August 2014 Weddings

What's Your Budget?

Hi everyone. 

Anyone want to share their budget?

I can be transparent...our budget is $7,500.  Each parent will contribute $1,500 and my FI and I will contribute $1,500.  We are looking at a guest list of about 130, 150 max.  I have been planning since November 2012 (engaged on 11/7/12) and know a couple of things about attempting a budget wedding...I will share below.  I have read and read, pinned and pinned (from Pinterest) and have asked a million questions.  Please ask me, I'm sure I can shed some light or direct you to where you can find some info.  I look forward to reading your thoughts and comments.

Determine what matters most to you...the venue, the food, the a dollar amount on it and work your budget that way...once you determine the total cost...start reviewing each area on ways to save if over your initial budget amount.  From experience, I started out thinking we could do it for $5,000, but once we started looking at venues, we realized that $5,000 could very well be the cost of the venue alone!

Opt for upscale disposables instead of china...way cheaper.

Watch out for outside catering fees.  Sometimes it is more cost effective to pay the fee and use your caterer.  From experience, the caterer I am considering using would give me a full BBQ (BBQ chicken, mac & cheese, green beans, rolls, sweet tea, fruit trays, crack and cheese display) dinner for $10 per person, the outside catering fee at the venue is $1,000.  The preferred caterer charges at minimum $40 per person (without alcohol)...for me, it was cheaper for me to pay the $1,000 catering fee and use the caterer I chose for $10 a the math!  Also consider removing alcohol altogether...not worth the extra $40+ they will charge you.  You can have an excellent time without alcohol (IMO...but see, I don't drink).  A side wedding coordinator got the catering fee down to $250 for me...use your contacts!!!! The caterer delivers to my job once a month and considered this good another bride at my job is getting married and using them as well; as a result, we both are utilizing a referral discount because my job referred me and I referred her...everyone wins...I'm serious...use your contacts and don't be afraid to ask for discounts or use coupons. Another side note...we purchased some gift cards that can be used at almost any restaurant for $16 (value of $100 in food)....we are going to use those for our rehearsal dinner. Think ahead when kids start doing nieces do not know how much those $16 gift cards will come in handy.  Deals show up in the oddest forms.

Choose a Friday or Sunday...rates are almost half the cost of Saturday rates. I have been reading online that people are choosing days during the week too...a bigger cost savings that your already reduced rates for Friday's and Sundays. This will only work if your guests live in town. My family of 60 or more that are invited are coming from California...I have to consider their work schedules so we are pushing for a Sunday.

Have caterers give you two quotes, one for a buffet dinner and another for a cocktail reception.  Determine what best fits your budget. Oh, and you can remove stuff from the menu to cut down costs. Don't let them muscle you into thinking you have to have three may get away with two depending on the dinner to be served. Go generic and opt for punch or sweet tea...don't request specialty blends or wedding punch....people just want something to wash their food down could be water for all I care (just kidding). But for real, you are in control...control the situation.

Negotiate, negotiate, negotiate...most venues will reduce the cost...just ask! I am a living witness in this area.  One venue we wanted had a facilty rental rate of $4,500 for a wedding coordinator got her down to $3,000.  Start out making them an offer...people won't turn down money. One thing I have learned...pick a date or time that the venue would not ordinarily be rented...this will help your negotiating power.  Who would have thought a Sunday ceremony starting at 4pm would be a perfect wedding time?!?!  Me...because it saves me money!  $1500 dollars...that is the rest of the food right there.  Considering my budget...$3000 on the venue, $2000 on food....$2500 to spend elsewhere.

Videographers...if you aren't having dancing like me....ask the videographer for a reduced rate for recording your ceremony only.  I found somone who is willing to do it for a fourth of the cost and includes editing and a couple of copies.  We are not dancers (some of you can cut a rug...go for it).  Again, determine which areas are important to you. 

Photography...a family friend is taking our photos (they have a photography business).  I'm getting their largest package for half the cost.

