wedding on a TIGHT budget?

Codie - posted on 01/19/2011 ( 21 moms have responded )




i'm planning a wedding in aug of this year. my parents and his are both giving us $1000 to help pay for it but i want to leave as little as possible for us to be responsible for. i plan to use the $2000 from our parents for the big things: booking the church, reception facility, food, alcohol, dj, and hopefully the cake and invites. i got my dress a few months back and we aren't figuring that into the budget. we sat down and estimated that we're at $2750 for things i mentioned previously, which leaves us paying for the wedding bands, license, bouquets, all decorations, wedding favors and gifts for the bridal party, and the photographer. i thought about doing either the ceremy or reception or both outside but since aug is the hottest month of the year here in indiana and i don't like flies or mosquitos, that doesnt seem like a good idea. i have yet to decide on ceremony and receptions venues for fear that i'd later find something cheaper.

i need to be sure that mine and fiance's part is as little as possible bc he just received word that he got a job requiring us to travel often. which means he looses his company vehicle at his current job and we'd have to rent an apartment near the job site. so we'll have to buy a $1500 junker car for him to back and forth to work instead of putting tons of miles on our 09 impala, and we'd also still be responsible for our house payment here in our home town. we got the first time home buyers tax credit and rules say we can't sell or rent the house out for the first 3 years or we have to pay the federal government $8100 back.

we're in a real pickle here and any thought and advice on how to make a CHEAP wedding look like a million bucks are greatly needed! thanks so much :)


Amanda - posted on 01/20/2011




Throw a stag and doe!!! Here in canada the wedding party and couple throw a party, they have family and friends donate gifts, and those are raffled off, booze is bought cheap and sold a bit more, tickets are sold to enter the stag and doe. All money made goes towards the wedding! Its a huge custom here.

Katherine - posted on 01/19/2011




Make as much as you can. If you can/want to, do a cash bar, or say it's a cash bar at a certain time. The booze is going to be the killer.
Shop around, most places have discounts for Friday weddings. My SIL made everything and kept it simple but very elegant.
If you know a friend that makes cakes, by all means have her make it. I would choose an independant photographer. I have a few friends who do this and they are CHEAP and do fantastic work.
Flowers will be expensive so you are going to have to mess with what kind of flowers to put in the bouquets.
I wouldn't skimp on the bands. As far as presents go I would say spend no more than $20, it's usually the jewelry for the wedding.


View replies by

Nichole - posted on 01/22/2011




My wedding/honeymoon was at a small b&b in a tiny town in Missouri. The ceremony, cake, bouquets, reception, & honeymoon (3 nights in a room with a jacuzzi & fireplace plus free breakfast each day and 2 free dinners, and a carriage ride) was $1500. My dad paid for all that, we paid for the rest. It was beautiful, cozy. The b&b decorated for us, and it looked great. Only downside was only 18 people could attend the indoor wedding. The outdoor was more expensive but more people could come, but we were having a winter wedding so outdoors...NO WAY!! I don't know it thought it was nice. Look into small b&b's in little towns not too far (so people will come), and but far enough (people won't bother you on the honeymoon).

Peg - posted on 01/22/2011




Weddings on a budget can be more fun and just as beautiful than one's where tons of money are spent and honestly much more memorable. We got married in June (first day of summer) and it turned out to be one of the hottest days that year but was wonderful. We were married at a local park on a bridge. Decorations, borrowed ferns with bows (if you know a florist they can get you ribbon much cheaper than at a craft store/ Walmart), balloons in your colors (the kids loved these because we gave them to them after the ceremony. Our rehearsal dinner we had a great time since it was so relaxed. We ordered pizza's and really just enjoyed the evening. For our reception someone gave us the hall. They were a member of the local Moose organization and they often can get the hall for a greatly reduced cost or free. If you know of anyone who is a member of the Moose, Eagles, Veterens, etc. Ask them. For your wedding cake instead of paying for a huge cake go with one small cake for you to cut and then the rest in cupcakes. This is a huge rage right now so you would be very much in style. Your reception either a paid bar or no alcohol. Its not needed nor is a big meal. Punch, nuts, mints, veggie trays are great. For music, load an MP3 player and hook it up to a stereo system, its what the dj's do as well. For flowers call the local technical schools for a list of florist students. They would be cheaper than a major florist. We had a wonderful wedding on a budget (Under $1000) and everyone commented on how beautiful it was as well as fun because they were able to have an enjoyable fun time without feeling they had to get all dressed to the nines for the wedding. They could be relaxed and comfortable. Just remember that its a celebration of your love and union. It's not what you spend. Your memories of your wedding will be no less important. Also sometimes the more simplified the wedding, the less stress your going to be under and it lets you enjoy your wedding that much more.

