Maine

Splitting weddings costs with another couple?

My fiance and I are planning a wedding on an extremely low budget.  I recently had an idea and I'm looking for some feedback.  Would a Portland area bride and groom be up for doing back to back weddings next fall and splitting costs?  As in, we have a morning/lunchtime wedding/reception, and another couple has a dinner wedding/reception at the same venue?  My idea is to split the cost of renting chairs, tables etc (if not provided by the venue) and work up a good deal to use the same venue, dj, caterer, and maybe even as far as centerpieces?  The venue would be cleaned well between weddings so that no one would know a wedding was there beforehand, but with two events in one day, I'm thinking that we could get a great deal?  I know that it would take two very flexible couples to do it, which I am definitely up for, but I thought I would suggest the idea and see what others had to say.

Re: Splitting weddings costs with another couple?

  • hcorr34hcorr34 member
    2500 Comments Fourth Anniversary Name Dropper 5 Love Its
    edited December 2011
    Honestly, I don't think you'd be saving yourself a ton of money.  I'm not even sure some venues would allow you to do split the rental fee for an entire day. 

    Things like caterers, DJs, etc. are going to cost each couple the same amount of money.  My DJ cost $850 for 5 hours.   If someone else had used him that day, it would have cost them $850 as well.  Both parties are still having separate meals that will need to be served by waitstaff working both weddings.   In some circles, people take the centerpieces home.  What happens if guests at the morning wedding do that even though they weren't told they could do it.  What if something you've co-rented is damaged?

    Planning a wedding was a bit of a stressful thing, but I loved every minute of it and thoroughly enjoyed being able to incorporate so many parts of our personalities/interests into different aspects of the wedding.  Sharing that planning with another, in my opinion, would be an added layer of stress if there are things you can't agree on.

    What is the budget that you're working with for your reception?  I'm sure there are a bunch of us on here that could provide you with some suggestions to stay within your budget but have a day that you don't have to share with anyone else.
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  • charfield4charfield4 member
    10 Comments
    edited December 2011
    Thanks for the advice.  You raise some very good points.

    We are on an extremely tight budget, aiming for under $5000, but would rather it be even less than that.  Fortunately, I already have a dress (it was a gift), but it will need alterations that might be a bit pricey (it's lace).  We have widdled the guest list down to 30, but we would rather have it at about 50, or even 75 in a perfect world.

    We are very nontraditional people and are okay with something unique, but we are finding that just about everything is out of our budget, or does not have a good backup plan in the case of rain.  We are also very new to Maine (we've only been here for 6 months), so we are still learning about the area.  I am open to any suggestions that someone might have that will fit into our tiny budget.

    Thanks again for the advice!
  • hcorr34hcorr34 member
    2500 Comments Fourth Anniversary Name Dropper 5 Love Its
    edited December 2011
    Welcome to Maine and welcome to the Maine board!  Where did you live before moving here?  Are you in the Portland area?

    I have two places that you might find in your budget.  Keeley the Katerer is on Warren Ave in Portland.  I believe the Mod on this board had her wedding there.  I've heard they have great food but the place itself isn't anything fancy.  If you plan food from one of three menus, they include a lot of things at no charge.  They even list a basic centerpiece they let you use.  They have a courtyard where you could have the ceremony too.  http://www.keeleythekaterer.com/wedding.html

    The other place is Kennebec Tavern in Bath.  I've been there many times since I work in Bath and the food is excellent.  They have a banquet room that wouldn't cost anything for 4 hours if you spend at least $500 at night or $250 during the day on food.  It's right on the Kennebec River and you'd have a ton of options for pictures.  http://www.kennebectavern.com/seguin.php?view=event

