(Closed) Saving money; beautiful but small wedding

posted 8 years ago in Money
Post # 3
278 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: July 2013

Our wedding budget is $2500. Thankfully my parents are paying for the meal, and they purchased my dress. I plan to surprise them and pay them back for the dress.

For us, we started early – about a month after we got engaged. I can’t say we have “saved”. But each pay check we would decide – ok, we’re going to buy X. And the next pay check we’d say, we’re going to buy Y. 

I’ve been keeping all my recipts etc. so I’ll know final numbers. It’s worked for us. We’re both lucky enough to get quarterly bonuses which we used for the big items – paying off the venue, paying for the photographer, etc.

Post # 4
5472 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: August 2012

I didn’t have a small guest list, but I did have a small budget! 

Here are a few things we did to trim costs:

We found an all-inclusive venue… meaning we didn’t need to rent out chairs, tables, linens, plates, silverware, glasses, etc…

We got married and had the cocktail hour & reception at the same location.  We had different areas to use, so we didn’t have to flip the room or anything either.

We served a lunch meal instead of a dinner meal.  I would have LOVED to serve brunch instead, but there would have been bridesmaid mutiny if they needed to get up too early!

Our centerpieces doubled as favors- we liked the idea of a candy bar, so we put vases of different candy at each table, and had a baggie with personalized ribbon at each place setting.  People got up and mingled and grabbed a few pieces of candy from other tables.  It was a big hit!

We used acquaintances or friends-of-friends for our DJ and photography services.  I did NOT want any “friendors” so we kept it professional and there were no issues at all ๐Ÿ™‚

I bought my dress off the rack at David’s Bridal, and I took it to an independent seamstress for alterations.  Saved boatloads on that!

We had also planned to host only beer & wine at the bar, but the in-laws wouldn’t hear of it and offered to pick up the bar tab in order to have a full open bar. 


Mmmmm, I can’t think of anything else at the moment, but if I do I’ll come back and post ๐Ÿ™‚

Post # 6
5472 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: August 2012

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@misspeachy:  Sorry, didn’t see your question til this morning… a “friendor” is someone who is a friend but also a wedding vendor.  The problem arises when the lines are blurred between a personal and a professional relationship, expectations aren’t met, and feelings end up hurt.  I didn’t mind using acquaintances or people we know through other people, since the relationship is clearly a professional one. 

Post # 7
8434 posts
Bumble Beekeeper
  • Wedding: April 2013

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@misspeachy:  If you have a free venue (which is totally awesome) you’ll need to see if they provide chairs, tables, linens, etc.  Like DaneLady, my Fiance and I picked an all-inclusive venue, so I’m not sure when it comes to renting those things, but I would definitely check the classifieds since a lot of brides sell their linens after their wedding.  If they do provide those things, you’ve just saved yourself a bunch and you’ll need to look for a decent caterer (be sure to ask how much it is for staff at your reception).  I highly recommend DIY invites, programs, stationary, etc.  My biggest DIY money savers so far are my cake topper (since it allowed me to have a less intricate cake), doing my own flowers (purchasing wholesale fresh), and designing all of the stationary and printing at home.  Also look for friday/sunday and the off season.  Hope this helps ๐Ÿ™‚

Post # 8
542 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: March 2013

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@jessmicas:  This is exactly how we have budgeted and its worked for us.  ๐Ÿ™‚ We are getting married next month and the only biggest thing left is food.  But we are DIY the food.  We will have about 60 guests.  I’m thinking with food and drink we plan to spend around $500 or less.

Post # 9
43 posts
  • Wedding: November 2012

I cut so many corners and had a beautiful wedding.  I asked a dear friend to officiate for us, and he was honored in doing so, $0.  I asked a friend to play her guitar and sing us down the aisle, $0.  We kept our wedding party down to 2 on each side, 2 brothers, 2 sisters, we paid which most bridal parties pay themselves, for their attire but found dresses for $50 each and tuxs about $80.  I asked a friend from highschool to DJ and paid him $50 an hour, I think it’s normally $100 an hour.  Photographer was also a highschool friend that recently launched her biz.  My package was $700, now I would only recommend going this low as long as you have seen their portfolio and like their style, we had great success.  I wasnt going to throw out 2000 for videographer but wanted the wedding and the important parts of reception filmed.  I found some college kids that did it for $400.  It wasn’t the best editing job with all the cool bells and whistles of those that you see now a days, but they captured what I wanted.  For food we asked a friend and he cut us a deal, otherwise we would have gone through a grocery store/supermarket cause they are reasonably priced.  Flowers all always less expensive to make yourself, if you have a lot of family and friends willing to help you out the day before I would recommend doing that.  There are many tutorials on You Tube on how to make them.  I bought all my flowers online in bulk and they came out great.  If you have a bar serve only beer and wine, no one will complain.  Last, use the classifieds on here to buy decorations, and accesories for your day, they are normally half the price after they are used once.   

Post # 10
9252 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper

View original reply
@misspeachy:  If you have a free venue you will need to check out liability insurance which again will add to the cost. Reputable caterers and vendors in Australia will not work your function if it is not covered by appropriate insurance. Depending on what type of venue it is this can range from $50 to $800.

You will also need the insurance to cover trips and falls, and damage to the venue.

Dress wise try them on in Australia and then look overseas for them. Ordering an original dress from the USA even with shipping can save you hundreds of dollars. Also try secondhand sites especially the US ones as most brides will ship to AU if you are open to it.

You can also go the chinese replica dress route if you are comfortable as well.

Biggests budget tip- cut your guest list. Think long and hard about who is on that list. Does your friend from university who you haven’t spoken to in over a year really need to be on that list?

Look at alternative food. A lot of community groups have catering experience and do so to raise funds to support their organisation. Think Asian or Indian but even the local Italian social club would be good to check.

ALso try the local Tafe and see if they have a catering department. They often produce high quality food and often have on site restaurants.

Same goes for photography and hair and make up. Try the trade schools/Tafes.

Also please look into your liabilty around serving alcohol at your free venue. If they have a liqour licence great but if not this might be a major hiccup for you.

Post # 11
1853 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: May 2013

I picked an off-day that I knew vendors wouldn’t be busy. My wedding is in the morning on a sunday followed by a lunch reception. We’re saving lots of money  and having a wedidng that would normally cost much more.

We picked a local park as our venue. Now, there is a part of it to use that is free-but you don’t get exclusive use. I’ve had picnics there and seen kids playing soccer and swimming in the stream while people are trying to get married.

We are using the Japanese Gardens and are paying the fee of $400 to have exclusive use.

Look into local restraunts for receptions if you plan on having a smaller wedding. We invited 80 people and the local restraunt we chose had just build a room for parties- complete with a  custom stone bar, hardwood floors and crown moulding. We’ll be the first to use it!

Total we’re at $4250 for everything. Our  budget is $5000 and we have a few tiny things left, but we’re going to make it under budget.

tl;dr: use off days, local vendors, parks and keep the guest list small.

Post # 12
1594 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: June 2011

we had our reception at a restaurant at one of our fancy hotels.  we didn’t have to decorate or anything, just provide centerpieces if we wanted.  The wedding menu included a gorgeous cake and we bought their house wine (which was quite fancy i must say!).  That really helped keep the cost down but we only had 26 people. IDK if there are restaurants that can take 70 or so but it doesn’t hurt to ask!


Also, Friday evening weddings are much cheaper  for location, rentals, and photography

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