(Closed) Weddings under $5K – tell me everything! :)

posted 6 years ago in Money
Post # 3
1854 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: May 2013

Mrs.ChubbyBunny’s wedding is inspiring! Here’s her breakdown(It’s only 3k!), but I’m having toruble finding her recap photos..


edit: Here it is!! Her wedding looked AMAZING

Post # 4
431 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: October 2012

@jlc3:  My wedding isn’t going to be under $5k but it will be under $10k and we’re DIYing a lot. 

Bouquets and bouts: My Sister in law and her dear friend have been helping with these and they have been absolutely amazing. My girls bouquets only cost about $15/ea, not sure what mine will cost yet since we’re not finished with it. Same goes wth the bouts, not finished yet so not sure how much but I’m telling you, CHEAP. Everything was bought at Michael’s as well. 

Cake: We decided to go with a bakery considering the design we wanted so we weren’t very frugal in this department but my suggestion would be to check out Sam’s cakes and cupcakes. Not only are they delicious but they’re VERY affordbale. OR, if you want, get yourselves a nice cake for you and the bridal party and serve sheet cakes from Sam’s to the guests.

Hall: We have the local VFW. It’s not beautiful, but it holds the amount of guests we have coming and they let you do almost anything you want, except bring in your own booze. We’re having Sliced-to-Serve Beef Brisket and Smoked Turkey from a local BBQ restaurant for $13/pp includes 3 sides and utensils and plates.

Decor: For the ceremony, we are lining the aisle with pumkins, THAT’S it! Don’t need much else since it will *hopefully* be outside in a garden. The flowers won’t be lush, but we don’t need them for a fall wedding :- D


Post # 5
1297 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: November 1999

My advice is to take every tiny little detail of the wedding and analyze it in regard to how you can do it for the lowest price and still make you satisfied. Sometimes that is DIY, sometimes it isn’t. Personally, we wanted a simple, fun, and “us” wedding, which was great for keeping the budget down!

Some of the things you mentioned:

-Bouquets/bouts: Since my Bridal Party men wore hats, we actually did hatbands and skipped the bouts for them (faster, easier, and about 30 cents a person). So maybe consider bout alternatives too! Moms and grandmas got corsages that I made with silk flowers (waited for sales). I also made the bouquets for myself and bridesmaids.

-Cupcakes/cake: We were insane and did the full meal and dessert ourselves. The price:quality/amount ratio was awesome but as you can imagine it was a major pain. A friend did a cupcake reception. Also a pain, but it was inexpensive, adorable, and delicious.

-Decor: We did the rustic/country thing, which made a lot of decorating as simple as digging through our relatives’ stuff (with their permission). I used silk flowers for the tables as well, but floated them in jars so guests couldn’t tell by a feel if they were fresh or not. My advice here is just to find inspiration in whatever is around you. Also look for brides reselling their decor, especially glassware.

We also: got married outside on a relative’s property, borrowed seating, used talented friends for certain vendors (realizing that we weren’t going to get expensive and “professional” results).

Best of luck with your planning!

Post # 6
393 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: April 2013

@jlc3:  Our original budget was $4-$5. Now I kind of want to push it even lower to 2K! We have a free venue with a kitchen, tables & chairs, so I’m thinking I’ll spend the most money on food & drink (which is the usually for any type of party that we have).

Our venue will be outdoors in a pavillion & tent with lots of surrounding trees and grass, but I do want to have flower decorations which I will DIY. I’m going to try and not be too picky about details and focus more on love, family and fun. ๐Ÿ™‚

This wedding was a little inspiring.


Post # 7
42 posts
  • Wedding: September 2012

I have been incredibly lucky.  I plan events for an association, so I have a TON of contacts, plus my family (some of them) has been supportive in letting me utilize their skills.

For instance, I bought a bridesmaids dress in white.  I bought silk flowers online from afloral, and went ahead and ordered the pre-made corsages and boutonnieres.  I have a cousin that is a photographer, and we have a mutual friend that has a condo on the gulf coast that is letting us use for our honeymoon.  My coworker’s husband is a pastor, and we found a not-in-use little chapel for our actual ceremony (small churches also cut down on how many people you can invite, and provides you with a convenient excuse, imo). 