Megan - posted on 01/21/2011




A friend of mine did hers outdoors at sunset, which during the summer here is about 7pm. Then she did a dessert buffet/make your own sundy bar. This saved a lot of money as she was able to skip both the cake and didn't have to serve a meal.
I did my wedding for $2500 but we choose to have very few people there (25ish). We did learn if you order potted plants through a nursery it can be cheaper than through a florist. And we did a lot of the flowers ourselves the day before so that we could get fresh flowers cheap by buying whatever was on sale in our color pallet (choosing to use a variety of colors also made it easier, we just choose pastels and went with that).

Angie - posted on 01/21/2011




Don't have a full meal - cake, nuts, mints and punch is fine. If there's a cooking school in your area you might be able to find a student who will make the cake - they are well trained and will do a good job. My son's graduation pictures would have been $800 at studio, we got them for $200 from a college studio and they are better than the pro's. Don't pay for alcohol, it's not needed. Invitations can be made on your computer using the invitation kits at Walmart or Michaels - which usually has a coupon in the Sunday paper. Sometimes there are banquest facilities at the church where you have the wedding that rent for cheap. You can do it if you're really careful and don't invite a lot of people to the wedding.

Nadia - posted on 01/21/2011




in TOTAL for my wedding it was about $8000.00... i made my own invites ($70 for about 200 ppl) all it took was 1 or 2 afternoons with my maid of honour. i also made my own center peices for less than $50 from a dollar store. glass bowls with a few marbles in the bottom and floating candles. just designate someone not in the bridal party to go to the reception hall and set it up for you the morning of. also, instead of buying a wedding cake we made our own cupcakes... over 200 cupcakes for about $25. actually my mom and sister mostly made them 2 days before and my sis iced them the day before. plain icing white icing with our initials and a couple jellybeans on each. i got soooo many comments on them! it was very unique... and my hubby and i just posed with a knife in front of the cupcake tier for the photo of "cutting the cake" :) anyway, i hope this helps... also i've seen at other weddings the bride and groom hold a raffle and they just make up a couple gift baskets (one mens, one womens) with some personal care products, bath things, sunglasses... stuff like that. one couple i know raised over $500 from that and it helped send them on their honeymoon. also we didn't do party favours, but buy some chocolate almonds in bulk, some little baggies and ribbon and make them up yourself. and we lucked out that a family friend took photos for free (well we bought him a gift card for a restaraunt and a nice bottle of wine) and they turned out great. anyone these days with a nice digital camera and large memory card can take your photos :) ok, now i think thats all lol! best of luck to you!!!

Candice - posted on 01/21/2011




i agree with amanda ! stag and does are a great and fun way to help you come up with the money for the wedding! thats what my sister in law did!

Holly - posted on 01/21/2011




Ok here are some ideas, Wedding bands go tto the pawn shop no one has to know where you got them, bouquets do you know someone with a gardan that would let you have the flowers, for the decortions try going to a goodwill or flea market, I did my friends wedding in all ballons, everyone love it! wedding favors hershy kisses and hugs so you can say hugs and kisses from the bride and groom, hope this helps and have fun with planning!

Stifler's - posted on 01/20/2011




Stuff digitals man. Everyone that came to our wedding brang their SLR. Everyone has one these days and one chick got some really good pics and sent them with someone who was invited to the reception on a disc for me! There were seriously about 10 people taking photos with their SLR.

Christy - posted on 01/20/2011




Our wedding was on a tight budget, too. How about foregoing the bartender and getting a couple of kegs of beer, letting people serve themselves and BYOB (bottle) if they want liquor? Go the the dollar store for decorations or walmart. I noticed also that the store Hobby Lobby (if there's one there) ALWAYS seems to have wedding decorations on sale. That and Tuesday Morning, invitations, decorations, books for guests to sign, etc. Or you can make your own invites or buy them cheaper online.

As far as music, have someone bring their stereo and play a random mix of music rather than having a band or DJ. For specific music, someone else can change it to the music you select (for a particular dance, etc).

Also don't feel compelled to feed everyone a meal. Maybe appetizers (fruit bowl, veggie tray you make yourself, dip you make yourself, queso, chips, etc) and get help from family? OR help from family to create a meal.

We rented a place that allowed you to have it for 24 hours for 300 bucks, all we had to do was clean up afterward and my parents (luckily) cleaned up after we left. Otherwise I would have done it! Allowed beer kegs since they didn't sell alcohol there (never open except for when someone rented it).

Also if you have a wedding shower, save all the bows for some of the decorations.

Do your own hair and nails, too. AND you can make a big flat cake with a little topper to save for your first anniversary. It all gets gobbled up in the end!

Have everyone bring their own digital cameras and have a contest, get a pot of money from the entries that the winner of the best pic get's 1/2 the pot and you and groom get the other half (of course calculated after wedding after looking at all the pics)

Lastly, since your future hubby's getting a traveling sort of job, can you move the date WAAAAY up? Like next month, March or April?

