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DRAGYN5 Posts: 356
8/10/11 9:18 A

My husband and I own a company in Southern California that offers wedding services, DJ, Photo and Video and I compiled a list of things to help brides and grooms save money.

Money Saving Tips

Date: You will save so much money if you get married during the off-season months of January, February and March. Also try a day other than Saturday.

Guestlist: You don’t have to get married in front of everyone you know. Keeping the guest list small saves money on catering, gifts, invitations, and can reduce the size of the venue. Additionally, having fewer bridesmaids and groomsmen will save money too.

Venue: Your reception location is your largest cost, so try to get a deal. Never book with a venue that won’t negotiate unless it meets your budget. If your venue is a popular location, you may not get that deal!

A lovely backyard wedding is great with everyone bringing some food as part of their gift. This is wonderful for smaller weddings and creates an intimate romantic setting. You can also purchase your own alcohol and drinks to be served by a professional bartender for legality. You can save thousands! Make sure to have a back-up plan for rain.

Dress: Make sure you shop around. When you find the perfect dress, look online to see if you can find it cheaper. Thrift stores have gorgeous dresses at a fraction of the cost. You can also rent!

Flowers:When decorating the church or reception venue use silk flowers and reuse flowers from church at reception. Some lower cost flower options; Chrysanthemums, Daisies, Carnations, Gladiolus, Button Mums. Check with your florist or garden centre to see if you can rent plants, some places do.

Decorations: Try using your guest favors as your centerpieces. Buy a raised cake plate and display the favors on each table. Your MC can make an announcement explaining. Before shopping for candles, candle holders and other decorations be sure to check out dollar stores, thrift stores, Ebay, Craigslist, yard sales or chains like Wal-Mart.

Invitations:To make your invitations more personal and less expensive, do them yourself. There are paper stores and websites where you can find new ideas and ways to make your own invitations. Order your invitations over the Internet instead of a printing. Order a plain invitation from a company and decorate it yourself. All you need is a hole-puncher and some ribbon and/or parchment paper.

Alcohol: If you don’t serve alcohol, you will save bucks! If you do serve it, do a cash bar where your guests pay for their own liquor. If you really want some alcohol, try providing a bottle of red and white wine for each table. You can even bottle your own wine and use fun personalized labels. Another suggestion would be to provide 2 drink tickets maximum per person. This saves costs and now you are not responsible for out of control drinking.

Lastly, many people think they can save money by recruiting family members or friends to perform wedding day services. Unfortunately, your friend has to spend your wedding working, and can’t enjoy your day. And keep in mind, they are amateurs, imagine winding up with a terrible, shaky wedding video, dark, underexposed photographs, bad entertainment or inedible food. Not only can this ruin the memory of your day, but it can wreck your friendship or cause a family feud. It is always best to leave professional work to professionals.


LAICEBOX Posts: 127
7/24/11 1:38 A

Your wedding sounds lovely! My fiancée and I are planning to do a low budget wedding. We are also not very traditional. We won't be inviting to many guests, mostly friends and family. Not everything has to be done by "professionals" who charge a ton. Friends and family is the key. You are a smart couple!


SLHOWARD1 SparkPoints: (0)
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7/21/11 11:46 A

Sounds good. And your friends will get over the alcohol issue. I do have a concern about your "little known taco stand" catering your event. Hope you don't mind, but I have a few suggestions: 1) have they done it before for 150 guests; 2) if so, can you have their references?; 3) if not, don't rely on them....find another inexpensive place....3) if they will not give you references you can check (and check them), I'd veto that. I know you are trying to save money, but serving food they may or may not be good is a big risk for this big day!! That is alot of people for a "taco stand" to cater too. If there are references and they check out, never fail to get a written contract!!! Make sure it includes time of delivery (not more than 30 minutes prior to your reception), food to be hot and fresh and served in a way to keep it that way (chaffing dishes, etc.) That stand may disappear tomorrow! With your money! Never make final payment to them until they bring the food! (just give the check to your Mom/Dad or maid of honer to pay them). If push comes to shove put in the invitation that HEAVY HOR DeRVES are served only. That means you could even go to KFC and get chicken nuggest and SAMS to purchase tidbits you can keep hot in chaffing dishes. My wedding reception we purchased 100# of shrimp (already cooked) $250.00, defrosted and purchased sauce at Walmart. Then we did the Chick Filet nuggets for 400 pieces with all the sauces (in bowls) and had a few veggi and fruit/cheese platters, Tea/Coffee/Juice/Water and wedding cakes of course. The reception was at 9pm, so everyone just wanted snacks anyway! A good way to save money on food is planning right afer mealtime (10 a.m. / 1pm / 3pm/8pm, etc.) This makes folks know its not full meal.....Just a suggestion!
P.S. My husband made the grooms cake - it was wonderful!!!!

