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

  • Ms. Queenie
    Savvy March 2019
    Ms. Queenie ·
    • Flag

    Tread with caution on this subject for you may wind up getting attacked for not spending enough to get into massive debt; by the looks of it (100+ posts), you already have...Be careful.

    • Reply
  • T
    Devoted September 2018
    Tara ·
    • Flag
    In PA, at a nontraditional and very DIY venue. $1000 for venue, $2000 for photographer, $1500 for food for 100 people, $700 for DJ. Doing flowers and decorations myself, donuts instead of cake, honeymoon is already mostly paid for with credit card rewards. Budget for my dress is $400 including alterations. Doing my own hair and makeup, since I want a natural look anyway. The wedding band my fiance picked out is only $75, and mine came with my engagement ring.
    • Reply
  • JazzyScooter2018
    Savvy September 2018
    JazzyScooter2018 ·
    • Flag
    We are also just outside of Milwaukee! Currently we are at about ~$3,000 for 125 guests. We cut out A LOT.

    - No bridal party
    - No programs
    - No favors
    - No Flowers
    - No decorations (using whatever the venue has)
    - No sit down dinner (opting for later cocktail reception... although figuring out the logistics is a NIGHTMARE currently!)
    - No wedding dress
    - No tux
    - No photographer (got married first time 12 years ago and all my favorite pictures were from OTHER people at the wedding - $1,000 spend on the photographer)
    - No videographer
    - Free officiant (my brother)
    - using a venue that's a free room rental with a minimum F&B of $250 met. This includes tables, chairs, tables clothes, etc
    - opted for an acoustic guitarist vs a full band/ DJ
    - No cake (dessert stand instead)
    - No AV rental

    So for food, drinks, desserts, and overnight accommodations (including taxes/ fees) we are at just slightly over $3,000 marker.
    • Reply
  • D
    Just Said Yes August 2018
    Danielle ·
    • Flag
    My grandma is making my dress/wedding cake and all decorations. And my bridesmaids are getting their own dresses in a light shade of blue. While my mother is buying the flower girl dresses. And our wedding is at a little over 1,000 dollars.
    • Reply
  • M
    Beginner August 2019
    Marissa ·
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    Hello Amanda! May I ask what state you are getting married in? I am currently trying to plan my wedding in Georgia (and I live in California) but I feel like no one else's budget is anywhere close to mine. My fiance and I are paying for our own wedding so we aren't trying to spend $20+ on a wedding when it's for one day it just seems highly unnecessary for such a short period of time.
    • Reply
  • Amandaw
    VIP April 2018
    Amandaw ·
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    I am having my wedding at Lake Lanier Islands. Check out their website, they jave packages available. I can also give you my wedding coordinator name and number from there if you want it.
    • Reply
  • Amandaw
    VIP April 2018
    Amandaw ·
    • Flag
    Also if you are military don't forget to ask for a discount
    • Reply
  • Danielle K
    VIP June 2019
    Danielle K ·
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    View Quoted Comment

    Right?! These ones make me sad.

    • Reply
  • R
    Devoted September 2018
    Robbi ·
    • Flag

    I love discussions about affordable, low-budget weddings! In my opinion...of course I want my wedding to be nice and special, but it's not the money that makes it nice and special. I realize it's only one day so I don't wanna break the bank (too much). We still have more planning to do for a September wedding, but here's some of our budget...

    Photographer - Free. My best friends husband is gifting this to us. He's a photographer.
    Venue - 300 to 'rent' but that 300 dollars goes towards food/alcohol that will be spent the day of. It's a nice banquet hall attached to a bar/grill. They took new ownership and are looking to expand with more weddings. Give it a few years and 300 will never be offered again. Score!
    Cake...60. Limiting it to roughly 60 servings from an 'at-home baker' and my aunt is doing desserts
    Dress...350. It's technically a bridesmaid dress but comes in ivory and my mom is kind enough to pay it!
    DJ...350. Friend of future in-laws. He's retired and does it on the side now. 5 hours. Can't beat that! Again, my parents are paying this. So kind and appreciated!
    Flowers...? Flowers aren't really my thing and I don't have a bridal party so they'll be relatively cheap
    Wedding bands...? We are currently looking, but I hope to stay under $1000 for both. His will be super 'cheap' since his work and personal preference will be to barely ever wear it (which doesn't bother me)
    Officiant...free. Him and his wife will, however, be coming to things after so they get all that
    Dinner...horsd'oeurve /appetizer style for roughly 100 people (don't worry. It's later in the evening, so we won't probably run into issue w/ people "starving"....I've read so many discussions about people 'blasting' each other for not timing things properly. lol!!)
    Alcohol...? Free beer and soda will be provided. Future in-laws will be taking care of this! Awesome! Cash bar for any wine and mixed drinks.
    Centerpieces/signs/decorations....? Still in the works. Nothing outrageously expensive.
    Suites/tuxes...? Groom and son will be the only cost to us. No bridal party.


