Post # 1
Hello! Newly engaged bee here (like 5 days ago).
My fiancé and I have set a tentative date of October 27, 2018, 17 months away, and we’ve decided on a budget of $2,000. I know, bare bones. We neither have the income nor the desire for a big wedding to support something larger. We have a guest list of about 70 so far, and we’re willing to DIY as much as possible and scrimp and pick and choose in order to make this work for us. I’m basically Monica from FRIENDS, if that gives you any idea what this process is probably going to be like. My poor real-life friends. 😀
As part of our plan to save, we’re both going to put away at least $60 a month each ($120 total) in order to have $2,000 by the end of October 2018. But because I’ve never planned a wedding before I’m confused about how you pay for things. Like, do you have to have all the money up front? Are you supposed to have your entire wedding budget in your bank account before you make a single expense? Does our plan sound wise/realistic?
Neither of our parents are good people to approach about this sort of thing. Whenever we mention any of our future plans to them, especially anything have to do with finances, they begin to point out everything that could go wrong and basically imply that we’re going to end up miserable like they are. So, yeah…that’s nice. Not that we want sugar-coated answers, but we’re also not people to live in fear.
We’re willing to set the wedding date back further if necessary. We have plenty of time, and we’re going to try to accomplish as much as we can little by little so the expenses don’t seem to hurt as much. I’d just like some opinions and maybe some stories of personal experiences with really low budgets!
Post # 2
- Wedding: October 2017 - Sauk Valley Resort
I’m about 5 months out from my wedding and we have only had to pay deposits so far, except for our photographer and videographer who require monthly payments. Our budget is pretty tight as well, but we saved our tax refund this year and like you, we decided on how much we needed to set aside each month. We currently have all the money we need saved, but we’re putting aside a little out of each check in addition just in case.
Post # 3
- Wedding: May 2017 - The Summit Country Day School Chapel/The Hilton Netherland Plaza Hall of Mirrors
You should only have to put down deposits now. Vendors typically want the remaining amount anywhere from a month, two weeks or a week before the wedding.
Post # 4
kc1014 : Great idea to save your tax refund! I’ll keep that in mind.
Post # 5
Bekah Boots : unless you are having 10-20 people at home serving for you make, and no dj photographer, etc idk how your going to have a wedding for 2k .. just being honest. 70 people is unrealistic. If u spend $20 pp on food and alcohol that only leaves 600 for rings, music, dress, photos, etc
Post # 6
futremrswhite17 : yea, totally agreeing w this. I don’t even know that you could do in home catering for 70 ppl for less than $1200 (with heating pans, utensils, delivery fee, etc). Add on just the bare necessities: marriage license, officiant fees, rings, venue – you’d be at $2,000 very quickly. Not to ruin your dream, just being honest that you may want to scale back your number of guests or you may want to consider either a cake & champagne reception? Maybe something super casual like pizza? Good luck.
Post # 7
Most vendors are going to require a deposit and then the rest of the payment sometime close to the wedding or on the day of the wedding. My coordinator requires full payment a month in advance because that’s when the heavy lifting is but my caterer requires the full payment on arrival.
You may have to negotiate a payment plan that works best for you. But also, you may not have many vendors so maybe you’ll just need a payment plan for a caterer and diy the other stuff. In that case, you would just buy stuff when you can afford it. I’d say wait for sales since you have 17 months. And definitely shop around.
Post # 8
futremrswhite17 : Thanks for your honesty! Yes, we will definitely have to give up several things that thankfully we won’t find soul-crushing like photography, a DJ, catering, etc. And good Lord, I’d never pay $20 a person for food! Sam’s Club here we come!
Post # 9
Bekah Boots : What are you thinking of for a location? Keep in mind that if you need to rent somewhere that will impact your costs a huge amount (even just a license for a park can be a few hundred dollars where I live).
Depending on that, I think most of the points about vendors and deposits won’t apply for you. You might actually find that the bulk of your costs are done along the way (ex. dress, rings relatively far in advance, food right before).
With a budget that small, I would just make sure of a few things: like any budget, allow for things to go wrong and allow some wiggle room of a couple hundred dollars, be sure that your saving is realistic for you guys as a couple and that it isn’t ideal/won’t be a huge struggle from what you’re saving and spending now; also, budget very, very well – include taxes, budget knowing prices will increase between now and then, budget for any gratuities. With your budget and how you’re saving, being accurate (and keeping your costs/budget updated) will be key.
Good luck bee 🙂
Post # 10
bee1988canada : Great advice! We are hoping to get married in a small Lutheran church down some backroads that we have both sung at before (we studied music in college). I don’t know what their fees for ceremony/reception would be. We’ve only been engaged less than a week so it’s a little premature to go start knocking on doors I think.
And yes, having some wiggle room money will help to put my mind at ease!
Post # 11
Bekah Boots : Its not too early! Definitely give the church a phone call and ask what their processes are. I started reserving vendors over a year in advance, and a lot of them let me lock-in their 2016 prices even though I’m not getting married until 2018. Definitely not a bad idea to look into this stuff early.
Post # 12
sparkosity : Awesome! I think I just may call them soon.
Post # 13
A few more suggestions, take ’em or leave ’em & good luck with all your planning 🙂
You’ll run across this a lot but: DIY doesn’t always save money, so make sure to compare costs carefully. & I also found it helpful to look at a generic wedding budget list, then go through it with my Fiance, crossing off the things that were not for us, then reconfiguring a rough allocation of budget. Omitting things was the easiest way to stay affordable, and no one misses a ring bearer pillow but sometimes it’s easy to find yourself down a pinterest hole looking at DIY tutorials to make a thing you don’t want or need. (:
It may be the case that $60/month is all you can set aside right now. But it might also be worth looking at your budgets and seeing if there’s anywhere else you can save money for a little while. There are some awesome online communities for frugal healthy eating that can trim money off your grocery bill, etc. You can set up a “wedding fund” change jar and drop your change from cash purchases in it. This may or may not be for you, of course, but any buffer will help and if you don’t spend it on the wedding, then roll it over to your next vaca or something fun or a slush fund for unexpected bills.
I’d also look at the things you can “buy as you go” so that you get the best deal. Once you decide on venue/location and make some decisions about how you want to enhance that space you can put out alerts or manually check sites that have sales or listings. I like ifttt.com for setting up alerts so I get an email whenever someone posts something on craigslist with the word “wedding” in it.
You probably already know this, but leverage those craft store coupons for all your DIY! Also, since you’re aiming for 17 months away it can help to have a place to wrangle all your wedding stuff. I use some great organizational bins I already had to keep ongoing projects and supplies.
But yeah, in general I think when you’re keeping things affordable, you’ll be dealing less with vendors who need %50 upfront, but be sure to read any contacts carefully so you know when things will be due. It doesn’t hurt to use a planner/gcalendar or something to organize all that as well.