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Budget Weddings

Big wedding on a tiny budget

So I recently got engaged. I mostly lurk here, occasionally I respond to posts or ask questions. I'll probably be asking more questions now.

My situation is such that I have no money. At least not that I want to pay for a wedding with. My boyfriend wants a big fat fancy wedding, I would rather elope, but it is important to him so we are doing a ceremony/reception type deal. My mom is contributing a large amount of the budget, and therefore contributing to the guest list as well. Here are some of my questions (some of which may fall under etiquette)

1. My mom is paying for her guests. Does her "say" end there? I showed her invitations I liked (very simple, vista print) and she said I need formal wedding invitations with the inner envelope and like lace and crap. Also flowers. 

2. Do I need programs? What about a bridal party? I've been a bridesmaid and its sucky. 

3. A venue I'm interested in is a B&B. I can rent the entire facility (including 8 rooms) for the weekend and it is in price range, but barely. The coordinator said that "most often the guests pay for the rooms" but to rent the entire facility is one charge. Do the guests pay the venue for their rooms and the venue credit me or do I rent the venue and eat the cost (this is fine)?  If they offer me money for their room do I take it? I know there was a thread about this once but I can't find it.

5. If we do a rehearsal dinner, do I need to provide alcohol/open bar? We would most likely be doing a "cater yourself" type thing with pizza or maybe have a small buffet brought in. I would have to do set up and clean up for this situation (at this venue)

6. Would just various cheeses/fresh fruits be suitable enough for cocktail hour?

7. How terrible is a Friday wedding? What about a Saturday or Sunday brunch wedding?

Are there any other areas I can cut out without going against proper hosting? 

Any suggestions or comments are appreciated. Sorry if this is too long!
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Re: Big wedding on a tiny budget

  • Yep - not your Boyfriend - your FI... 

    1) Ye who pays gets a say (to a large extent)...  On the invites look at some of the kits from Walmart/Michael's/Staples in the clearance aisle that fit both your visions that you can create a compromise with.  I'd try to compromise with the inner/outer envelope aspect and an RSVP card with your original idea/plan first though because hanging around here - "where good invites go bad!" Find a way to go a little more "formal invite" without sacrificing what you want nor your budget!  It can be done. 

    2) Bridal parties are optional, if you assume the attitude of your only expectation is your WP will "Show up the day of the wedding, in the designated attire (let them choose!), relatively sober, and pose for a few pictures then hang around for dinner" it won't be so bad.  As for programs, if anything, it's nice to have a relative timeline of the day.  DH's cousin put a timeline with the invitation for everyone and didn't do any other programs.  It was nice!  We knew what times the main events would be at and no "wonder what time this'll start" stuff..  IMO - nice but not necessary.  If you want to do them, it's called Kinkos, and they'll fold them for you for a few pennies more which is well worth your time to NOT have to do!

    3) Budget first, ENTIRE guest list second, then venue.  Do not look at venues until you have a "I MUST invite", "I want to invite", and "I'd like to invite if space and money allows" (this is not a B-list, it's prioritizing the size of your weding based on your budget) and look at venues that fit those numbers accommodating for your single guests to bring a SO or +1. Yes, you will use all 8 of those rooms at a B&B for your immediate families and you/FI to have a honeymoon suite.  IMO - work it out amongst yourselves!  It really does sound like the B&B will ultimately be out of your budget/size though so get that guest list finalized NOW before you look at a single additional venue!

    5) Go to a local restaurant and have someone else clean up the mess and pay for everyone to have pizza and drinks.  Your cost and stress will ultimately be lower than if you try to put something together yourself.  You do not want to be working to clean up after everyone is done after the rehearsal, you want to be preparing yourself for the next day.  Do you need a rehearsal, not really, but it is nice so everyone gets together to know where things are at on the property so they don't look disorganized the day-of.  It doesn't need to be a long process. 

    6) Yes - or just skip it if your budget truly is that tight.  Typically we recommend a meat tray as well for a more savory option for those lactose intolerant or having to watch sugars. 

    7) Weekend brunch is preferable to a Friday night as you're essentially asking guests to take time off from work.  It's also a "know your crowd" because if your guests are all local to the venue that's significantly different than if people need hotel rooms to attend your wedding.