    I think that's about the gist of it! Kind of a long post, sorry! Good luck in your planning!!!!



    • Reply
  • joey
    Expert October 2019
    joey ·
    • Flag

    DIY's like crazy, which is making this whole thing very affordable. Other ways I was able to save money and make my wedding budget friendly is:

    -Planning the entire wedding myself, so no wedding planner fees

    - Not having a bridal party.

    - Having the wedding at the same place as the reception.

    -Renting an affordable and super flexible venue through the Public County Park System in my city.

    -Venue allows for your own vendors to come in and you can purchase your own wine and beer, so can shop for the best prices and services.

    -Fiancé college and business contacts have been invaluable.

    -Caterer is good friends / business client of my fiancé so we are getting the foods at an huge discount.

    - DJ is free (college buddy of my soon-to-be husband) so gifting us his DJ services.

    -My brother is my Day-of-Coordinator @ $300 for the day.

    -Brought all my linens on-line at a discount via Ebay from efavormart. Got great prices.

    -Brought a discontinued wedding dress style on clearance and save a ton of money.

    -Groom, his two sons and my son are wearing suits they already own in the same color and I bought matching ties, pocket squares, socks and shirts from tiemart.com to pull it all together.

    -Made my own bouquet, bouts, centerpieces and other floral decorations for the reception using artificial flowers from Michael's and Hobby Lobby using 50% and 60% off coupons.

    -Got the other misc wedding decor (cake cutting plates, guestbook, card box, vases, etc.) from Michael's, Joann's Fabric and Hobby Lobby using 50% / 60% off coupons and also shopping for decor from Thrift Stores like the Goodwill and Value Village

    -Got my Badgley Mischka wedding shoes for more than 1/2 price by shopping on Ebay.

    -Did my own d.i.y. invitations

    -Got a great referral for a very budget friendly photographer

    Everything is coming in around $6,500.






    • Reply
  • joey
    Expert October 2019
    joey ·
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    This is why you have to network sweetie. If you don't personal know anybody that can donate their services as a gift, then ask friends, other family members and co-workers if they know anyone who is a photographer, baker, makeup artist and if they can speak to them and see if they can get you a discount, hook-up, something. Don't hurt to ask, a close mouth doesn't get fed. I don't have any problem putting the word out among people that I know and because I did that, a co-worker who recently got married referred her photographer to me and I'm getting an awesome deal.

    • Reply
  • K squared
    Super October 2017
    K squared ·
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    We already had our wedding. The one we could afford and it was lovely. It was important to us that our friends and family enjoy being guests and not have to lift a finger. That meant no friendors.
    • Reply
  • joey
    Expert October 2019
    joey ·
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    Well then that's the choice you made. I don't have a problem if a friend want to give us their services as a wedding present. It might be way cheaper for them to provide a service then actually purchase a gift or give money - that's their gift to the couple. I networked and put the word out about my wedding and it paid off in several ways and I saved money. My brother volunteered to help as DOC and I told him I would pay him and he was cool with it. I have no problem getting help from family and friends. I did most of the heavy work, so there really isn't a whole lot for them to do that would interfere with them enjoying the wedding day, other than small tasks here and there that I can't do because I'm the bride. Smiley smile If someone can save money by accepting services as gifts from their friends/family members and/or take advantage of other networking contacts I'm all for it. The wedding industry is extremely expensive and they overcharged for everything they can get away with and I don't blame folks for using all possible resources to save money.
    • Reply
  • F
    Savvy August 2019
    Federica ·
    • Flag

    80 people on my future in-laws farm with a < $5000 budget. Brunch reception. Their barn is wired up for heavy duty machinary so we plan on having the reception in there. Here's a rough breakdown of the budget:

    -dress (haven't bought it yet but the one I have in mind is $165)

    -groom's attire $0 he's wearing a suit he already owns

    -wedding bands $? The gold will be from my grandparents rings but I still don't know how much it will cost.

    -officiant $0 the groom's father is a rabbi so we are asking him to officiate

    -venue $0

    -flowers $0 the groom's mother is already working on a flower garden for the outdoor ceremony and a cutting garden for bouquet and centerpieces

    -barn setup (including seats, tables, tablecloths, flatware etc.) around $1200

    -Additional decorations $300

    -Food, drinks and waitstaff $2000 this includes waitstaff, brunch food that will be partly provided by a local restaurant, as well as desserts and wedding cake which I will bake myself together with my FMIL ( we are both expert bakers, the house has a freezer room and we know how to safely handle food so nobody gets sick.)

