Wedding Etiquette Forum

Sacrifices to host a wedding properly


Re: Sacrifices to host a wedding properly

  • We restricted our guest list to have the wedding we dreamed of. We invited our 60 must have guests and left it at that. That allowed us to have the catering and top shelf bar we wanted in a beautiful venue. We opted out of a church wedding to avoid gaps and the Lent headaches but still had a religious ceremony with a military chaplain. The per head savings allowed for real flowers, a live band, and a full service coordinator. We could have hosted a wedding for 200 financially but it wouldn't have been the quality we wanted.
  • I'm normally just a lurker, but after that tremendously long thread about bad etiquette, I thought I'd chime in. 

    Our wedding will be in about 2 months, and there's quite a few "dream" ideas I had to cut in order to accommodate a larger guest list, which was the most important thing to us (after getting married of course!).  However, all of these ideas were just extras-flowers, really expensive food, prettier reception hall.  There will be chairs, food, and drinks for everyone (seriously, people don't always have enough chairs?!), and everyone will be invited with their SO or a guest.  

    I wanted to ditto the shopping around advice.  I was told by one place that I wouldn't find a lower price for food in my area.  I looked around a bit more and guess what-I did!  That difference alone allowed us to invite about 50 more people.

    Other substitutions we made, in case people need more ideas to stretch their budget while hosting their guests properly:

    -Family/Friend offered to take pictures, so we don't have to hire a pro.

    -Ipod+well crafted playlist instead of a DJ/band.

    -Simple, non-floral centerpieces (the only centerpieces I can remember are ones I helped to make)

    -Favors-we would've skipped them if needed, but we kept them simple and with discounts will only spend about $30 on them.

    -Designed my own invitations with my late grandmother's drawings, printed them at a print shop on paper I bought with massive coupons.

    -not having an evening reception after our Catholic Mass at noon.  This actually worked out even better for some of our OOT guests that can now make the drive down and back without needing a hotel.

    I do occasionally get jitters that it's not fancy enough, so reading this thread with all of your experiences actually really helped reassure me that people will still have an awesome time:)  I know the important part is that we'll get married in the end, but I still want to make sure people have fun too. 
    Inkdancer[Deleted User]ohannabelle
  • thisismynickname2thisismynickname2 City By The Lake member
    5000 Comments Sixth Anniversary 500 Love Its First Answer
    Great thread!

    These are the CHOICES we made:

    a) Smaller guest list (close friends, immediate family and one circle of extended family; we're not inviting acquaintances or any second/third cousins); no kids

    b) Our venue, a restaurant, is fairly all-inclusive, right down to putting small flowers on the tables.  We are not doing anything fancier for centerpieces, and no additional decor. 

    c) Bridal party flowers are fake and made by my very crafty mother

    d) Off-the-rack white evening gown from a department store

    e) Alterations on said dress by my mother

    f) I don't plan to have make up professionally done

    What we will have:
    1. 5-star gourmet meal
    2. Top-shelf bar
    3. Great DJ
    4. Quality photographer
    5. Evening ceremony, no gap-- all photos including the First Look in the afternoon before the ceremony. 

  • I do agree that these aren't sacrifices.  You have to make an adult decision about certain things.

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  • arrippaarrippa Sam Adams Craft Commonwealth member
    Eighth Anniversary 1000 Comments 500 Love Its First Answer

    I had to compromise on a few things. I have always wanted my wedding at the Boston Public Library. Unfortunately, the space was was too expensive, so I couldn't host my guests properly and there would have been a gap between the ceremony at our church and the reception at the BPL. Alsoplusand the wait list was long and we didn't want to wait that long.

    The other main compromise we had to make was allowing children. I wanted a child free evening but after discussing it with our VIPs, we realized that if we enforced the "no children" policy, most of out OOT would not have come. It was more important to us to have them come then no children.

  • ab6704aab6704a member
    25 Love Its 10 Comments First Anniversary Name Dropper
    edited May 2014

    We wanted to keep the budget lean because we have a lot of plans for our new house that we're looking forward to  but that doesn't mean we aren't going to treat our guests well (like royalty even :p).

    1. We're having the wedding at home - we have an acre of land so plenty of space.  We're renting a tent, tables, chairs, linens, etc. but it's still cheaper than most of the venues we looked at.

    2. Not spending the money on programs, a guest book, or videography.

    3. Using our own stereo system and iPod  rather than hire a DJ

    4.  Catering from a local restaurant (way cheaper than a lot of the catering places I looked at)and they are grilling steak, chicken, etc. on-site for us.

    5. Bought an inexpensive dress at DB that is way more comfortable than most of the pricier ones I tried on.

    6. Decided to fully host beer, wine, and non alcoholic beverages. We'll also have a signature drink of FI's choice, but we're generally skipping liquor altogether.

