• Images
  • Text
  • Find a Couple + Registry
GO
Budget and DIY Weddings

Awesome ideas for VERY low budget weddings

So my FI and I are low on money, and our families are also low on money. My parents are retired and already have a lot to pay for. They said they'd be saving up, but I'm not expecting a whole lot. We literally have a budget of probably $2000 right now, unless I get a better job or I can pick up a lot more freelance work.

I do want a really NICE wedding though, something memorable and really personal.

Here's some things that we've decided on in order to cut costs:

- Potluck Reception - EDITED. Please read my reply on page 4. :/

I'm keeping track of what everyone is bringing via a website I'm going to be building for the wedding guests.

Thankfully, we found a nice venue that has a kitchen, stove, microwave, and fridge and... it's nice and CHEAP! :D Plus it's already decorated in one of the colors we're using.

- Making my own dress. Not many people do this anymore. But my aunt has made dresses for brides in my family for years. I've also been sewing for at least 10 years. So I can have my dream $2000 dress for only $100 and no need to worry about alterations because I know it'll fit! I'm letting her do the more difficult work, and I'll be doing the easy stuff or just the really artsy things like beading.

- DIY everything, from invitations to decorations. Anything I buy is going to be minimal. I'm an artist and graphic designer, so I don't really want to spend all that money to have someone do something I can do myself. For the engagement photo, to send in invitations I'm considering just doing some really pretty artwork of us which will also be displayed at the reception. :) All favors and gifts are going to be personally handmade. I think it's far more personal that way. I'd rather give someone a nice keychain or trinket that I made as a momento than a matchbook and little bag of candy.

- Flowers: Fake, inexpensive but nice looking fake flowers for all the table arrangements. I love exotic flowers, but there's no way I'm spending hundreds for them on tables.  I'm only using real flowers for the bridal party and toss boquet.

- Music and photography: Thankfully, I do have friends who do really good work in this area who I'm planning on asking. It should really help to cut down costs.

- Cake: I have a relative that makes really beautiful cakes. We're considering asking her, but we're also looking around at local places too. With the money we saved from the stuff above, I think we can budget for a really lovely cake!

So what other ideas and suggestions does everyone else have for their weddings that are lovely, but low or no cost?
«134

Re: Awesome ideas for VERY low budget weddings

  • these boards typically rip apart people who say potluck lol. just beware.

    i love your ideas though. making your own dress is awesome. i have skills but nothing like that. post pictures on your progress. from the looks of iut you seem to have a good handle on it. if i can come up with anything, i'll post it
    Anniversary
  • edited July 2010
    Alcohol Free reception....that way you save $$$ on not only the booze but the licensed bar tender to serve it that most venues require.
    *Katie & David* July 22nd 2011 Our Shindig and Blog Updated Weekly! Wedding Countdown Ticker Image and video hosting by TinyPic
  • Well yeah, potluck is cheaper.  You're making your guests pay for the bulk of the reception.  Managing a potluck is a logistical nightmare (What are guests with food allergies supposed to do?  How do you make sure you have enough?  How do you keep the food at the right temperature?  How can you vouch for the preparation of the food?  Are you covered if someone gets food poisoning--or worse--because of badly prepared food?) so it's not really recommended around these parts.
    This is a neglected planning bio.
    This is a belated married bio, with no reviews yet because I'm lazy.

    image
    Sometimes I feel like people think that brides are delicate little flower princesses who get all dressed up and pretty for one special moment of their dreams, when really they're just normal people who just happen to be getting married. Things shouldn't have to be sugar-coated for grown-ass women. -mstar284
  • Having made a formal gown before, I'm really amazed that you could find enough fabric for a wedding gown for $100. I think I spent $80 on enough satin for a straight gown.
  • As you've already seen, you'll get flamed around here for suggesting a potluck wedding.  If you want to get a more neutral view of the pros and cons, you might check out this link.
  • I don't mean this to come across mean... but basically you're expecting your guests to bring you a gift and bring food to eat? (Even if you say, you're not expecting a gift, you're going to get them.) I don't think I'd like that as a guest. I'd either plan for food you can afford (just have finger foods, BBQ, or pasta... you can save a ton if you can make your own and get a few helpers) or just change your reception hours to a 'non-meal' time and serve only cake and punch.

