Your DH may have to compromise with you about a 200 person blow out. I think you should probably slash that down to like 100, max.
But you can definitely have a lovely wedding for $6000. You might want to ask your parents if they would be willing to help you with your wedding attire (dress, accessories, shoes, maybe hair and makeup). And perhaps FI’s family can kick in a few bucks for a casual rehearsal dinner (we ordered pizza and appetizer platters from BJ’s for 40 people for not very much money). If you get 4 of his buddies get tuxes at Men’s Wearhouse, his will be free.
This photographer is based in Boston, she does amazing work and is really affordable for the quality of work. (After all, all you have left are pictures afterwards!) I almost flew her out to CA for my wedding: http://calinpetersphotography.com/www.calinpetersphotography.com/rates.html
Despite what brides get hung up on (and I definitely did), NO ONE remembers the following: food, cake, centerpieces, favors, invitations, STDs, and programs.
Most of the time, if you just feed people something they are familiar with, they will be fine with it. I can only really remember 2 meals I have ever had at a wedding, and its only because they were SUPER luxurious. And even then I’m not like “OMG THAT WAS THE BEST MEAL EVER.”
You know what’s awesome? 11am weddings and a lunch reception. Its so much cheaper, and it takes the pressure off of serving a huge meal and people can get home at a reasonable hour. Do a picnic type spread with pasta salads, sandwiches, fruit salad, cheese plate, etc. Everyone can find something to eat, people can help you make the food if they want, or you can contract that out to a supermarket or deli or even Costco for not that much money. We did that for my bridal shower (croissant sandwich platters, cheese and crackers, fruit salad, chips, guac and salsa, red velvet cake, wine, champagne, and soda for 20 people for under $200). Everyone wolfed down the food and said it was wonderful. Or find a local Italian restaurant to serve lasagna or spaghetti with salad and garlic bread. Easy and comforting.
Do not bother spending money on invitations and paper. I swear everyone will keep it on their fridge for a few weeks and throw it in the trash, if that. Wedding websites are free, so just pick one and go with it. We made our STDs on Vistaprint for $40.
We served wine, beer and champagne (and mimosas) at our wedding and it cost a couple hundred bucks. Half the weddings I go to these days don’t even have booze. Especially if you have a luncheon or afternoon reception, no one will even notice. Lemonade and iced tea is fine.
Our favors were CD’s we burned on our laptops and stuck in cardboard sleeves. Everyone drove home listening to our jams.
I made my own centerpieces, altar flowers, bouttonieres, corsages for our moms, and pew flowers in a total of 3 hours with 2 friends the day before the wedding. I just bought brightly colored flowers from the wholesaler and threw them in bottles with some plant food. Everyone thought they were stunning and I spent like $350 total (although I did get my bouquets made professionally). On the other hand, my friend ordered a box of Gerber daisies from Costco and was able to make all of her bouquets and decorate every table for like $150.
Or you know what’s also really cool? Get a pie or a small cake and make it a centerpiece! Put the table number on top, add a fresh flower or two and you’re done! When the time comes, everyone can serve themselves.
My friend and I came up with a playlist of music for the reception. We had a list for cocktail hour, dinner, and then dancing. He got a Rhapsody membership for a month, made playlists on his computer and we amplified it onto speakers for dancing. Or maybe you already have a sweet collection of tunes – just make a playlist and have someone watch over it during the dancing part.
You can always DIY a logo or find a rubberstamp of an image you love and just stamp it on everything so it all looks like it matches. We did that for our invites, programs, menu cards, and favors and everyone thought they were super fancy. (In reality it was all white Avery labels or cardstock that I rubberstamped on).
You can do it!!