African American Weddings

Wedding or Courthouse

Hey, ladies, I don't get to post on here often but wanted some unbiased advice. My fiance and I got engaged in March and are planning a September 2012 wedding. I just finished graduate school and I *think* I have a new job in the bag (pending offer letter). But it will pay a little less than my current position but could give me a major boost in my career. My fiance's hours were cut at his position (he's a contractor, so things may change). We don't really care about a big wedding with a lot of fanfare...with my student loans kicking in, I'm worried the wedding budget we projected may strain our finances. Any ideas for either downsizing our wedding (80-100 guests projected); maybe cutting corners so the wedding is more cost effective; or what do you think about us just doing the courthouse thing with a celebration with family later?

Re: Wedding or Courthouse

  • edited December 2011
    sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do.  Maybe go to the courhouse and then having a party later.  maybe if you sit down and talk this over with your family they will help.  I was honestly touched by the assistance we are receiving for our wedding. 
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  • MrsSmith2Be02MrsSmith2Be02 member
    1000 Comments
    edited December 2011
    If you are both ok with Courthouse with close friends and family to support you then go ahead and PLAN for something later (if that is what you want). Being in the DC area I'm sure the costs are astronomical, that's part of what prompted me to move back to ATL from there.
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  • edited December 2011
    There are a LOT of things you can do to downsize. Do you mind me asking what your budget for 100 ppl is? You can also look for answers on the Budget board. There are already zillions of threads asking the very same question you're asking.

    Most people will tell you the basics: have your wedding on a Friday or Sunday to cut costs, off season (typically NOT in the summer months), use an iPod instead of a DJ or band, cut down on your guest list, have your wedding earlier in the day so you don't have to serve dinner, but apps or even a dessert reception, and use non-floral centerpieces. You can also try some DIY projects, if you have time (like invitations, centerpieces, programs, ring pillow, flower basket, card box, escort cards). Skip favors. Use a sheet cake to serve and a small cake for cutting and pictures (might not be necessary with 80-100 ppl though). Buy a pre-owned dress or try a sample sale or Pearl's Place.

    My personal tip, which I'm remembering more and more every day is that the only thing you MUST HAVE is your FI, your officiant, and your marriage license. Everything else is nice to have, but not a must.

    Lastly, there was a girl in the Budget forum (forget her name) that had a JOP wedding in NYC (my hometown) and it. was. simply. breathtaking!!! She spent her money on getting a great photographer, and they spent the afternoon traveling all over NYC taking pics in their wedding attire. I think they had a reception dinner at a restaurant, if I'm not mistaken. Her pics came out as nicely as any other wedding I've ever seen. So if you want to do it at a JOP, you can still have a lovely wedding, and put some of that money toward those student loans.
  • edited December 2011
    I would totally agree with PP. There are ways to have intimate weddings that are fabulous that don't break the bank. The easiest way to cut costs in a substantive way is to cut the guest list.  If you can bring your list down to 40 people, you can pay for dinner at your favorite restaurant in the evening after your Courthouse wedding.  I think the idea of having great pictures from your day is priceless.  

    If you really want to do something larger, then plan a vow renewal for year 5 or 10.  In the interim, scale down the event and do what you can afford best.  No need to go broke to entertain other people. 
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  • McFaro0130McFaro0130 member
    10 Comments
    edited December 2011
    Thanks for the input ladies! Our budget was around $10,000 but worst case scenario we'll go to $5,000. We booked a cute boutique hotel for the reception but the meal is plated which is what is breaking the bank. Fortunately we didn't put a lot of money down to reserve the place so we're willing to walk away from that option if the numbers don't crunch!
  • msapril0730msapril0730 member
    1000 Comments Fourth Anniversary
    edited December 2011
    In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/cultural-wedding-boards_african-american-weddings_wedding-courthouse?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Cultural%20Wedding%20BoardsForum:400Discussion:19c8ae91-7b9a-4fb2-80c5-3ec7b70f10bfPost:c7b52d60-499c-4d67-bb09-9200d77b5398">Wedding or Courthouse</a>:
    [QUOTE]Hey, ladies, I don't get to post on here often but wanted some unbiased advice. My fiance and I got engaged in March and are planning a September 2012 wedding. I just finished graduate school and I *think* I have a new job in the bag (pending offer letter). But it will pay a little less than my current position but could give me a major boost in my career. My fiance's hours were cut at his position (he's a contractor, so things may change). We don't really care about a big wedding with a lot of fanfare...with my student loans kicking in, I'm worried the wedding budget we projected may strain our finances. Any ideas for either downsizing our wedding (80-100 guests projected); maybe cutting corners so the wedding is more cost effective; or what do you think about us just doing the courthouse thing with a celebration with family later?
    Posted by McFaro0130[/QUOTE]

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  • edited December 2011

    Does that $10000 include your honeymoon as well? 

  • SweetgnjSweetgnj member
    10 Comments
    edited December 2011
    Girl we are in the same boat.  I also got engaged in March and was planning for an August/September Wedding.  However, FI is now bringing up just going to the courthouse and saving our $ for something else (bigger place, another vehicle, etc.) as he is not that close with his family so it'd be mostly mine.  I told him from the beginning that we can do JOP but he insisted on giving me the day that every girl dreams of (walking down the isle).  Now that we are visiting venues and photogs, he's thinking more logical.  We planned on having a small wedding to begin with (60-75 people) and our budget was also no more than $10k but when you think about the big picture, I'm down with the JOP, lol.  So now we're thinking of going to the courthouse and doing it on our 3 year anniversary in April.  We have one more venue to visit on Sunday and then we'll make a decision as the lowest venue so far is $87/plate  (including tax and tip) and I found a photog and videographer for $600/each  We're currently in pre marital counseling so I'll just pray on it with a pastor.
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