    7. Ordered flowers wholesale and will assemble the simple centerpieces myself. 

    Only about a month to go and I can't wait!


    ETA the portion that didn't save in my draft

  • phiraphira Bahstin member
    5000 Comments 500 Love Its Second Anniversary 5 Answers
    arrippa said:

    I had to compromise on a few things. I have always wanted my wedding at the Boston Public Library. Unfortunately, the space was was too expensive, so I couldn't host my guests properly and there would have been a gap between the ceremony at our church and the reception at the BPL. Alsoplusand the wait list was long and we didn't want to wait that long.

    The other main compromise we had to make was allowing children. I wanted a child free evening but after discussing it with our VIPs, we realized that if we enforced the "no children" policy, most of out OOT would not have come. It was more important to us to have them come then no children.

    I hear you so hard. BPL was our second choice for a dream venue (first choice was MOS). My cousin is getting married at BPL this summer, so at least we'll get to enjoy a BPL wedding as guests.
    now with ~* INCREASED SASSINESS *~
  • a13049a13049 member
    250 Love Its 100 Comments Second Anniversary Name Dropper
    Also, read you contracts closely. We waited until we had both ceremony and reception contracts before we signed them. So glad we did, our reception venue quotes us a per person price for food and drinks. Then the contract added $10 pp "reservation fee" and a $5 pp "pour fee". Basically they wanted $10 above the menu price to hold the reservationsnd $5 above the alcohol fee for us to host the bar instead of cash bar. I was fuming that these fees were never mentioned and then wheni tried to get them removed, she sent back a contract "in our budget". That removed the hosted bar but kept the reservation fee. So it was cheaper to allow my guests to pay for their own drinks, no freakin way! I refused to sign it and changed both our ceremony and reception. So glad, our new place is cheaper, and more sccomodating and still breath takingly beautiful. Plus, even after we signed contracts our coordinator for us some discounts and applied them, and have us free hotel upgrades. That's the kind of company I want to give my money to.
  • huskypuppy14huskypuppy14 Boston Suburbs member
    2500 Comments Fifth Anniversary 500 Love Its First Answer
    I feel that I didn't have to sacrifice much for our wedding, since our parents are generously helping so that pretty much covers our reception. We invited everyone we wanted to, we are having full open bar (not top shelf, but premium), stations which was a little less expensive than the plated options. 

    I absolutely love my dress, and it was under budget, so no compromise there. I'm not having super fancy flowers, because I don't care that much and no one else will care either. They'll be pretty, but nothing elaborate. We wanted a DJ as opposed to a band and the DJ is also doing the ceremony music. 

    We are also buying a house 2 weeks before the wedding, so with the house and the wedding, we may not go on a honeymoon. We have to see how much money we have left over, and then we'll decide.  But I would never do a honeymoon registry- ick!


  • InkdancerInkdancer The Shire member
    2500 Comments 500 Love Its First Anniversary First Answer
    laurynm84 said:
    I feel that I didn't have to sacrifice much for our wedding, since our parents are generously helping so that pretty much covers our reception. We invited everyone we wanted to, we are having full open bar (not top shelf, but premium), stations which was a little less expensive than the plated options. 

    I absolutely love my dress, and it was under budget, so no compromise there. I'm not having super fancy flowers, because I don't care that much and no one else will care either. They'll be pretty, but nothing elaborate. We wanted a DJ as opposed to a band and the DJ is also doing the ceremony music. 

    We are also buying a house 2 weeks before the wedding, so with the house and the wedding, we may not go on a honeymoon. We have to see how much money we have left over, and then we'll decide.  But I would never do a honeymoon registry- ick!
    We're also passing up a honeymoon to buy a house! We will probably go on a honeymoon next year (hello Disney!)
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  • arrippaarrippa Sam Adams Craft Commonwealth member
    Eighth Anniversary 1000 Comments 500 Love Its First Answer
    phira said:
    arrippa said:

    I had to compromise on a few things. I have always wanted my wedding at the Boston Public Library. Unfortunately, the space was was too expensive, so I couldn't host my guests properly and there would have been a gap between the ceremony at our church and the reception at the BPL. Alsoplusand the wait list was long and we didn't want to wait that long.

    The other main compromise we had to make was allowing children. I wanted a child free evening but after discussing it with our VIPs, we realized that if we enforced the "no children" policy, most of out OOT would not have come. It was more important to us to have them come then no children.

    I hear you so hard. BPL was our second choice for a dream venue (first choice was MOS). My cousin is getting married at BPL this summer, so at least we'll get to enjoy a BPL wedding as guests.

