Angel
Just Said Yes April 2023

Hello! New here and I'm in the first few steps on planning my wedding.

Angel, on November 27, 2021 at 7:32 PM Posted in Planning 3 18
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Is a 15k wedding still doable in Southern California? My fiancé and I decided to spend more on our honeymoon. Hit me up for tips! Venues, flowers, dresses, food, all of them! Smiley heart

18 Comments

Latest activity by ashley, on January 12, 2022 at 1:20 AM
  • Melinda
    Devoted March 2022
    Melinda ·
    • Flag
    It’s doable but will be tough. That was our original budget in Santa Barbara and we are now at 26,000.
    Things we did save on: we are having Mexican food buffet instead of plated traditional food
    Our photographer is just branching into weddings so the package was only $800We are only doing minimal flowers-no floral centerpieces.
    • Reply
  • JM Sunshine
    JM Sunshine ·
    • Flag
    If your guest list is under 50 people, it is doable if you think outside the box: *brunch/lunch receptions are 1/2 cost of dinner receptions
    *have ceremony/reception any day other than a Saturday
    *look into community centers, parks and rec departments for venue*DIY flowers (Costco or Fiftyflowers.com)*Do not spend money on unnecessary items such as favors, programs, or signage
    • Reply
  • Nicole
    Master September 2020
    Nicole ·
    • Flag
    If you have a small guest list (ie 50 or under), you’ll be able to do something closer to that number. Catering and venue should only take up 50% of your budget, so you’ll need to find a venue/catering for $7500 or less. Then prioritize your other vendors. Mariposa Bridal Boutique in Anaheim has heavily discounted sample dresses (I got mine from there and they were in fabulous condition). I’d recommend joining Something Borrowed, Something New on FB. It’s a group of thousands of brides and vendors, mostly So Cal based. There will be tons of people on there offering their experiences and services and lots of input on venues. I was going to be married at Heritage Museum of Orange County, which may fit in your budget if you go with a Friday or Sunday off season.
    • Reply
  • S
    Expert September 2022
    Sarah ·
    • Flag
    Look up Jamie Wolfer on YouTube. She is a wedding planner and her company is based in Southern California. She planned her own wedding for under 10k in Southern California, and that was even before she started wedding planning. She has great tips for couples on a budget. If you can, maybe even look into calling them up to give you some help. 15k is a doable budget but will take a lot of work and research. It will definitely be much easier with a smaller guest count.
    • Reply
  • Jacks
    Master November 2054
    Jacks ·
    • Flag

    Best way to save money is to have a smaller guest list.

    • Reply
  • Sarahk
    Dedicated December 2021
    Sarahk ·
    • Flag
    Angel, it all depends on your vision. Weddings at hotels/venues will always have a food and beverage minimum. I know Hyatt quoted us around 8-10k. Then there’s the photographer, hair and make up, flowers, dress, rings, wedding favors and gifts……
    I thought 20k would be reasonable for our 60 guest wedding but we surpassed that ….
    • Reply
  • Michelle
    Rockstar October 2022
    Michelle ·
    • Flag
    $15k is absolutely doable. With your budget in place, you have to decide on your guest list and priorities where you plan to put the bulk of your money and attention. Most people say to focus priorities on the guest experience (good food, free drinks and a great dj) along with photos for your memories. The main reason why people say it impossible with any guest count is because they are unwilling to imagine anything beyond the all inclusive venues. The wedding industry sends the message that it has to be at a magazine worthy all inclusive that specializes in weddings or it won’t be “good enough” and your guests will be neglected and unhappy. If you are on a budget unfortunately you will never be able to afford an all inclusive venue because they are not clear about pricing. What you are often quoted is the rental fee and then you are hit with a mandatory food/beverage minimum that is easily 5-6 figures on its own and unlike an independent caterer you are not allowed to sample them until after the contract has been signed and money paid which it’s too late to back out at that point. Why they do it that way is anyone’s guess.


    Your best option on a budget is thinking outside the box with a blank slate venue. Rental fees are cheaper, the period you can stay is often longer because brides say the day goes by in a blur, you have more creative freedom, many have basic tables and chairs included. Parks department owned venues are cheapest. Eventective.com has a list of venues that you can browse that are blank slate and a lot of the options are magazine worthy at a fraction of the price.
    The advantage of getting your own caterer is you can think outside the box and save money, even with a medium to large guest list. BBQ and pasta are often listed as the main options but there are others because not everyone likes bbq. If you have a favorite local restaurant, many of them can provide drop off catering. Even with hiring staff to serve on thumbtack.com and purchasing alcohol at the local BevMo you still come in cheaper than an all inclusive. As far as alcohol is concerned, it’s always optional but if you purchase in bulk from local warehouse stores, you can afford the liquor or frozen drink rentals that your guests instead of basic beer/wine they don’t care for that doesn’t get drank in an effort to “save money”.
    Many local grocery stores have in house florists at a fraction of the price. Costco and fiftyflowers.com are commonly recommended as diy options. These are much cheaper than faux flowers that sit in a landfill or collect dust in the garage.
    There is a debate on whether rentals vs purchasing is cheaper. Those who purchase don’t factor in their time and labor at minimum wage per hour of set up and the selling process, so rentals of many items are less expensive, unless everything is donated to your house of worship.
    Grocery stores have delicious inexpensive wedding cakes. These are still cheaper than the messier cupcakes. Unless you have your heart set on an alternative dessert, a grocery store cake is your least expensive option.
    Guest list is major and should be the very first thing you settle before you look for a venue. You can’t switch venues mid way because you screwed up the guest list. These should be those closest to you whom you cannot imagine the day without. Anyone invited out of guilt or obligation to please others don’t belong on the list. Often you hear people say “invite immediate family only”. Not everyone has a great relationship with those people and their best friends who are with them through everything are not even considered. Each guest costs money. This does not mean that it is appropriate to set a cover fee for guests to attend to make that money back as those prices are no one’s business or information but yours.