My aunt is letting us use her house for the reception, and I ordered my cakes (one of the things I actually splurged on).  She is providing the food and that is her gift to me.  My fiance bought a black suit at a department store on sale.  I know a vendor that I work with occasionally that has his own printing business, and he gave me a HUGE break on invitations.  My total drive out for the whole thing, with gratuities as a thank you for everyone is $1800.

If you really want to cut it down even more, don’t have attendants, and therefore you don’t need a rehearsal dinner per se, and you dont have to buy gifts.  But that’s on the cheap.  Oh, I didnt include rings in there.  On my end, he opted for a cobalt ring which was about $100.  The real gold alternative?  $700.  He insisted I have diamonds, which, hey, who am I to complain??  LOL!


Post # 8
4 posts
  • Wedding: September 2013

We’re on a small budget as well. Thankfully, I have experience with event planning under my belt, so I am utilizing every connection, every lesson learned, etc that I can.  The best advice I can offer is to plan ahead, be detailed, break things down and keep track of everything. 

We made a list of Wants and Needs, then priced out our needs and added in wants where we could afford them. We’re doing a lot of DIY.  We designed our own STD’s and had them printed at Fed Ex for less than $20, on post cards.  Our guest list is small, 54 people, no kids, no dates – only married, engaged, or long term couples and singles.  Making this “rule” really helped keep explanations clear.  Our wedding is on a Sunday afternoon, on a holiday weekend.  Sunday’s are CHEAP for most vendors!.  We have an outdoor venue at a local nature preserve, they have an indoor option if the weather isn’t friendly and since we booked for Sunday, it was 1/2 the cost and they provide a day of assistant to help set things up and take things down.  They also provide chairs.  We will be renting covers for them.  Our reception is at a local B&B, build in the mid 1800’s.  Catering (cocktail hour with 5 horderves and a buffet dinner with 3 main dishes, 3 veggies, 2 breads, and 2 fruits), all staff, a bartender, table linens, and even our flowers (since we’re using wild flowers) are included in the cost, which worked out to $14 per person, there is a small additional fee for 2 glasses of wine or beer for each guest during the cocktail hour.  We get our room for free on our wedding night and all guests from our wedding receive a 10% discount on their rooms, breakfast the next day is included with the room.  We’re utilizing the natural and rustic beauty of both venues and providing minimal decor ourselves.  We’re using wildflowers from a local organic farm.  The farmer sells at the local farmers market.  We talked for a few minutes one Saturday and she agreed to do all of our flowers for a small fee.  We’re providing mixed vintage vases and jars, she’ll arrange the flowers, deliver them to both venues and set them up for us.  The B&B is also letting us use the wildflowers that they already use as decor and they’ve asked if we would like anything specific for our wedding – they’re happy to accommodate.  We’re having a live Irish pub band play during the cocktail hour.  They’ve agreed to play for $300 if we also allow for them to have dinner, which wasn’t a problem.  Our reception will be DJ’d by a local DJ for $250, including lighting.  We’re directing everyone to our wedsite via the STD’s.  We’ll be sending DIYed invitations only to those who require a paper copy or those that will be getting a keepsake invitation.  Everyone else will be receiving an electronic invitation.  Our cake will be made by a friend that owns a bakery.  We’re paying for the supplies and we’ll tip her, but she’s not asking for anything.  E’s kilt was ordered directly from Spain, the whole regalia costs less than $250.  We’re renting the kilt tux coat from an area Irish store for $30 for the weekend.  Our daughter’s dresses are made to order from an Etsy shop, together costing $145.  I haven’t found my dress yet, but I have an eye on one from Etsy for $250.  I may have it made by a local seamstress; she said if I buy the fabric and the pattern she’ll make it for $10 per hour.  She’s expecting to spend 6-8 hours on the dress.  It’s a vintage lace trumpet style.  Our rehearsal will be in the afternoon, we’re having a rehearsal breakfast beforehand at a local cafe run by a farmers co-op.  We’ll have the entire cafe to ourselves for up to 3 hours, for $10 per person, anything on the menu – we’ll decide once they determine what their seasonal menu is for the date of our rehearsal.  Our officiant is our friend, we’re paying the $10 fee to the State of Ohio to have her ordained.  Our wedding party gifts are still partially up in the air, the men are receiving locally made knives which are $75 each, we haven’t decided, yet, what to give the ladies.  I’m looking at a small clutch on Etsy for $60 each.  Day of breakfasts for the men will be provided by the B&B- FH is staying there the night before our wedding ($90) so they’ve agreed to absorb the breakfast cost for the men in the wedding party.  The ladies in our wedding party will be meeting me at my place.  We’re having a fruit, baked goods, yogurt, and other nibbles breakfast that we’re ordering from a local grocer and bakery, totaling ~$40.  The stylist that I go to every other month will be coming to my house to do my hair as well as the ladies in the wedding party.  She’s doing mine free, since I’m a “loyal customer”, she’s charging $45 each for the ladies.  We’re making all of our paper products (programs, signage, etc) at home and depending on their size/quality, we will have them printed at Fed Ex.. that cost hasn’t been totaled yet, but it’s looking like it will be around $80 altogether. We’re renting limo’s from a local funeral home for wedding party transportation.  They’re charging us $45 an hour for 2 limos and 1 towne car.   Our photographer is requesting a flat $200 fee for the entire day.  She’s a Stay-At-Home Mom that has a great eye, she’s just starting a photography business. (we interviewed a number of photographers, she not only had the best package/cost but also the best portfolio!)  She’ll make any corrections to the pics and then simply gives us a CD of all of the images.  We will have to take them somewhere to have them printed, if we choose.  She’ll water mark them, but beyond that, we can do whatever we want with them. 

