We Don't Have Much Money

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CheetahAngel Posts : 2,017 Registered: 11/29/08
We Don't Have Much Money
Posted: Dec 4, 2008 1:56 PM

I want to have a very nice wedding but my fiance and I don't have much money and neither do our parents. So I am wondering how can I have a beautiful wedding but yet not spent tons of money? I would say our budget is only $4000 for everything, minus my dress and the suits. Any suggestions? Thanks!


B2B999 Posts : 700 Registered: 12/7/07
Re: We Don't Have Much Money
Posted: Dec 4, 2008 2:45 PM Go to message in response to: CheetahAngel

$4000 for "everything" is plenty to have a lovely wedding, especially if everything doesn't include your dress or your FH's outfit. However to help you out we're going to need a lot more details, what are you looking for in a wedding? Describe what you want and i'm sure the ladies here will be happy to help you figure out how to get it (or at least something like it) within your budget.

Do you have anything planned yet?

When is my wedding


auntofthebride Posts : 9,354 Registered: 4/2/06
Re: We Don't Have Much Money
Posted: Dec 4, 2008 2:55 PM Go to message in response to: CheetahAngel

Dear Cheetah Angel,

Welcome to the club. With today's economy in the dumps, you are right "in style" with a minimalistic wedding.

I, too, had a minimalistic wedding back in 1976. My wedding came to about $1000, which would be about $5000 today. It was beautiful and I would not change a thing.

Most of the time when a bride thinks of her wedding, she wants to outdo other weddings. Think, instead, of UNDERDOING other weddings. It's actually a fun challenge to think of what you can eliminate and still come out with a beautiful and unique wedding.

Some examples:

You don't have to put the men in expensive rental formalwear. Instead, ask them to wear a suit out of their closets. If a guy does not have a suit, then he really ought to get one so he can wear it on other occasions.

My dress was not a "bridal gown", but instead a white debutante dress. It cost $85 (probably about $150 today.) I added a floppy brimmed garden hat for $35, and that was it. You might consider borrowing a dress, or getting something off eBay.

My wedding was outdoors, in my parents' backyard. Venue = Free.

I eliminated all kinds of money pits: Professional hair styling, professional make up, manicure, DJ, limo, etc. I took a shower in the morning, dried my hair with a blow dryer as I do every morning, and got married without makeup, just like any other day. I never wear makeup. No need for a limo, since I got dressed in my own bedroom at my parents' house, then walked downstairs to the wedding.

You don't have to serve a full meal to your wedding guests. Schedule your wedding for mid-afternoon, and serve finger food, punch and cake. That's perfectly OK; just indicate "light refreshments" on the invitation. As a child, I went to dozens of weddings and never once saw a full meal. It just wasn't "done" in those days. I never saw a full meal at a wedding reception until I was in college. ("Hey, what's this? Dinner?")

It totally can be done. You just have to be flexible and creative. There's absolutely nothing wrong with putting on a wedding that is within your budget, in fact it's admirable to do so.

Do the best you can, then hold your head high.


myra Posts : 5,550 Registered: 3/28/06
Re: We Don't Have Much Money
Posted: Dec 4, 2008 2:57 PM Go to message in response to: CheetahAngel

We Don't Have Much Money

In this economy, who does LOL?! But seriously, you can do it. The one, single most effective way to cut costs is to keep your guest list small--inviting just close family and friends is not only a way to save money; it also means that your wedding will be warm, intimate, and very meaningful.

Other ways to save (and the ladies here will have wonderful, specific suggestions):
1. Choose a time other than the typical Saturday night. Fridays and Sundays are much cheaper, as are mornings and afternoons, rather than evenings.
2. Serve something other than dinner. Do a "Just Desserts' reception, a brunch or breakfast, a picnic, or a barbecue. If you're just having close family and friends, you could consider a pot-luck reception.
3. Do a "dry" or limited alcohol reception.
4. Have your reception (and ceremony, if you wish) in a place other than the typical hotel/catering hall. Maybe someone has a beautiful garden or lovely house or apartment that you can use. There are lots of "outside the box" places to hold a wedding.
5. Avoid the typical bridal shop. Or, plan on attending a sample sale, shopping online, buying a previously worn gown, wearing a maids' dress or evening/cocktail dress, or having a casual wedding and wearing something like a pretty sundress.
6. Question every tradition related to traditional weddings and decide what YOU really want and need. Do you need a fancy white wedding cake? A band or DJ? Printed napkins and matchbook covers? Extravagant centerpieces? Many of these 'traditions" are there because they make money--for someone else!
7. Do what you can yourselves--but always weight stress level vs. savings when you make these decisions. For example, making your own dress or catering your own wedding often are not worth the savings that you will realize by doing so.