    Another major one is keep your bridesmaid list small. No one has 10 bestest friends, and that is what your bridesmaids are: your current innermost social circle of supportive friends and family. That doesn’t mean your future sister-in-law you don’t like or your college roommate you no longer hang out with. These are your tight ride or die friends. You have to purchase a thank you gift (skip the Pinterest proposal boxes and wedding day props that go in the Goodwill donations the day after and are very expensive) and cover them at the rehearsal dinner and wedding, as well as bouquets, hair/makeup based on what you jointly decide to pay.
    Things the wedding industry says you “must have” that no one will miss and you can save thousands of dollars: welcome bag, favors, signage except for food/drink, MC, welcome party, day after brunch, destination sleepover bachelorette, bridesmaid proposals, champagne, desserts in addition to cake, entertainment beyond dancing, fancy arches for the ceremony, and the list goes on.
    A day/month of coordinator is vital. A full planner is not necessary unless you are a celebrity with bottomless pockets and no time to plan anything yourself. The coordinator provided by the venue generally will not decorate or run interference behind the scenes if a problem arises with another vendor. They are only there to make sure the doors are open, lights are on and everyone leaves on time. This is not a job for your guests either.
    The best place to find vendors in your area is Google/Yelp, Instagram and Eventective.com. They will be outside the standard lists, however the advantage is they are more flexible with price and vision. Make sure you read reviews.
    There is no reason to say it can’t be done. Some people are not interested in putting in the work involved and others can’t see past the glamorous Pinterest photoshoots
    • Reply
  • Michelle
    Rockstar October 2022
    Michelle ·
    • Flag
    Also Google Sheets has a free wedding planning template already installed. You can access it from home laptop or cell phone. You can also print it out to make your own binder with clear pockets to hold brochures, contracts, fabric/paint swatches, etc
    • Reply
  • Angel
    Just Said Yes April 2023
    Angel ·
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    Oh wow! The mexican food buffet sounds soooo good. Thanks for this!! ❤️
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  • Angel
    Just Said Yes April 2023
    Angel ·
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    View Quoted Comment
    Hello!! Thanks for the helpful tips. I hope I can pull off this one ❤️
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  • Angel
    Just Said Yes April 2023
    Angel ·
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    This is very very helpful! I’m glad you responded. Thanks so much! Now, I’m a little hopeful our budget will still give me a good wedding 💕❤️. Much love!
    • Reply
  • Meghan
    Master October 2019
    Meghan ·
    • Flag

    $15k for a wedding is tough anywhere, but is totally doable. Keeping your guest list small and not going overboard on extras will save you the most money. Use minimal flowers, have a beer and wine only bar, and keep your food selection minimal. These are all ways to save on your budget.

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  • G
    Savvy May 2022
    Gina ·
    • Flag

    Hi! I am doing a small 52 person wedding at Five Crowns restaurant in Orange County. Check it out. They do not charge for ceremony or reception fees just a 6k food and drink minimum. If you need more space there food and drink minimum goes up to 12k. I think I will be able to keep mine well under 15k.

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  • C
    Just Said Yes December 2022
    Celina ·
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    Can I have the name of your Photographer? And are they based in the OC Area?

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  • Melinda
    Devoted March 2022
    Melinda ·
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    He is in Santa Maria so a few hours away- let me know if you still want it!

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  • C
    Just Said Yes December 2022
    Celina ·
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    View Quoted Comment

    Yes Please!

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  • Melinda
    Devoted March 2022
    Melinda ·
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    Sergio

    https://www.35visuals.com

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  • ashley
    Just Said Yes December 2022
    ashley ·
    • Flag
    Hi we’re trying to do 20 k and below and the easiest way to do that so far is an all inclusive wedding through wedgewood weddings. They have a bunch of locations throughout Orange County. There is a feee for venue , ceremony and then all inclusive package with a per person fee. If you keep your guest list smaller and take advantage of there weekday and off season pricing you can get bang for you buck!
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