    I do wish you luck on the rest of your planning. It seems like you'll be taking on a lot of DIY tasks, don't get over whelmed.

    Another way to save money is to cut out some flowers all together (for centerpieces/decorations) use candles and/or pomanders.
    Baby Birthday Ticker Ticker
    October 2012 Pumpkin Patch Babies click here for list.
  • In Response to Re: Awesome ideas for VERY low budget weddings:
    Well yeah, potluck is cheaper.  You're making your guests pay for the bulk of the reception.  Managing a potluck is a logistical nightmare (What are guests with food allergies supposed to do?  How do you make sure you have enough?  How do you keep the food at the right temperature?  How can you vouch for the preparation of the food?  Are you covered if someone gets food poisoning--or worse--because of badly prepared food?) so it's not really recommended around these parts.
    Posted by aerinpegadrak
    Act like I said this also.
  • We've done potlucks in my family for years and never, ever had issues. We just do not have the budget for catering and feeding a lot of people, unless we stumble upon a lot of money. I have a huge family, and I've already cut down some of the list but there's a lot of people to invite, doing something tiny with close family isn't feasible when an aunt is helping and their 3 children who have children themselves aren't invited. :/

    That and I'm not asking or demanding everyone to bring a dish, it is a suggestion if they would like to. I also have family members who have already agreed to doing a bulk of the cooking and food preparation, so if someone brings a bag of chips, or a veggie/deli tray, it works out.

    What food allergies or other considerations someone might have so that can be taken into consideration as I will put that in the RSVP. Thanks for bringing that up.

    I was planning on making a website where the guests who can will be able to add and edit what they're planning on bringing so we at least have an idea for what's needed. Those who add it in an RSVP or phone call, email, etc we can add it in for them.

    I'm considering doing a princess ballgown type of dress with a corset top. Boning and all of that will be pricey since I don't want to use plastic boning. It always bends and prods me horribly in bodices, so I want to go with steel. Tulle and a few layers of chiffon don't cost that much, especially with coupons. :)  Not a whole lot of fabric is needed in a corset top. It may not be $100 and might cost more, but certainly under $250. I've made huge ballgown costumes before for only $80 or so including fabric and notions. So it's definately possible. :)
  • In Response to Re: Awesome ideas for VERY low budget weddings:
    We've done potlucks in my family for years and never, ever had issues. We just do not have the budget for catering and feeding a lot of people, unless we stumble upon a lot of money. I have a huge family, and I've already cut down some of the list but there's a lot of people to invite, doing something tiny with close family isn't feasible when an aunt is helping and their 3 children who have children themselves aren't invited. :/ That and I'm not asking or demanding everyone to bring a dish, it is a suggestion if they would like to. I also have family members who have already agreed to doing a bulk of the cooking and food preparation, so if someone brings a bag of chips, or a veggie/deli tray, it works out. What food allergies or other considerations someone might have so that can be taken into consideration as I will put that in the RSVP. Thanks for bringing that up. I was planning on making a website where the guests who can will be able to add and edit what they're planning on bringing so we at least have an idea for what's needed. Those who add it in an RSVP or phone call, email, etc we can add it in for them. I'm considering doing a princess ballgown type of dress with a corset top. Boning and all of that will be pricey since I don't want to use plastic boning. It always bends and prods me horribly in bodices, so I want to go with steel. Tulle and a few layers of chiffon don't cost that much, especially with coupons. :)  Not a whole lot of fabric is needed in a corset top. It may not be $100 and might cost more, but certainly under $250. I've made huge ballgown costumes before for only $80 or so including fabric and notions. So it's definately possible. :)
    Posted by tehrin
    You'd still need to be really careful.  Say Aunt Martha is making macaroni and cheese for your wedding, and she's cooking up some chicken to mix into it.  She's also making dinner for her family, and to make cleanup easier, she tosses some shrimp to cook in the same pan.