    Lucky you! I have yet to attend a wedding there but I would love to hear about it.

  • gg&ld14gg&ld14 member
    25 Love Its 10 Comments Name Dropper First Anniversary
    The biggest adult decision we had to make was about the venue. We wanted to have a DW (beach), but we both come from huge families, so we had 2 problems.
    - Beach weddings are VERY expensive even if it's not for many people (we have a 400 guest list).
    - Traveling and accommodation costs for our guests would be very high, and the last thing we wanted was to have them worry or compromise other important expenses so they could be with us that weekend.
    So.. we decided to have our wedding in my hometown, in my family ranch (which will cost us nothing) and it is gorgeous so we will only have candles and small centerpieces; it doesn't really need anything else. We don't even need to pay for tents because it will be on a terrace that can sit up to 500 people. EVERYONE will have a sit.
    Instead of spending half our budget on the venue we will have a full open bar, a very nice dinner, and an awesome wedding band. (nobody will need cash at my wedding for anything)
    OOT family members can stay with family, and we negotiated and rates with 2 local hotels for the rest of the guests.
    We won't pay for the Church Mass Ceremony, because my Grandma works there and she's friends with the priest. (It isn't the one I want, but it's beautiful- and free); a family friend will sing at the ceremony, so no cost there either. (Just very nice thank you gifts and wedding invites)
    A friend of my dad's will lend us busses to provide transportation to all of our guests to and from the ranch (we will only have to pay the drivers), so our guests won't have to spend their money on cabs or car rentals.
    I'm aware that I'm very lucky to have a free venue at my disposal and a lot of family and friends that can help us out, and that not every bride has that. But at the end of the day it was our decision to change something we dreamt of, for something that was more convenient for everybody. 
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  • We sacrificed some of our movie watching time and going out to dinner every month.
    About the only thing my (then) FI wanted was to get married on Friday the 13th if it worked for our families. I just wanted to be married to him and didn't care what day it was. We found a date a year away and then asked our VIPs if that would work for them. They said yes and we figured out if we saved X amount of $ every month until then we would have $5,000 to spend. We could have saved more but it was important to us to pay off previous debt before we were married.
     We wanted to invite family through 1st cousin's children and about 10 friends each which put the list at 220. We found a caterer for $10 pp and then looked at venues available to outside caterers.
    Probably a backwards way to do it but we knew who we wanted there and that we wanted to have dinner and wanted to budget that first. We didn't care about the venue so much, only enough that it was comfortable and could accommodate our party.
     We found a public park with 2 sites next to each other that had enough picnic tables for all at 1 site and tables for food, cake, drinks and photo props at the next site for $200 total.
     We paid for our wedding party's (our kids) outfits, officiant, photographer, a DJ to announce a few things and play our playlist. I made a bazillion paper flowers, tablecloths and napkins. We were able to bring in our own beer and wine. We hired a few of my son's friends to help with set up and clean up. We tipped everyone that we hired and bought gifts or gave $ to people that helped us along the way.
     There was probably not much in our wedding that would be featured in a magazine but I have had a lot of people asking if we could plan an anniversary party so we can do it again. No, ask again in 24 years, we don't need a re-do but are very glad people had fun.
     Oh and when it was getting closer to the date, we realized we'd have extra $ so we booked a honeymoon trip to Mexico.
    VIPs happy -yes, SOs invited -yes, good food- yes, hosted drinks -yes, happy vendors -yes, happy family -yes! Drama -no

  • CMGragainCMGragain member
    10000 Comments 500 Love Its Fourth Anniversary 25 Answers
    edited May 2014
    I'll address my daughter's wedding, for which I helped plan and pay.

    She had a daytime wedding to save costs, rather than a sit down dinner at night.  Brunch buffet costs half of what a dinner menu costs.

    The venue was perfect, and had more space than we needed.  Shopped around to find it, though!  Ceremony was in church, which FILs were members, so only costs were for minister, musician and janitor - no charges for using the church building.  (FILs were thrilled!)

    Her dress budget was limited, and we bought it at Pearl's Place.  (She looked fabulous!)  Veil was purchased on line.

    No open bar.  Just mimosas and bloody marys.

    No DJ.  We used her pre-selected choices recorded on an Ipod.

    Had a small, simple tier cake, with extra sheet cake held back in the kitchen.  Nobody cared.

    No champagne toast.

    Centerpieces were very simple - I hydrangea bloom in a Hobby Lobby glass vase (half price sale).  Bouquets were also simple: one hydrangea bloom for bridesmaids, and a small bouquet of hydrangeas and roses for the bride.

    Invitations were from Vistaprint.

    No paid transportation.  After the photo session at the church, the groom drove his bride to the reception.

