Students

Wedding Planning on a Student Budget

Hi everyone,
My fiance and I are both full time college students with part time jobs. As such, our wedding and honeymoon budgets are pretty small! Does anyone have any great budget tips for two poor college students who want a beautiful summer wedding and a wonderful honeymoon for cheap? Thanks :)
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Re: Wedding Planning on a Student Budget

  • Get married on a weeknight, or a weekend but in the late morning/early afternoon.  Many venues and vendors offer lower rates on those days.  If you have a mornign wedding, have a brunch reception.  Or with an afternoon, have a dessert reception.  An ice cream social could be a really fun, summery thing to do.  If you're both set on a dinner reception, try and find out if anyone you know (Family, close friends, friends' families, etc.) could handle the food for you.  Caterers are EXPENSIVE.  If you do this, don't forget to pick a reception venue that allows outside/unlicensed catering.  Consider buying a used dress.  OnceWed.com and PreOwnedWeddingDresses.com are seriously AMAZING.

    The best advice that I can give is to make sure you ALWAYS keep in mind that the wedding is NOT the most important thing that will ever happen in your life...the wedding should be a celebration of what is REALLY important-the marriage.  I'm in the same boat as you, and continuously having to remind myself of this fact, but it really does help.  Would I rather spend $500 on renting a chocolate fountain, or let that one go and enjoy having $500 less to stress over, and $500 more in my bank account.

    Honeymoon!  I've only just really gotten into planning this part in the past week and a half, so it's something I'm really excited about at the moment, lol.  Get online and look up top honeymoon spots in your state, and state's near you.  We were originally going to go to Colorado-I LOVE it there, and he's never been-but we've decided we might as well stay closer to home, since there are plenty of mountain ranges around here as well, it will save us a LOT of money, and-my favorite part-no plane flight!  Cruises are also super nice-if you do it right, you're looking at a couple thousand dollars for an all-inclusive(that means unlimited FOOD!), relaxing getaway.  It all depends on your budget though.  If the most you can afford is a few hundred dollars, book a nice, weekend getaway in a romance suite or something for just the two of you.

    Hope this helps!  Good luck!

    Daisypath Wedding tickers


  • DIY projects are always fun!  Plus, you'd be surprised at what you can find at thrift stores!

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  • For reference, my fiance and I are also young students, with a $5000 wedding budget, $1000 honeymoon budget, and 125 person guest list.
    Lots of DIY! Also, you could reduce the guest list andyour number of attendants. In order to have anexpensive look without all the expense, try this: Do the cheap stuff where the guests won't pay much attention and the expensive stuff where they will! For example, I'm getting my maids cheap, basic bouquets at the grocery store, but getting mine professionsally done.
    For your dress, you can look for second-hand dresses, as stated above. There is a shop 20 minutes from where I live that specializes in like-new prom and wedding dresses (and it's actually where I got my prom dress- $60 instead of $600!). You can also see when your local boutiques do sample sales.
    For your honeymoon, stick close to home. You could go to a nice bed and breakfast for the weekend,then take a longer trip for your first anniversary. Myfiance and I are heading 50 minutes away to Amish Country (no plane fare) and renting a cabin for the week. The cabin+eating homecooked Amish food in different restaurants most nights+any antique shopping and sightseeing wil still be less than $1000.
    Wedding Countdown Ticker
  • I am in the same boat, my FI and  I are full time students also.. we are trying to keep under a 3000 budget.. try to do everything yourself... dont feel bad to ask for help.. my friends have a  cabin in lake tahoe,ca and for their "gift" we can have it for free!!! so we are saving a bunch on the honeymoon!!! .. basically we know we cant afford a million dollar wedding but we are more focused on the meaning of marriage (two becomming one). but yeah we bought all of our decorations at the thrift store...and we are just saving as much as possible!! its hard to be but it can be done!!!
  • What are some DIY projects you recommend? My mom and I are going to make the centerpieces and she and one of her friends will do all the flowers. My sister is going to make our cake.
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  • For DIY projects you can check out the DIY board and alot of members have links to DIY blogs in their signatures.

