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Budget Weddings

Does this look okay?

My fiance and I became engaged Valentines Day after being together 5 years. We were high school sweethearts (we dated 2 yrs in high school) then went our separate ways. We married the wrong people and now get to begin our lives together (we are both in our 40s). Everybody is so excited about our wedding and marriage so its important that we do it right but we are still on a budget. Here is what we have so far. Please let me know if you think it looks reasonable.
  • Photography $1800 (deep military discount)
  • Church/Reception Hall $800 (includes tables, setup, clean up, premarital counseling, on site wedding planner and use of facilities)
  • Catering $2200 (full meal BBQ and all the fixings, plus full service and cake cutting no bar since it is at a church again deep military discount)
  • Flowers $1550(includes 4 bouquets, 4 corsages, 3 bouts, flower girls, altar flowers and 12 centerpieces-he gave military discount as well as a 2nd wedding discount lol since I used him on previous wedding as he is the best in town)
  • Dress $800 (seamstress is making dress to match my military ball dress form our high school days)
  • Groomsmen and bridesmaid attire $600 ( we are paying for this as they are all kids and nieces)
  • Cake free ( a friend is making it as a wedding gift she does amazing work)
  • Reception decor $200 (mostly do it yourself church reception hall is pretty on its own)
  • Invites $160 (we are getting seal and sends)
  • Misc $1000 (rings, small minimoon, license, etc)

Re: Does this look okay?

  • Looks good just want to check 2 things:

    When you say all the fixings with your caterer does that include plates, utensils and napkins? What about drinks? It's fine to not serve alcohol but you have to serve something. Water, soda, juice, ice tea? You could make fun mocktails and put them in cute dispensers even. Since you're having 12 centerpieces I'm assuming you have about 120 people. We had a full bar but bought the mixers and non alcoholic drinks ourselves from BJS. We had 160 adults, 40 kids and bought alot (we did not want to run out) and spent around $200 just on NA drinks.





  • Only thing I saw missing is do you want to get your hair or makeup done professionally for the day? Also mani/pedi? If you plan to do all yourself, no problem. Just wanted to make sure you made plans for that.

    Other thing, when doing invites don't forget postage & on that note, cost of thank you cards & postage for those.

  • My thought is on the rings - two simple gold bands to last a lifetime are going to eat up most/all of that $1000.  That is an area to not go cheap on because you don't want your finger turning a green that doesn't match your uniform... 

    Yes - you need to budget something for drinks for the reception.  Water isn't socially acceptable as the only option though doable...  At least spring to make it Kool-aid...  Also, confirm plate/utensils, linens, etc.

    Also, even if your friend is making your cake as her gift, plan to give her something for doing so (surprise her after the fact!)!  Most people don't give gifts to the tune of $200 which is what your cake by the time all nickels and dimes are added up is a low-ball estimate for 100 guests without figuring a penny for the value of her time. 

    Depending on all things church, that may not include a donation to your officiant for saying the service. Also, you'll want to budget something for your Rehearsal.  Also add-ons for your dress (undergarments, shoes, tiara/veil, etc.). 

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  • Thanks everyone. Here are a few clarifications. 
    • The caterer is providing the following drinks: Lemonade, water, and both sweet and unsweet tea. In addition they are making my favorite drink -Ocean water from Sonic (there is a recipe online) which we are calling "Patriotic Punch". 
    • We are providing mismatched china and mason jars already purchased from local thrift stores that we are donating to the church afterwards. 
    • My daughter will be doing my hair and makeup.
    • Invite cost included stamps but I did forget the Thank you cards
    • The church cost is all inclusive to include a donation to the pastor for his service (he also gets 200 for the counseling which is included in the 1000)
    • We found rings that we like at a reputable jewelry store (Jewelry warehouse for any one that is familiar). I wanted something simple because my engagement ring is complex with 5 diamonds (it was his mothers). Total for rings 550
    • Already purchased shoes, tiara and veil on clearance for 75 total
    • Didnt think about rehearsal. We were planning on doing finger foods in the conference room at the church. Nothing fancy.
    • Yes current guest list is 130. Wedding is April 30, 2016 so invites etc havent went out yet.
  • From a budgeting perspective, I would itemize more under the misc. expenses because that can easily balloon up if you aren't paying attention and misc. is a pretty broad scope.  For instance, you should have specific dollar figures for the rings and licenses - those are fixed costs.  I would itemize those and remove them from your misc. budget.  I would also get a better estimate on the mini-moon costs, specifically travel and hotel - between meals and any luxuries you might afford yourself because it's a special occasion, those costs can get wildly out of control if you aren't paying attention.  Make the misc. category true incidentals you can't really predict (meals out, souvenirs) and a buffer for things you may forget/hadn't planned on.

    Also...
    Gifts?  Will you be giving any thank you gifts to people who are helping you out, giving discounts/free services, wedding party, officiant, musicians, readers, etc.?  Likewise tips/gratuity?  Are those already built into your contracts and included in your prices above?

    Are you doing a rehearsal?  If so, then budget to host your rehearsal participants afterwards.

    Are you organizing anything special for transportation?  Hair, make-up, shoes, jewelry?  Music (both for ceremony and reception)?


  • Thanks for the budgeting info. I do have the stuff broken down a little better on my budget I just didnt put it all in my post. Our budget total is 10k so we have about 900 in wiggle room. The price for the catering may go down because that is based on our original guest count of 155 (remember we got a deep discount). Even if we have 100 percent attendance that is less than the original price (I did verify that if our headcount goes down that they will reduce the price).The minimoon wont be too bad we are driving to Charleston after the reception, taking a harbor cruise, staying one night and coming back (future hubby has to work sun night sadly). No transportation since everything is at one location. Music is provided by the church musician and is included in church cost. For the reception we are just using an ipod. Not really sure about gifts yet. 
  • Just a note on the wedding bands - you absolutely do not have to spend $500 on a single gold band, that's outrageous. I know you said you picked out some, but here are a few as well (both very respected sites!). Prices obv more expensive for higher kt or plat.

    http://www.e-weddingbands.com/store/product89664.html

    http://www.jamesallen.com/wedding-rings/classic/14k-white-gold-4.0mm-low-dome-wedding-ring-item-110





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  • wandajune6wandajune6 Chicago-ish member
    2500 Comments 500 Love Its Third Anniversary First Answer

    Just a note on the wedding bands - you absolutely do not have to spend $500 on a single gold band, that's outrageous. I know you said you picked out some, but here are a few as well (both very respected sites!). Prices obv more expensive for higher kt or plat.

    http://www.e-weddingbands.com/store/product89664.html

    http://www.jamesallen.com/wedding-rings/classic/14k-white-gold-4.0mm-low-dome-wedding-ring-item-110






    Along those lines, there was a recent post that discussed a lot of cheaper options: http://forums.theknot.com/discussion/1065079/jvl-jewelry#latest
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    teddygirl9
  • I have found a photographer and a videoagerpher for 1400 if you like their information id be happy to provide it
  • Good planning on your part, and buy what you like in terms of jewelry.  If it's a bit more, just get it because you have to live with that ring.  Overall, I think everything is great and you got really good prices.  I'm from NYC and my wedding will be about $20k!  That's considered the average budget!!!
  • I cant imagine spending that much esther lol. Weve been planning everything to the hilt so we can afford it all.
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