Just thought of mindful of the deposits that are required to secure vendors...this was a shock to me.  I didn't realize how much you have to fork up initially.  This could realy send you back to the drawing board.  For us, our parents are being gracious and giving us the money now before we book anything.  With bills and life...nobody has a real "savings" least we don't and it's can manage.  We were originally scheduled for a wedding in August 2013...but hey, life happens and before it is all said it done, I don't want to have to take out personal loans to pay for my wedding.  I'm only willing to go in debt for my house and my education...not an 8-hour party...but hey, this is me not you...go for what you know!

Dresses....clearance is just as good.  Just think about will wear this dress for all of 8 hours and hang it up and never see it again.  Unless you want to wear it every year on your anniversary...that's if you can get into it (just kidding).  For me, the clearance rack it will be.  Don't think about saving it for your kids...there will be some new fad out by the time they get married and they won't want your old "played out dress."

Reduce your bridal party...this cuts down on attendant gifts.  My FSIL had about 20 or so members to her bridal party (7 or so bridesmaid with 7 escorts and etc)...she brought in a hair stylist and a make-up artist and paid for us to stay in a suite the night before....this may not be in your budget.  Consider what you are willing to purchase for your bridal party and work with that...scale back if you have to.  Think about their wallets if you aren't purchasing things for them.  Every cousin, nephew or niece does not have to be in the wedding...too costly!  But hey, this advice is for those budgeters out there. We chose to have my sister, his sister, my brother, his sister's husband, my nephew and his two nieces...that's our bridal party (I did not include parents..of course they are there). Keep it simple...less stress. Oh wait, my cousin will be manning the card/sign-in table and we have three ushers. Again, not that many...keep the bridal party short. This will also reduce your ceremony time and the amount of rental time needed for the facility...a cost savings! 

Make sure your venue has free parking or reduced parking for a large group. One place was considering $15 per car and another was $5 per car....check these things out.

If you have out-of-town guests, check hotels for them.  My family is from California...people are flying family is willing to share suites in order to save money.  Oh, and about flying...I contacted a couple of airlines who would give my family a discount if they all booked their flights within a given time period...bonus for those family members.  Make your out-of-town guests feel that you are willing to do what you can to ensure they are spending an arm and a leg to come celebrate with you.

Opt for linen-like napkins...they feel like the real thing.

Check out the chairs that are included in the wedding packages and shop online for chair covers if much cheaper than getting chair covers from the venue.

Be willing to work on DIY projects.  At one point I considered cake pops.  I found the "no-bake" cake pops...donut holes from Dunkin Donuts dipped in a chocolate mixture or purchasing ready-made fondut (not sure if that is spelled right)...could take the place of a cake, cupcake tower or be a wedding favor.

Enlist the help of your wedding party for some of this stuff.  My family is very close and are willing to chip in.  My sister can't wait to make stuff (she is an art major).  My FSIL is very creative.  The men that are not in the wedding are willing to be servers and are willing to setup the venue how I like...this will cut down on me having to pay the venue's staff for this (oh yeah, watch for this in your contract...some places have a charge for using their staff to set up...they expect the caterer to do it all).

All in all, share your thoughts, inspire another.  "In these tough economic times", any advice will help.  I just had to throw that quote in there. 

Best wishes to everyone!

Re: What's Your Budget?

  • sonya+adamsonya+adam member
    500 Comments Second Anniversary
    edited February 2013
    Just curious.. You said your budget was $7500, and that each parent was paying $1500, and that both you and your FI are paying $1500. That only equals $6000. Where is the extra $1500 coming from?

