Sandra
Dedicated May 2021

Low budget weddings

Sandra, on January 14, 2018 at 9:02 PM

Posted in Planning 140

I want to hear about your low budget weddings! What have you/are you doing to budget and save money? We are located just outside Milwaukee, have invited 65 guests, and we are below budget at $6,400!
I want to hear about your low budget weddings! What have you/are you doing to budget and save money?
We are located just outside Milwaukee, have invited 65 guests, and we are below budget at $6,400!

140 Comments

  • D
    Expert December 2018
    Debbie ·
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    I will be making my own photo booth. Ill make a ciuple of different backdrops and have a camera set up. Ivhave a friend who is willing tovtake pictures but have alsovthoight about using a camera remote that the guests can press when they are in position.
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  • Daphne
    Dedicated April 2021
    Daphne ·
    • Flag
    I'm having a low budget wedding as well. Catering is being done by my MIL and her sister, decorations by me and a few family members of my FH, I also have a family member who's a DJ so he offered services for free but I'm just not sure if I want them yet. And we've been pricing venues and will spend about 4,000 max. But I'm not sure if that's exactly cheap
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  • Elizabeth
    Master December 2016
    Elizabeth ·
    • Flag

    A lot of posters are new to Wedding Wire. If you stick around, you will see countless posts about people who were totally screwed by the person they knew who offered to do their cake, photos, DJ, etc. for free. These people are called friendors and there's a reason they're frowned upon.

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  • Kayla
    Super June 2018
    Kayla ·
    • Flag
    I wouldn’t really consider myself a budget bride, but we’ve definitely been able to find some really affordable vendors through wedding wire! We also found that booking outside of the city (Raleigh NC) helped a ton. Once you’re about an hour away prices drop DRASTICALLY. I also found my dress as a sample, went with a cheaper caterer (who had even better reviews) and am only hosting beer and wine rather than full bar. Our photographer was about $1200 because she’s building her wedding portfolio. Her photos are amazing though, so I’m not worried.
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  • Kayla
    Dedicated October 2018
    Kayla ·
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    I was gifted a Polaroid camera and am putting the film on my registry for my shower which will help for cost on that. They sell props and background drapes in all sorts of colors on Amazon. You can also get the poles for the backdrop on Amazon for around $30. Then I'm getting a book for guests to paste their photos (with glue sticks) in and write a message beside it. That will serve as my guest book. Good luck! 😊
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  • Getting Maui’d
    Dedicated July 2018
    Getting Maui’d ·
    • Flag
    Cash back apps are helpful especially on bigger purchases! I use Dosh and ebates. Both are easy but dosh is automatic and super easy. It’s free money and it adds up!! Also I suggest joining a local wedding resale fb group I’ve seen tons of reusable decor on my local page.

    https://www.dosh.cash/

    https://www.ebates.com/

    (edited by admin to remove referral links)

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  • ThatGirl
    Super January 2019
    ThatGirl ·
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    Owning the restaurant doesn't mean the cost is $0... You will still have to pay for the actual food and booze... one way or the other... and (I am guessing) pay some staff to prepare or serve... I am all for DIY but wouldn't want to spend my wedding day cooking and serving and cleaning...

    It's FANTASTIC you have family and friends that are helping keep some of the major expenses down... but I would consider working some thank you gifts into your budget for people who are saving you thousands by not having to hire photographers or a DJ...

    One thing to note about the gifted photographer is are they donating their time to shoot the photos AND the photos? In addition to the time a photog spends shooting an event, there is a lot of time spent sifting thru hundreds of photos, retouching, and the cost of the photos themselves...

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  • Britini
    Devoted September 2018
    Britini ·
    • Flag
    We happened upon some lovely vendors at a great price after loads of searching! We also are not doing bridesmaids or groomsmen, but I realize that's not a preferable option for many as it is for us. Vistaprint was my lifesaver for invitations, STDs, and RSVP cards. High quality and absolutely inexpensive.
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  • Peaches84
    Savvy September 2019
    Peaches84 ·
    • Flag

    What is a low budget exactly? Is there a number that gets you in that category. In a city low budget might be 15-20k and in a rural area 5-7k. I love some of the ideas in this post but I am not in the position to receive all the free help and gifts that people are getting to keep their budget down. Posts like this actually make me feel hopeless about staying in budget

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  • bluevelvet
    Devoted October 2017
    bluevelvet ·
    • Flag

    My wedding was a lower cost wedding - I guess I was a bride on a budget, too. Ours came in less than $3000 for 42 people. We had an 11am ceremony on a Saturday followed by a lunch reception, it was over by 3pm. No dance (we were both good with that!)

    My advice for a lower budget: Skim your guest list and this will be hard. Decide if you want a dance or not, venues that can accommodate a dance will be higher. Please do NOT hire friends. You think you are saving money but you are hiring/asking your friends to work on THE most important day and it can all go wrong, plus friends don't always like taking direction from others. FREE HELP IS NEVER FREE.

    Skip all the extras: photo booths, chocolate fountains, favors, entertainment, heck even STD's are not needed. Focus on good food, comfy seating and making sure your guests are comfortable - those are you really need. Have one attendant, not seven - this will eliminate MUCH stress. Don't get caught up in a "theme" or "Proposing to your bridemaids" - when did this become a thing? Lower cost invites - it does not need to cost $1.79 to mail one invite. We used Seal and Send, they were beautiful.

