We are paying for the wedding ourselves, so we had to sit down with our finances. We figured out how much we could save each month (after all bills were paid, groceries bought, etc.) and multiplied that number times the number of months until the wedding. That number was our rough budget.
Then I started researching vendors. We started with the venue, because that's a big chunk of the budget, and we knew we had to get our date locked in, so we could hire other vendors. Once you have your venue booked, you can research all the other categories, to find vendors you can afford, and start deciding what you want in terms of colors, decor, music, food, etc.
I’m also 21, and my FH and I are paying for the wedding on our own as well! We are in college so it’s been kind of hard. Three years ago we got really serious about getting married and we started saving in a joint account. We decided not to get engaged until we had 1/2 of the cost saved (not necessary just a personal decision for us because we didn’t want a long engagement). I did a lot of research on vendors and venues and came up with our budget ($12,000) based on what we could afford after rent/textbooks/food and what I felt was non-negotiable for the wedding. Now we have everything saved and have paid off the majority of our vendors and it feels great once it’s done
Here are some ways we are saving: 1. We got a venue that allowed outside catering and bring your own alcohol. 2. Brunch reception, from Cracker Barrel which is super yummy, crowd pleaser and REALLY cheap 3. No DJ, renting speaker equipment for about $100 and using Spotify 4. Limited alcohol- mimosas for brunch and beer/wine only at reception 5. Limited flowers!! I’m doing no flowers for centerpieces and my maids are paying for their own bouquets (I have 10 girls hahah). 6. No favors! 7. No live band/ceremony music! 8. Having a friend in seminary school marry us
Hope this was encouraging congrats and good luck budgeting, this is the fun part!!!
I agree with PP. What Cristy did is what my FH and I are doing and that has helped a lot to budget it out. Also, pick a budget and STICK to it! Another thing is knowing your non-negotiables. How much do you want to put away for the wedding after everything is paid like bills, groceries, etc.? Do you want to ask for help from parents or family or friends? Do you guys want to use credit cards?
This website has a really cool budget break down for how much each thing costs typically and you can add or eliminate categories.
Here are so more ways to keep the costs down:
Pick a date that is not popular like holidays.
Pick Sunday or middle of the weekday to have the wedding. This will help with the venue costs.
Pick a date that's in the off-season of weddings.
DIY almost everything. ie: flowers (fake or grocery store-bought), signs, centerpieces, dinnerware, etc. The Dollar Store, Etsy, Amazon, Wish, Michaels, Jo Anns, Hobby Lobby, etc. are going to be your best friend.
Pick in-season flowers as well if you choose any.
Find a venue that lets you bring in our own things.
Go for a buffet or pot luck instead of plated dinners to cut costs on catering.
Do a brunch wedding instead of nighttime.
Look into venues like parks, barns, churches, etc.
Ask your family and friends if they are good at anything like photography or cake making or anything like that.
Skip the guest's favors unless you can make them for cheap.
Look at local places for your wedding dress or the website that brides wear that dress then sell it on there (I can't remember the site)
The more people you have the more it costs for food.
There are a lot more but just to help keep the costs down.
Budgeting can be tough but you can do it! Thinking of the alternatives is fun and what planning is all about!
Oh nooooo ! I wrote such a long post for you with a full breakdown of what we spent where and how we stuck to our budget. I’m so sorry I lost it.
We got married this weekend (27th July) and it came to $6666 exactly (apparently, I calculated it in a combination of gbp and Mexican peso) tldr- I’m 21, husband is 23 our budget was £6000 and we spent £5,500 so we came in £500 underbudget for a wedding that pulled out all the stops. We had an open bar for 8 hours, a DJ, fireworks, 3 course sit down menu, all on the beach. We saved money in a bunch of ways.. where it was possible we DIY’d. I made our bouquets with $50 worth of silk flowers, we made a photobooth backdrop with plastic piping, a bed sheet, fairly lights and tulle, we made the welcome drinks (Mexican agua frescas- watermelon, Jamaica and horchata). One of his aunts is a makeup artist who did my hair and makeup as her gift, but if I’d been someone who ever wore makeup I’d have done it myself too.