    ETA: My budget is $25,000. We found our venue today! It's a pretty much all inclusive package, with the option of being customizable. With everything but catering (which we will get from an outside caterer for $10/person), photographer (which will be free), and videographer (which will only be $500), everything is totalling around $8,000. That's including the bar, DJ, bride's and groom's cake, linens, venue space, florals, chairs, tables, sparkler send off, limo send off, pretty much everything except what I mentioned. So you don't necessarily HAVE to go the cheap route of disposable plates, not having a dance, not providing alcohol for your guests, not having a cake, etc. There are options out there. 
  • In Response to <a href="">Re: What's Your Budget?</a>:
    [QUOTE]Just curious.. You said your budget was $7500, and that each parent was paying $1500, and that both you and your FI are paying $1500. That only equals $6000. Where is the extra $1500 coming from? ETA: My budget is $25,000. We found our venue today! It's a pretty much all inclusive package, with the option of being customizable. With everything but catering (which we will get from an outside caterer for $10/person), photographer (which will be free), and videographer (which will only be $500), everything is totalling around $8,000. That's including the bar, DJ, bride's and groom's cake, linens, venue space, florals, chairs, tables, sparkler send off, limo send off, pretty much everything except what I mentioned. So you don't necessarily HAVE to go the cheap route of disposable plates, not having a dance, not providing alcohol for your guests, not having a cake, etc. There are options out there. 
    Posted by sonya+adam[/QUOTE]<div>I read it that each parent was giving $1500 so Mom + Dad + Mom + Dad = (1500 x 4) = 6000 + 1500 (from them) = 7500.  

  • In Response to <a href="">Re: What's Your Budget?</a>:
    [QUOTE]In Response to Re: What's Your Budget? : I read it that each parent was giving $1500 so Mom + Dad + Mom + Dad = (1500 x 4) = 6000 + 1500 (from them) = 7500.  
    Posted by mdharrison[/QUOTE]

    <div>That makes more sense now. Ha.</div>
  • Our budget is 13.000€ (including our rings,the rehearsal dinner, the honeymoon, our 'Polterabend' (a German pre wedding party)). This equals $17.000. We are paying for everything, no contribution from the parents. We are going to invite about 80 people.

  • Originally I thought our budget would be $10K however, getting married in the Detroit area is far more expensive than I thought even if we cut the guest list in half. Realistically, we can save around $6K by next year without going into debt to have the wedding we really want. Honestly, I'm wondering if our money is better spent on something else like an awesome trip. Given that we're both in school and no where near close to having kids, saving for a house isn't really a priority for us right now. 
  • d2vad2va member
    100 Love Its 100 Comments First Anniversary Name Dropper
    Our budget is 10k for Ceremony and Reception, dress and photography are not included in that. 

    So, lets say 15k total  :D
  • 20K -- it started at 10K however with what I wanted for my wedding, I had to come up with a more realistic price range
  • ShesSoColdShesSoCold bend over and I'll show ya mod
    Moderator 5000 Comments Fifth Anniversary 500 Love Its
    Our budget is $10,000, absolute max. We'll be engaged two years before we get married and we can set aside $400 each month. My mom generously offered to buy my dress, but other than that we're paying for everything. We're having a destination wedding with less than 30 people but the venue will be kind of pricey for us and we're going to splurge on great food and top shelf bar since we're dragging everyone to the middle of nowhere. 

    I'm hoping to spend like $6-7K and have the rest left over. After the wedding, we're still going to set aside that $400 each month so we have a pretty hefty savings account for when we move halfway across the country. So it would be nice to have a little bit to start that out. 
    Image result for someecard betting someone half your shit youll love them forever
  • My mom is giving my $10,000 but that doesn't include the dress or photography or rehearsal dinner.
  • our budget is $10,000. with parents furloughed and countless other expenses that keep popping up i figured 10 was realistic for my family. we are contributing here and there as well. Im doing a majority of stuff myself. If I have a year, then why not? lol
  • Our budget is only $5000 but we plan to spend much LESS than that!  We bought our home in May and can't really spend any more.  Also, I'm very crafty and our venue is completely DIY so almost every aspect of our wedding will be me! :)  But I love the way you broke everything down-very handy!

