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Budget Weddings

Budget Advice

Hi everyone! After spending this past weekend visiting venues at the beach for our dream wedding, my fiance and I realized just how expensive that is. After crying for hours, I have decided to start from the beginning again and plan a wedding on a tight budget because we'd much rather spend that money on something else (new house, new car, etc.). I'm feeling motivated again, but would love to take any advice that anyone has to offer on planning a wedding on a budget. 

I am a teacher and we would like to get married during the school year. Because of that, getting married on a Friday or a Sunday are out of the question due to the amount of time it would require me to take off of school. But anywhere else we can cut costs, I'll take advice on. 

Thanks in advance!

Re: Budget Advice

  • What is your desired guest count and budget you feel comfortable spending? That will help people make recommendations knowing what you are working with 
    MesmrEwe
  • Start in this order...  Budget... Guest Count (remember SO's, kids, +1 for your single friends in this count because you want it realistic, no "we think around" - plan for the unlikely event of 100% attendance!)..  Ceremony (it makes a huge difference if you're having a church vs. JOP vs.???) ...  Reception...

    The other thing is, you need to think outside the box sometimes in order to have your dream event for your budget.  Also, with outdoor weddings, rain happens, so you would still need to rent a backup plan so that's also something to think about.  Another idea is to post on your local boards once you have your guest count for venue suggestions near/on the beach.  Your local knotties may know hidden gems that you had never thought about!

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    OurWildKingdomernursej
  •  
    kvruns said:
    What is your desired guest count and budget you feel comfortable spending? That will help people make recommendations knowing what you are working with 

    SITB:  Also what part of the country...

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  • I agree with everything that SP29 said except the cocktail reception in the late evening.  You need to decide what is most important to you.  Guests?  Dancing?

    If you want to have an outdoor ceremony, this is very doable.  My sister had a wedding in a local city park shelter.  It was at lunch time, and they served picnic food from the grocery store.  She borrowed her dress from a friend.  (Nobody knew or cared.)  A niece played the flute.  No dancing.  It was a great wedding!

    My own wedding was a small church ceremony with cake and punch in the fellowship hall.

    There are many choices, but first you need a firm budget and guest list.  THEN you can decide what kind of wedding you can afford.
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    OurWildKingdom
  • Guide to a budget wedding:

    1.  Have a private ceremony, either in the courthouse, or some place romantic.  No guests.  No reception.

    2.  Have a traditional afternoon ceremony followed by a cake and punch style reception.  The cake can be a sheet cake from Sam's Club.  It doesn't have to be one of those expensive designer jobs.  You need chairs for your guests and paper invitations.  Wedding party is optional.  Grocery stores do flowers, too.

    3.  Have a late morning ceremony followed by a brunch reception.  My daughter had this in a country club, and it cost half of their dinner price.  She used a prerecorded IPOD for dance music, so no DJ.  Guests really liked the food!

    4.  Evening ceremony with dinner reception.  Cross this off your list.  It is the most expensive kind of wedding.


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    OurWildKingdomSP29
  • Great advice so far. My last DD to get married wanted to spend as little as possible on anything that gets thrown in the garbage - invitations, programs, STDs, napkins with your names on it, menus. We used vistaprint for the invitations and STDs. Quite often Groupon will have a special and you can get a killer deal. No programs, no fancy napkins, no menus. Remember that for everyone you ask to be in your bridal party you will need flowers, a thank you gift, and 2 seats per party member at your RD. The bridal party is a line item in your budget. You can cut costs by just having a MOH or having no bridal party at all. Sam's Club sells wedding flower packages online, and there are other retailers too. Check them out. Guests will remember if they were hosted well and if the happy couple was really a happy couple. Food, drinks, proper seating, music for dancing will create a great atmosphere and your guests will have a good time.
    SP29
  • thisismynickname2thisismynickname2 City By The Lake member
    5000 Comments Sixth Anniversary 500 Love Its First Answer
    I'll add, don't fall into the traps of "saving" that the wedding industry or related websites encourage. Having your friends/family set-up/take-down stuff at your reception, having friends/family cook, play music, take photos, etc... is not saving money. It's making your guests work when you should be honoring them. Now, if anyone offers something that's different, but never ask someone to do labor at your wedding. You saving money doesn't mean passing costs off onto your guests (like potluck). 
    But definitely decide, as PPs suggest, what's really important to you and what's not. Don't want dancing? No DJ needed, just hook up an MP3 player and some speakers for ambient music. Couldn't be bothered with flowers? Skip them entirely or purchase some fake flowers for your bouquet. 
    Guests typically want good food appropriate for the time of day and refreshing beverages and seats for their butts. Take care of those comforts and you'll be fine. 
    ________________________________