    Then fast forward to your wedding.  Your friend Sally has a severe shellfish allergy, but decides the mac 'n' cheese 'n' chicken should be safe.  Because of the cross-contamination, she ends up in the hospital.

    It happens more often than you'd think, and it's the sort of thing that people successfully sue for millions of dollars over.  Hopefully your guests will have more sense than that, but if I were you, I'd get some liability insurance for the event just in case. 
    This is a neglected planning bio.
    This is a belated married bio, with no reviews yet because I'm lazy.

    image
    Sometimes I feel like people think that brides are delicate little flower princesses who get all dressed up and pretty for one special moment of their dreams, when really they're just normal people who just happen to be getting married. Things shouldn't have to be sugar-coated for grown-ass women. -mstar284
  • for food allergies/special foods: gluten, vegetarian, vegan, nuts (peanuts especially)

    we had a very inexpensive backyard wedding for my sister's wedding. we did the ceremony early afternoon and then basically had a cocktail hour. myself, my mom, my sister's husband's mom and one very close friend who offered to bring one dish did a bunch of finger foods and dips. we had about 75 guests and had tons of food leftover, but it's definitely possible to do inexpensive "catering".
  • Don't listen to the people who tell you this is rude. It is YOUR wedding and you should do what you want and can afford. If you want to do a potluck, more power to you. If guests don't want to bring a dish then they don't have to come. As long as guests know well in advance I don't think it will be a problem.

    I'm so amazed you are making your own dress....I would love to see pictures.

    Good luck with all of your planning!
    Anniversary
  • The main issue I see with potluck. Say half the people there don't bring a dish. What will you do when there's not enough food?
    image
    (Married)meganandshane.weebly.com~
    (Planning)shaneandmegan.weebly.com
  • There are other inexpensive ways to have food.  BBQ, restaurant catering, deli trays from the grocery store, sandwiches, DIY pasta bar.
  • I think you definitely need to think the 100% DIY thing.
    DIY is not always cheaper. And if it is - it's sometimes only slightly cheaper. My cousin spent $135 on DIY invites (inc. pre-printed envelopes) and found out she could have had ones made for her (no work involved from her other than to stick them in the envelope) for $140. For $5 extra she could have taken some stress off of herself and made time to do other things. And do you really want to spend every second free time from now until the wedding day working on all your stuff? Even if you don't mind it, your friends and family might get a little miffed that you're so wrapped up in the wedding that you have no time for them.
    Please understand that I have nothing against DIY stuff - often times the DIY stuff turns out better than the things that are professionally made. I would just hate to see you burried under a mountain of projects and too tired to enjoy your big day.
    Good luck, whatever you decide!
  • Potluck wedding showers are find by me, but I don't think having a potluck wedding is a good idea. Your guests are already taking a day out of their weekend to come to your wedding. Most will give a gift of some sort. (I don't think anyone would bring a dish and not give a gift as well).

    A potluck wedding is almost as bad as a cash bar....your guests shouldn't have to bring their own dinner when you are the host.

    As mwhitson14 said, what if some guests don't bring a dish? Something may come up and people can't make food when they said they could. Also you couldn't tell people what to make, so you could end up w/15 pasta salads.

    IMO, find a caterer that is low-priced and DIY as much as you can.



