(Closed) We can’t afford a wedding

posted 10 years ago in Money
Post # 31
3620 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: September 2010

@Bostongrl25 – check out http://www.baysidefunctions.com in Nahant MA – just 15 minutes from Boston… we got married at the park ($150 fee to rent) and then had our reception there. They have inexpensive packages that are all inclusive.

Special Wedding Package $39.95 per head

  • A Professional Wedding Coordinator to Assist in Planning Every Detail
  • Exclusive Use of the Bayside for 5 Hours
  • Full Four Course Sit Down Dinner from our Special Menu Selection
  • Silk Head Table Centerpiece, Floating Candle for Guest Tables
  • Choice of Linen and Skirting Colors
  • Champagne Toast
  • Special Wedding Cake
  • Personalized Placecards
  • Guest Book and Pen
  • Private Picture Room / Dressing Suite

Special Menu – choose 1 from each category

AppetizerFresh Fruit Cup with Fresh Mint • French Onion Soup • Chicken Tortellini Soup

SaladTossed Garden Salad Served with Petit Pains and Butter

Main Entrees• Baked Stuffed Boneless Breast of Chicken Stuffed with Broccoli and Rice• Boneless Breast of Chicken Stuffed with Herb Cheese• Baked Boston Scrod with Seasoned Breadcrumbs• Roast Beef with Bordelaise Sauce

StarchBaked Potato • Oven Roasted Red Bliss • Rice Pilaf

VegetableVegetable Medley • Green Beans Almondine • Honey Glazed Carrots • Broccoli and Mushrooms in Lemon Garlic Butter 

DessertSpecial Wedding Cake with Seasonal Berries and Whipped Cream

Coffee and Tea    


Post # 32
2686 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: October 2015

A lot of outdoor sites are much cheaper than going to halls or anything. The GORGEOUS botanical garden my SO and I have been looking at is WAY cheaper than even the Holiday Inn or anything like that.

As far as decor, DIY helps a lot. There are tons of amazing tutorials all of the Bee and other places that can help you put together a wonderful look for much cheaper.

For food, look at making your own. It’s cheaper and you can find some wonderful recipies that can be made much larger and then do a buffet style for a lot cheaper than the per plate fee caterers charge.

Finally, and this may not be your favorite option, but it is one, consider a longer engagement. If you love each other now, you will love each other one or two years from now when you have some more money saved up. Money shouldn’t limit you to the day you want to have, so keep your head up and rely on ALL the resources you have, not just the monetary ones.

Post # 33
143 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: October 2012

I totally know what you mean! Me and my guy are looking into more of a cocktail reception with just drinks and lots of little bits to eat. There are also places out there that let you provide your own food, if you have a cook in your family or even yourself just make a whole bunch of little bites for your guest and also of course have a little desert bar again something you can do yourself if you are even the littlest bit crafty.


Good luck!

Post # 34
7362 posts
Busy Beekeeper

View original reply
@Bostongrl25: Scoot over…pity party for two.. Believe me I know your pain.

Our wedding has been thru so many diffrent visions because the reality of what we want to do vs. what we can do are at two ends of the spectrum. We’re still in flux with our plans which is beyond frustrating. Most important take away for me is really let go of any details that just aren’t priority. Sure I prefer a sitdown but if buffet is cheaper, then thats what it has to be. Get the list of guests as tight as possible. Believe me, everyday all i can think about is this damn budget and how being in NY makes it feel like its damn near impossiible, but i know it can be done. I have be at peace with our conessions and know its for the greater good.  Good luck.

Post # 35
3598 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: January 1992

@Bostongrl25: The wedding we had was less than 2000 dollars. We had 40-50ish people there. That figure includes everything but the honeymoon.

Post # 36
477 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: March 2011

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!!



Post # 38
685 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: May 2012

I hear you! We don’t have ANY savings at the end of the month. We make just enough to cover bills so my wedding is going to have to be $1000 or less and I’m starting to think it’s just not worth it.


Post # 39
18 posts
  • Wedding: August 2012

ugh I am basically in the same exact position as you…looking in the same area, same amount of money to be saved, except I’m probably looking at an even bigger guest list of at least 100. 

Honestly, I have looked at probably close to 100 places so far….and I am beginning to give up.  All I want is a modest dinner with some alcohol available….and even after looking into self catering, after factoring in rentals and things I’d need to buy separately, I’m not sure it would work.  I’m getting so discouraged that I just want to curl up in a ball and give up.  I’ve tried all of the above suggestions and nothing is fitting in with the budget, unless I really skimp, in which case I’d rather just save the money all together.  I’m trying to decide if it’s worth it to do a half-assed wedding or just scrap it all together. 