    We did not compromise on the photography, but I negotiated like a MOB-zilla with a photographer who was setting up a new business.  No videography.

    I would like to have had more money for invitations, food (more appetizers), flowers, open bar, limo for bride and groom, but our guests were pleased with the wedding, and so was my daughter.

  • luckysnorkelluckysnorkel member
    100 Comments 100 Love Its Name Dropper First Anniversary
    edited May 2014
    I too am a mostly-lurker, but I wanted to chime in with our tactics (I also agree, like many others, that these were conscious decisions rather than sacrifices)

    Venue: This is the big one.  We chose a local brewery because it's giving us a huge bang for our buck.  For a dirt-cheap rental fee plus a food/bev minimum, we are getting: a buyout of the entire space, tables/chairs/flatware, a day-of coordinator, staff to set up/break down/serve, appetizers and buffet dinner, limited hosted bar (beer, wine, soda) for the entire night.  We're having the wedding on a Sunday to further reduce our minimums.  We're doing the ceremony there too to make it simpler for everyone.  Also, the space is super cool as is so it won't need a lot of extra decorations.  Could we have gone with a ritzy venue with gourmet food and a premium bar instead?  Sure... for like 25 guests.  With this venue, we can afford to host 200.

    We're also doing our rehearsal dinner there the night before, because again, they're giving us a lot for not very much money.

    But, speaking of guests - we of course had to make some tough cuts.  We could have easily invited over 300, but we decided to nix co-workers and some friends.  I also had to put my foot down with my parents, who would have been happy to invite every person they've ever met.  But this guest list discipline is allowing us to comfortably invite everyone's SO, and we've told a handful of our currently-single friends that if they start dating between now and the wedding, they are free to bring their sweetie as a guest.

    Invitations/stationery: DIY save the date design, free invitation design, printed on Vistaprint with tons of coupons.  We're also DIYing calligraphy on the envelopes.  [I managed to negotiate a free shipment of 100 extra envelopes after I messed up some of the initial addresses -- score!].  We're undecided on programs, but we'll go the super simple/cheapo route with those if we end up doing them.

    Favors: Not doing any.

    Decor: Like I mentioned above, the space doesn't need a lot of extra decoration.  We're hiring a company to set up a backdrop for the ceremony that my mom (who works at a lighting design firm) is kicking ass at pricing out (we're saving hundreds!).  My mom also has the hook-up on some discounted flameless votives.

    Cake: We're doing cupcakes and a 6 inch cutting cake instead of a large wedding cake.  I did a ton of research on bakers and managed to find the best cupcakes I've ever tasted (and I love me some cake) at a super low rate.  No fancy design details on the cake or cupcakes.  Also we bought salt shakers that we're using as cake toppers for like 6 bucks.

    We're going super simple and seasonal with our flowers.  No ceremony flowers, just bouquets/bouts/corsages/centerpieces.

    We're not hiring a videographer or photobooth.

    No hired transportation, except possibly a taxi for FI and me at the end of the night.

    Edited to add: Honeymoon!  I almost forgot.  We're going to rent a cabin nearby immediately after the wedding, and will save up for a more lavish trip next year.
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  • wandajune6wandajune6 Chicago-ish member
    2500 Comments 500 Love Its Third Anniversary First Answer
    We gave up the idea of a dream wedding in order to include (almost) all of our family and friends. Our budget is going almost exclusively to our venue, food and drink.

    Our wedding date was based on the availability of our VIPs.

    Our venue was chosen due to price and accessibility for our elderly and disabled guests.

    I got a cheap dress.

    Our decor will be DIY or minimalist- still tbd.

    We went with very basic photographer and DJ.

    Our cake will be very small with big sheet cakes to be sliced.

    We're staying in a hotel the night of the wedding- but our house and cars will be filled with friends and family.

    No honeymoon because the money is going to the reception and we're getting married mid-semester (FI is going back to school and his son is still school-age).

    No rehearsal dinner..

    It will be a wonderful night and everyone will be very well-hosted but it definitely won't be what I dreamed of. And that's ok.
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  • CheleLynCheleLyn member
    100 Love Its 100 Comments First Anniversary Name Dropper
    edited May 2014
    Well, our wedding is in 7 weeks. Our plan was that we would pay for everything ourselves. This is not the first wedding for either of us and we are both in our early 40s (we were jr high crushes). Everything was planned with a very strict budget and several spreadsheets that confuses everyone but me LOL

    Guest list---ok, I have to admit this one did get a little higher than originally planned. As of right now, we are 24 over. That being said, once the guest list was finalized and I got J to stop adding people, that changed the budget for everything else. Some things got cut completely, other things just became bigger priorities and other things less  important.