    Anniversary [center]My Chart[/center] Baby Birthday Ticker Ticker
  • I'm amazed that you are crafty enough to sew your own gown!  Do you have the design already picked out?
    Photobucket
  • If you decide not to do a potluck maybe look at a hyvee or somewhere that has a deli you could do simple backyard bbq foods or like deli trays & veg trays potato salads rolls & keep it simple. I agree that it will save you alot of money for a potluck.. I just dont know if i could handle the stress of what ifs?
    We are all a little weird and life's a little weird, and when we find someone whose weirdness is compatible with ours, we join up with them and fall in mutual weirdness and call it love
  • Fred13Fred13
    100 Comments
    member
    Oh, please. Do the potluck. What may be right for everyone else may not be right for you and vice versa. You obviously have a handle on what is appropriate by your family and not only that- what is good for you and your FI! Everyone's wedding/reception is unique to not only their aesthetic but their budget. Do what is right by you, everyone around you will just be happy to be apart of your celebration.

    Two hiccups: Allergies and out of towners.

    It's a great idea to do a website, but it would be hard to enforce the policy. Most people don't fill out their RSVP cards correctly/fully, let alone log on to a website. But, then again, you probably know the family best and if they are motivated to do it. Once you have all the dishes in, being a graphic designer (even if you weren't, it would be amazingly simple), you could print little tags/cards, that can be propped in front of dishes with the dish name and the name of the creator/chef extraordinaire. This could be fun and a conversation starter. It also brings everything down to an intimate and personal level among one another. Food, eating the food that people prepare really makes people feel like family. I love eating family dinners with people; it's such a heart-warming experience. Since you are thinking a dish instead of gifts (an idea I love), realistically, people could do this as cheap as home-made maccaroni or as expensive as oysters. Out of town guests couldn't realistically partake in this style of gift exchange, BUT they still have the ability to rock your registry.

    I say, go for it. It sounds like you have everything under control. Let Home-Made/Home-Grown/Home is Where the Heart Is be your theme. It's your day and having everything unique makes it all the better.

    And who doesn't like a good pot luck? With a Dash of Love.
  • In Response to Re: Awesome ideas for VERY low budget weddings:
    Don't listen to the people who tell you this is rude. It is YOUR wedding and you should do what you want and can afford. If you want to do a potluck, more power to you. If guests don't want to bring a dish then they don't have to come. As long as guests know well in advance I don't think it will be a problem. I'm so amazed you are making your own dress....I would love to see pictures. Good luck with all of your planning!
    Posted by muamanda18

    Yes, clearly because it's HER wedding she should just throw all etiquette out the window and not care about treating her guests properly.

    Re the bolded part: Charging admission to your wedding is just about the rudest thing you could do.
    Married 10/2/10
  • edited July 2010
    I'm not even gonna touch the potluck thing because we have a microscopic budget and are blessed that my brother is paying for our food.

    Can't wait to see the dress, please post pics!

    Other ideas: Forgo the favors.  Half the time people don't even take them and there are a ton left over.  Maybe do special handmade gifts for your party, parents, and any helpers.  I agree with pokepoke27 - sometimes diy projects are not cheaper.  Take invites: even with coupons I still would have paid a lot more for them had I gone that route.  FedEx/Kinkos is where I did mine.  You can work with one of their designs and make it your own or upload your own original design.  Also borrow, borrow, borrow!  We are borrowing candle holders, platters, vases, whatever we can for decoration.  We are using natural elements like tree branches from the woods - can't beat free!  We too are doing a cash bar.  It's perfectly acceptable where we live, though I know not everyone is from a place where it is considered to be so.

    Here's a pic of our invites:

    Daisypath Anniversary tickers BabyFruit Ticker
  • In Response to Re: Awesome ideas for VERY low budget weddings:
    Having made a formal gown before, I'm really amazed that you could find enough fabric for a wedding gown for $100. I think I spent $80 on enough satin for a straight gown.
    Posted by beautifulbridetobe11
    I just got the fabric for my wedding dress from Joanns . I spent $75 . I used a 50% off coupons.  My dress has an 6 foot train too .
    Anniversary
  • I would just like to point out the OP said she was not demanding people bring food just suggesting it.  The idea that they can't come without a dish was someone else's idea. 