ANORMAN1989 SparkPoints: (0)
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7/21/11 10:23 A

I'm still planning mine, but I've set our budget at $3000. We're inviting 150 guests. I'm making the grooms cake, and having Publix make the wedding cake. My friend will hopefully do the photography and another will hopefully do the music. We're getting this little known taco stand in town to cater and we're not serving alcohol because neither my groom nor I drink. If my guests have issue with that, they can get over it. I plan on getting my dress from David's Bridal because they do 25% of bridesmaids dresses when you purchase a wedding dress there. The biggest issue has been finding a venue. That and our invitations will be our biggest expenses. We're having comic book invites and we have friends who are drawing and inking them, but it will cost to have them printed. You guys all have great ideas though and I'm looking forward to using some of them.

LILLISAV33 SparkPoints: (0)
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7/20/11 10:41 P

We are paying for our wedding on our own too. Actually, I take that back, My parents bought my dress. But other then that our total will be $10,000.00. Eveyrthing is already booked and deposits are down we just have to finish paying the vendors. Good luck!!

FIT_QUEEN2011 SparkPoints: (136)
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7/18/11 5:09 P

I'm keeping my wedding extremely low budget because we both will be pretty broke after I pay back my loans and he pays his bills. We're doing it at our church with our pastor only very close friends and family is invited and my aunt is making the cake. we'll invite people to the reception and we are only asking for money to help pay bills.

COCONUTKT11 Posts: 111
7/18/11 4:08 P

Thank you so much for the suggestions! I wanted to do little welcome packets, but you gave me some great ideas on what to include...stuff I hadn't thought of. THANK YOU!!!

SLHOWARD1 SparkPoints: (0)
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7/18/11 3:47 P

Wonderful! Also, another tip for your guests coming in from out of town....If everyone is staying at the same hotel, have some inexpensive gift bags handed out when they check into the hotel. The front desk will be more than happy to hand them the bag at check in. These can be inexpensive as maps to local restaurants, map to wedding and reception, and a little "Thank You" trinket such as a small bottle of wine (Specs sells them) or even like a spa bag with lotions, etc. Don't forget to add a hand written from you and the groom note thanking them for making the journey to attend the start of your journey as a married couple. You can keep it to $5-10 each. Folks shelling out $$$ for Hotels really appreciate it.

COCONUTKT11 Posts: 111
7/18/11 2:41 P

We've been lucky when it comes to the cake. The family friend who is making our wedding cake is professional in her quality/skills/experience, but doesn't own her own bakery because she's not interested in doing it full time, however, she's been flown all over the US to make her cakes. You wouldn't know the difference between her cakes and a professional bakery, yet hers tend to taste 10 million times better.

MANDIETERRIER1 Posts: 17,530
7/18/11 2:28 P

@SLHoward, I totally agree with you. The one thing people will remember is the food and the cake. Especially if it sends people to the Emergency Room with food poisoning. I have been to many weddings in the past 25 years and I remember the food and the cake from each of them. The rest is just a blur.

SLHOWARD1 SparkPoints: (0)
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7/18/11 1:38 P

A quick suggestion on Cash Bars - have the Venue cut off the booze at least an hour before the end of your event. Cash Bars allow folks to drink til their wallets are empty! Nothing worse than a bunch of drunks dancing and ruining your event, and even worse, driving home!! Suggest normal liquer for about 2 hours then only beer/wine, this tends to cut off the heavy hitters!!!