    A few other tips for keeping costs low:
    • Some places offer discounts if you get married on a Friday night or Sunday morning.
    • Consider having a morning or early afternoon wedding and you can get away with serving just Hors d'Oeuvres. 
    • If you are okay without having a reception with a lot of dancing, you could hook up an iPod to speakers in place of a DJ.
    • I can't remember his name, but someone on here has found an incredibly reasonable photographer (if you need one).
    • I used silk flowers for the bouquets and bought hydrangeas in bulk from BJs for the centerpieces - which saved a ton of money.
    • Get a small cake for cutting and then either a sheet cake or cupcakes for serving.  If you go with the higher end of your guest list, a sheet cake is a great way to go.
    • I bought wedding invitation kits from Michael's with 50% off coupons - it cost me about $60 to send out 55 invitations. 
    • Not getting married in a church?  See if anyone you know is a Notary of have a friend/family member get ordained online and they can perform your ceremony for free.
    • Are your colors similar to a holiday's colors?  Shop the sales after the holiday for great deals.
    • Keep your wedding party small.
    • Don't be afraid to ask for help!  If you know someone who might provide a wedding-related service that you need, ask them if they can help.
    • If you're not familiar with Vistaprint, get acquainted!  Sign up for their emails and you'll get offer after offer for FREE stuff.  My Save the Dates were FREE!  My Thank You cards were FREE!  My place cards were FREE!  (plus shipping - but it was not a lot each time)
    I only had an $8000 budget for the entire wedding, which isn't as tight as yours, but in the grand scheme of wedding costs, is a pretty small budget.  When I first started planning, I definitely had sticker shock.

    Please ask away if you have more questions!

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  • edited December 2011
    hcorrigan has some AWESOME ideas!  My budget was the same as yours- unfortunatly it has crept up to 8,000 but we are also having about 140 people- so you should absolutly be able to do it for 5,000 if not less! I have booked an AMAZINGLY priced photographer- PM me if you want his details.  and I second the Vistaprint suggestion- Awesome Prices and great product- I actually just received the wedding invitations sample kit in the mail today- really nice Quality!


  • charfield4charfield4 member
    10 Comments
    edited December 2011
    Thank you for the input.  I didn't know that VistaPrint did Invitations and Save the Dates!  I was planning to make my own Save the Dates and get invitations at Michaels, but I'll have to check out VistaPrint.
    I have read a lot of tips on cutting costs (Friday wedding, sheet cakes, shopping sales, etc).  My fear is that whatever we do will be "cheap and tacky."  I'm okay with keeping things simple, but in the case of Keeley the Katerer, for example, I'd like to avoid the banquet hall look with toole everywhere.  I am more of a rustic wedding girl.  So, while I can do a lot of DIY, the venue, food and dj have been the most challenging financially.
    What we have so far:  We only have a maid of honor/best man and no bridesmaids or groomsmen.  We are aiming for a Friday wedding/reception next fall (preferably early September), and we are even okay with doing lunchtime, since most of our guests would have to fly in the day before anyway.  Our guest list is at 30, although we would really like to have more guests if we can.  I already have a dress and, most likely, a friend of ours will be doing our pictures (although I am considering using an affordable photographer I found through this forum).  I am an avid baker, so I'm considering making cupcakes and cookies instead of a wedding cake for dessert and maybe even favors (I can make them ahead and freeze them), but I'm still deciding if I will be too stressed/busy to frost cupcakes the day before the wedding.
    Thank you again for your input!  My fiance is extremely busy with work, and my not knowing the area or anyone here makes this even more of a challenge. Thank you, thank you!
  • jelenybeanyjelenybeany member
    Fifth Anniversary 100 Comments
    edited December 2011
    um, I'm going to sound like a complete brat here, but I had 50 people, we did a tented vintage/rustic wedding (i can send you pics if you'd like), and absolutely everything down to the dime cost $4500. And my wedding was the $hit.


    :p so anywho, you can definetely do it.
  • charfield4charfield4 member
    10 Comments
    edited December 2011
    jelenybeany - I would love to see pictures!  I am always looking for inspiration.  I will send you a PM with my e-mail.  Any tips are greatly appreciated!  Thanks!
  • Wanted to let you know that there is a new bridal boutique opening in Portland.  Fancy THAT! carries upscale new, vintage and consignment wedding gowns, special occasion dresses and wedding decor.  They have some great deals and ideas for wedding decor and decorating on a budget.  They also rent some of their things -- such as vases, cake plates, etc.  They have a super nice staff who will help you with some great ideas!  They are just about to open so I'm not sure of their hours, but you can call them at 207 318 1031.
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