    [Deleted User]SP29OurWildKingdomernursej
  • You need to decide what is important to you. For example, we knew that food, drink, and dancing would be the important things at our wedding, since our crowd are very much party people. So thats where we focused our money. We pulled back the list to about 100ppl (including all partners), found a venue that allowed us to bring in our own booze and caterers. This saved us ££ since we are in a very high COL area. I don't really care about decor, so we aren't spending very much at all on those elements (if at all), my theory is that if all my guests are well fed,  lubricated, and spend most of thier time on the dancefloor then I will have had a very successful wedding. 

    If you give us some more info we can help more.
                 
    SP29OurWildKingdomScottishSarah
  • edited March 2016
    I want to second the cake/punch reception if you're planning on having your ceremony during a non-meal time.  We're also adding in some sandwich trays and other snacks from a grocery store deli in addition to the cake and desserts we're serving. I can't begin to express how much money we're saving by doing that instead of a fully catered dinner during evening hours.
    OurWildKingdomMesmrEweCMGragainSP29
  • There are a lot of ways to save money. The big thing is to keep things simple. That doesn't mean they have to be boring.

     I'm talking about skip the invites that have multiple pieces of paper and require a class on how to assemble them. Keep it simple & limit to a one page invite & RSVP card/envelope. A simple diy type invite that is 5x7 in size with the details is plenty. It will save you money on postage too. Because the reality of invites is that beside you and the parents, most people are throwing away your invites the day after your wedding. Also keep that in mind for your thank you cards. Yes, the custom ones with a photo of the bride & groom are cute, but usually the price is $1.00 per card. You can go to the dollar store & get thank you cards. People don't care what your thank you card looks like, they care that you sent them in a timely manner. As soon as they read the card, it's going into the trash. So why spend a lot of money that is just going into the trash. The looks of them will mean more to you then anyone else.

    Limit the size of your bridal party on both sides, including ring bearer & flower girls. Remember for each bridal party member you have you need to get flowers (bouquet/bout), you need to invite them & their SO to the rehersal dinner if you are having one. Also for each bridal party member you have you need to get them a gift. And if you want to rent a vehicle, the more people you have the larger of a bus you will need which will drive up the cost of renting a limo. By keeping your bridal party small it will also reduce stress when it comes to planning things. Fewer conflicting personalities and input too.

    Skip personalized favors, cute but you can get inexpensive edible favors and that's what guests want. You can rarely go wrong with doing something with Hershey kisses, M&M or just anything plain chocolate.

    If FI has a nice suit, use that as his attire. If you want to dress it up you can always still rent just the vest & tie from a tux place & save a ton of money.

    Other posters gave you ideas on how to save money on food. If you can spend some time on google, you can save money. You can have a fabulous classic wedding that isn't over the top in decorations. Spend the money on your attire, food, photography & DJ. What your guests will remember down the road is how good the food is or isn't and if you have a great DJ, they will remember how much fun the reception was dancing the night away. And spend money on a good photographer because these are once in a life time photos. It's not like a family portrait if they don't turn out well, you can hire another photographer & do it again a few months later.


    OurWildKingdom
  • We are in a similar situation and have to get pretty creative between to be able to still have the things we really wanted for our wedding but also stay within a tight budget. 

    A few ideas:
    Join Wedding Buy/Sell/Trade Local Groups in your area on Facebook. Many brides will resell their wedding decor (candle holders, signs, vases, etc.) for very cheap after their wedding. This saves a ton of money as most brides just want to get rid of wedding items they no longer need.

    DIY projects for decorations (Pinterest things you can easily make. Host a craft night with some friends and start creating away)

    Make a list of things you REALLY must have. For us, it was to have a videographer. As we started researching this, we realized there was no way we could afford one. We then found a company called WeddingMix. They have very affordable packages that start at about $100. This is saving us a TON of money and is allowing us to not only capture our wedding day on video, but use the money we've saved for other important things we want/need for our wedding. If a videographer is something that is important to you, definitely look into WeddingMix!!

    Good luck!
  • We are in a similar situation and have to get pretty creative between to be able to still have the things we really wanted for our wedding but also stay within a tight budget. 

    A few ideas:
    Join Wedding Buy/Sell/Trade Local Groups in your area on Facebook. Many brides will resell their wedding decor (candle holders, signs, vases, etc.) for very cheap after their wedding. This saves a ton of money as most brides just want to get rid of wedding items they no longer need.

