Wedding Woes

How can I cut down on the budget from here?

OK so I'm getting married April 10th.  I'm having about the same problem that a lot of other people are having.. there's just not going to be as much money there as we planned.  I got my dress for $150 which was great and we have the church, the reception, and the photographer booked.  We were hoping to keep the wedding under $5,000 but here is where we are so far:

Church- requires $300 donation
Reception- will come out to be around 2,300 including the catering
Photographer- will be $2,100 (my FI is helping to pay for that but I don't want him to pay for all of it). 

My dad just had to take a pay cut at work and I am trying to save as much of my own money for it as I can but I am also paying off student loans. 

What else can I try to cut from here to keep the wedding under budget?  We still need to buy invitations, flowers, etc. 

Re: How can I cut down on the budget from here?

  • LarissaAnnLarissaAnn member
    1000 Comments 5 Love Its
    edited December 2011
    Print your own invitations on premade ones from Staples, Target, or another place like that.

    DO NOT bother with favors at all.

    Make sure your flowers are in-season and local.  Daisies or other inexpensive flowers are a perfectly acceptable option, and you don't need the huge poofy centerpieces, do small low ones.  For bouquets, keep them reasonable nosegays rather than monster bouquets.

    Is music included in your reception figure?
  • edited December 2011
    Music is not included... I was thinking I would just burn a cd and have that playing as background music.  My aunt is a singer so I was going to have her do the music at the church. 
  • LarissaAnnLarissaAnn member
    1000 Comments 5 Love Its
    edited December 2011
    That's fine, and I was going to suggest CDs or an iPod for the reception if you didn't already have music.
  • edited December 2011
    Check out this blog:
    They have excellent ideas.

    I too am keeping my budget small. The first and best and easiest thing to do: Cut the guest list if it's possible at all. We dropped 25% of our guest list.

    Look at other options for decorations than flowers (candles, for instance, go a long way), or go to sams club or and look at the bulk flowers. You might also try a local grocery store, etc to see what they can do for you.

    There are tons of websites for inexpensive items for decorations.
    Try: and get creative, check out your local 2nd hand stores for funky and unique vases.
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  • luvoo41488luvoo41488 member
    edited December 2011
    I don't know your guest list, but if they're all tech-savvy, you can save on invites with a website (free! try google, weebly or here) and a postcard invitation directing people to it, like here: (but you can get your own cards for cheaps at vistaprint)

    If you feel like favors are a must, do you and any friends or family bake? A couple homemade cookies, or a brownie, or someting is more than enough to make me smile (way better than bubbles or jordan almonds, and not terribly budget busting)

    Consider silk flowers for your bouquet(s), and find some non floral fixtures for centerpieces, like floating candles and funky bowls. Or, if you want fresh flowers, and you think you can handle it, DIY. Order them cheaply at or pick some up at the farmer's market.

    One of FI's GMs is married to a pastry chef, so their gift is the cake, but we considered very strongly getting a dummy cake and a sheet cake from the grocery store (they do nicer looking wedding sheet cakes than the usual), if you haven't included that in reception cost.

  • edited December 2011
    Thanks everyone for your ideas, I will definitely use them!
  • texaslolamytexaslolamy member
    edited December 2011
    Shop around for florists! I too am from Upstate NY (south of Rochester). My florist came in very under budget for me--she's doing my all-rose bouquet for 60, and each bridesmaid bouquet for 30, and the flower girl daisy bouquets for 8 dollars each. Florists don't have to be expensive. My florist told me that people EXPECT flowers (especially roses) to be really expensive so some florists just tack on extra prices just because they think people are expecting it.

    For our centerpieces we are doing candles and flower petals--tons cheaper than a full flower centerpiece (they just die the next day anyway).

    Anything you can buy on eBay buy it there! Much of the stuff on eBay is sold at wholesale prices but is brand new. Skip the little accessories that nobody really cares about/remembers--the guestbook, the cake topper, aisle runner, church decorations, card deposit box, cake cutter and server, etc. Those can really add up and don't add a lot to the day.

    Get the invitations from Wal-mart and DIY. The kits they sell there look high end but come in under a dollar apiece. 

    If you don't have your veil and other accessories yet, stay FAR FAR away from bridal stores. They will charge you 1000% of what they should, because they know they will get away with it. Shop around online for the veil, jewelry, crinoline...whatever you will need.
  • DivineMsMelDivineMsMel member
    edited December 2011
    Two places that have saved me a ton of money: Hobby Lobby and Goodwill. Hobby Lobby ALWAYS has great sales, and they have a coupon on their website every week.

    Lots of people donate wedding supplies to Goodwill! I snapped up all the votives I needed for .50 apiece. Now that stores are clearing away Xmas, get some mini lights for 75 percent off. 

    A little can go a long way! Good luck:)
  • edited December 2011
    we are doing candles, floating candles and flower petals for centerpieces for more than just the cost, I just LOVE candles! Plus at my ceremony it will be dusk and I think that will be so pretty.  My local grocery store is doing my boutennaires and bouquest at a fraction of the cost and they do a great job. I am doing a candy buffet for favors which is pricey, but I love them! I've been buying the jars for the past 8 months when they go on clearance at TJ Maxx for $5-$8 each. I have hit up my local CVS/Walgreens after Christmas sales for clearance white string lights and tea light candles for next to nothing. I think it's all in being creative and DIY as much as you can handle, and above all...Ask for help when needed! Have a wine and crafts night with your BM's to do invites, programs, reserved seating signs, etc. We have one planned, and I can't wait!! :o) Good luck!
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