Where we couldn’t do it ourselves, we shopped around. My dress was second hand with minimal tailoring. The DJ and photographer/videographer were good value and very good (£375 and £520 respectively).
Our caterer was also our planner. She arranged the venue, food and the decorations and it was all beautiful, but if you can’t afford a package plan in your area, definitely go for a day of coordinator. It made so much difference!
Oh, we did give out favours. It was 35 degrees (95F) and incredibly hot. My MIL bought 30 silk fans in shades of pink and white for the women coming. But originally hadn’t planned to. I’d say they would be one of the first things to cut. Decide what’s essential for you and invest in it. For us, it was the open bar and the venue. But I’m sure you can see why in my pictures!
If you have any questions don’t hesitate to ask! We’re on our honeymoon until October so I’m always free 😂
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It actually just depends, Keri, and I think you’re actually being pretty rude yourself. Best not to assume the worst in people. I have 10 best girlfriends who all want to be in my wedding, and it’s not feasible for us to pay for 10 bouquets at $40-50 each. We talked about doing DIY or just corsages but they all were 100% for paying for their own bouquets instead- we are all in college, and most of them have a lot more money than my FH and I- as they put it, it’s much easier for them to individually pay $50 for a bouquet than for us to come up with another $500 when we are tight. So sure, it could be rude but in my situation it was totally appropriate and my girls are all part of the planning/decision process. So it really just depends on the situation.
Have a smaller wedding. Not cheap but we threw a wedding that would easily be 70K for 20ish by having a short reception after (only 3 hours) and only inviting 40 guests. Got my dress as a sample and waited for sales on everything I purchased.
Shop local. You’ll save so much money on delivery fees and you might get citizenship discounts on your venue if it’s a park or community center. See if you have farms near you that let you pick your own flowers per stem. Next choice are grocery stores for flowers, they do a great job.
Thumbtack helped me immensely in finding vendors! They pick vendors near you based on your budget, not some vague number, no. Your ACTUAL budget. Trust me, contacting vendors that you have no idea how much they charge is counterproductive. I found almost all of my hired vendors this way. I didn’t hire any of the vendors I reached out to on my own.
Paypal has a Bill Me Later option for credit card. Don’t run up your bill to fund your whole wedding! But this is a great option for any last minute expenses you don’t have time to pay off before the wedding. You get 6 months to pay it off, interest free. I used this for unexpected purchases my mom needed so I wouldn’t stretch myself too thin.
Wedding consignment shops can sell you dresses for very cheap, be it sample or a used dress a bride brought in. You could have a $1000+ dress for a couple hundred dollars going this route. No one is going to care or know the dress isn’t brand new!
Check out pawn shops for rings, they even have a good sized selection of modern rings now, like tungsten rings for men.
Restaurants are a good option for catering, you can pay closer to $10/$15 pp rather than wedding catering costs. You’ll save hundreds to thousands of dollars on this.
The prettier your venue is, the less $$$ to decorate it. A hall might be a good bargain but make sure your decor doesn’t blow your savings. Ask yourself if you’re saving any money if you get a hall for $200 but you’re spending $800 on decorations. Do your homework to see if you can find a prettier venue for a slightly higher price.
When buying a discount cake, look at photos of cakes done by your baker and don’t ask for something outside of their skill level. You’ll get a prettier cake if it’s something they know how to do.
Buying a dress off the rack can help to cut costs on a dress! We decided to do pizza for our reception as it is an inside look into our relationship (I realize that this isn’t for everyone). We both attend our church regularly and are having our ceremony free of cost! Our ceremony music will be played by musicians that are dear friends of ours. As someone said earlier, utilize friends and family members with talents! We are doing paper/silk flowers. Bridesmaids will have single flowers instead of a bouquet. Centerpieces are baby’s breaths instead of flowers to make cost less! My pastor will be officiating the wedding free of charge, a close friend doing my makeup! We will not be hiring a wedding planner, and my sisters LOVE to decorate, so we will be setting up on our own! Friends and family are generally more than willing to help where they can. I am 20 and FH is 22. Our budget is $3,000 but we are planning that costs will be closer to $2,500. Good luck!!