    They will give you lots of pictures and ideas
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    Wedding Countdown Ticker
  • Congrats to both of you! I JUST got married 2wks ago in the Bahamas, a destination wedding. However it was just the 2of us, I know not ideal for a lot of people. We made it our wedding though and honeymoon. It worked out perfect! We too are both college students and struggled with the financial aspect of the a wedding so we just decided not to worry about anyone but ourselves and couldn't be happier. We found a wedding planner who took care of everything, (minister, photographer, and license requirements) For everything we probably spent about $5-6,000 & thats including rings, the package, hotel, flight & spending cash oh + the attire.  You can let everyone know that if they want to come they can come. . .
    weddingsinthebahamas.com - great coordinator! Good Luck!
  • In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/special-topic-wedding-boards_students_wedding-planning-student-budget?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Special%20Topic%20Wedding%20BoardsForum:684Discussion:2f10083b-a9a8-49b6-a67b-9275b4421a7aPost:e09ed523-8022-4400-94bf-dedd67dafe82">Re: Wedding Planning on a Student Budget</a>:
    [QUOTE]Get married on a weeknight, or a weekend but in the late morning/early afternoon.  Many venues and vendors offer lower rates on those days.  If you have a mornign wedding, have a brunch reception.  Or with an afternoon, have a dessert reception.  An ice cream social could be a really fun, summery thing to do.  If you're both set on a dinner reception, try and find out if anyone you know (Family, close friends, friends' families, etc.) could handle the food for you.  Caterers are EXPENSIVE.  If you do this, don't forget to pick a reception venue that allows outside/unlicensed catering.  Consider buying a used dress.  OnceWed.com and PreOwnedWeddingDresses.com are seriously AMAZING. The best advice that I can give is to make sure you ALWAYS keep in mind that the wedding is NOT the most important thing that will ever happen in your life...the wedding should be a celebration of what is REALLY important-the marriage.  I'm in the same boat as you, and continuously having to remind myself of this fact, but it really does help.  Would I rather spend $500 on renting a chocolate fountain, or let that one go and enjoy having $500 less to stress over, and $500 more in my bank account. Honeymoon!  I've only just really gotten into planning this part in the past week and a half, so it's something I'm really excited about at the moment, lol.  Get online and look up top honeymoon spots in your state, and state's near you.  We were originally going to go to Colorado-I LOVE it there, and he's never been-but we've decided we might as well stay closer to home, since there are plenty of mountain ranges around here as well, it will save us a LOT of money, and-my favorite part-no plane flight!  Cruises are also super nice-if you do it right, you're looking at a couple thousand dollars for an all-inclusive(that means unlimited FOOD !), relaxing getaway.  It all depends on your budget though.  If the most you can afford is a few hundred dollars, book a nice, weekend getaway in a romance suite or something for just the two of you. Hope this helps!  Good luck!
    Posted by [email protected][/QUOTE]<div>
    </div><div>I agree!

    </div>
    Wedding Countdown Ticker Photobucket
  • We are also on a tight budget being full time graduate students and both pursuing careers in education. We are doing the wedding DIY. Like others have said, ask your friends (trusted friends!) where they might be able to help. We are designing, and printing our STD's, Invites and all other paper items. For centerpieces, if you are going DIY, might have to read up if you are using flowers and practice a few times. 

    Something we've decided to do, is to find out where our priorities are when it comes to the wedding. We really aren't concerned about the flowers and decor, bur more concerned about having good food (whether it's just appetizers, or a smaller meal). If you make a list and have your FI make a list, you should be able to see where you'd like to really focus.