    Additional rec's - The #1 thing to remember is the golden rule - treat your guests as you'd like to be treated.  Communicate with your vendors.  If you only want to spend $200 on flowers, give your florist the budget to run with to make it happen.  You don't need thousands of dollars in arrangements to have a beautifully flowered wedding.  You can really "Elope at home" and other than the food and drinks for your guests, not spend on the "extras".  When it comes to the cake - Walmart/Sam's/Super Target/Local Grocery Store/HyVee/BJ's/etc. al make wedding cakes the only challenge is you've got to do the delivery.  But - whatever you do, DO NOT CHEAP OUT on your guests!  Don't buy a cake because it's cheap - buy it because it tastes FANTASTIC for the price-point!  Don't use Sam's regular icing, use their whipped icing - there's a HUGE taste difference!!!  (one tastes great, the other tastes like you just grabbed a spoonful of Shortening!)..  The simpler the design for your baker the cheaper the cake will be to make/deliver.  If you don't like cake, go ahead and order a delicious dessert for everyone instead.  Do not purchase a single bridal magazine. 

    And - the best money you can invest in this process is a good marriage prep counselor!  Your first paragraph was enough to let us know that this is something important to do because the main reasons for divorce or simply Communication and Finances.  Working the "rules of engagement" on the front end before you plan the wedding is the best money you two can spend because it's investing into the marriage...

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    geebee908SP29short+sassy
  • Thanks! For the record, boyfriend/fiance is all the same to me. I'll probably use one or both interchangeably but if everyone here prefers I call him fiance, I can do that. 

    1. We haven't looked at this venue yet. I've been communicating with the coordinator through email, I'm just interested in this venue and wanted to see what the prices were and what they would get me.

    2. Totally not worried about getting the money back for the rooms or if anyone wants to leave before the weekend is up. The way she described it to me is "$X will get you the entire venue for friday night- sunday am, with all available rooms (8), but usually the guest will pay for these" they would be used for our VIPs. It was just the wording I didn't quite understand so I wasn't sure if someone here had experience with that. I will clarify if I decide to see the venue.

    3. We have a guest list. Right now its "Who would we invite if we could invite everyone we wanted to" and will soon become "Who do we want to be there the most" I came up with less than 50 people, his was 120+. Its a work in progress. My mom is contributing to the wedding because she wants to contribute to the guest list.

    4. We do have a budget, but I want to stay as below budget as possible. Right now it's about $15k. I found a decent caterer and this particular venue does push the budget BUT we haven't even looked at it and there are a few that are cheaper in the area, I just like the idea of having rooms available onsite for the ease of our guests.

    Things that are important to us are: Open bar, a decent DJ. I just want to make sure if I cut the budget in more places than the guest list, that I'm doing it in the right places.
    SP29
  • kimmiinthemittenkimmiinthemitten Detroit, MI member
    2500 Comments 500 Love Its Third Anniversary 5 Answers
    Congrats!  I type FI here but sometimes still say boyfriend in person, it's just habit and not that big of a deal to either of us.   

    I'd talk to your mom and ask her honestly what her strings are. If you're comfortable with what she asks for in return, then go ahead but don't count on it until you have it in your bank. 

    The difference between 50 and 120 is huge!  I'd stop all wedding planning until you have a guest list you, your FI and your mom if applicable can all sign off on. 
    image
    MesmrEweSP29
  • Congrats!  I type FI here but sometimes still say boyfriend in person, it's just habit and not that big of a deal to either of us.   

    I'd talk to your mom and ask her honestly what her strings are. If you're comfortable with what she asks for in return, then go ahead but don't count on it until you have it in your bank. 

    The difference between 50 and 120 is huge!  I'd stop all wedding planning until you have a guest list you, your FI and your mom if applicable can all sign off on. 
    I know, this came up already. My mom is coming up with her guest list, and FI is going home in a few weeks and will discuss with his parents what, if any guests they might prefer to be there, and we can make some serious cuts which will give us a better and more realistic view of the number of people being invited. Unfortunately we both come from very large families and while I am more than happy to just invite those close to me, he is close with ALL of his family members.

     We are just narrowing things down right now. Unfortunately I live in a very expensive area, and 90% of our guests will be traveling. His family dynamics, without writing a book here about it, are a huge factor in where and when this wedding is held.
  • CMGragainCMGragain member
    10000 Comments 500 Love Its Fourth Anniversary 25 Answers
    edited October 2016
    Slow down.  You cannot plan a wedding without a budget and a guest list.  Stop looking at venues until you have done this.
    You say that your Mom is "contributing" to the budget.  Where is the rest of the money coming from?
    My daughter's wedding, five years ago, cost about $12,000.  No DJ and no open bar, held in the daytime for 135 guests.
    You are already looking at invitations?  Stop!
    httpiimgurcomTCCjW0wjpg
    InLoveInQueens
  • CMGragainCMGragain member
    10000 Comments 500 Love Its Fourth Anniversary 25 Answers
    edited October 2016
    Thanks! For the record, boyfriend/fiance is all the same to me. I'll probably use one or both interchangeably but if everyone here prefers I call him fiance, I can do that. 