    Here's a little about ours:
    Venue-$550 for the whole weekend
    Flowers-not having any!  I've got a few tricks up my sleeve ;) But if we do have anything in the realm of flowers, my sister-in-law's cousin works for a flower shop and my Mommom has a farm with plenty of wildflowers :)
    Photography- We know a LOT of people who have little photography businesses so we're not only going to get a great deal but it will also be someone we know and trust!
    Food- First off, all disposables!  We're having our reception in a barn with a rustic/ vintage/ picnic feel so there is no need for us to be fancy!  My fiance and I are very laid back people and are having simple, easy to eat food.
    Date- As far as sat vs. sun goes, we don't have to pick!  We have the whole weekend for that low price :)
    Decor-Everything DIY

  • We are planning a small wedding for 3,000 or less but a long extensive hawian honeymoon!
  • 12-15k is my budget
  • Our budget is 15k and not one red cent over!!. We are paying for everything ourselves. Just booked the venue for 8400. That includes all food, open bar, decorations & centerpieces, & dj. Our ceremony & reception is in the same place. It's The Balcony in Metarie, LA close to New Orleans. Very happy with it!
  • Our budget is 20K. Our venue (food and drink) are the bulk of the cost and for the rest- pin pin pin!! :)
  • Our budget is 15k will include venue($6k value but I won it!) with lighting, dj, transportation, ceremony fee, open bar, center pieces,photographer, videographer and food. I'm not sure how much our parents are contributing so as of now we plan to pay for it all. Separate will be my dress, his wedding band and honeymoon (flights were using my mothers timeshare so don't have lodging costs). My wedding is on a Friday so I'm hoping to negotiate with the caterer
  • We are very lucky and our parents are paying for it all. My dad gave me a budget of 20-25k and his parents said to just let them know what they can do to contribute, other than the rehearsal dinner and open bar.

    Wedding Black & White, Sepia
  • I'm wondering what you did to get airline discounts for family. My fiance is from South Korea, and since I've been teaching there, I've got close friends coming in from Brazil, New Zealand, East and West coast US and Canada oh, and family from Korea. What airline sis you talk to? My guests are mostly friends from out of town but it doesn't hurt to ask, right?
  • Our budget is $3000, we paid for the venue and will pay for the honeymoon, my parents offered to give us $5000, but we decided that we didn't want or need to spend that much on our wedding. So far we have our venue, my dress and the photographer for $425. We are hoping to keep the guest list around a hundred so hopefully food costs won't be too much, it will be dry, so that will also help with costs. My Mum is super crafty so the majority of our wedding will be diy. 
  • Our budget is $10,000 for 200 guests but I'm hoping not to go over that. No one is helping us so it's going to be such a tight budget. My goal is to try to pay off a venue each month until the wedding. I'm so grateful I was offered to go full-time at my job so this will help out so much.
  • Originally we were hoping for a budget of $10k but with our 190-person guest list wedding taking place in the Bay Area, we quickly learned that would be hard to pull off.  So now our budget is closer to $20k.  My parents have generously promised $10k, and we received a very unexpected gift of $2k from my aunt and uncle.  His parents have promised to help too, but we're not sure how much.  He and I can kick in up to $5k each if need be.
    Daisypath Anniversary tickers
  • Gina0887Gina0887 member
    100 Comments 25 Love Its First Anniversary Name Dropper
    edited February 2014
    Our new budget it $13,000 for 85 guest plus honeymoon. It has been upped too many times to count, but we're pretty set that it is good there.

    Edit - Prepared for absolute max of 15,000
    imageWedding Countdown Ticker
  • originally we wanted to stay around $6,000 for 120 people but it's gong to be closer to $10,000. It needs to stay no more than $10,000!

  • edited February 2014

    Good morning ladies,

    We are looking at $8,000 -$10,000 for everything. We are having less than 50 guests so we were able to splurge on some things and also got very lucky on some other things. Below is the basic breakdown.