SLHOWARD1 SparkPoints: (0)
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7/18/11 1:34 P

Be very careful about someone cooking or baking for your wedding unless it's what they do for a living!!!! I am an Event Planner and I cannot tell you how many weddings were ruined with bad food and horrible cake! If the cake and food are unimportant to you, then that's fine. But remember, if your feeding 20 people, a pro baker won't cost you more than about $100. AND it's insured. So if Aunt Bessie makes the cake and oops trips your are out of luck. Also it would be terrible if after your wedding people were not commenting on how great everything was, but how horrible the food was!! This can also damage friendships! Also, food born illnesses are everywhere! If the person cooking your food does not have a way to keep cold stuff cold and hot stuff hot the ENTIRE time, you may be asking for trouble!!! There are thousands of ways to save money, but food is not the place! If food is where you want to save money, suggest just doing cake and spend some money (just let folks know you won't be feeding them so they can eat beforehand)....nothing wrong with that!

COCONUTKT11 Posts: 111
7/18/11 11:19 A

Our budget is higher than a lot of the people on here at $10,000, but that's for 175-200 people, including quite a few out of towners. Because we're getting married on a Wednesday (the day before Thanksgiving) we got a huge deal on the venue ($700 instead of $2000) and have been using Groupon and Living Social to help us out. Through those sites, we got 50% of a photo booth rental (something I wanted so bad but wasn't going to happen), a party bus limo to take all 15 bridesmaids/groomsmen and us to the reception in one vehicle at like 65% off, and certificates for websites where you can create your own stuff...thank you's w/our picture, a customized photo guest book, and all our save the dates (MAYBE cost $50-$75 for everything above). The biggest expense is the food, and we're having to have a cash bar. Might be tacky but with our families prevents things from getting crazy and saves thousands of dollars. Fiance even got a part time job at a party supply store to get discounts on anything we may need. We also made some of our own decorations (check out Weddingbee) which will save us a ton and a family friend is making our wedding cake for free.

KYRSTINRO Posts: 945
6/27/11 12:07 P

Oh ours will be SO low budget. The wedding bands total at $150 (including the delivery; from London to Romania). Then the paperwork for the civil ceremony will total at $50-75 (in taxes and all). I am looking for an elegant gown (but not a wedding gown per so) for $50 or so (seen some online, brand new, awesome!) and my fiance wants to wear something elegant but not formal so that's going to be an easy and cheap choice. Probably both our outfits will total around $200 (together).
As of now we don't want a reception, just a night out with our closest friends (which will total around $200 with drinks, no food).
Honeymoon is probably going to be the most expensive :) We want something special.

KAYAHSLOANE1 Posts: 10,520
6/27/11 2:39 A

Basically my fiancé and I are having a civil ceremony and the reception at a restaurant. So we have budgeted around $2000 for the wedding & reception expenses. The flowers are just my bouquet and some for the restaurant just to have it look festive. The food is the major expense for about 50 people. We are just ordering off of the menu pretty much but serving it family style except for dessert. We don't have decorating expenses, having favours and all that type of extra that we don't care for. We're not having a dedicated wedding cake since the restaurant is known for its varying desserts and our family & friends can pick what they like.

The fiancé has his suit and everything he needs. My sari (which is fairly simple as far as saris go) is coming from India and it will be on its way here in August. My mom and aunt will check on it a few weeks before the wedding to see if anything needs to be taken care with but I have ordered saris from this business before and they are top notch so everything should be fine then. I have the jewelry for the wedding dress as well and some pieces are being loaned to me which will be returned after our friend who is taking pictures for us completes his task.

We really wanted to keep the entire wedding and reception simple. We are having a 3 week wedding trip after the ceremony so that is where the majority of funds are going. We are headed to Hawaii and Australia. We are both travelers so we wanted to be able to spend our time there.

SUZZIEQ81 SparkPoints: (0)
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6/14/11 12:15 A

Some of the things we are doing to cut back:
Since we are getting married in another country (he's working there now and I'm moving there soon), we are doing a late morning wedding with a wedding luncheon instead of a reception. This is saving us on food and we're going to buy a few bottles of wine but that's it. I should mention we will probably have 20 people at the most. My mom and sister are making my dress with fabric I bought years and years ago on sale. I've bought vases at thrift stores for super cheap and am going to place floating candles in them that my mother in law is making.
We're also going to have a wedding celebration for all our friends back in the states a few months later. But we are going to do it at a park and have it be a potluck style event.
One of my biggest suggestions is if you have friends who are crafty, can cook, etc really well, ask them if they are willing to do things for your wedding as their gift. I've found most are really willing to do that. My little sister is designing my wedding invitations. I have a friend baking a cake. And so on.