    DIY projects for decorations (Pinterest things you can easily make. Host a craft night with some friends and start creating away)

    Make a list of things you REALLY must have. For us, it was to have a videographer. As we started researching this, we realized there was no way we could afford one. We then found a company called WeddingMix. They have very affordable packages that start at about $100. This is saving us a TON of money and is allowing us to not only capture our wedding day on video, but use the money we've saved for other important things we want/need for our wedding. If a videographer is something that is important to you, definitely look into WeddingMix!!

    Good luck!
    DIY is not always as cheap as just buying something outright.  You need to factor in your time.  I mean, I guess if you can do something while you're watching TV at night or your time isn't worth very much, go for it.  But sometimes buying the individual pieces ends up making it more expensive than you figured.  Also, if you're genuinely going to HOST a craft night, that ends up getting pretty pricey too.  I mean, I'm going to drink my fair share of wine or beer, eat all the nachos, and probably won't get very much crafting done.  I'll be there for the wine and conversation, not so much for the gluing and painting.
    SP29lnixon8
  • SP29SP29 member
    Sixth Anniversary 2500 Comments 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    adk19 said:
    We are in a similar situation and have to get pretty creative between to be able to still have the things we really wanted for our wedding but also stay within a tight budget. 

    A few ideas:
    Join Wedding Buy/Sell/Trade Local Groups in your area on Facebook. Many brides will resell their wedding decor (candle holders, signs, vases, etc.) for very cheap after their wedding. This saves a ton of money as most brides just want to get rid of wedding items they no longer need.

    DIY projects for decorations (Pinterest things you can easily make. Host a craft night with some friends and start creating away)

    Make a list of things you REALLY must have. For us, it was to have a videographer. As we started researching this, we realized there was no way we could afford one. We then found a company called WeddingMix. They have very affordable packages that start at about $100. This is saving us a TON of money and is allowing us to not only capture our wedding day on video, but use the money we've saved for other important things we want/need for our wedding. If a videographer is something that is important to you, definitely look into WeddingMix!!

    Good luck!
    DIY is not always as cheap as just buying something outright.  You need to factor in your time.  I mean, I guess if you can do something while you're watching TV at night or your time isn't worth very much, go for it.  But sometimes buying the individual pieces ends up making it more expensive than you figured.  Also, if you're genuinely going to HOST a craft night, that ends up getting pretty pricey too.  I mean, I'm going to drink my fair share of wine or beer, eat all the nachos, and probably won't get very much crafting done.  I'll be there for the wine and conversation, not so much for the gluing and painting.
    And you also should not be expecting others to do your DIY projects with/for you.

    If I am going to "craft night", in addition to eating and drinking, I assume I'm making a craft for myself... Ok, if it was my BFF I would help her, with SOME things, but we better be drinking allll the wine and watching some awesome TV/movies.
    justsie[Deleted User]
  • edited April 2016
    As far as a budget friendly beach wedding, if you are keeping the invite list low you can look at renting a beach house for two days, then just renting tables and chairs... If it's beach front you now have a ready made beach venue! Just make sure to check with the rental owner on allowing guests (for the restroom if need be).

    My FI wanted a beach wedding originally but also wanted a very small budget so we looked at that option, and unfortunately the only place that allowed it was just too far of a drive for everyone.

  • edited May 2016
    First, congratulations on your engagement! Weddings sure are expensive, though, aren't they? I'm planning my wedding right now and the costs keep adding up! We found many ways to keep expenses low, however. Here are a few that really made the difference for us:

    1. Consider having the wedding on a Friday or Sunday! Often these days can be much cheaper than a Saturday. Ours is on a Sunday, and we saved a lot!

    2. Consider creating DIY decorations! For example, I am forgoing the very expensive tradition of flowers and making paper pinwheels instead! This has saved us hundreds of dollars so far!

    3. Consider WeddingMix to provide videography services! Everyone wants to have a video to relive the memories of the big day for years to come, but who you choose can have a big impact on cost. Thankfully, we found WeddingMix! They provide videography service through an app that your wedding guests can download on their phones and upload videos and pictures throughout the event! Not only can this be done for the day itself, but WeddingMix also allows you to post videos from things before and after the big day, like the bachelor/bachelorette party, the rehearsal dinner, the honeymoon, etc. With a traditional videography service, this kind of coverage would cost an obscene amount of money, but with WeddingMix, packages start at just $99! This is saving us lots of money that we can spend on more important things like our honeymoon! I highly recommend it. 
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