, choose a venue that’s perhaps off the beaten track (try state parks, private galleries, restaurants) and think about serving brunch, appetizers, cake-n-punch, or a picnic/bbq. If you want to have dinner, then choose chicken over lobster. Other big ticket items that will help you save are having wine and beer instead of a full bar and an iPod instead of a DJ or live band.

The other things, flower, dress, decor etc. DO count and you WILL save money if you’re smart about them, but saving $200 by not having favors is not the same as cutting 20 people at $100/head from your guest list and saving $2K. See what I mean?

Post # 51
28 posts
  • Wedding: September 2010

Seconding everyone else who mentioned it– definitely do not pay for anything paper. I made everything myself except for my invitations, and although I got a great deal on them, I wish now that I had also printed those myself too. There are so many DIY paper options you can find for wedding invitations, programs, place cards, etc. in Target, Wal-mart, Jo-Ann Fabrics, Michael’s, Hobby Lobby, etc. Many of them are just as lovely and expensive-looking as professionally printed items.

Also recommend the iPod DJ– that’s at least $500 saved right there. I would just appoint a friend or family member to be an MC, so that certain events can get announced and the night runs smoothly.

Last recommendation is to look for a photographer in a rural area perhaps a bit far from where you are having your ceremony/reception. I hired a photographer based out of Lima, OH, which is about 3 hours from Cleveland, OH, where I got married. Because she was from a small town, her rates were much lower than those in the city, and she only charged an extra $100 to travel the far distance.

Post # 52
3856 posts
Honey bee

Yep, it’s all about what you can cut out. We cut in the following areas:


-flowers (just bouquets for the ceremony, no flowers at the reception, and a friend of my mom’s is doing them for a discounted rate)

-alcohol (we chose a dry campus location)

-dress (I bought from China and only paid $180 including shipping, and a friend did the alterations for free)

-pampering (no mani pedis, and a friend is doing my hair and make up for free – she’s a beautician and an old friend)

-cake (we went the costco sheet cake route with an 8inch round just to cut)

-food (we were fortunate to find a venue that had their own catering for aroud $20-25pp for plated dinner)

-decorations (no ceremony decorations, minimal reception decorations)

-dj instead of a live band

-just a pianist (another friend) playing for the ceremony

-a friend is officiating for free

-got a discount on photography (although we used it to upgrade a package, so we’re paying what we originally thought we would and just getting a lot more for our money)

-uncle is lending a car for transportation

-accesories (I’m wearing jewelry I already had, and only spent $20 on shoes, $16 on my veil, and $5 on a fascinator – etsy sale! – but it took me a LONG time and a lot of searching to find stuff I liked in my low price range.)

-invites and paper products (my cousin is a graphic designer so she did our design and we did all the printing and cutting ourselves. We also intentionally kept our invites light so we’d only have to pay 44c in postage, and did rsvp postcards instead of envelopes; no programs or menus; all the info is on our website and we constantly direct people there)

Honestly, if I could start over, I would probably do it a lot differently – we would probably have the same (invited) guestlist, but a 9am ceremony with a light brunch-apps reception + mimosas and cake. And then in the evening we’d meet up with the younger crowd (also our Out of Town crowd) at a bar or something to party.

Post # 53
1374 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: April 2011

Have your wedding on a Sunday and move it to the off-season.  Also, cut your guest list.  We’re having a VERY nice early-evening wedding in the wine country for about 65 people on a budget of 13,000.

Dress: $500 (bought a sample at 40% off.)

Venue+Food: $8,000 (you’re really not going to find anything cheaper in wine country. Freaking tourists…)

Booze: $250 for corkage (dad buying the actual beer and wine. Venue providing champagne)

Cake: included in venue cost

Flowers: $500.  (We’re mostly using candles)

DJ: $850

Photog: gift from parents

Groom’s tux: $200

Invites+STD: $500

Hair and Makeup for Bridal Party: $500

Day of coordinator: $300

Officiant: my aunt

Accommodations for Bride and groom night before and after: come with venue

Biggest money savers: Having it on a Sunday during the off-season.  I really can’t stress that enough.

Post # 54
93 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: July 2011

@October4040: Where in WV are you getting married?!  I’m jealous!  I’m in Morgantown, where everywhere I looked that would fit my guest list was in the ballpark of $100/person or more for what we wanted.  I wish I had read some of these suggestions before I started planning!

You can cut down costs by writing a want/need chart.  Ex. You want chiavari chairs for your wedding but you NEED to serve dinner or you want DJ X but you need Photographer Y.  See how much you’d save using that list.  Working with a budget, no matter how big or small is all give and take.  Also, using photographers/djs/bands who are just starting out will save you quite a bit, just make sure you see some of their work prior to booking!

My mother slashed my budget by 30% once she stopped getting as many hours at work, so I understand how you’re feeling :(.

Post # 55
185 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: September 2010

@ohheavenlyday – I got my cake at Publix and it was gorgeous and delicious.  They did a wonderful job and it wasn’t expensive at all. 

To the OP – My wedding budget was $10,000 and we had a lot guests tell us that they had been to $50,000 and $60,000 weddings that weren’t as nice as ours was.  I did a lot of DIY stuff, I made chocolote rose lollipops in our wedding colors for the favors and they were beautiful and people actually ate and enjoyed them.  Our ceremony and reception site was a one stop shop and we cut out things that weren’t super important to us like chair covers.  The venue had table linens that matched our wedding colors perfectly, which saved us.  Our flowers were narrowed down to only bouquets, corsages, and bouts.  We saved money by not having flowers in our centerpieces, but did get orchids stems and pulled each orchid off individually and spread them around our DIY beachy centerpieces to give them a pop of color.  For an officiant, even if you have a friend that is a notary, then they can perform the ceremony or if the notary doesn’t want to perform it, they can legalize the ceremony and you can have someone else perform it.  I actually had an officiant and only paid her $150 and she provided all the items for the unity sand ceremony, so that even saved us money.  Instead of having a band or pianist for the ceremony, our DJ did the ceremony and the reception, which saved us money.  Plus, we had fun songs that we enjoyed as part of our ceremony. 