Plus I've kept it in perspective that weddings don't have to be big lavish affairs where the mindset of guests is to entertain and feed. The wedding is the start of our life together as husband and wife and that our guests are there to share in our joy. And that helps me know that I can keep it simple and beautiful without killing our pocket book.

To me it seems like a lot of money, but our overall budget is $10,000 for an indian ceremony, legal ceremony, and celebration. So I'm trying to do all I can to spread out the money. Plus everything in New Zealand is a lot more expensive!

LOVE4TEDDYBEAR SparkPoints: (0)
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6/10/11 11:27 A

Don't forget to check out Dollar General or Dollar Tree or any other Dollar stores, you will be surprised as to what you will find, especially for table clothes, plastic utensils, glass ware to use for centerpieces.

AUGUSTMASQUE SparkPoints: (0)
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6/9/11 11:01 A

It is totally doable at 1000 dollars. Make sure you make a list of the things that you really want, the things that would be nice but it's okay if they are left out, and the things that you don't want. It'll help organize everything. =]

And, if you can do it yourself, do! I was walking around Michael's yesterday and they had this awesome display of wedding things....however, things like the ring bearer pillow were almost 30 dollars. If you are handy or someone else is, you can easily make a little satin pillow or whatever for 10 bucks at most.

Good luck and I'm sure it will be beautiful!

XMILOAGO Posts: 37
6/9/11 10:25 A

im planning to get married in feb of 2013, and need to start saving money, but its going to be a small wedding

YOGINILMT Posts: 309
6/6/11 4:36 P

My wedding cost about $500. (including honeymoon)

We rented a cabin in the woods were we had an out-door ceremony, our reception, and our honeymoon
Made all the food ourselves. (except the cake, but my dad is a chef and has a pastry chef friend who did our cake for super cheap)
We didn't rent a tux, my husband wore a nice suit.
My dress was bought on sale (about $100).
We made our own wedding invitations.

We only had about 12 guests, though.

Yay for poor college kids!

PEONIES2013 SparkPoints: (0)
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6/1/11 12:15 P

We are on a semi-tight budget of $12,000. We will be saving money for 2 years total by the time our wedding rolls around (October 2013). We are going to cut back on invitations, centerpieces, STDs, guests, alcohol, and instead spend our money in the location (a beautiful outdoor ceremony site with attached reception hall - very elegant rustic, if you can imagine it lol), food ($70 per person), and my dress. Luckily our photos are free because I'm a wedding photographer as a part-time job, and the owner (a good friend of ours) is going to do them - I'm so excited!

We are taking a BIG cut on alcohol - our venue provides a beer and wine bar for $22 per person, and at about 100 people, we simply don't want to pay another $2,200 (plus tax and gratuity) so our guests can drink free for a night. Call it tacky if you want, but we are having a cash bar (champagne toast will be free though). Out of the 100 guests, maybe 15 are drinkers, so it doesn't really make sense to spend all that money anyway. Our guests all know and are ok with it - and if they're not, we don't want them anyway :)

ALLEYCAT12380 Posts: 627
6/1/11 9:43 A

I had only 60 guests invited (45 showed, 42 stayed for dinner). I did a lot myself. 8 tables, 4 tables had 1 plastic cup each with 2 pin wheels coming out of them, 3 tables had potted cali lilies that were $3.99 each, head table had my and the maid of honour's bouquet.

Had pizza delivered to the venue instead of an actual fancy place (cost was $400, inc. tip). For the dress you can probably go to a cognsignment shop, on-line places like Kijiji, or get a basic dress from a dress shop from a mall, your fiance can wear a suit that he already owns.

Having it at someone's house (or your own if you have one) instead of a venue would be good. You could go for buffet style for that kind of thing. Mention it in the invites that they could have a choice of either bringing food or presents. Probably sounds a bit tacky, I hate when I get an invite and they would rather have presentation than gifts. I find that even more tacky, but for this, I'm sure people would understand.

