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Budget Weddings

New England Wedding- What was your budget/total cost?

Hi Gals!

For those on a budget, how much did your New England wedding cost?

I'm in CT and naively thought I could do my entire wedding (food, dress, booze, venue, everything) for $5,000. I was wrong.

I've calculated my total cost to be around $11,000. We found a local venue that provides tables, chairs, dinnerware, bathrooms and access to a catering kitchen for $2,500.

A caterer quoted us $60 a person (incl. tax!) and this includes 6-8 servers and a bartender. We just need to buy beer/wine and cupcakes.

We do need to rent or buy used table linens and I am going to see if I can possibly find a dress either used or as a sample. I have a hookup to buy flowers at cost and we won't need many.

Our guest list is only 80 people and while we really wanted to do this in a backyard under a tent, you just can't predict the weather so indoors it is. At least now we don't need to worry about renting a tent, bathrooms tables and so on.

Any suggestions or words of wisdom? Any way to further trim the expected cost?

Re: New England Wedding- What was your budget/total cost?

  • I've helped plan several weddings in CT, where I'm also based. Cutting cost up really comes down to cutting guest list. I just planned a $6000 wedding...but the couple had to cut to a 50 person guest list to get to that number.

    It sounds like you're getting a really great deal on both venue and catering. The other way you could cut costs would be to get catering trays from a Mexican restaurant or BBQ restaurant and only hire a few people to help you serve! That would be something you'd want to price out, however.

    You could also go dry, if you wanted to cut costs for beverages. And definitely see what you can find with used dresses or at sample sales. Or do you know someone close to your size you could borrow a dress from? (Just helped a bride do this for her wedding. She looked great.)

    Unfortunately, though, for an 80 person guest list, you probably won't be close to $5,000. But $11,000 is definitely doable if that's something you can swing!


  • I'm definitely open to BBQ. That was our first choice but it ended up being $34 a head without any snacks, service or non-alcoholic drinks.

    I'd be ecstatic if I could get it down to $6,000!! The 80 includes children and vendors but I'm not sure if I'm supposed to count them too? I'm guessing my final count will be closer to 70 but if we fall below 75 people, the caterer charges a $500 service charge :open_mouth: 
  • I'm in Maryland not NE but you should use the knot checklist for every. little. thing.
    Does 5k include honeymoon? rings? paper/postage? hair and makeup? rehearsal dinner? wedding party gifts (easy way to cut costs is to cut wedding party) fiances attire?

    Cut the little things that people don't miss or straight up hate: favors, programs, fancy invitations, save the dates, detailed centerpieces, unity candles/ropes/sand, signs (last chance to run, trust me you can dance- vodka) personalized napkins/matches, matching crap for your wedding party, parents gifts, garters, pricey guestbook, games/entertainment, too many flavors of cake/cupcake (people will want to try more than 1 flavor so you have to buy more)




    ernursej
  • lnixon8 said:
    I'm in Maryland not NE but you should use the knot checklist for every. little. thing.
    Does 5k include honeymoon? rings? paper/postage? hair and makeup? rehearsal dinner? wedding party gifts (easy way to cut costs is to cut wedding party) fiances attire?

    Cut the little things that people don't miss or straight up hate: favors, programs, fancy invitations, save the dates, detailed centerpieces, unity candles/ropes/sand, signs (last chance to run, trust me you can dance- vodka) personalized napkins/matches, matching crap for your wedding party, parents gifts, garters, pricey guestbook, games/entertainment, too many flavors of cake/cupcake (people will want to try more than 1 flavor so you have to buy more)


    agree with all of this, but please don't cut corners by skipping gifts. I mean, yes, matching crap for your wedding party is 100% not needed, but give them each something small and personal, and make sure to get something for your parents. Keep that in the budget, even if you have to skimp on flowers or other decorations to get it.
  • KnottieLu said:
    Hi Gals!

    For those on a budget, how much did your New England wedding cost?

    I'm in CT and naively thought I could do my entire wedding (food, dress, booze, venue, everything) for $5,000. I was wrong.

    I've calculated my total cost to be around $11,000. We found a local venue that provides tables, chairs, dinnerware, bathrooms and access to a catering kitchen for $2,500.

    A caterer quoted us $60 a person (incl. tax!) and this includes 6-8 servers and a bartender. We just need to buy beer/wine and cupcakes.

    We do need to rent or buy used table linens and I am going to see if I can possibly find a dress either used or as a sample. I have a hookup to buy flowers at cost and we won't need many.

    Our guest list is only 80 people and while we really wanted to do this in a backyard under a tent, you just can't predict the weather so indoors it is. At least now we don't need to worry about renting a tent, bathrooms tables and so on.

    Any suggestions or words of wisdom? Any way to further trim the expected cost?
    Of course you can throw a wedding for $5000. All you need to have a wedding is an officiant and a couple (and in some states a witness--I know you don't need one in MA, but not sure about CT). The license costs around $50, and I bet you could get an officiant for $150, or free if you have a friend/relative get "ordained" for the day. 

    That's the way you need to think of it. Start with what you need (license, officiant) and then build up from there. If you invite ANY guests you need to provide them with seats and the appropriate food/drink for the time of day.

    You can rent a hall, with seats/tables for everyone, and have the ceremony and reception there. Have a 2pm ceremony, and then just have cake and punch after for refreshments. See how much money you have after you price that out, then start adding other things, like decor, or alcohol, and how much of a budget you want for clothing, rings, transportation, etc.
    ernursej[Deleted User]
  • lnixon8 said:
    I'm in Maryland not NE but you should use the knot checklist for every. little. thing.
    Does 5k include honeymoon? rings? paper/postage? hair and makeup? rehearsal dinner? wedding party gifts (easy way to cut costs is to cut wedding party) fiances attire?

    Cut the little things that people don't miss or straight up hate: favors, programs, fancy invitations, save the dates, detailed centerpieces, unity candles/ropes/sand, signs (last chance to run, trust me you can dance- vodka) personalized napkins/matches, matching crap for your wedding party, parents gifts, garters, pricey guestbook, games/entertainment, too many flavors of cake/cupcake (people will want to try more than 1 flavor so you have to buy more)


    agree with all of this, but please don't cut corners by skipping gifts. I mean, yes, matching crap for your wedding party is 100% not needed, but give them each something small and personal, and make sure to get something for your parents. Keep that in the budget, even if you have to skimp on flowers or other decorations to get it.


    I specifically mentioned wedding party gifts as part of every little thing. I disagree you have to "get" something for your parents. If you are paying for your wedding without your parents a heartfelt card is (for many people) much more appreciative than the ever popular hankie.



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