There are lots of ways to keep costs down.  Research is key!  Don’t be afraid to look in unconventional places, like funeral homes for car and/or tent rentals.  Their cars and tents are rarely marked with the funeral home’s name… and if they are, so what… and they’re always really low cost.  Accept help from others, maybe consider adding a “gift of service” to your registry where friends can volunteer their talents instead of gifts – but many friends will help out even without the request.  Check with local colleges and tech schools for culinary students, photography students, videography, etc.  Some college theater departments will also let you rent props (great ceremony stuff!) on the cheap.  Avoiding Saturday weddings and forgoing dinner for lunch or breakfast rehearsals can save you a bundle.  Shop local!  I have had more success with small, local businesses than I ever could have imagined, both for my wedding and professionally.  Thinking outside the box can save you thousands.  DIYing can save you money and make things more personal, but be careful, it can also, at times cost more in money and in stress.  Planning ahead is key.

Post # 9
24 posts

The time of day is a good way to keep costs down…one of the loveliest small weddings I ever attended was at 10 am with the reception brunch at noon, We were greeted at the lovely Victorian Mansion with a flute of champagne and an hors d’ouvres, passed by waiters. (portion control!) Then invited inside for quiche, salad, and a slice of cake…and the rest of the afternoon to ourselves. It was done by 2pm.

Post # 11
2692 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: November 2012

When all is said and done, I should be under $5000.  IF we stay at 150 guests.  I found awesome deals on vendors and our venues. And I did DIY a few things that saved me money.  I also found bargains on pretty much everything, from my dress to my shoes.

Post # 12
1399 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: July 2013

Our budget is $4,000-$5000. The most expensive thing is our venue. We’re private chartering a sailboat at peak season around here, so that’s $1,125. My dress was $150… should be about another $50 in alternations, I think. I already have my shoes. Using accessories I already had a buying what I need (strapless & backless bra, etc.) ran me about $40. The groom’s clothes came in around $250. His neices wanted to be FGs but I didn’t want to burdern the mommies, and I’m specific about my taste in dresses, so I bought their dresses from the burlington coat factory website for $50 (for 2 dresses) and free shipping. We’re having a pre-ceremony cocktail hour at a fancy hotel that’s going to have a specialty margarita bar and hot & cold passed canapes… that’s $510. After the ceremony, the reception will be on the boat. They boat company provides water & champagne. We’re bringing beer, soda, juice, cocktails in a can (smirnoff & bamboo)… as well as food- sandwiches, salad, fruit cups, different chips, and cupcake cones. We’re self-catering all that and expect to spend around $300. Favors will be about $80… we’re only doing them to prevent nausea on the boat ๐Ÿ˜› We’re overseas and the mail system here is non-existant, so invites were DIY and emailed. Flowers will be done at a local florist who is very reasonably prices. She’ll make me a bouquet, a boutineer for my Fiance, petals for the FGs, and probably corsages for the mom’s. It should come in under $100. The officiant is a friend of Fiance, so he’s coming for the low-low price of… attending the reception as a guest with his wife. ๐Ÿ™‚ The honeymoon will be expensive, but we’re going someplace we’ve always wanted to go, so we don’t care.


