(Closed) Wedding VALUE vs. Money spent

posted 8 years ago in Money
Post # 17
122 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: October 2013

Site fee, catering and drinks= 7500 vs 10k

DJ= 800  vs FREE

Photographer= 2300 vs 2700

Flowers= 1250 Vs 1000

Cake= 350 vs 350

Favors= 300 vs 250

Dress=1100 vs 1299

Save the Dates=250 vs 65

Shoes= 100 vs 15 ( Yeah I am proud of this one)

WIFI Cameras at reception= 650 vs 400

I am amazing at searching out deals and am not afraid to ask to negotiate. One florist told me I needed to book with her right then and there becuase she could book up fast. The way I see it is there is ALWAYS another florist to help me and be flexible. What does it hurt to ask to save a buck (or hundreds). I told my venue I couldnt afford the per person charge for catering. The chef made us a custom menu and we saveda small fotune.

Post # 18
951 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: June 2013

Still in progress of course but here are the deals I’ve got so far:

Reception – booked entire restaurant, no venue fee and F&B minimum is only $4000 because the owner knows my sister. After comparing min F&B at other places and venue rental fees, we expect to save about $4000.

Dress – Vera Wang retail at $6000. Got it pre-owned with a perfect bustle and $600 of drycleaning done and only paid $2500.

Flowers – florist has history with my family and will charge for flowers only – no labour. Expect to save about $300+ there.

Save the Dates – Vista Print $17 for $70, so spent total of about $25 on $80 worth of STDs

Shoes – Buying Jimmy Choos with various sales and coupon codes… $360 instead of $590.

Buying tons of stuff on eBay and DIYing a lot of stuff so minor savings here and there.

Post # 19
6255 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: March 2014

Not very far into it yet, but…

I had a dress from a failed previous engagement (scandalous, I know.) The dress was retail $2700, got it for $2300, but it’s essentially free.

My photographer package was about $2600 after a discount of 20%, but I only wound up having to pay half of that. It includes an engagement session, day after, and unlimited two-shooters on my wedding day. Good photog, featured on The Knot and in blogs. So $1300ish

My venue is going to be around $1500. Not sure what it’s worth exactly, but I do feel like I am getting a heck of a bargain, especially since they will let you bring in your own food and alcohol. Here are a few pics.


Post # 20
175 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: September 2013


Venue: Usually $900, we’re paying $650 for the ballroom, terrace and patio, plus a day of coordinator.

Photographer: Usually $1500, we’re paying $1400.

Dj: Not sure his usual price, but it’s normally that for 4 hours +$150/additional hour. He is only charging us $400… and that is for ceremony, cocktail hour, and reception, AND lighting, no time limit.

Flowers: Ugh I don’t even want to think what the price would be if we went through a florist, but from what I’ve looked at… Yikes! We’re doing ALL of the decor ourselves for $300.

Cake: Getting a beautiful cake from Publix for $300, would be way more at a bakery.

Officiant: Usually charges $100, charging us $90 and that includes the rehearsal. 

STDs: Got a groupon for $17 for $70 worth of products on Vistaprint, also had a deal if it was your first Groupon you saved $15… so I paid $2, got my STD’s, bridesmaids shirts, initial stickers, and return address labels. All we paid was shipping.

Invites: Making ourselves, we’re paying ~$300… would have been closer to $500 at least to buy. 

… Ok I think that’s it so far, other than things that I have just bought when they were on sale and what not. I have to say though, most of this is from casually mentioning the groom is in the military… I’m definitely not good at haggling.

Post # 21
1880 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: April 2013

So far we’re paying sticker price for everything, but what our venue and most of our vendors offer for their sticker price is WAY less than the vast majority of research I did indicated for my city. We know a baker who is doing our cake and we do get a friends and family price off that I guess. All of our quotes from other vendors for alcohol were 8k, ours is 4k; most DJs we found online were 2k, the one our venue recommended is 1k; most venue rentals were 3-5k not including tables and chairs (which would add another 1-2k to rent), ours is 3k including tables, chairs, fancy lighting, lighting staff, event supervisor for the day-of, three bartenders, buffet staff (all these things of which would have to be paid for separately at another venue); etc. So while we’re paying the sticker price, we made sure to find a sticker price that was lower than all the other venues that were similarly sized and similarly beautiful and included more stuff. And our caterer is pretty reasonably priced as well. For our budget at every other venue we looked at, we’d have to have a bare-bones wedding. At this venue, we can have an all-out wedding!

Post # 22
6255 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: March 2014

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@distracts:  Your price for rentals sounds kind of high. Are you doing lounge furniture or anything else special? Maybe prices are just different between OKC and Dallas, but I figured they’d be fairly similar.

Post # 23
593 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: March 2013

I have gotten LOADS of good deals thanks to dear friends:

Venue: 6,100 not discount BUT he did not charge me additional to upgrade to colored versus white tableclothes (so technically this was a 200 discount).

Cake: A friend of a friend does wedding cakes and since we were recommended to her from her friend she did our cake half price (Value: 600, Paid:300).

Photographer: Again, a friend of a friend has a brother who does photography on the side. Since he is not a complete professional (you could never tell from his pictures) he usually charges $1500 for a wedding, bridals and engagement shoot. He did us for $700.

DJ: Another person who does DJ on the side. He is a local sherriff in town and I had him in 5th grade as my dare officer. Since he remembered me, he is charging $300 instead of his usual $500.

Florist: The BEST florist in town happens to be a good family friend! All the arrangements she is doing for us FREE of charge for labor, we are just buying the flowers (she is even paying for some of them and vases). Normal cost is about $1200, we are paying her $400. 