Sometimes fake flowers from the dollar store looks so real, it's unbelievable, a lot cheaper than real flowers sometimes (mine cost $220, including delivery). Have disposable cameras around. Ask people to take pictures using them. Quite nice to have from the guests point of view. If anyone has digital cameras, ask if they could sumit you their pictures afterwards, I have quite a few myself, some are not the greatest quality, but it was really nice to have anyways.

LLHENNIGAN SparkPoints: (0)
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5/30/11 7:40 P

$500.00 for everything and everything is DIY except $150.00 for venue. My mom donated silk flowers for decoration. I'm not carrying a bouquet. My dress is from a masquerade ball, but it was a wedding gown. We are grilling steaks for everyone (4 oz of course). I'm doing a 6 tier cake but my business is donating the supplies and I'll do all the work. Started on the 200 sugar roses last week. Uploaded music to my laptop and bought speakers. Windows media will be my DJ. Disposable cameras on the tables and 2 of my daughters are photographers for hobby. Another daughter can do hair and makeup out of this world. A close friend volunteered to play Let me call you sweetheart for me to walk down the isle to. The clergy said he would be there for free if I would keep using him as a guinea pig for my new cake recipes. Did I mention we have less than 20 people going to be there.

MANDIETERRIER1 Posts: 17,530
5/27/11 6:08 P

For wedding invitations there is a great website called Mixbook. You can get customized invitations and they are not that expensive. Someone I know got their graduation announcements from Mixbook and they were beautiful.

I also agree with hiring a professional photographer. It is a big expense, but your wedding day is a day that you will never happen again. I am thankful that my sister is majoring in Photography and will be taking the pictures

Edited by: MANDIETERRIER1 at: 6/21/2011 (22:30)
TANGO5617 Posts: 1,342
5/27/11 3:28 P


This is a great topic, and one that would have helped me with my planning. (We got married in September.) I ended up putting together a list of websites that did help, and I think they'll be interesting to you too:

We ended up being right on budget, spending about $10-12,000 for what turned out to be 150 guests (or so). We were married in a small restored theatre, and yeah, there are lots of ways to cut costs.

Our biggest expense? The reception, hands down. That's even with only a wine toast and then the rest was a limited cash bar. (No one in our group is a big drinker.)

Next biggest expense? The photography. I am SO glad we spent money on hiring a professional. He blended into the background, got fabulous shots, and was easy to be around.

Best money saving idea? We used the photos from our engagment shoot (included in the photography package) to create our own guestbook, using . We just left wide margins and asked folks to write us sweet notes at all of the pre-wedding events and at the wedding / reception. We got tons of compliments, and it was really easy to display and transport. It's a fabulous memory book now, and I'm so glad we did that!

So, that's my $0.02. I hope it helps!


5/26/11 7:15 P

I'm not planning on spending more than $10,000. We are saving money by having my uncle and cousin do pictures (both do them as hobbies), a friend who did film in CA is doing our video, and mom and I are doing a lot of DIY decor. The only flowers we will have are in the ceremony. The ceremony and reception are in the same place (state park) wedding is outside on a deck over looking the river and the reception is in the lodge. A family friend may cater for us as well, but depending on how many guests we have since both of us come from a large family it might be easier for us to have outside catering.

5/25/11 4:11 P

My wedding is in two months and it is VERY low budget. I plan to not spend over 500 dollars.
I got my dress for 100 thru davids bridal, ordered online and it came in three days, fits perfect and is so unique and beautiful! *They always have great deals!*

The wedding is outside, up in the mountains in a beautiful little park, the officiant is my father, the reception will be at my house, a low key BBQ with family and friends.

I feel that it will be so intimate and beautiful without all the rediculous stress over things that really dont matter! :)

5/24/11 10:43 A

We're doing a lot of DIY. Our overall budget is still near the national average, but we have way more guests than average. We're having the ceremony and reception in the same place, we're making all the (non-floral) centerpieces. I got my dress at David's Bridal on sale instead of at a boutique. My fiance is brewing all the beer for the reception. Our officiant is a friend who isn't charging us for his services.