For alcohol, during the cocktail hour, we only offered champagne punch and the bar was close by if the guests wanted something else.  Then, we had an open bar of only beer and wine for 2 and a half hours during the reception and then a cash bar for the remainder of the time.  We told everyone prior to the wedding so when the bar was closing, a bunch of people just went up and grabbed 4 or 5 beers before it closed.  No one was upset because the bar closed early, they were thankful that the bar was open to them at all. 

There are so many ideas out there and you can do it on a budget.  It may not be exactly what you want, but if you really put your mind to it, it can be very close to the $30,000 wedding you always dreamed of.  Good luck! 


Post # 56
72 posts
Worker bee

We’re having our wedding on a 10K budget with 100-130 guests. I’ve been living by the wedding budget calculator on http://www.theknot.com.  We’re having our wedding in a park which provides chairs and tables, found a great caterer, got a dress on sale that needs no alterations other than a bustle, a friend designing our invites and printing them off, getting flowers from the public market…You can make it work!

Post # 57
1495 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: January 1991

Our budget is $5,500, and so far we’re under budget!  Here’s what we did:

1.  Skip alcohol.  It’s not fun, not our first choice (we drink, parents are VERY anti-alcohol), and isn’t always possible, but I think that’s one of our biggest cost savers.

2.  Look for venues that are inexpensive or free. Look at public parks, or historic places.  Ask friends and family if they have any connections.

3.  Go for a cheaper caterer.  We are doing pulled pork, grilled chicken, and side dishes for $10.50 a person.  And it’s AMAZING… we’ve tried it!  Look for caterers that specialize in BBQ or picnics.  There are several in our area and all are $15 or less per person.

4.  Go for centerpieces that are simple and can be repurposed, OR are made from items you can get easily.  I am making candles in tea cups ($2.30 a piece), and we are using bud vases (borrow from friends/Goodwill) with a single stem.  We’re also using books that Fiance and my dad have to stack as the middle of the centerpiece.

5.  Go to bridal shows!  My sister won a whole ton of stuff from going to a bridal show and I’m going to some myself!  You can win photography, a dress, food… tons of stuff!

If you WANT to have a wedding on a budget, you’ll find ways to make it work!

Post # 58
20 posts
  • Wedding: February 2011

its really not that hard; i promise!!! lol you just have to look around and explore you options. i think when they say that you have to “sacrifice” many things..THEY ARE WRONG!! when you go into wedding planning with a budget, you dont have to sacrifice too much. i dont really have a “budget” but i refuse to spend a fourtune if i can get by a little cheaper!!!

My dress, veil, and sash for my dress & alterations- $900

DIY invitations on sale at hobby lobby – $50

guest book, ring pillow, two flower girl baskets, and guest pen on sale at hobby lobby – $70

Damask table squares on sale at hobby lobby $2 a piece!!!

plastic “look-a-like” flutes for the toast.

sand ceremony set on sale at hobby lobby for $15

and my venue is only $400! but i will have to pay for all the tables and chairs..i decided i would rather go with a cheaper venue and decorate it the way i want..then to pay a fourtune for a venue that already has its styles…

there is a way to make a decent priced NICE wedding!! i know; i know im not spending very much! but I PROMISE my wedding is soooo important to me..i would not have a cheap “looking” wedding!!! find sales!!!! and shop reasonable!!!

Post # 59
318 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: August 2011

@ vanilla frosting   I feel the same way. 

I am trying to cut cost everywhere but I’m still having a hard time at keeping it at 10k.  I tried to cut the guest list but after much arguing with FI’s family was unable to cut guest list.  My guest list is 40 yet we will have a 150+ invitations. Here is what I have done so far to keep cost low.

Friend to officiate, Friend to do music with Ipod, Aunt to do photography

DIY Invitations and program and Email Save the dates

growing our own centerpiece flowers, no other flowers besides wedding party

only beer and wine and we can buy our own liquour

outside caterer

no favors, no menu, no shuttles, no limos, no professional hair/makeup, no DOC

Even with all of that I can’t get the venue, food, rentals, and liquor and associated fees that go with those expenses to be under 10k.  I can’t figure out how to save on those items  How have other bees saved on food costs?

Post # 60
215 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: June 2011

@piglet_625: I’ve heard about how expensive alcohol can be. Fortunately, my SO just found a new hobby in brewing beer and mead (and he’s good at it) so we’re taken care of in that area.


View original reply
@Martinez2011: It makes me sad when I hear the word “sacrifice” when people talk about weddings. I don’t think that simple or less expensive needs to equal sacrificing the things that matter most. I think sometimes people may lose perspective on their original goal.

If a couple wants to spend 30,000 on their wedding that’s fine and if a couple wants to spend $1,000 on their wedding that’s fine too. 

Post # 61
20 posts
  • Wedding: February 2011

@CapeBoundBride: i DEF. agree..theres NO way i will spend a fourtune like some people..YES a cheaper wedding normally is more time consuming because there is normally alott of DIY. BUT i personally would rather make my own things one reason beings it is way more personal and also why have someone else do it for double the cost? i would much rather take the time and do it on my own!!! (: i hate the word sacrifice..i dont think us budget brides are sacrificing..we are just being reasonable(: !! and thats NO disrespect to anyone..just my personal opinion!! (:

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