Maggie
Just Said Yes October 2020

Torn

Maggie, on September 20, 2019 at 3:55 PM Posted in Planning 0 17
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Hey everyone,

I am completely feeling overwhelmed with the wedding planning process and I haven't even gotten started. Of course we haven't even begun to set things in stone yet because I am just browsing at the pricing for everything and thinking to myself, "How the hell am I supposed to afford this?" Even having a small wedding really has things starting to add up- We our paying for our wedding ourselves. How is everyone else affording such an expensive day? Am I the only one asking if this is really even worth it? One day at roughly 15k and thats low balling it- Is it worth it to put ourselves further into debt. My parents are not in the best of health so I feel like if i want a wedding they are present at this needs to happen sooner rather than later, I've always wanted a wedding. I'm the kind of girl that doesn't want to miss out on the wedding experience of the dress with the flowers. My family doesn't get very many joyous occasions to celebrate so I would love a wedding but the money has me stressing and taking all of the excitement out of it. I don't think any of my other friends would understand what I am going through right now and even though the fiance is being supportive I am not sure what I should do... its just a bummer how much things sky rocket for one day. Any one have some tips or any advice?

17 Comments

  • Erin
    Rockstar April 2022
    Erin Online ·
    • Flag

    You could always look into parks and public spaces for a venue, they're often low cost or free. You just have to deal with the fact that it is a public place, and the public will be there, but it's a good way to cut cost. Half of my budget is going to end up going to the venue. You can cut food costs by doing that too because you can often do whatever you want for food, and can either make food yourself, do a little cookout of sorts, or order delivered catering from an inexpensive restaurant instead of shelling out $50+/pp for a fancy catered meal that a lot of venues end up requiring.

    • Reply
  • W-K
    Super October 2019
    W-K ·
    • Flag

    Hey there I'm also a lower budget bride and I've been paying as I go, ripping my hair out as I do lol.

    I've been planning since May my October wedding and then we had a kerfuffle in the middle of the summer so my budget went from "we can do this" to "we're getting married at the courthouse." We're back to "we can do this" lol


    My advice on venues, shop around! There is a massive price range out there for just renting space. Look for venues like parks and botanical gardens. There's one botanical garden near me that allows ceremonies in their rose garden for free on a first come first served basis. Don't be afraid to call and see if a venue will work with your budget. You'll typically know within the first few sentences out of their mouths if they will be a good addition to your day or not. Also if you google "Vegas style chapels" in your area there are a bunch of all inclusive officiants.


    Focus on what's important to you. What was important to us was Family, Food, and Photography. We cut our guest list down to just 30 people, the closest ones to us (and their 10 children). If where you're having it is "nice" enough decor can be minimal.


    Restaurants cater a lot so you don't have to necessarily stick to a catering company. Many offer partial DIY stuff like you providing chaffing dishes and whatnot. Heck Olive Garden will cater for you AND bring the chaffing dishes.


    Don't be afraid to get creative. Sundays and Fridays are cheaper than Saturdays to get married. During the week is cheapest of all. You don't need a DJ if you want light dancing, a playlist on Spotify works too! Shop sales for the decor you want. Michael's is always having "door buster" sales. And don't be afraid of DIY. If you keep it simple enough it can be easy, tasteful, and cheap.


    The thrift store has been my best friend for clothes. We chose not to go the tux route for FH's attire and I wound up finding a very nice dress there and dry cleaned it. A few finishing touches and BAM, wedding dress for under $100.


    Photography has been the hardest for me but I kept shopping around and being very specific in what I was requesting. I did end up finding someone.


    You're right, it's not worth it to go into debt over one day, and you really shouldn't. Just know it's going to be a labor intensive time of love.