    -Photography $0, we have two professional photographers in the family who offered to do it as a wedding present

    -Video $0, I was thinking about not having any but my brother is in film school and needs to cover a wedding for his portfolio. I said yes, if in the end I don't like it I don't really care

    -Extra $1000, this will include an audio setup (it's a brunch, not a dance party, so we're just having background music and no DJ. We'll have other activities at the wedding) maybe renting a commercial fridge to keep the dessert in the barn before they are served, and any other unexpected expense that may come our way.

    That's the plan, let's see how it goes

    • Reply
  • K
    Beginner September 2019
    Katie ·
    • Flag
    I’m not exactly doing low budget but I am trying to cut corners as much as I can. I am getting married in Connecticut and Ofcourse it means everything costs more money but right now we are at 15,435.35. Venue 4,000 and I tacked on 2 extra hours which brings it to 4500 total so we have more time for photos and clean up. Catering and open bar and waitstaff with tax and gratuity 7,585 for 100 people. Dj 650. Photography 1300. Flowers and decor I haven’t priced out yet but I am going to look into decorating the arbor we have with faux flowers and fabric and do simple centerpieces. Justice of the peace 200. I’m lucky to have parents who are helping with some of the wedding so my budget expanded alittle more than what we were planning for originally. There is always somewhere you can cut corners. Unfortunately I don’t know anyone really in the wedding business so I didn’t need get any deals or anything. Try not to get stressed and have fun with planning!
    • Reply
  • AM
    Dedicated June 2019
    AM ·
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    Same boat here! We're trying to keep our guest count to 120 or less with a 15k budget. the venue isn't expensive ($1600) and the bulk of our cost is food and alcohol.

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  • F
    Savvy August 2019
    Federica ·
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    View Quoted Comment

    Easy to do, we are getting married in the morning and having a brunch reception. For brunch food even the priciest caterer quoted us between $11 and $13 per guest, and again since it's brunch we'll just make sure every table has champagne and mimosas plus a few cocktails but nothing outrageous

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  • K
    Just Said Yes June 2019
    Kiera ·
    • Flag
    120 guests budget $5,000
    Without sacrificing any major points!

    1. Venue cost 1,000- at a beautiful park with lots of flowers, a little river/lake, indoor receptio, beautiful patio. Chose this because any vendor is allowed and i dont have to choose their expensive vendors. Also it is so beautiful that the only decoraions i will need are for the tables and i will do string lights very cheap on amazon.

    2. Food. Haven't decided yet but many local restaurants cater for $12-$20 per person. They most likely wont come up in a search for "wedding catering" but think of your fav restaurants they most likely have a catering menu. So max thats $2,400

    3. Buying tablecloths and decorations second hand on facebook marketplace. Plan to re-sell. Budget $300

    - flowers- so far going to DIY sola wood flower bouquets and bouteneers. cyber monday sale i got a huge box of dyed flowers for $30

    4. Dj found on wedding wire for $250

    5. Dress $99 @davids bridal (in the midwest their sales are september through october) and into november but many styles will be gone. Many of the prettier styles are online only so know your size and what looks good on you first! Tux rental $100
    -veil DIY. Tutorials on internet. Made one for my friend so i know it works. $10 for fabric and comb

    6. Hair and makeup. Basic makeup and youtube intructionals. $10 hair vine on amazon

    7. Officiant: my fiancés dad (sorry i know this isnt helpful if you don't have one in your family)

    8. Photgrapher: most difficult part! But i found one on facebook. Theres a way to search fpr local vendors on facebook and they message you with prices. Mine is $700 for the whole day! (No hr or location limit). Has a photography degree and everything. Might also be able to search on instagram but idk how Smiley smile

    Total is: $4,960 for 120pple
    -may be less because i think i can do decorations for less. And we are wavering between a $13per head catering or a$20 one. (Price is calculated for $20)
    - im sure there will be more things that come up

    We could have open bar (beer and wine only because its a park) for $500 but we chose not too.
    • Reply
  • Laura
    Master October 2019
    Laura ·
    • Flag

    We're going with a venue that includes the food and cake. While my love wants a church wedding, we're having problems finding one that will marry non members, the venue will let us marry there too for a small fee. I love the idea of it being all in one

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  • Alissa
    August 2019
    Alissa ·
    • Flag
    We saved a lot of money by contacting a collegiate music school for our excellent live jazz quartet. They were experienced, professional, excellent, eager to please, and much cheaper than other bands we had looked at. Similarly, experienced art college photography students etc can help get a professional job for way cheaper, and helps them build portfolio.
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