    1. We haven't looked at this venue yet. I've been communicating with the coordinator through email, I'm just interested in this venue and wanted to see what the prices were and what they would get me.

    2. Totally not worried about getting the money back for the rooms or if anyone wants to leave before the weekend is up. The way she described it to me is "$X will get you the entire venue for friday night- sunday am, with all available rooms (8), but usually the guest will pay for these" they would be used for our VIPs. It was just the wording I didn't quite understand so I wasn't sure if someone here had experience with that. I will clarify if I decide to see the venue.

    3. We have a guest list. Right now its "Who would we invite if we could invite everyone we wanted to" and will soon become "Who do we want to be there the most" I came up with less than 50 people, his was 120+. Its a work in progress. My mom is contributing to the wedding because she wants to contribute to the guest list.

    4. We do have a budget, but I want to stay as below budget as possible. Right now it's about $15k. I found a decent caterer and this particular venue does push the budget BUT we haven't even looked at it and there are a few that are cheaper in the area, I just like the idea of having rooms available onsite for the ease of our guests.

    Things that are important to us are: Open bar, a decent DJ. I just want to make sure if I cut the budget in more places than the guest list, that I'm doing it in the right places.
    The most important thing to consider should be the comfort of your guests.  This is a list of what is most important:
    1.  A valid marriage license.
    2.  An officiant.
    3.  Legal witnesses.
    4.  A comfortable venue that can easily fit your guest list.
    5.  A chair for every guest.
    6.  Food enough for everybody.
    7.  A timeline with no gaps.
    8.  Written invitations

    You must have all of the above!  Additional options may include a wedding party, alcohol, dancing, DJ, decor, flowers.  Asking your guests to pay for any part of your wedding or honeymoon (cash bar, honeyfund, etc.) is very rude.
    httpiimgurcomTCCjW0wjpg
    short+sassy
  • The rest of the budget is coming from me, so when I said I don't have money I guess that wasn't necessarily true. I just don't have "big wedding" money on my own. I just checked vista print invitations to see what they had. Again, not looking at venues, just getting prices from the one local to me to get an idea of what types of things they offer and what the cost is. I'm not interested in looking at venues outside of my budget.

    What I needed to know is where I can realistically cut my budget, that's all. So thank you for that info and that list CMG, I appreciate it :) Hopefully in a week or two we will have a new revised guest list that is more realistic.
  • You can cut your budget in all sorts of ways, if you are paying for your wedding yourself. If your mother is paying for most of it, she gets a big say in things. It might help to sit down with her and draw up a tentative budget of how much you each anticipate spending on different categories. 
  • You can cut your budget in all sorts of ways, if you are paying for your wedding yourself. If your mother is paying for most of it, she gets a big say in things. It might help to sit down with her and draw up a tentative budget of how much you each anticipate spending on different categories. 
    Thank you, we are planning to do that. When we spoke (and she saw my guest list) she specifically mentioned paying for the people she would like to invite, so that is why I wasn't sure if she covers that cost, does she get more say than that in other options? I get along well with my mom and don't mind accomodating her at all since she is helping, but my tastes are often a lot more simple than hers.

    I'm sure I'll have a better idea in a few weeks, once we get more details ironed out.
  • You can cut your budget in all sorts of ways, if you are paying for your wedding yourself. If your mother is paying for most of it, she gets a big say in things. It might help to sit down with her and draw up a tentative budget of how much you each anticipate spending on different categories. 
    Thank you, we are planning to do that. When we spoke (and she saw my guest list) she specifically mentioned paying for the people she would like to invite, so that is why I wasn't sure if she covers that cost, does she get more say than that in other options? I get along well with my mom and don't mind accomodating her at all since she is helping, but my tastes are often a lot more simple than hers.