    • Reply
  • Jennifer
    Just Said Yes May 2020
    Jennifer ·
    • Flag
    I haven’t even started planning either. Probably about the same step into it you are. I’m sure we’re paying a huge chunk of the wedding as well so I am thinking of ways to keep costs down too. There are many tips of diy ideas to help ya just have to search. Look up doing your own centerpieces having friends help with flowers hair makeup etc. Even having someone pay towards limo photographer instead of that generous gift in a card can help move things along. Good luck and congrats.
    • Reply
  • Melle
    Legend June 2019
    Melle Online ·
    • Flag
    My husband and I worked extra or side jobs when we could. So luckily the side job I got paid for my half of the wedding. Otherwise, I'd suggest cutting things out of your wedding or downsizing it. It'll still be super lovely but not as large or detailed of a scale.
    • Reply
  • Caytlyn
    Legend November 2019
    Caytlyn ·
    • Flag
    The last thing I would ever recommend is starting your married life in debt. We figured out our budget by deciding what we were comfortable spending out of our current savings, then how much we could realistically save per month and multiplying it by the number of months until the wedding. I would push it out as far as you feel comfortable with so that you have the most time to save. There’s also tons of ways to save money in wedding planning. Friday or Sunday weddings are typically cheaper than Saturday’s. The off season is cheaper than peak wedding season. You could have a cake and punch reception during a non-meal time or have a brunch reception, both options are cheaper than dinner. If you’re set on an evening wedding, Italian, BBQ, and Mexican tend to be the most cost effective catering options. If it’s legal in your state, you could ask a friend or family member to officiate for you. You can find a photographer who you can pay by the hour or find someone who is just starting out. Keep your wedding party to the bare minimum. Opt out of optional things like extra decor, signage, favors, photo booths, etc. And of course, the best way to save money is to
    keep your guest list to a minimum.
    • Reply
  • M
    VIP September 2019
    Mrs. Bubba ·
    • Flag
    Hi there!

    First, “Whoosah!

    Next, make a list of what you want in regards to decorations, 💐s, and 🎁s for your Wedding Party.

    From that list, determine what you can realistically complete by diy.

    Congratulations and 🍀‼️

    Let us know if you need us.

    We’re all here for you!!!

    I really appreciate how helpful and supportive most people are on WW.
    • Reply
  • Jessica
    Devoted November 2020
    Jessica ·
    • Flag

    I personally got a part time job on top of my full time job and school because I do not make as much as my FH and I wanted to contribute equally. We set our date 1.5 years ahead so that we could pay for all the big stuff in payments. we have a set budget of 15k and so far we have been doing good with our deposits. I don't know if our end price will stay at 15k it is hard to stay in budget but we are doing minimal decoration, looking for buffet style caterers that range between 14-20 $ pp and we are stocking our own bar!

    • Reply
  • Christina
    Dedicated November 2020
    Christina ·
    • Flag
    I am Starting to save extra money every paycheck in order to pay for my wedding. This way I know I’ll have enough as opposed to not knowing if I’ll have enough.
    • Reply
  • Renee
    Super October 2020
    Renee ·
    • Flag
    I saved a bunch of money with my previous wedding by looking around at different places and a bunch of diy.
    I used a local fire hall for $400 for the wedding and reception. We did our pictures at a church before hand, at the fire hall, we did everything ourselves. We set up tables and chairs, decorated, and cleaned up after. I didnt mind bc I enjoy wedding planning and decorating lol
    We used plastic table covers, plastic utensils, and napkins from the dollar tree. We it looked really pretty though bc everything was based around our wedding colors. I had a friend who was a waitress show us how to nicely wrap the utensils and we used personalized stickers to keep them wrapped up.
    For decorations we used glass jars, filled them with decorative marbles, topped with a few artificial flowers and tied with a ribbon. We round someone who,was relatively cheap to make all our flowers too. We went online and found long burning tealight candles to give it a romantic vibe.
    We also had a friend get ordained and married us as a wedding present. We rented a speaker from rent a center, got a microphone, and used a playlist from my exes phone to do all the music. Cost us maybe $50 and help from a friend to control the music. Although once the reception part started, we didn't have to mess with it except to pause for speeches.
    I looked around and found a local buffet who catered and we managed to get the food down to $10 pp. Still expensive but less than $1000.
    I found my dress and my flower girl dress online. We ordered the other clothes months and months in advance so we had time to make payments.
    We spent less than $10,000 and we bought everything during the year up to our wedding when we could afford it.
    I personally thought the wedding looked amazing and even elegant, despite how "cheap" some of the stuff was
    Definitely shop around for a photographer as well. There are some decently priced ones out there. Ask friends and family for references
    • Reply
  • Pirate & 60s Bride
    Champion March 2017
    Pirate & 60s Bride ·
    • Flag
    My hubby & I saved for 15 months, used a cash gift from my mom, and then went over by quite a bit and put the overage on credit cards for a few months. It was a lot of money & stress but for us, worth it. We own a house, don’t/won’t have kids.