    Venue---Originally we wanted the Knights of Columbus hall because that's just where everyone has their reception. Unfortunately, even with FFIL's discount and the fact that the rental fee was hall only (no food or alcohol), it just wasn't going to work. 

    We looked around for other places. We next decided on a restaurant with a really nice reception area and I decided that was it! The cost of the food was reasonable for 2 entrees, alcohol was separate.  We got penciled in for our date (preliminary reservation to hold it), and FMIL crunched the numbers. After realizing that the bar tab...even limited bar...was just way more than we could afford, the search was on again.

    As luck would have it, a local BBQ smokehouse owner bought a small moose lodge and remodeled it and was opening it for events. The food cost was the same as the previous place BUT we get 3 entrees. We provide our own alcohol and certified bartender. That alone cut the bar tab SIGNIFICANTLY. That does of course mean that our bar will be limited...based on our guest list we are providing beer, vodka drinks, and rum drinks. Caterer is providing water, sodas, teas. This venue also has a HUGE covered pavilion which will be the ceremony site.

    Cake---a friend who does wedding cakes is doing the wedding and groom's cakes, again a fraction of the cost I would have paid t the local bakery. Also since we have had her cakes at other weddings, we know they'll be good :)

    Because the guest list is a little bigger than originally planned, J's parents have said they are going to cover the overage. I am extremely grateful, but it makes me so uncomfortable to have them pay for ANYTHING. FFIL has spoken to me about it and basically I am to just stop fretting so much and let them do this :) Saved a ton.

    Attire---J will be using what he has except a vest and tie. My daughter who is MOH will be wearing a dress a local seamstress/shop owner had for $25...this was the exact dress I had planned to get her at DB for much more :)

    Flowers---I bought them from an Etsy shop. Real touch callas. I did have to let go of the idea I originally wanted, but hey, nbd.

    Centerpieces---non floral. FMIL is diy'ing them with things she already has. She's a major crafter and she's put some really simple things together that I'm happy with. No, they aren't fancy but they're pretty reflective of us.

    OH RINGS---I wanted (and was given) a black diamond engagement ring. J found the exact one I wanted on that we saw on Zales website for a fraction of the price. He picked his ring from an Etsy shop for an embarrassingly low price. Our rings aren't fancy schmancy, but their symbolism is more important to us than their cost. I have to say, when I was younger, a bigger fancier more in your face ring was what I wanted. Priorities have definitely changed as I got older LOL

    There are no programs, favors, or menus. Although I liked the idea of them, not having them meant more money into the food and alcohol so we could afford the extra guests.

    As others have said, I don't really feel like these were sacrifices.

    Overall, I can't say that our wedding is going to be a major event...something fancy...a dream/princess/Cinderella wedding but that's ok.  What's most important to me is that everyone look back and say they had a good time. ANd of course, at the end of the day, I will be married to the boy my 14 yer old self could only imagine someday marrying, and the same for him :)
    ~*~June 21, 2014~*~

  • - I'm a full time student. My research stipend is enough to cover my living expenses, but there isn't much left over to save money for a wedding. I got a part time job. I worked 60-70 hours/week and put all the moneyrom the part time job into savings. This was the biggest sacrifice and had the greatest impact on the wedding budget
    - BIL is a graphic designer. He designed and printed our STDs and invitations as our wedding gift
    - I made the wedding cake and cupcakes with the help of a BM, my mom and SIL (they volunteered, I was prepared to do everything myself)
    - I wanted to get married in the spring. Venue offered significant deals (no rental fees, no cake cutting fee) if the wedding was in April instead of May. 
    - DH wore a suit he already owned and I wore shoes and lingerie I already owned
    - I kept in mind alterations when dress shopping and bought a dress that only needed the bust taken in (which I need done on every dress)
    - I found jewelry I liked online and a friend made it for me for significantly cheaper
    - No fancy wedding day transportation
    - DH and I cut back on going out for dinner. DH brought lunch to work instead of buying something at the food court every day
    - I did an "a la carte" photography package because each package my photographer offered included things we wouldn't be doing
    - My BM arranged for her friends who were hair stylist and MUA to do hair and make up at my parents' house instead of the salon, which significantly lowered the price

  • The venue we wanted that could  accommodate our price range was too pricey for the weekend so we switched to a Friday evening and saved nearly $6000. Our venue also provides complimentary valet parking for our guests. 

    Have an open bar without hard liquor saved $2530. For four hours there will be unlimited wines, beers, mineral water, coffee, tea, and other fun non-alcoholic drinks. This also includes a champagne toast. And since our reception will end a half hour later and there will not be a cash bar to replace it, I think this is fair. No one will have to pay for anything.