There's several blogs that have lots of good suggestions for doing discount weddings, including Broke-A$$ Bride, A Practical Wedding, and Offbeat Bride. Using electronic/e-mail invitations instead of printed ones saves a lot of money. Glo is a company that specializes in fancy event invites that are e-mail based. You can even order a few printed ones for your non-internet using friends. We moved all the "extra" info about our wedding (like directions to the venue and whatnot) onto our website and referred everyone there. We also designed and made our own save-the-dates and all the invitation inserts, so we ONLY bought the invitations and response cards, which we got affordably from an Etsy vendor.

5/17/11 6:42 P

Ours is hovering around the 8K - 9K range. His parents are paying for our photography as a gift, which is a big help since it's our largest expense, and we are getting married in a city park for a nominal fee. We did splurge on things like my dress, and we bought him a new suit instead of renting one. Our catering bill is under $800 because our guest list is capped at 75 and we're having a local restaurant just drop off trays of food to be served buffet style. We also have very very very few rentals, which I know can take a rather large chunk out of some budgets.

XXXKATERXXX SparkPoints: (0)
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5/17/11 11:28 A

My first wedding was defintly under 1,000 including the honeymoon it wasnt to fancy did alot of my own craft ideas and bugetd very well belive me it can be down and when i did it i had two weeks to plan it

UGAKATE85 Posts: 2,630
5/16/11 9:46 A

You don't have to serve alcohol if you don't want to, but I know a lot of people (including myself!) who would not have nearly as good a time without a glass or two of wine. One option is to do a champagne toast where everyone gets one glass of champagne....or you could get wine from Trader Joe's. They have bottles for $2 so if someone really wants alcohol, they can have wine.

Everything I've read has said the easiest way to cut down on costs is to cut down on the guest list.

5/16/11 2:21 A

Between 10-12K. I'm doing a lot of DIY projects including making my own veil that would normally be about $300+. I would like to spend less than 10K but FI and I both come from a big family so we are having between 300-400 guests in attendance. My photo and video are going to be free (exept we pay for prints) because my uncle and cousin do photos for hobbies and a good friend of ours did film in CA before moving back. Those alone save A LOT of money. Our ceremony and reception are in the same place so we only pay one fee as well. There are lots of ways to save money you just have to know where to look and realize that a lot of times your friends and family can be your best resources. Oh and my FI's ex-in-laws (he's closer to them than his ex is) do catering so we are looking at them for that.

5/9/11 1:17 P

I am getting married in June this year and me and my fiance are also paying for the wedding ourselves. The key is to keep it simple and focus on the marriage more than the wedding.
I'll just tell you some of the stuff that we've done to save money, and maybe some of it will be good ideas for you as well:

-we're getting married in a park at a gazebo
-I ordered my dress online from
-we're not catering--we're just having our cakes and light refreshments
-we were lucky enough that my sister's friend is going to make the cake for us--definitely use any connections you have
-one of my friends is a photographer, so she's doing my wedding for a very discounted price. A lot of people of picking up photography as a hobby, so definitely utilize this fad to your advantage!
-I made our invitations (here's a site with cute ideas...I looked at it and kind of formed my own invitation with inspiration from this site:
-we're not having bridesmaids or groomsmen--not only does it avoid a LOT of drama, but it can help save money, too.
-I'm making our favors...since it's an outdoor wedding in the middle of a Texas summer, we're giving the guests handheld fans
-We went to Hobby Lobby and got fake flowers and are making our own centerpieces (keep an eye out for the sales--they will frequently have 50% off their floral department)

In my experience, people will think it's odd if you bypass traditional "must haves" to save money or simply because you don't want them in your wedding. But remember--this is your day and as long as you and your fiance are happy, that's what really matters! At the end of the day, whether you spent $1000 or $100,000 you're still just as married. :)
Congrats, and don't hesitate to contact me if you have any questions or just want to chat about the bliss of having a simple/untraditional wedding!