    I'm sure I'll have a better idea in a few weeks, once we get more details ironed out.
    If she pays for the per person cost for her guests, it possible she would want to have a say in the food/drinks/venue since she is contributing and that's where her money is going and IMO that would be a reasonable request. 
  • You can cut your budget in all sorts of ways, if you are paying for your wedding yourself. If your mother is paying for most of it, she gets a big say in things. It might help to sit down with her and draw up a tentative budget of how much you each anticipate spending on different categories. 
    Thank you, we are planning to do that. When we spoke (and she saw my guest list) she specifically mentioned paying for the people she would like to invite, so that is why I wasn't sure if she covers that cost, does she get more say than that in other options? I get along well with my mom and don't mind accomodating her at all since she is helping, but my tastes are often a lot more simple than hers.

    I'm sure I'll have a better idea in a few weeks, once we get more details ironed out.
    If she pays for the per person cost for her guests, it possible she would want to have a say in the food/drinks/venue since she is contributing and that's where her money is going and IMO that would be a reasonable request. 
    Ok! Just regarding the venue portion of your statement, would it be reasonable for me to say "Hey mom, we invited your guests and compromised on food, but would like to get married at venue A instead of venue B, because reasons." Provided I am the sole person paying for the venue? We would like to get married local to where we live, but at this point are flexible due to the budget.
  • The rest of the budget is coming from me, so when I said I don't have money I guess that wasn't necessarily true. I just don't have "big wedding" money on my own. I just checked vista print invitations to see what they had. Again, not looking at venues, just getting prices from the one local to me to get an idea of what types of things they offer and what the cost is. I'm not interested in looking at venues outside of my budget.

    What I needed to know is where I can realistically cut my budget, that's all. So thank you for that info and that list CMG, I appreciate it :) Hopefully in a week or two we will have a new revised guest list that is more realistic.
    You seem to have a really good head on your shoulders, and I'm sure you will work things out. The one question I have is that you keep saying the money is coming from you...where does your FI fit in all this, since he's the one who wants the big wedding, what is he contributing?


  • The rest of the budget is coming from me, so when I said I don't have money I guess that wasn't necessarily true. I just don't have "big wedding" money on my own. I just checked vista print invitations to see what they had. Again, not looking at venues, just getting prices from the one local to me to get an idea of what types of things they offer and what the cost is. I'm not interested in looking at venues outside of my budget.

    What I needed to know is where I can realistically cut my budget, that's all. So thank you for that info and that list CMG, I appreciate it :) Hopefully in a week or two we will have a new revised guest list that is more realistic.
    You seem to have a really good head on your shoulders, and I'm sure you will work things out. The one question I have is that you keep saying the money is coming from you...where does your FI fit in all this, since he's the one who wants the big wedding, what is he contributing?

    ______________________________________________________________________

    He is working two jobs to pay down some of his personal debt. I'm sure he will contribute here and there, but I'd rather he keep paying his debt off. I make a bit more than him and have a lot less debt. Hes not making any demands, he just doesn't want to do JOP and a nice dinner, he wants to see his family and dance and have a party. I guess I can't blame him, we are planning on only getting married once ;)
    crowsgirl15
  • You can cut your budget in all sorts of ways, if you are paying for your wedding yourself. If your mother is paying for most of it, she gets a big say in things. It might help to sit down with her and draw up a tentative budget of how much you each anticipate spending on different categories. 
    Thank you, we are planning to do that. When we spoke (and she saw my guest list) she specifically mentioned paying for the people she would like to invite, so that is why I wasn't sure if she covers that cost, does she get more say than that in other options? I get along well with my mom and don't mind accomodating her at all since she is helping, but my tastes are often a lot more simple than hers.

    I'm sure I'll have a better idea in a few weeks, once we get more details ironed out.
    If she pays for the per person cost for her guests, it possible she would want to have a say in the food/drinks/venue since she is contributing and that's where her money is going and IMO that would be a reasonable request. 
    Ok! Just regarding the venue portion of your statement, would it be reasonable for me to say "Hey mom, we invited your guests and compromised on food, but would like to get married at venue A instead of venue B, because reasons." Provided I am the sole person paying for the venue? We would like to get married local to where we live, but at this point are flexible due to the budget.
    If your catering is done by your venue (it may or may not be I don't know) then if your mom is "paying for her guests" then you're not solely paying for the venue, KWIM?