    Remember everyone is there to celebrate with you, not judge the flowers, decor, etc! 
  • I too am a college student trying to plan a wedding. I just got engaged, but I have already received some good advice for saving money. Look for receptions places that will bundle (food, drink, linens, centerpieces and cake) It can save a lot and you wont have several different vendors. Also, try DIY. They  now have make-your-own invitation kits that you just print out and they are just as nice as the ones you order, except less expensive. As for honeymoon, consider putting that off a little while. I know a couple people who have put off going on a honeymoon for a couple months, That way you have more money to spend on it. Also, if your getting married in the summer, most honeymoon places will be in their peak season. If you wait until the off season you can save big! These are just a few tips I received
  • For dresses: try second-hand stores, craigslist, eBay, sample sales, and some places actually have Black Friday sales coming up. You can also look for "non wedding dresses:" white dresses from places like Nordstroms or Pennys.

    Flowers: find out if you like anything that's local, check grocery stores (sometimes you can get lucky), or wholesalers.

    Decor: keep it simple, and start clipping coupons! We've got a stash of 40-50% off items at local craft stores that we're using.

    Food: tends to be a clincher. We're ending up more on the appetizers/cocktail side of the food spectrum. And it's not a sit-down dinner, so don't have to worry so much about a head count.

    Venue: try local churches, parks, etc. We ended up getting the local arts and rec center (an old 1850s building) for a really cheap price.

    In general: summer seems to lend itself to being more forgiving for a summer wedding not held on Saturday. Fridays and Sundays are cheaper, and Mon-Thurs are cheaper still.

    Oh, and honeymoon: it seems counter intuitive, but cruises and caribbean trips are fairly cheap, especially if you do a package deal and/or wait for last minute trips.

    And I totally understand the planning on a student budget: excluding plane tickets (I'm from VA, he's from SD), we're looking at under $3000 for everything.
  • Portland seems like a cool town---it bet it has some great and funky restaurants.  You could look into non-traditional food that might save big bucks.  For example, there is this awesome BBQ place where I live and to get enough food to cater an event with 100 people was only about 500 dollars and it is delicious!  You can get kegs of a great local beer and hire a friend of one of your guests (someone who doesn't know any other guests...otherwise it might be weird) and pay him something reasonable to stand behind a table pouring beers into glasses so the guests don't have to pump the keg themselves.

    Consider having your dress made.  I am having mine made.  I am not an expert on hiring seamstresses or anything, but for me, the whole thing (materials and labor) will be about 250 dollars (but I wanted a cotton dress, so the fabric is inexpensive). Making your own will let you be in control of the costs of the materials and it will be designed to fit you perfectly.  
  • PP gave you some really great ideas but can I emphasize one thing for you?

    Be realistic with your budget and the money you can come up with. Don't count on loans to come through for school or the wedding or anything, until you've had them approved.

    Don't be generous with how much you think you can save. And don't count on other people to help pay for your wedding, in any way.

    I'm sure a lot of this sounds like common sense, but a friend of mine fell into just about all these traps and she now has to postpone the wedding. And lose all her deposits. And she has no idea how she'll come up with the money at all.


  • Thanks everyone for all your tips!

    I have to say running away to an island sounds so tempting!

    FI and I are both very close to our families though so we want to celebrate with them.

    What I have so far:
    Venue: A Large garden with a gazebo for the ceremony-FREE! (friend of the family) they are providing tables and chairs-seriously I got so lucky with this

    Food: My parents are paying for a light lunch of wraps, fruit salad, and greens

    Cake: My sister is making it for us!

    Photographer: My great aunt is a professional who has offered to be our photographer

    Flowers/centerpieces: My mom is great with flowers and knows wholesalers and we're getting a lot of supplies from IKEA

    Dress: Already got it from David's Bridal (my first wedding purchase-YAY!)

    Honeymoon: I really do like the idea of waiting until winter, when the Pacific Northwest has crappy weather!

    Decorations/Invitations: I'm making them all myself or with my bridesmaids

    As far as saving, FI and I have a savings plan where we set aside a certain amount each month, half of which is for the wedding and half for savings. It's really helped us be realistic with our budget and prepared for our future after the wedding.

    Is there anything I'm missing so far? I'm always worried I'll forget something important!
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