Michigan-Grand Rapids

Small budget, big dreams

We have a small budget for our wedding and a lot of random issues that aren't helping.  We both have huge families, so we've decided on no kids who aren't in the wedding party.  Our daughter (2 at time of wedding) will be the flower girl, his niece will be a brides maid (6th grader, so a mini brides maid), and his best friends son will be the ring bearer (he's 2 weeks older than our daughter).  Not allowing kids instantly cut down, but excludes most of our family.  We'd like to be able to include more but on our budget I'm having a hard time finding something that allows that.  So...what is our budget? $5,000.  Not much I know, but I can't justify spending a ton on a wedding when we have a new car and I'll be in my last year of school at the time of the wedding.  We found a great venue for the ceremony at the Kellogg Manor, but it will eat up $800-1000 of our budget.  That leaves $4,000 for everything else and we don't want to make the guests travel far for the reception.  I don't know if I should change my ceremony location and not get married on the water, even though we both really want that, or ask people to drive or just start from scratch again.  I've already accepted that I'll have to find a dress cut that works on me and buy a dress online for a lot less to keep from breaking the bank and I'm find with making all my own centerpieces, etc.  It's one year away so I have time as long as I can nail down the details of where and what the rules are for decorating.

So I need help.  Are there any Kalamazoo brides out there who know of nice venues for receptions that have both an indoor area and an outdoor yard area (we have yard games as part of our theme) or an inside area that can be set up separate for our yard games and things.  There is also the issue of catering.  If it's in house catering it has to have vegetarian options other than lasagna because I hate veggie lasagna, and he does not want the reception in a restaurant.  Any ideas??? I'm warn out from looking for the past few months.

Re: Small budget, big dreams

  • My budget is 5000 too and my wedding is in GR, but most of our guests are in Holland. Here is how we did things ...

    My venue was really important to me, so we spent 1500 on that. Ceremony and reception in the same location. Although we are having an evening ceremony: starting at 8pm. Reception starting at 8:30. Since it isn't a meal time we are serving appetizers and such. Instead of a cake we are having a cookie bar. For all the food and drink it is another 1500.

    My mom and I are using silk flowers and making all of the centerpieces and bouquets ourselves, so that cut down A LOT. Then I found my dress at Goodwill. Lucky for me it was the exact dress I fell in love with at the store in my size with no alterations. I definitely recommend looking second hand for a dress though. You can find dresses is REALLY good condition out there.

    For paper stuff, I bought it all at Party City for super cheap and did the wording myself on Microsoft Word. They still look professional too, my mom couldn't tell the difference.

    I hope you figure things out and make it work for your budget!
  • Thanks! I've been saving a lot of ideas for centerpieces and decorations to make myself. And we are looking at a location in the area we wanted that is pretty inclusive, they even include linens and hair covers in the $400 rental fee. Hopefully it works out, and luckily the girl cutting his hair had just had her wedding there the week before and recommended it to him. Kind of excited because it may save us a ton of money and allow us to not cut too many people from the list. Now to find a dress, I'll start looking at second hand dresses too :)
  • check Craigslist ALL the time! I'm selling stuff there right now actually. Type "Wedding" in the search bar. I second looking for dresses second hand. I fell in love with a $1200 dress and I spent hours researching every website possible and finally found it for $800 on tradesy. I was able to negotiate it down to $500. :)  Also, Dollar Tree is your friend-- seriously!
  • May I ask where you're holding your ceremony/reception?
  • We went with Kellogg Manor for the ceremony and Gull Lake Country Club for the reception.  We were going to go with Kalamazoo Country Club for everything, but there was no rain out backup for the ceremony and the alcohol prices were double the food bill.  We are having a limited bar since we are doing a luncheon, so having a bar bill be several thousand was insane.
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