    Choose a buffet that includes (2) meat entree choices and (1) vegetarian option versus the more expensive platted menu option. This way everyone can enjoy something they'd like to eat versus the platted option. There will be (2) floating appetizers as well as antipasto platters and bread rolls during the cocktail hour for our guests while we take our photos. We're hoping to fly through them quickly in order to not keep our parents and bridal party from joining the rest of the guests.

    Skipped programs, menus, chair covers, and favors in order to provide a dessert table for our guests with take home boxes. I also skipped a weekend gateway this month in order to afford my croquembouche for the dessert table that I just won't budge on.

    Bought a floor sample dress and saved $200. No one will care that my dress was a floor sample or even notice for that matter.

    Hired two friend's of our family to be our DJ ($200) and photographer ($600) for a friend's rate and as a thank you we will be paying for their hotel, transportation, and invited their SO as well. 

    Found the most perfect officiant who works on donation only who lives minutes away from our venue. She genuinely just enjoys weddings and is happy to just be a part of our ceremony. She is so amazing that I am actually looking forward to her attending our reception and plan on paying her $250. Most folks who will conduct a handfasting ceremony in our area ask anywhere between $800- $1,200.

    Found a lovely and skilled florist who works out of her home who is super cheap. We plan on using the archway flowers for our bridal table. Why waste perfectly good flowers?

    Fiance hates jewelry so were getting a cheap stainless steal ring in order to complete a ring exchange at our ceremony. 

    None of these feels like sacrifices though really and honestly I still feel like a spoiled brat. Do I really need croquembouche and a wedding cake? Well not anymore than a weekend getaway I suppose. Only thing that I feel is a  bit of a sacrifice is offering a full open bar that hosts hard liquor as well.. I'm still investigating if this an option if I am able to cut something else and can get FI's approval. 

  • We were lucky in that we didn't really have to sacrifice anything. My parents generously paid for our venue/food/alcohol and my dress (I paid alterations) and flowers. Husband's mother generously paid for our rehearsal dinner. 
    A couple tradeoffs we made, though:

    Fake flowers vs real for centerpieces. Looking back I wish we had picked up a bunch of loose bouquets at a grocery store the day of - but it's okay. We didn't do a ton of decorations. Wine bottles, flowers, wine corks...all "donated" by the sacrifice of my own liver. Took one for the team, there...

    We didn't do programs for each guest. It felt like saying "here, you throw this away." We bought an easel chalkboard at Home Goods, wrote a brief program on there, and guests could see it as they entered.

    Non-fancy invites - 5x7 cards from Zazzle. No inner envelopes or ribbons or lace. Standard postage.

    Salad choice - I would have loved one of the fancy salads with strawberries and nuts. MIL cannot eat strawberries/seeds/nuts/tomatoes/etc. So we went with Caesar so she could eat.

    MIL really wanted to cover the rehearsal dinner as she read it was the MOG's "job." She sent us a check for what she could afford and we really wanted to plan within that amount so she wouldn't feel like her gift wasnt "enough" if we did a big plated fancy dinner (which wasn't our style anyway) We found a new, locally owned restaurant that could do heavy apps in a private room and we could afford a bar tab for our guests. I think we went a bit over by tipping the servers, but we were able to manage it.

    Overall we tried to focus on our guests (and us!) having an awesome time, and mission accomplished. I loved our wedding!
  •     We decided to have immediate family only. We didn't really make any sacrifice. We looked at the budget for hosting 150 people, then the budget for hosting our immediate families. We decided we didn't want to spend the time or money it would take for a big shindig when who we really wanted there was our parents and siblings. 

        We are spending about half of our budget to host our immediate families at Disneyland. We are using their all inclusive small wedding package. I didn't want to plan a big shindig and with Disney I pay the money, hire a photographer and show up in the dress. All in all we will come out ahead and have a good chunk of the budget left to start our life together. The food Disney provides is amazing, we are getting a four course lunch, cake, officiant, floral, Ipod hook up (no DJ for a lunch wedding), champagne or sparkling cider toast and both a reception and ceremony venue in different spots at the resort. I am adding an unlimited beer wine and soft drink package. All I had to hire was a photographer (may aunt is a kick-ass one, she's the only non-immediate only family member that will be there, we are paying her usual fee plus expenses)

       I got my dress on Ebay for $160 including shipping and it's gorgeous so no sacrifice there. I'll do my own hair and makeup as I'm good at both.  

       Our extended families are fine with it. Most of mine was relieved they don't have to attend yet another wedding (there are a lot of us!) It's his second marriage and his family is scattered all over the US and Canada. Most have said they wouldn't travel again to see him get married yet again anyway. 