[deleted account]

I did all the decorating myself. All fake flowers except for bouquets and centerpiece. You can buy nice things if you go simple. Favors are not a must, but some inexpensive ideas are little bottles of bubbles with ribbon tied on, plastic spoons with 2 hershey kisses wrapped in tulle tied with ribbon and tag that says a spoonful of kisses from the Mr. and Mrs. Shop around to find the best prices on the big items.

Tyrae - posted on 01/20/2011




You do not need to do wedding favors or get gifts for the wedding party. Those are not MUSTS at a wedding. I am planning mine for this Sept actually and before we got a good chunk of cash from my father we were planning on doing a potluck wedding. You just need to ask people who are coming to the wedding to bring one of their "famous" dishes to the wedding. To make it fun you can even have a contest to who makes the best food and give them $100 or something. A lot cheaper than paying for food for so many people and it could be fun.
Also look at eBay for the decoratoins, there is some cheap decorations in bulk that look pretty good on there.
For my wedding we are renting out one banquet hall for the ceremony and the reception. We are going to have it set up so that the only thing we are going to need to set up after the ceremony is the head table where we say our vows. The rest of the place will be fully decorated and the table set up for the receptioin for the ceremony. It drops the price down of renting out two different buildings, which could be $700-800 for both, or you could rent out one for the whole day at about $300-400.

[deleted account]

My best friend's mom made our cake and my aunt decorated it (she decorates wedding cakes for a living). They both did that for us as our wedding present.

My aunt (who also works part time at a grocery store) got us big discounts on our reception food and we made everything the day before (except the bbq of course - that was done the morning of the wedding). Plus, those guests who could bring something to eat did. (Note: my dad is a pastor, so when my sister wanted a big fairy tale wedding the women's group at the church put on her reception. They all made the food and served it, just like caterers. Are you part of an organisation that could do something like that?).

Our flowers were bought from the grocery store the morning of the wedding and then my friend made the bouquets out of them with big wide ribbon we bought at the craft store.

We paid a total of $500 on our wedding (not including the dress - which my mom paid for and was only $300 anyway).

I agree with Katherine - a cash bar is probably the best course. I never like open bars anyway though because I feel that too much alcohol (like an open bar would encourage) is a damper on the event, but that's just my honest opinion...

There are a lot of ways to cut costs, but still have everythng look like a million bucks. Do you have any relatives who would rather give you cash as a weddign present to help pay for the wedding? Do you have any relatives who would do something for the wedding as their wedding present (like my aunt and friend's mom doing our cake)? Don't be embarased to ask for discounts and such. People are actually very used to it in this economy and if you don't ask then the answer if definetaly no! :)

Stifler's - posted on 01/19/2011




my mum made our cake. i made our table decs. my MIL made the pew decs. the most expensive thing at our wedding was the food. people want a good meal at a wedding. if nothing else.

Jodi - posted on 01/19/2011




Oh, and we didn't actually have a traditional wedding cake. My husband and I can't stand wedding cake, so we bought a layered chocolate mud cake decorated up instead. I think we saved a fortune by not having a traditional wedding cake, and yet it still looked classy with the decorations we chose for it on it.

Jodi - posted on 01/19/2011




We married on a budget, because we already had kids and had to pay for it ourselves, so we didn't have a lot to spare. We ended up having the ceremony in the local Japanese Gardens, so there was no need for ANY decorations at the ceremony because of the setting. The only cost was our celebrant, our licence, and a small fee to the local government for use of the park.

Codie - posted on 01/19/2011




i also feel bad asking for a discount from people i know. my family happens to be friends everyone you need for a big, bar tender, flourist, pastry chef, interior decorator, seamstress, you name it. but i feel like a mooch lol and the pastry chef didn't offer a discount...

Tara - posted on 01/19/2011




Hi Codie, SIL is sister-in-law. Anyway, I agree with Katherine, make as much as you can, go for the independent photographer, etc.
I went really cheap with my wedding - we got married by a justice of the peace in our living room and the only people there were me, my husband and our parents as witnesses. We didn't have any kind of reception or anything - grand total for our wedding was.... $150 -- $50 for the license, $50 for the JP and $50 for our marriage certificate. Of course, neither of us wanted a big wedding, so it makes a difference in planning :)

Codie - posted on 01/19/2011




thank you so much, this by far has been the best advice i've gotten. all my friends think i should do some back hills cook out in my yard. ugh not my thing at all or how i picture my wedding. my family is all about doing things propperly and appropriately so i need to be able to cut corners and costs with out sacrificing quality.

Join Circle of Moms

Sign up for Circle of Moms and be a part of this community! Membership is just one click away.

Join Circle of Moms