(Closed) Unconventional, lower cost wedding formats/ideas? Eloping?

posted 6 years ago in Logistics
Post # 4
853 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: May 2013

my wedding budget is $5000. I have cut my costs by buying a sale dress and making my own invitations. We are also using a family friend as the photographer, and a DJ my mom found a coupon for. And we are having the ceremony at my grandmothers church, where my parents were married

Post # 5
3357 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: May 2012

I spent about $5k on a destination wedding 🙂

minuscule guest list was the biggest factor.

Post # 6
506 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: July 2012

I felt the same way! I found a bed and breakfast that offered an elopement package with up to 8 people. It was a very small affair, but thats what we wanted. Some places do small weddings for closer to 30 people. Our wedding cost just a couple thousand dollars. We had it on Lake Erie so we have nice outdoor photos too.

Post # 7
3369 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: May 2013

We are having our wedding on the beach, at a city park. The venue is costing us $100 for 4 hours (and then some. They said just set up whenever). The reception will be at the picnic shelter next to the beach, and that is where the fee comes in. 

City parks are a huge money saver thuogh, look around!

We’re having a dessert reception on a Sunday afternoon, so the food is going to be a cake, then we’re making the rest of the desserts.

We’re paying $150 for our officiant. We’re using an Ipod for sound. Everyone is standing for the ceremony, so that saves us for rentals.

The photographers are friends/clients of mine and are doing the wedding for free. ASK AROUND! Friends of friends help a lot in wedding planning!

Our total cost? $3500 including my dress, our rings, and our videographer and also flowers. We’re also having 85 guests. 

it can be done! You just have to be creative! 

Post # 8
433 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: November 2012


Not sure where you live, but you can easily have a destination wedding to Mexico with 20 or 30 guests for under 10k. Family members can turn it into a vacation of sorts.

Also, if you live right on the east coast Bermuda is a great spot, only 90 min flight from boston/nyc. I went there years ago and I know someone who got married there and it’s very cute/British colony vibe…

Also you might want to look into key west, I was there over there summer and thought it was a great spot for a destination wedding while still in the US….it’s tropical and beachy, doesn’t really feel like you’re in the states anymore. they have a lot of bed and breakfast rental type places down there, very cute houses where a big family can rent and have a reception, etc.


Lastly, if you live on the west coast like I do, Palm Springs is a great, low cost alternative. It all depends on how far you’re willing to travel. 




Post # 9
2179 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: November 2012

We are on a tiny budget in a big city. Here’s how we are managing under $8000 in Downtown Chicago.

– daytime ceremony and cocktail/appetizer reception with limited open bar (bar will turn to cash bar once our tab limit has been reached)

– iPod with a friend who works in radio as the MC

– having a friend perform the ceremony instead of a paid officiant

– cupcakes instead of a cake

РDIY boutonni̬res and ceremony arrangements

– unconventional centerpieces (read: not flowers)

– a venue that includes table linens, glassware, etc

Good luck!

Post # 10
83 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: November 2012

Number of people is the primary cost driver for a wedding.  Given that your fiancee wants a big party I guess you have to figure out how to entertain a lot of people on the cheap

You could do an initimate cermony at someone’s home or the beach early in the day and head to lunch with that small group and then host a party with friends and family in the evening (after typical dinner times) and just serve dessert and champagne.  Not sure where you live but you may be able to get a private room at a nice lounge.

Post # 11
9550 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper
  • Wedding: August 2013

A reception/party will cost the same whether it’s the same day as the wedding or if it’s later (after an elopement). So cost shouldn’t be the determining factor for elope and party later vs traditional wedding and party on same day.

Post # 12
2281 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: June 2012

We kept our costs down by having a cocktail party wedding instead of the traditional wedding + plated dinner reception. We had the party just after the dinner hour, and had a lot of hors d’oeuvres so people could fill up on those if they wanted to. We bought wedding clothes we could wear again (short cocktail-style dress for me, pinstripe suit for him), had one attendant each, and about 65 guests. Because we did our vows a little ways into the party, and didn’t do a processional or anything, we didn’t need musicians – just the dj for the party. We had a bar with beer and wine provided by us, but since it was at a restaurant, there was a full bar if anyone chose to purchase a different drink. We kept the decor to a minimum, got a photographer we paid by the hour instead of getting a big fancy package, and had cake done by DH’s aunt. 

We did so much of the planning and work ourselves that the preparation for the wedding was extremely stressful. But the wedding itself was a dream – it was fun, everyone enjoyed themselves, and we had the big party for family and friends that we’d dreamed of. 

Post # 13
2692 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: November 2012

I think eloping and then having a reception will turn out even more costly than just having a smaller semi tradtional wedding locally.  I am having a 150 guest wedding for around $5000, so it can be done.  Figure out your prorities, talk with your fi and come up with a plan so you can both get what you want without spending a fortune.

Post # 14
2 posts

Yes, there are many unconventional lower cost small wedding formats, elopement packages, destinations and creative ideas available from small romantic inns and bed and breakfasts.  We’ve found that there are many creative solutions for holding quality small weddings and receptions.

Post # 15
1269 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: May 2013

From the options you gave I’d expand and say ceremony at city hall or a local church (if you don’t go crazy with decorations it won’t cost much) and then a house party reception!

Post # 16
2 posts
  • Wedding: December 1969

We’re doing ceremony/reception in 1 place. We are quite frugal (not cheap though lol) and it will come up to about 2000$ with 100 guests. Our main expenditure was splurging on a DJ who was originally going to charge 700$ for 7 hours but we got him down to 550$. Our favourite bakery is catering a “midnight snack” for about 5$/pp. I bought my dress online (fits like a glove) for under 100$. I’m also paying for my bridesmaids dresses which ran about 40$/each. Lots of DIY (and I’m actually really freaking out because the wedding is in 5 weeks and there’s still lots to do…). Our guests include family, co-workers and close friends. We both have many other close friends but they’re too far so we didn’t invite them. Whatever you want to do, it’s doable, your partner and yourself just have to be on the same page. Good luck!

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