Fitness Minutes: (5)
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5/9/11 12:12 P

My fiance and I are going to have a low budget wedding, partly because we cant afford anything too crazy, but also because we're just very casual and untraditional. We're going to get married in October 2012 in a park and then have the reception at a family home, pot-luck style. We both agree it'll be much less stressful and more fun and relaxing for us and our guests :) I'm going to be baking my own cake, we've got a ton of musician and dj friends to do the music, Ive got photographer friends, and even several friends who brew their own beer. Its nice to have lots of friends and family who are able and willing to provide their services for little to no cost!

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5/4/11 11:00 A

well were serving a glass of cava on arrival to the reception and then they can purchase any other drinks at the bar...its expensive enough without having to pay for them all to get ratted.

TITANIA23 Posts: 1,210
5/4/11 9:40 A

Oh-- and about serving booze-- of course it depends what kind of atmosphere you're going for, but if things are laid back I see no reason to serve alcohol if that's not your style. This is YOUR day, not your guests'. Or you could limit 2 glasses of wine per person and have a BYOD policy above that. But it definitely depends on how formal your reception will be. We will probably offer a few drinks per head and welcome anyone to bring their own, since our party will be very relaxed.

TITANIA23 Posts: 1,210
5/4/11 9:38 A

Oh-- and about serving booze-- of course it depends what kind of atmosphere you're going for, but if things are laid back I see no reason to serve alcohol if that's not your style. This is YOUR day, not your guests'. Or you could limit 2 glasses of wine per person and have a BYOD policy above that. But it definitely depends on how formal your reception will be. We will probably offer a few drinks per head and welcome anyone to bring their own, since our party will be very relaxed.

TITANIA23 Posts: 1,210
5/4/11 9:35 A

I think the only way to keep the cost down is do-it-yourself and spend less on traditionally big-tag items like the outfits. Also choosing a non-traditional venue that costs less might be an option if you are flexible. We are aiming for 100 guests but trying to keep the cost down to 2-3K (euros). To do this we're hiring friends to help us cook, shopping thrift stores for table decorations, making save-the-dates and invites ourselves, and keeping the dress simple. That way I will hopefully be able to splurge on having professional hair & makeup and a cake :) 1/3 of the cost will go towards the venue, hopefully an old manor house I have my eye on..

5/4/11 9:15 A

I'm in the very beginning of planning, and our guest list is about 275, and we're expecting at least 200 to attend, and that's already a very lean list. I wish receptions didn't cost so much!!! I'm trying to keep it under 10k but it just seems impossible with so many people. We'll probably end up spending nearly 16 - 20K but I just can't swallow that price tag! I'd rather save for my house... kids... etc.

I'm considering not serving any alcohol either because my fh and I don't drink, but i've been at weddings with friends who complain "omg this is a dry wedding ughhhh". When they say that I want to punch them (people are paying for you, why are you complaining?) but I want people to have a good time too... sigh.

Fitness Minutes: (775)
Posts: 13
5/3/11 1:45 P

well weve spent about 2k on our wedding ive got a dress from a boot sale which came with a tiara was from a charity shop,my fiances suit was also from a boot sale total cost 50 doing my own hair and makeup ive made my cake myself and im doing all the decorations myself.i even made my own bouquet and buttonholes (silk because i dont like cut flowers) we are having our wedding in gibraltar and our reception in like to see anyone beat that

RKGIBBS3 SparkPoints: (0)
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4/7/11 10:29 P

I was blessed. My folks in in-laws paid for our wedding. In-laws paid for flowers and rehearsal dinner. My folks paid for everything else. On my folks side, they budgeted 5k. We went a little over because they had invited so many people.
You can do it for very cheap. If you want a "wedding cake" you can make one from cardboard and cover it with fondant or icing and it'll look just like a real one. Then serve sheet cake to guests. For the cutting of the cake, make 1 layer a real cake for you and hubby to cut for pictures :)
Also, hit thrift stores for decor. I used various types of clear glasses (wine glasses, actual candle holders, wisky glasses....) that I found real cheap at thrift stores for about 10 cents a piece and used them as tea light candle holders on tables.
Also, ask around for family and friends to lend stuff to you. Christmas lights, tulle, fake (or live) trees...just make sure to tell them if they want it back then they need to label everything they lend you to insure they get it back after the ceremony.
If you use real flowers, buy bulk and make your own bouquets. I had so much fun with this! That was my favorite part about prepping for the wedding!
The final tip, is if you don't have the money for it, don't invite tons of people. People with big guests list, not that it's wrong, tend to invite friends, family, co workers, family of friends, acquaintances....Most of the people I had at my wedding, I hardly knew. They were all friends of my family. I didn't say much because my folks were paying for the wedding. But if you are the one paying for it, only invite people you really know. If you have tons of family that want to invite other people not on your guest list, then just kindly inform them that you have a guest list set within what you can afford but that if they will help pay for the wedding, then you might be able to invite some more people.