    Dress $200 with veil (totally lucked out with a discontinued dress that I loved and already fit. )

    Ceremony and reception - $2,000

    Honeymoon- $2,500

    We are covering our guests' hotel accomodations for the night of the wedding - $3,200 (This was our splurge)

    Cupcakes- $200 (His parents have offered to buy our cake)

    DJ- Free (My little brother wants to DJ as a wedding gift)

    Invitations/Thank you cards-  $120 (My step-sister is a graphic designer and has offered these as a gift)

    Photographer -   $750 (My father has offered to pay for the photographer as his gift.)

    Flowers -  $550 (My mother and step father have offered to get our flowers as their gift)  

    We wanted to pay for everything ourselves, but our parents wanted to contribute and help out. Instead of donating money, we asked (if they really wanted to help) that they take something they wanted to provide and that would be their gifts to us. (We are both the oldest for each of our parents and also the first to get married so our parents really wanted to be involved) We still have about $2,000 left in our budget, so anyting left over will go towards the honeymoon.  

  • Budget has been very frustrating. I'm a budget nazi in my life normally, but I started out thinking $20k would be reasonable for a 120 person wedding and then realized that, in wine country, it's just not. Not unless I didn't serve dinner to my out of town guests (a ton of them), or skip the church ceremony (not an option in our families), etc. etc. Almost every item is just turning out to be more than I initially budgeted for using planning tools... and that's going with the "cheapest" option on everything, bringing in our own booze, etc. Just renting the space (no rentals included) was $4900 and that's the cheapest place I could find that wasn't a community hall.  

    It's just that I can't skip STDs or skimp on food because 80% of our guests are traveling, DJ isa  priority to the FI, etc. I'm just trying to skimp on every little thing as we go forward and hope for the best. I've also found some ways to cut costs like having my best friend make our wedding cake, using non-flower centerpieces, etc. Thankfully we have decent incomes right now, and FI's parents are helping with rehearsal dinner + all church related costs, and my parents are pitching in 8k. It just sucks because we'd like to be spending thi smoney on a house or paying down loans, and I just can't believe it's ending up being so expensive when I don't think of myself as high maintenance.. I'm sure all brides go through this! 

  • At the risk of sounding like a snob or a rich brat--we don't really have a budget--I decide what I want and come up with ways to make it happen (whether that means giving up other things, or DIYing it). That doesn't mean that I'm getting everything I want, I'm just willing to adjust my expectations, LOL. My 1st wedding was about $10K. I now live in a more expensive area, so I'd say we will be happy around $15K.

    Here's a small breakdown--maybe it will help someone:

    Dress: $350. David's Bridal and it happened to be on clearance. I am going to try to have alterations done by someone local because I've heard DB can be pretty expensive.

    Flowergirl Dress: $40. DB also for my daughter. *Still need to order the $10 bow though*

    Suits for FI and my son: $75 and $55 respectively

    Gourmet Cupcakes: $170. 3 different types of our chosing and a jumbo cupcake for us to cut. 

    Flowers and other supplies for them: $60 total for mine, flowergirl and 2 bridesmaids. Bought them from Michaels and made my own "bling" to go in my bouquet. 

    Photographer: $1000. Includes a boudoir shoot, engagement shoot and photobook and wedding photos with CD release.

    Reception: $5000 which includes ceremony site, cocktail hour and dinner for 80 people, open bar and various decor 'upgrades'. ($46.00 per plate)

    STDs: $15. Had a friend design them for $15 and printed through Shutterfly with the free photo promo.

    Invites and Reply Postcards: $39. I had these done through Vistaprint (friend designed them for me again for $15) but the print ended up being darker than it should have been. I let them know and they gave me a full refund even though the only thing that was darker was the invite and not the reply. So I got them for free even though I told them the reply cards were fine. FANTASTIC CUSTOMER SERVICE! 

    Shoes: $16. Last year's clearance at Kohl's. Just happened to be the right color, woohoo!

    Hair: $0. Best friend is a hairstylist so she's doing my hair and make up as my wedding gift. That means more to me than any purchased item would.

    I still have plenty that I need, including deciding on a DJ, jewelry, gifts, etc.
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