      I'm sure some of our friends are thinking we picked the destination over them, and I guess they are right. It's because of our friends we chose the smaller wedding. We are part of a large community theater group where we met, so a lot of people sort of think they own our relationship because they were there for all of it. When we looked at the initial guest list it was going to be over 300 with SO's and children and we couldn't afford that with the food I wanted (good food was my only requirement) and I didn't want to plan it! This is if we didn't want to offend anyone because we invited some people but not others. It was amazing how many people think they were entitled to a wedding invitation. So instead we aren't inviting ANY of them. By keeping it immediate family only people are dissapointed, but not offended as they might of been had we done a larger wedding but had to exclude a bunch due to budget and space issues. Our closet friends all understand, probably why they are our closest friends.
  • I forgot to mention - borrowed decor! A lot of my friends and children of my parents friends have gotten married recently and had a ton of vases, photo frames, bowls, chalkboards, etc etc that they sold me cheaply, gave to me for free, or let me borrow

  • edited May 2014
    FI and I have haven't had any "hard" decisions to make as far as making sure our guests were properly hosted. We are both really laid back so the extras were never very important, which saved a lot. I looked back on all the weddings I have either attended or been a part of and then tried to think of the things I remembered... or didn't. I couldn't tell you the color scheme of half, I don't remember what the place settings looked like, I have no recollection of the flowers used in the arrangements or if they matched the napkins, I have no clue who gave what favors, or if I even noticed the shoes the bridesmaids wore.  I do remember if the food was good, if the DJ played good music, if I had a place to sit, if the bride and groom came by the table, and if I had to pay for my own drinks. Kind of put things in perspective. 

    Rather than get married locally and get sucked into a huge wedding where we wouldn't know half of the people, we opted to get married four hours away with only our nearest and dearest in attendance.

    We decided on a budget and then realized that having a smaller wedding meant we had more play money. Rather than just serving finger food for 350 with a cash bar, we're having fillets and salmon for 30 with an open bar. A smaller guest list means we will be able to splurge on things that, we hope, people will appreciate. Someone actually told me that since we are having a small wedding, we won't get a lot of gifts...(Ummmm WTF? not in the least bit worried about getting a new toaster or towel set.) That's not why you invite people. We invited our guests because we love them and want them to be there on the biggest day of our lives. We really wanted to thank our friends and family for traveling and to show them just how much it means, to have them with us the day we get married, we will be paying for the accommodations the night of the wedding. It's about priorities. Smaller wedding with the same budget means we can splurge and show everyone how much they mean to us and thank them for coming. Every bum will have a seat, food will be provided, no one needs cash for a beer, and every guest can bring their significant other. We won't be sacrificing anything...we just had our guests in mind while planning. 

  • All of you ladies are very right. These are decisions, not sacrifices.

    -We got engaged Christmas Day 2012, but have had a long engagement to help save money and book things in advance for discounts to PROPERLY host our guests.

    -I plan on trying to DIY many of our decorations as time gets closer.

    -We have a guest list of 126 without plus ones, which we plan on giving to any truly single guests over 18. Those 126 people are entirely except for one family friend who has been around forever and the guy FH wants as his best man.

    -I fully intend to hire a wedding coordinator for the day of because I do not want ANY of my family members having to help with ANYTHING.

    -I will have an open bar, even if that means just beer and wine. My guests will not have to open their wallets for anything!

    -I had found a venue that I was absolutely in love with, but chose to find a different venue because it would have eaten almost our entire budget. I found a nice, somewhat local venue that has a separate space for the ceremony, reception, and a cocktail area that will be transformed after cocktail hour and dinner into a kids area.

    -I will be using Hy-Vee for catering. (Good food at a GREAT cost!)

    -I'm going to try and find a culinary student to make our cake.

    -We will not have menus, programs, favors, or any other unnecessary things that will add to our costs so we can have more room in our budget to make sure our guests have a GREAT time. 
    Visit The Knot! Visit The Knot!
  • FiancBFiancB MinnesOOOta member
    500 Love Its 1000 Comments Second Anniversary Name Dropper
    edited May 2014
    Before we were even engaged I was pretty sure it was on the horizon and that definitely was a big factor in my decision to sell my awesome truck that I loved and still miss. 

    Our original venue was amazing and back in my hometown. After a while though we realized that the majority of our guests were "his" and it didn't really make sense to drag them all out to the west coast, especially knowing that his parents are on a much tighter budget than mine and all his friends were attending a DW a few months before ours. So we moved it to his hometown. As a result, a couple of my best friends won't be able to make it, but I'd rather that happen to me than him. 