HARBSTER SparkPoints: (0)
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Posts: 2
4/7/11 4:54 P

Low budget is easy to do. The problem is all the extra stuff you forget about. I have set our budget several times and accounted for all of the big things, and then realized that programs, gifts, accessories, bags, and other small things are going to throw us waaaaaay off track.

ROXANNE2001 Posts: 9
4/7/11 11:32 A

i am getting married in june. i have to lose 10lbs. by the end of april cause i gained about 10lbs. for the time i ordered my dress. i want it to fit. my family is helping me do all the cooking and my aunt is making my cake so we are saving money with that and my mom and i did the center pieces that saved about $250

BECKYSUE23 SparkPoints: (0)
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4/6/11 9:11 P

I think that we are going to be spending around $10k (hopefully under). I'm having my mom make my dress so big savings there. I just can't see spending hundreds of dollars on a dress I'll only have on for about 8 hours.

PHATGIRL82 SparkPoints: (0)
Fitness Minutes: (700)
Posts: 46
4/6/11 3:10 P

WEll, we are very low key!!!! lol
We are planning on having it @ lost valley Lake resort( my parents have a membership there!) Thankfully that's only $75 (with a $150 deposit, in case we leave a mess, which we don't plan on!) Me & my moh are making cupcakes:-) & the reception is gonna be a back yard BBQ(style) Lake side, so if the guys wanna fish they can, if the kids wanna swim they can & the resort offers horseback rides (for $10). We want our friends & family to have fun & think this way they can!!! lol emoticon
It also helps my (older:-) ) brother is in food services! He said he could help with some of the food & beverages so i kinda got lucky there! Plan on doing almost everything myself, & thinking about talking to a local photography class to see if they would like the experience & if they could do it as a project for their class (for a grade!) hopefully they can:-)

STINA426 SparkPoints: (0)
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Posts: 4
4/5/11 10:51 P

Wow! Good luck towards your goal - and please post any great budget-saving tips you come across!

FH and I are planning for November and are going to be in the 15-20k range (slowly killing me) another poster...our guests are expecting everything. no real luxuries for he or i, but the open bar is killing the budget.

4/5/11 10:15 A

Wow, let me know if you are able to not spend over your budget because I'll need to know your secret ;) Our wedding is 8/27/2011 and we are estimating it to be around 25-27K and we are paying for it I know how you feel. I'm super budget conscience, but as our guest list grew we had to find a venue that would accomodate everyone.

Good luck!

NYXWOLFWALKER SparkPoints: (168,070)
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Posts: 15,176
4/4/11 11:32 P

We spent under 5,000 for our wedding back in 09 that also included the cost of the rings and our week away (including food on our honeymoon).

We could have gotten away with about 1,000 in total but for legal reasons had to do a few things we other wise wouldn't have dun had to be dun.

4/4/11 10:55 P

i wish you the best of luck with your goal! i thought mine was a low budget wedding and it is just under 9K. we had to pay for everything also and where we come from the guests expect all the trimmings. i have denied myself every teensy luxury in the world and the same with my fiancee to make sure we didnt have to borrow or ask for help from anyone and so far so good!

weddings are just one day and are NOT worth going into debt over! people now already bring debt to the marriage, there's no sense in spending more than you have. good luck and have fun, i bet you are going to be doing a lot of DIY stuff, which is really a blast!

PHATGIRL82 SparkPoints: (0)
Fitness Minutes: (700)
Posts: 46
4/4/11 3:37 P

Me & my fiance are paying & can't afford to spend a lot of money! I was wondering how much you plan on spending for your weddings? It's scary but i hope to not spend over $1000!!! wish me luck!!!

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