    I think the best way to approach it would be to ask your mom what she wants her money to go to and if she has anything you need to take into consideration when you're deciding on venues. If she wants to have input you should find out in advance and then can choose to accept her money (with her stipulations) or decline it. This is a better approach than "we already compromised on other things so were choosing the venue we want". 
    SP29
  • You can cut your budget in all sorts of ways, if you are paying for your wedding yourself. If your mother is paying for most of it, she gets a big say in things. It might help to sit down with her and draw up a tentative budget of how much you each anticipate spending on different categories. 
    Thank you, we are planning to do that. When we spoke (and she saw my guest list) she specifically mentioned paying for the people she would like to invite, so that is why I wasn't sure if she covers that cost, does she get more say than that in other options? I get along well with my mom and don't mind accomodating her at all since she is helping, but my tastes are often a lot more simple than hers.

    I'm sure I'll have a better idea in a few weeks, once we get more details ironed out.
    If she pays for the per person cost for her guests, it possible she would want to have a say in the food/drinks/venue since she is contributing and that's where her money is going and IMO that would be a reasonable request. 
    Ok! Just regarding the venue portion of your statement, would it be reasonable for me to say "Hey mom, we invited your guests and compromised on food, but would like to get married at venue A instead of venue B, because reasons." Provided I am the sole person paying for the venue? We would like to get married local to where we live, but at this point are flexible due to the budget.
    If your catering is done by your venue (it may or may not be I don't know) then if your mom is "paying for her guests" then you're not solely paying for the venue, KWIM?

    I think the best way to approach it would be to ask your mom what she wants her money to go to and if she has anything you need to take into consideration when you're deciding on venues. If she wants to have input you should find out in advance and then can choose to accept her money (with her stipulations) or decline it. This is a better approach than "we already compromised on other things so were choosing the venue we want". 
    That makes sense. I haven't found too many venues that do their own catering, this one that I had contacted only caters for 50 or less people. I haven't contacted any others so I'm not sure but it seems popular to rent a space and then have it catered. Ideally, I'd want to find a venue that does their own catering since that seems easier, but I see what you mean. 
    charlotte989875
  • You need to talk to your mother about what she thinks she is paying for. 
  • If you want a full service place (ie venue that also caters), you are likely going to have to look at places that traditional do weddings (wedding halls, hotels, etc). A B&B is probably not your best option in this case. 

    I mu understand the desire to have rooms close by, but maybe you can find a venue that has a hotel within walking distance? Also, this would mean there's no confusion over who pays for the rooms and guests could book and pay for them directly without involving you. 
    SP29
  • Country clubs do very nice weddings.  We didn't have to do anything except pay the bill.
    httpiimgurcomTCCjW0wjpg
    MesmrEwe
  • Awesome! Thanks guys! I'll check into that. I'm in a very vineyard/B&B/historic mansion area and they come up in all my searches, I didn't really think to check out the hotels or maybe the golf clubs too.
  • You should confirm what the B&B means about the 8 rooms. Maybe they mean you're on the "hook" for them, but if your guests want to stay there they'll pay for it. You would just cover anything that's not booked.
  • You should confirm what the B&B means about the 8 rooms. Maybe they mean you're on the "hook" for them, but if your guests want to stay there they'll pay for it. You would just cover anything that's not booked.
    I'm going to. I just wanted to check here while I was waiting for an answer from the coordinator. I remember seeing a thread awhile back with a similar question but wasn't able to search for it.
    charlotte989875
  • SP29SP29 member
    Sixth Anniversary 2500 Comments 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    edited October 2016
    A wedding party is always optional.

    Programs are always option.

    If you do not have a WP, and even if you do, if your ceremony is straight forward, you don't need a rehearsal, thus you'll save money on a rehearsal dinner. Alcohol is never required- a dry event is OK, but you'll find people prefer it. Pizza and pop for a rehearsal is just fine.

    Definitely get on the same page with your Mom about what she expects. If you say to her, "Mom, we can only afford to invite 50 guests to our wedding" and she responds, "Well I want X,Y,Z there, so I'll pay for them", that to me is different than "I'm giving you $X toward the wedding, and I expect to see X,Y,Z invited..... (among other things she expects)". I would ask her what she would like to see her money go towards.
    Personally, I think if she is "paying for her guests" then she doesn't really get a say in the venue, food, invitations etc. While she may think, "MY guests are coming and I want them to have steak dinners and formal embossed invitations with lace", those demands affect every other guest as well, increasing your overall budget beyond what you can afford and beyond what she is contributing. Saying this- crazier things have happened, and sometimes parents have high expectations for their children's weddings, even if they are not contributing, so best to ask now. Another way to go about things, for example the formal invitations, is to tell your mom, "Mom, I know you would like formal invitations but I have only budgeted $200 for invitations which will not cover the invitations you would like". She can either concede or perhaps offer to pay for the invitations she'd like.