    So 5 months out we replanned everything. I wanted to move it to a Super Cool Venue, like a zoo or library or historical building, and he would've loved to have had it near the U of M campus, but it was all too expensive. We got it down to two more reasonable venues. One had a little more cool factor being a convention center converted from a stable, but it was more expensive and had awkward ceremony times, so we went with the other. A golf course that was having a special. Pretty, but not really "us", since we don't have the slightest interest in golf. Oh well. It fit my must haves of being able to hold both ceremony and reception, and to have an outdoor ceremony space.

    We thought about having it on not-Saturday but ultimately decided it would be a lot easier for guests to make it on a Saturday so we cut a lot of other things out of the budget to make it work. 

    So we aren't doing favors or programs. We're hoping a friend will do videography but aren't counting on it. I would love to get fancy chair covers and centerpieces, but it's too much and has been hashed out again and again, just isn't the stuff guests will remember. No flowers or very simple and cheap flowers that I'll DIY one way or another. 

    We would love to have a big honeymoon in Hawaii but it's too expensive to get out there. So we'll do something relatively simple and save that for another trip. 

    One thing we're pretty lucky with is our guest list. We don't have big families and I just don't know all that many people. We started out our guest list thinking we'd have to cut people to stay under 150 but really we will be well under 100 while basically inviting pretty much everyone we know and their +1s. So that's nice. 

    I've had a snowflake moment or two where I was bummed about these things but now that we're 2 months out, it doesn't feel like sacrifices. It's prioritizing and allocating resources. We do have more money to spend, but it doesn't make sense to us to blow it on one day and want to have something leftover in savings/for a future house. 
  • edited May 2014
    "Sacrifices" in ( )
    -We found an all inclusive venue. There were other venues with better views and more options but they all had the 20% service charge. Our venue was cheaper overall and didn't have that charge. And it was still pretty and convenient for everyone. (Dream venue)
    -I really really wanted orchids and insisted on lilies. Our original florist wanted $600 for all the bouquets, bouts, corsages. We switched to a new florist and went with lilies in mine and the rest carnations and roses. Saved us $300. (Dream flowers)
    -before my grandmother offered to purchase my dress I was looking at ones less than $400. I've always wanted to go to kleinfelds for my dress but thanks to. Y grandparents I was able to get a beautiful dress that I loved (dream dress)
    -there were some photographers that I loved and had the photojournalist if style I wanted. Instead we chose our regular family photographers, which allowed us to have two shooters and women we were already super comfortable with and took awesome pictures. We have beautiful pictures (fancy photographer)
    -I really wanted a candy bar. Having an open bar was more important. My mil surprised us with one anyways.

    Eta: none of those felt like sacrifices. Not one. We planned the wedding we wanted while still hosting our guests. It's not that hard.

    After 6 years and 2 boys, finally tying the knot on October 27th, 2013!

  • I'm having the ceremony and reception in the same place - same room in fact. I'm not subjecting my guests to a gap or a drive, and I'm saving a ton of money. Win win.

    My bouquet consists of eight separately wrapped roses bundled together. I will give one to each of our mothers, his grandma, and each of our daughters. There will be no other flowers.

    Centerpieces consist of baby's breath in silver julep cups (I'm a good southern girl; I already own the julep cups), with a dollar store tea light holder on each side. Maybe $75 for the while room, and I can resell the tea light holders.

    No save the dates, programs, favors, guest book, signs, etc.

    The daughters are our wedding party and they will wear ordinary navy colored dresses that they can also wear to church.

    We will serve bottled beer, a white and a red wine, soft drinks, and a signature drink only.

    The china, silver, and glassware will be mostly mine and/or borrowed with extras bought on craigslist (and will be promptly resold after the big day).

    My friend will play the wedding march on her violin, and 2 other friends will play our recessional song on their ukuleles. Everything else will be on an iPod.

    There will be no boring speeches, other than my thanking my guests and friends in under 2 minutes. We are combining the father-daughter and mother-son dances because seriously, those are SO DULL unless you're the father or mother involved. I am making them tolerate the one dance because darn it, it IS my day and I'm going to be a tiny bit bridezilla about that. LOL Besides, my dad's heart would be broken if he didn't get to dance with me on my wedding day. The things in this paragraph are not financial savings, but they are courteous to my guests.

    I am not doing any cheesy staged wedding photos. I keep repeating that my wedding is NOT about the photos. My reception is NOT a photo op. We are having photos but they are minimal, and consist only of the ceremony and a few family shots. The reception photos will be crowd sourced - either instagram or an app, or both. My guests will not have to wait around for us to finish photographs.

    We are having a small cake for ourselves, with some FABULOUS desserts including cupcakes and pastries from a local bakery for the guests.

    Knowing that my guests will be treated to a good meal, some nice drinks, and some fun dancing is NOT a sacrifice. I hope they remember a good time with gracious hosts who cared about their comfort (did I mention no driving and no gap? *grin*).
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