I’m sure I’m forgetting some little details, but that’s the bulk of it. The little things add up, so try to cut out the unnecessary (favors, cake cutting sets, excessive decor, pricey flowers). There are a ton of great websites with amazing ideas for cutting costs and DIY. Good luck!

Post # 13
121 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: August 2012

Our wedding cost us under 5000 and that included 1500 for plane tickets for us and our kids to travel there and back home after (we got married in ontario but live in nova scotia). So really on our actual wedding under $3500.

First of all, decide what is REALLY important to you and your Fiance. For us it was having a small intimate wedding which would not blow the bank. I know too many couples who are now divorced and still paying off their weddings. SAD. It was important for us to have a cash only wedding. Meaning, if we didn’t have the cash for it, we didn’t do it. No loans, no credit cards. We both agreed we didn’t want to go into debt for one day, albeit an extremely important day.

We are both sentimental people so getting married in my husband’s family backyard seemed perfect for us. His parents were tickled that we chose their property to get married at.

Breakdown for ceremony:

Pastor- paid for by inlaws

Arbor- loaned from family member for the day (Tulle was given to us by a family friend who had tons left over from her wedding).

Flowers- Sunflowers have always been my favourite flower so it wasn’t a hard choice to decide to use sunflowers as my wedding flower. They were also in season and very inexpensive. I went to a local grocery store floral department and ordered 45 sunflowers. They cost $5 a bundle (5) so $45 dollars for all of my flowers. I also didn’t do a traditional bouquet. I laid a sunflower on each guest chair and when I was walking down the aisle, each person passed me the flower, signifiying what they have brought to us as a couple and making a bouquet as I went.

Chair rental- $50

Sashes on chairs- loaned from a friend but they can be found on ebay for 10 for $10.

Sand ceremony- $3 for mason jar, $2 for cylanders found at michaels. Sand from michaels- $7

Table for signing and sand ceremony- patio set owned by inlaws that was covered with a white tablecloth.

Total spent on ceremony: $107

Dress: Gift from my parents

Dress alterations: $25 for straps to be shortened

Shoes: Ebay $25.00

Grooms attire: $100 for custom order military jacket. The pants and shoes provided by the military.

Flower girl dress and shoes: Old Navy $20, Ebay $20

Ring bearer outfit (plus tie and shoes): Old Navy $30, tie from ebay $10, shoes found at walmart for $5.

Total spent on our attire: $235

Hair and Make up for bride and hair for flower girl: $140

Brides jewlery and hair piece: pearl necklace, earrings and bracelet was a gift from inlaws, birdcage veil was made for me by my cousin.

Photographer: A friend of the family who is also a professional wedding photographer. We asked if we could hire her per hour rather that a whole day. We had her from 4 pm when ceremony began until 8 pm during our reception but after our first dance and cake cutting. She charged us $125 per hour. We received 400 pics back.

Total cost for professional photographer: $500


Neither of us wanted a big, traditional reception so we opted to go the restaurant route. We found a beautiful 19th century heritage house turned restaurant about 10 mins from our ceremony site.

Because it already had a lovely decor (exposed brick, fireplace, huge wood bar etc) we really didn’t need to decorate. We bought some antique mason jars at a yard sale for $10 and put a few sunflowers in each for our table centerpieces. We bought table runners from ebay. Got 10 of them for $30.

We didn’t have a DJ. We played our first dance on an ipod docking station. There was a piano player there for the whole reception. She was there every friday and saturday night regardless so we had free entertainment.

Our cake and cupcakes were made for us by my cousin.

We had a candy bar. Hit up bulk barn and spent about $40 on assorted candy. The candy dishes were found at the dollarstore for $5 total.

Food: We had 38 guests at our wedding reception. We had a cash bar. Total dinner bill was $1900 with taxes and tip.

We paid the restaurant for the food only. Did not have to pay for the space but did put a deposit down which was taken off of our food total.

Total spent on our reception: $1985

Hotel for wedding night: $185

Total spent on wedding day: $3,152




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