    I say if a potluck works for your crowd go for it.  I've gone to many potlucks for other events and you never make enough food for every single person to eat because not everyone is going to eat everything and most people won't take a full serving either.  The only time I've had an entire dish of mine eaten was when I made my choc. chip cookies (they are amazing and they are not tollhouse).   A potluck can work with food allergies.   Obviously a person with an allergy is going to bring something they can eat.  Some people aren't going to cook but instead swing by the grocery store and buy something prepackaged, keep the packaging that has the ingredient list. 
    Wedding Countdown Ticker
  • I personally don't like a potluck wedding, BUT this is how weddings were done for many hundreds of years. They were all about friends and family coming together in towns and villages to support the bride and groom. All of the guest brought food to share with everyone. If this is what your family is into then so be it. Weddings where no one brought food were normally only reserved for royalty and nobility.

    That being said, I personally wouldn't do it just because I would worry about whether or not enough people would bring food. Also many people have very  good points about food allergys which can be really dangerous. Finally I just wouldn't want the stress of it all.
  • I say go for the potluck if you want. Your wedding is about you and your FH uniting, and that's it. I personally wouldn't mind if a friend had a potluck wedding, because the food is usually better than what you can get catered for $10/person. ;) Just make sure your venue allows food to be brought in - many require that the food come from a licensed kitchen.  

    That being said, I also think the pasta bar is a cool idea if you decide not to go the pot luck route. Pasta is super-dee-duper cheap and easy to make!
  • I really hate to see when people jump down the op's throat! It's sad. Personally, I think a potluck is a great idea. She isn't saying bring a dish or go home, it's a suggestion. A friend of mine recently did a potluck wedding and it turned out really well. If that's what your families are used to and that's what you want to do - GO FOR IT!
  • Sorry if this was already mentioned (II didn't feel like reading through all the suggestions). My FI and I are planning on having a dessert reception. You can have your relatives chip in by making pies, cookies, cupcakes, etc. We have found that it is a very inexpensive idea and a lot of people LOVE the idea of having a dessert recpetion. We are having our wedding later at night so that people will be able to eat dinner before they come to the wedding. There are a ton of creative and fun ideas out there like a sundae bar or even a make your own smores station. Hope this helps!
    -Jen
  • You people that are suggesting she go ahead with the potluck wedding. Please explain to me what happens when 125 people are invited, and a few people end up bringing dishes and the rest don't. What happens to the other 100 people for food? I just don't understand how you can say, it's your wedding do what you want! Yes, the wedding is about the two people getting married, but the RECEPTION is about the guests.

    This is ridiculous. The entitlement terrifies me.
    image
    (Married)meganandshane.weebly.com~
    (Planning)shaneandmegan.weebly.com
  • Honestly, i guess i am in the minority, but I have been to pot-luc weddings. I loved it, and really think its a regional or family thing. My family would love to, but they all think its normal to do EVERYTHING ourselves. We dont see all the materialistic things that go with a wedding, including favors. We just all want to have a good time with good friends and families, celebrating a union. I am asking for CLOSE family and friends to help out with food (they all have said whatever they can do they are up for it) But i want alot of say into whats going on the tables and we are having a little party to do it.
    I say if its normal for your family, then do it!! Thank you for your ideas, and i think they are great!
  • I say go for your idea! Its your vision, you do what you feel is right! You don't need everyone's justification!
    Wedding Planning Bio/Blog Here Updated as of 2/1/11 Wedding Countdown Ticker
  • I find the odds of 100 people not bringing anything to a pot luck pretty unlikely. I think brides who go $30,000 into debt to throw a party have bigger entitlement issues than someone who wants a pot luck. My cousin had a pot luck reception and everyone loved it because they got to show off their favorite dishes and find some new ones. 
«134
Sign In or Register to comment.
Choose Another Board
Search Boards