    Edited to add: ask yourselves what is REALLY important: Photography? Flowers? Some people drop $3000 on this w/out blinking. Just do not skimp on anything where your guests comfort is compromised, like DYI food or asking them to carry chairs or pay for a drink. I am attaching our restaurant reception place - it was zero cost to rent as it was a Saturday afternoon (not evening), needed zero decoration as it is beautiful on it's own. We could close the doors to the outside for privacy, too.

    wedding receptionLow budget weddings 1


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  • Sandra
    Dedicated May 2021
    Sandra ·
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    I didn't mean friendors when i posted this. I was more looking for little things like what @bluevelvet covered.
    • Reply
  • plangalCG
    VIP May 2018
    plangalCG ·
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    I know—I would love to know where people live when they post budgets. It makes a difference. I wanted something simple where I live—DC area—and was finding that probably the absolute cheapest I could do was $15,000-$20,000 for 80 people. That’s with me hiring people to set up/tear down, and an open bar, but I was looking at bbq catering. And I honestly felt like—people are going to travel here and spend upwards of $200+ per night plus all the other expenses for BBQ?! And since this was only an initial budget, I’m SURE there would be surprises and other service charges. I figured by the end it would be $30k easy. So, I chose a 20-25-person destination wedding (which is by NO means budget on a per person basis but will save me a little in the long run and be something I can enjoy and not have to worry about who is going to set up chairs). I’m then having a dinner at a restaurant near my hometown in Western PA for my extended family. I’ll probably end up having more come to that since they live close and don’t have to travel, but the per person costs ($<50) are very reasonable.
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  • bluevelvet
    Devoted October 2017
    bluevelvet ·
    • Flag

    I agree with @plangalCG - it is always nice to hear geography, time of year and basic details. A Sunday afternoon wedding in Waterville, Minnesota (I am from MN - Go Vikes) in March for 50 people with no dance is going to be a lot less than a Saturday night in July in Washington DC, NYC or Chicago for 50 people.

    @Sandra - Have one or two attendants. So much money is spent on all the expectations of bridesmaids - proposing to them, robes, getting ready together, gifts. Don't worry about "entertaining" your guests with a photo booth, a casino table, a cigar rolling table, bringing in a petting zoo, a magician, etc...you get the idea. More attendants means more bouquets, that will add to your floral tally! (Plus from some the other posts regarding bridemaids.....more drama)

    @Sandra - do you want a dance? If yes, that will send costs up a lot. A LOT.

    Decide, with your fiance, what is important to you both. For us it was food, drink and a beautiful reception site. Our ceremony site was beautiful, too - for $500 it better be!! LOL! But we looked at inexpensive public parks and they did not have proper parking or you could hear traffic.

    Best wishes!!!

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  • Seshanna
    Devoted October 2018
    Seshanna ·
    • Flag

    We've got a pretty slim budget too, but if you're really careful at shopping you can find some really awesome deals! So far for us, we've got:

    $900 ceremony and reception venue; $60 officiant (my fiance's pastor); $800-1000 food and beverages (it's post lunch, pre-dinner, so sandwiches, finger food, self-serve with soda, tea, and punch); $150 for my dress and accessories; $150 fiance's suit; $200 invites; $100 serving cakes and cutting cake; $200 photography; $0 music, courtesy of playlist and venue has a sound system; $400 flowers and decor (it's at a really pretty park, so no need to add much). Our budget total is $5,000, so with some creative shopping we're aiming to come in under budget and put the rest toward other useful stuff, like helping family with their hotel rooms and such :3 Good luck to you!

    Edit: We're in Spring, Texas and having the wedding at a very small, local venue in town on a Saturday afternoon in late October.

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  • H
    Just Said Yes March 2019
    Heather ·
    • Flag
    My wedding is $600 total. I have a thing called cinderellas closet that has dresses for 10$ my dj is a friend. I am diy ing alot and thrifting alot. Food is diy venue is my home
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  • Adrianna
    Expert June 2018
    Adrianna ·
    • Flag
    Our family is cooking for the reception, we are doing our own flowers, and our venue costs $250.
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  • Malari
    Dedicated August 2018
    Malari ·
    • Flag
    I'm not going super low budget, but I am managing to keep my budget around $15,000 total for 75 guests. I live in a resort community and wedding destination. Weddings here typically cost in the $30,000-50,000 range here so I am doing really well for the area!
    • Reply
  • Teresa
    Devoted July 2018
    Teresa ·
    • Flag
    We are using our church for the reception(free) and we are having a bridal party only dinner so the reception will be light snacks and dessert. We are also doing more of an afternoon-evening reception.
    • Reply
  • A
    Dedicated September 2018
    Allicia ·
    • Flag
    I am on a serous budget. My best advice is to shop ship shop for vendors. I spoke with 17 photographers before making a decision, 11 djs, 3 flower shops, and 4 bakeries. I'm cutting corners by finding things on offer up and let go for decor to fix it up and make it my own. We are inviting 60 and will only see 40. I just hosted a jewery party and got a bunch of half off and free jewelry. So my girls are taken care of. Linen isn't included so I price checked renting vs buying. Buying is cheaper online.

    Cut corners the right way and take your time finding vendors
    • Reply
  • O
    Master October 2017
    O ·
    • Flag
    I'm in the South Bay Area of CA. The city I held my wedding in my was considered a low budget wedding; many day of coordinators I contacted didn't even consider working my wedding because it was under $60,000. My wedding was $30,000 including all rings and attire, and we had 42 guests. For us it was a low budget wedding: we bought invitations when there was a 50% discount, our venue was a restaurant, and a restaurant with the lowest minimum along the beach, and we didn't have a band.
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