Ceremony Musician (Harp): $200.. no discount but I think great price.

Dress: $950 including alterations, this was a $100 discount on the dress.

Paper stuff: Used a coupon on shutterfly and paid $20 ($30 in savings) for STD’s. Had custom made invites from another Bee for only $175. Anything similar I saw was running around $300. 

Officiant: $300, no discount.

Just from the big things total value is around 11,800. We are paying right above 9,300. We have also saved a ton of money on all the small stuff. I have bought things one by one at Michaels, JoAnns and Hobby lobbing using 40-60% off coupons or buying things as they were on sale. I also purchased 8 candy jars for my candy bar SUPER cheap from another bee. I have used coupons for department stores, bath and both and VS for my bridesmaids gifts (over $100 value each, I paid around $40) and I have used coupons for the candy for my candy bar. I have kept all the reciepts for the small stuff and so far I have spent about $700 on all the small stuff (everything from ribbon to cardstock to candy jars to Bridesmaid or Best Man gifts, to sand ceremony set, chinese take out boxes, labels, garter, stamp sets, cocktail napkins, over 20 various gold/coral/navy picture frame, candy, etc) but have saved well over $1,000. 

Post # 24
1880 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: April 2013

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@EffieTrinket:  Most specific venues charged $3-$5 per chair ($8-$12 for Chiavari without a seat cushion) and $10-$20 per table, plus more for linens (which we’re renting separately anyway because our venue only has black). Renting from non-venue places would be cheaper on the surface but then there would be separate delivery and setup fees. It was absolutely mind-boggling to me. (We weren’t planning on any lounge furniture just because of the INSANE expense, but our venue has some so we’re ending up with it anyway.) I should note that this is venues that we looked at only – there certainly could be cheaper ones out in the suburbs or less fancy, and most of the ones that only held 70-100 people had cheaper overall prices too. But we were looking for a 200-250 person wedding that is NOT shabby chic/rustic, and my fiance absolutely ruled out hotel or country club ballrooms as not his style, so, you know.

Our venue doesn’t normally do weddings but does live music (and then their non-music events are usually fundraisers for charities), so I think that may be why they don’t do crazy price stuff. There is a minimum you must spend at the bar so they make as much as they do on an average show, but it’s still just half the price of most of our booze quotes and I imagine we’ll meet it easily enough with 200 guests.

Post # 25
5658 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: August 2012

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@KingsDaughter:  they definitely would! Like on the show 4 weddings. You can pay all the money in the world but if the mood and atmosphere is bad it doesn’t matter 

Post # 26
6112 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: August 2012

I including H’s ring because we had an elopement so I don’t have food/venue really to compare.

H’s wedding band $350 paid ($700 Value) – I had an old ring that I was never going to wear again, so we turned it into the origianal store and they took the entire value of my old ring off H’s band.  $700 went to $350.

My Attire $701 paid ($1152 Value) – My gown, shoes, jewelry, bra, slip, hairpiece.  Dress was 50% off at sample sale.  Jewelry was 50% off at Dillards.

H’s Attire $306 (same) – this is for H’s suit (Kohls Mark Anthony collection), shirt, tie.  There probably was some Kohl’s sale but they always have sales!

Wedding Photography $1260 (same) – this is for 3 hours of wedding photography.  Includes all the edited photos.

Ceremony $206 (same) – marriage commissioner in Canada, her travel fee, and marriage license paperwork

Details $550 paid ($815 Value) – we booked an elopement package at a lodge in one of Canada’s national parks.  It included some meals, wedding stuff and lodging, but after I removed the lodging costs, $550 was for my bouquet, H’s boutonniere, three course wedding dinner for four, handmade single tier wedding cake, champagne, two breakfasts, arranging the commissioner, engraved toasting flutes, and someone to plan it all.  The planner took my photos of cakes and bouquets I liked and made it happen.  I think it was a deal!

TOTAL Paid: $3373

TOTAL Value: $4459

Post # 28
6255 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: March 2014

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@distracts:  Wow. Most of the venues around here provide you with chairs, linens, etc if they have them, and normally they do (sometimes they’re ugly, but usually those are cheap venues in the first place.) And those prices for Chiavari are outrageous. It’s about $6-8 here. Sounds like you got a good deal on your venue otherwise, though, so it will likely even out in the end.

Post # 29
4027 posts
Honey bee

@KingsDaughter:  I will play…and I love saving money and figuring out how much I saved:

Dress: Paid $950; originally priced $1700 (got it at a sample sale)

DJ: Free (grandpa owns company); $750 regular charge

Cake/Cupcakes: $75 (only paying cost of ingredients/decorations); quote at local bakeries $250

Venue: $650 (received alumn discount); regular price $1100

Officiant: Free (my aunt is doing it); typical fee in area $275

Flowers: $125 (calla lillies in bulk from Sam’s club–DIY); quoted $550 at local florists

Photographer: $1900 (booked early, saved $100)

Alcohol: $300 (beer & wine for 80–paying at cost, our friend owns a liquour store); would have paid $125 for bar tender and set a $800 cap on alcohol

Catering: $22 per person for a 3 food station buffet; most venues in our area charge $28 minimum for dinner buffets

There are a few things I did not include, but we are paying approx $7,000 for everything

Actual Amount: $7,000

Estimated Value: approx $10,000

I am happy with that 🙂

And some pics for fun:

Outdoor courtyard…we will be doing this exact same setup for our ceremony and reception

Casablanca Couture B047 dress is below

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