    The B&B guest rooms confuse me. The general rule is, if you are required to book/pay for rooms because it is required to book the venue (some small places, such as cabins/retreats/resorts/ etc will state that you can't just book the banquet room, you have to book the whole venue), that is your cost to cover. How you then choose to use those rooms is up to you (wedding party, family, VIPs), but you don't charge your guests for them. Otherwise, guests should be responsible for their own lodgings and personally I'd stay away from booking something on someone's behalf and then expecting them to pay you back- let them deal with the venue.

    Sometimes the more traditional wedding venues can be cheaper because they do weddings near every weekend (sometimes all weekend), so they own tables, chairs, linens, cutlery, dishes, decor, have the ceremony and reception space, the coordinators and staff.... thus they can offer packages at reasonable prices. Definitely consider it versus a place you need to bring everything into yourself.

    There is nothing *wrong* with a Friday wedding, but realize it may be inconvenient for your guests as they will be required to take time off work. A friend of mine was married on a Friday. Ceremony was at 5pm. Many guests showed up *right* before the processional started and some showed up late and had to stand at the back of the room because they were all coming from work. Many also left relatively early because they'd been up since 6am and at work all day. Brunch weddings are lovely (Sat or Sun)! I wish more people had them.

    As for cocktail hour, it does not need to be expensive or lavish, but have a few options and something that is going to tide your guests over. Crackers + cheese, fruit and veggie platters, even a few bowls of pretzels/chips/nachos/snack mix, meat + cheese platter. These are things you could order from a grocery store.

    Things you can cut: Flowers. Decor in general (put a table cloth on the table and provide napkins, but no one cares about chargers or chair covers or colour coordination). Consider wine and beer only versus an open bar. Videography. Photography (I think most people would tell you their photos were important to them- but consider a shorter package of 4-6 hours and get the essentials versus these large 9-12h packages with engagement sessions and edited books, etc). Rings. How much you are spending on your wedding dress- purchase one used, consider a "not" wedding dress.
    MesmrEwe
  • Thanks SP! That was a great detailed answer. I asked my mom today, (quickly, she never has time to chat during the week) and she said "Your wedding should be how you want it. Keep in mind people want to dance and drink but I think we covered the important points." So for her, the important points were having her guests on the guest list. For FI's family, itll be having "the family" there and most likely ample alcohol. I did check the venue my mom wanted and its double the budget, but I think we are off to a good start.

    Let me ask this regarding alcohol-- say we offer beer and wine only. Would it be reasonable to have mixed drinks available if the guests want to pay for them? Or should we just stick to it with beer and wine and if you want something else too bad thats all we have. 

    Sorry if I'm asking all my questions in one thread!
    SP29
  • If you have a morning ceremony with a brunch reception, mimosas and bloody marys are good.
    httpiimgurcomTCCjW0wjpg
  • Ok, got it. Thanks!
  • flantasticflantastic The Midwest member
    2500 Comments Fifth Anniversary 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    I designed my own invites, inserts, and RSVP cards in MS Publisher and printed them at VistaPrint (actually someplace similar). Bought envelopes with Amazon Prime - that was where they were cheapest. There was no "lace and crap" or engraving, but they looked modern and nice - largely a part of the design and the cardstock weight. I spent about 30% of the minimum amount I saw every other invitation suite go for.

    I did similar things with stuff I really didn't care about. Centerpieces? They were very simple. No one really cares about them. I combined table numbers with the guest book. Etc.

    Your mom and your FI both need to get a handle on what's realistic for your area and your budget. However, our wedding was about 15k and we were able to invite 200 people with 120 showing up.

    Have a bridal party if you want your closest friends to stand up with you. (If you don't, that's fine.) It doesn't have to suck. Just make it clear to everyone that they only have to get a navy dress (or can wear whatever, I'm sure they'll look great), that getting ready together is totally optional, etc. If you wouldn't want to have to do it, don't ask it of them. Simple.
  • Good that you've been discussing these things with the key players involved.  Now, the best way to keep your budget in check - watch your pennies!  If Caterer A charges $25/pp, and Caterer B charges $20 but charges $3/pp for linen service, $3/pp for china, and $2 for glassware/water glasses = guess which is the better deal for the same meal and add-ons?  It's those nickels and dimes that add up to real money in a hurry! 

    If the place is twice your budget, walk twice as fast in the other direction!  But absolutely get 100% of that guest list finalized before you look at future places!!

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