    But it IS a lot of stress & money for one day. You could elope/honeymoon then celebrate with friends & family after (with a cake & punch reception). Or keep your wedding very small and treat guests to brunch after. You have quite a few options.
    • Reply
  • Rebecca
    Dedicated September 2020
    Rebecca ·
    • Flag
    We are trying to keep our wedding under $10k and also paying ourselves. We are paying and saving as we go and gave ourselves a year and a half. My ceremony is at a public Garden for $375, my reception is a lunch Reception at a country club with a $3,500 minimum even with a guest list around 175 we will stay in that minimum with a lunch course instead of a dinner. My dress was $500 from David's Bridal. We shopped around for best prices on everything. We are offering a Coffee Cart instead of an open bar. I am doing my own centerpieces but having a decorator do the draping around the venue. I splurged on Sola Wood bouquets. My bridesmaids are paying for their own stuff. We opted out of upgrades like colored table clothes and napkins. We are having a small two tier cake and sheet cakes for serving which cut cost in half. YOU CAN do this! As for being overwhelmed just find a starting place. Venue first and the rest starts to flow. A good venue can help point you to decorators, djs, bakerys etc.
    • Reply
  • Rebecca
    Dedicated September 2020
    Rebecca ·
    • Flag
    Also go to Facebook and look for wedding resale near you. There are 2 groups in my area where brides sell all of their used wedding stuff everything from signs, centerpieces to dresses.
    • Reply
  • Yam
    VIP September 2019
    Yam ·
    • Flag
    For venue most parks also have community centers on the property so you can still a private indoor reception. That’ll save you a ton of money because you’ll be able to bring in your own food, you could get a restaurant to deliver food and rent chafing dishes to keep it hot for guests. You don’t have to spend a lot for a wedding.
    • Reply
  • Elizabeth
    Dedicated June 2021
    Elizabeth ·
    • Flag

    I totally empathize with the money stress - the word "wedding" makes everything more expensive! That's my first tip - start conversations and get pricing without using the word "wedding" if you don't have to. Then you'll avoid wedding upcharges where you can. Secondly, don't be afraid to pull on strings! I name-dropped my college thesis advisor and his wife and got 1/3 off the DJ bill! Definitely adds up. I also just asked our photographer what kind of discount he could give us and he knocked hundreds off for us, too. Some vendors really will work with you, especially if you're getting married on a day that isn't Saturday - Saturdays are the "big profit" days so they're less likely to give discounts. Consider non-traditional venues, too! Good luck!

    • Reply
  • N
    Just Said Yes September 2020
    Natalie ·
    • Flag
    This sounds a lot like the situation my mom was in a few years ago. Everyone thought her husbands parents weren’t going to make it another 6 months, so they rushed to get their wedding in place before then (they are both still alive 4 years later). Check out local churches or parks and rec for venues. We found an adorable Greek Orthodox Church who also had a family provide decorations (it was December, so everything was Christmas decorated), the venue, and food for under $3,000. I’m getting married and parks and rec had a big barn in town for $318 for 8am-10pm, other rec halls and barns for $100-$900/day. Costco has invites for cheap, check craigslist and Facebook marketplace for wedding decor (Oregon and Washington have a fb Page called Bride On A Budget and they have stuff for sale all the time at decent prices), thrift shops, and lots of DIY. Remember, you can sell a lot of your stuff after that’s been lightly used to make some of it back. If your engagement is able to be longer, I recommend to start buying stuff now and it won’t feel so bad all at once- lots of little things add up quick. Good luck to you and congrats on your engagement!
    • Reply
  • Christine
    Dedicated October 2020
    Christine ·
    • Flag

    We were in the same boat as you. We looked at 5 different venues and when we finally picked one that we loved, both of our families sat us down and told us that it was too expensive. They didn't want us starting out as a married couple in debt. His grandmother found a place that was a sports bar that also has a banquet hall attached. The deposit was only $500. They do all the set up and take down, they also cater. They have concerts and events here, so they have recommended DJ's that can help keep the cost down too. This place is keeping our wedding budget under $7k. I did not know about this place until we looked it up on facebook. You can find a lot of places for weddings on facebook, places that you'd never realize did weddings. You CAN do this. I agree with everyone above, if you do a lot of things yourself, you can definitely keep your budget down. Local parks, beaches, community centers, anything like that can help. If you stock your own bar, that will help too.



    • Reply
  • Mandy
    May 2020
    Mandy ·
    • Flag

    I've done 5 weddings and am now helping plan my son and his fiance's for next May. They also are on a very restricted budget. Remember, the day is all about you and what you want! As others have said, pick out what is important to you first and put your money toward those things. When my niece got married a few years ago, we ordered flowers in bulk through our local grocery store and did all the bouquets, boutonnieres and centerpieces ourselves. It was much cheaper than hiring a florist and we had tons to work with for both the ceremony and reception. Another DIY we did: instead of paying for chair sashes we purchased a bunch of vintage clean flat sheets (super cheap) at a local thrift store, tore them into wide strips (about 6-8"wide) and used those for sashes. They were a gorgeous eclectic mix of vintage florals. People complimented us on them! They really looked stellar.

    I wish you all the best! Have fun with it! And whatever stresses you out, put on the back burner and revisit later.

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