Anyway, sorry to be a debby downer, just wanted to say I totally empathize with you…and if you do find someplace that works, let me know!

Post # 40
1636 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: May 2013

have you checked out parks?  I am having my vow renewal in our local park(where we got married).  But I have to pay 60 bucks cuz its a ‘special” ramada with a stage, etc…  and i have to pay and extra like 30 bucks for a beer permit, and I htink a noise permit (to allow for a dJ) will be another 30 bucks.  However, there are parks where its free.  or if i were to choose another ramada it would be free, but i want THIS One, its where we got married. 

For catering.  I don’t think i am going to do a caterer.  I think I am going order trays from the grocery store, and I am thinking My mother in law will not mind setting up and tearing down as she thinks this whole VR is a stupid Idea anyhow, but if she can’t do it, another friend has offered.

A friend of mine takes excellent photos.  Not professional but really good.  We are going to do some practice shots and stuff so she will be prepared.  I told her I didn’t want her to do this because I wanted her to have a good time she said “I have a good time taking pictures”  and she really does, she has a passion for it so that helps.

We are only serving Beer and Spiked Lemonade (with not so top shelf vodka). 

We are also only going to be serving, bottled water, regular lemonade, and iced tea.

Party City I found out sells clear plastic plates for really cheap in bulk.

You can get really get creative…  try http://www.dollarstorecrafts.com you will find alot of good ideas there:)

don’t fret:)  you have come to the right place! for sure


Post # 41
46 posts
  • Wedding: January 2011

I just have to say that you’re awesome for prioritizing practical things before your wedding.  Very admirable.  

We spent less than $9,000 on the wedding and related expenses ($3k of which was helping family with accomodations) and so many people told us it was the classiest wedding they’d ever been to.  For us the key was keeping the list on the smaller side and breaking away from all the standard “expected” things.  I found it helpful to approach the whole thing like I were planning a fun reception for an art gallery function — something fun and conducive to talking/visiting with a few wedding activities (cutting cake, bouquet toss) mixed in.  We got our cake from a very nice bakery in town — it’s our favorite local dessert but we rarely buy it because it’s a little pricey by cake standards.  By WEDDING cake standards, though, it’s definitely less than half the going rate…we felt spoiled and our guests raved about it, but it was seriously a steal compared to the alternatives.  Keep it simple and find things you really like and find to be a good value, and I’m sure you’ll come up with something very fresh and budget-friendly 🙂 Good luck!




Post # 42
785 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: July 2011

First of all, my wedding is costing about $7,000 total (not including honeymoon) so it IS possible!  Here’s how we’re doing it:

  • Fiance and I are only paying about $4,000 of that, so my first suggestion to you is to politely ask your families if they can contribute, and how much
  • Use your talented family members and friends!  My cousin is doing our photography (semi-professional), my friends are playing our ceremony music, my aunt made our bridesmaid dresses, FI’s uncle got us really cheap wedding rings because he’s a jeweler, and my family has helped out a lot of other things as well.
  • DIY as much as you can!  Invitations, card box, centerpieces, veil, ANYTHING!  If you aren’t that good at it, get your bridesmaids to help
  • I spent a little over $100 on bouquets, bouts, corsages, and flower girl petals by using fake flowers and DIYing everything.  They look fabulous!
  • Cut down on your guest list as much as you can
  • Serve sandwiches or finger foods instead of a sit-down dinner!  (We’re having a buffet dinner)
  • Buy your dress at David’s Bridal or get a white dress that isn’t a “wedding dress”
  • Use as few vendors as you can:  We’re having ceremony and reception on the same site, and that site is also doing our alcohol; our caterer is also doing our cake; we don’t have a florist
  • Use non-floral centerpieces like candles, books, or fake flowers
  • Find a cheap DJ (ours is costing $250) or use an ipod and your venue’s sound system to REALLY cut costs!
  • Pick a venue that doesn’t normally do weddings
  • And lastly, DON’T PANIC!  You can do this!

Post # 43
14 posts
  • Wedding: August 2011

I’m in MA too and I was originally planning a wedding for here, but then we decided to go back to our home state.  I think you can absolutely do it with that budget, if you’re willing to be flexible with your date.  If you wait until February or March there are tons of places looking to fill up their calendars for the spring and summer at huge discounts.  I know there is a hotel in Salem that was offering like $40-45/plate.  There was also a nearby garden/ inn (I can’t remember which one) that was $40ish pp.  Just an idea, but it would be a huge savings.

Post # 44
535 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: December 2010

I know a place in Boston where you can have a wedding for about $33 a person ++ and the food is really good.  PM if you are interested. 

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