There are many books and websites that are devoted to money-saving wedding ideas. And the ladies here are experts in offering economical suggestions.

myra at www.classysassyweddings.com


mrspinky Posts : 3,773 Registered: 3/14/08
Re: We Don't Have Much Money
Posted: Dec 4, 2008 3:07 PM Go to message in response to: CheetahAngel

CheetahAngel wrote:I want to have a very nice wedding but my fiance and I don't have much money and neither do our parents. So I am wondering how can I have a beautiful wedding but yet not spent tons of money? I would say our budget is only $4000 for everything, minus my dress and the suits. Any suggestions? Thanks!
We spent less than $3000 on our wedding. It's totally do-able.

Mrs. Pinky

Our Wedding Website 


CollegeBride08 Posts : 7 Registered: 12/4/08
Re: We Don't Have Much Money
Posted: Dec 4, 2008 4:09 PM Go to message in response to: CheetahAngel

I think that is plently of money if you have the right resources. Our budget was only $6000 for 100 guests. Enlist the help of as many talented family and friends you can! Find people with connections.
For example, my FMIL's friend's ex husband owns a print shop and he did all of our ivites for free. Our parents paid for my dress and accessories and his tux.
We bought fabric from Wal-Mart and made our own tablecloths and overlays.
We were able to borrow china from my mom's church.
We are playing music from our laptop and are using club speakers for the reception.
We are having a buffet style dinner (fajitas and sides $8.50 pp).
My aunt is a florist so she did ALL of the flowers for $300.
My other aunt is a photog.
We were gifted a limo and honeymoon (2 nights in a local hotel).
We ordered our wedding cake from Super Target.

It is possible to put on a beautiful wedding for cheap (without looking cheap) if you DIY and get lots of help!

Good luck!
wedding websites


CollegeBride08 Posts : 7 Registered: 12/4/08
Re: We Don't Have Much Money
Posted: Dec 4, 2008 4:11 PM Go to message in response to: CheetahAngel

In addition:
We also bought chocolate fountains from Target instead of renting one
My FMILs friend does hair and make-up
We are making a big salad to go along with dinner
The grooms men are wearing suits instead of tuxes
We are having the rehearsal dinner (just the dinner part) at our home and BMs are helping cook

wedding websites


CheetahAngel Posts : 2,017 Registered: 11/29/08
Re: We Don't Have Much Money
Posted: Dec 4, 2008 8:17 PM Go to message in response to: CheetahAngel

Thanks guys, you are all a big help :) I have some ideas in my head. I want a fall outdoor wedding so I may use my fiance's aunts house for that since she has a beautiful yard! that will save me a lot of money! But u all have given me great ideas. Keep the ideas coming.....



SteffMay2009 Posts : 383 Registered: 10/22/08
Re: We Don't Have Much Money
Posted: Dec 5, 2008 9:34 AM Go to message in response to: CheetahAngel

I see that you are getting married in CT, as am I, and for that.. I sympathise with you! Although we have a pretty large budget, through our planning, we've discovered some ways to save. Even in CT.

1) Flowers! It's easy to cut back here. We are only having bouqets for the bridal party and petals for the tables. We are borrowing candles from the venue and renting silk flowers from the florist or the ceremony. Also, look into groceries stores. A lot of them do weddings for a fraction of the cost.
2) Invitations - DIY all the way! I have a friend who spent $3k on invites..I spent $100 (there is a wholesale paper place near Hartford)
3) I also don't know where in CT you are, but my friend got her dress at a bridal consignment shop in Glastonbury, CT. She got a vintage Maggie Sotero for a steal.

I agree with others on keeping the guest list down, that's the best way to keep it cheap. And find a flexible venue. Good luck!


MsDenuninani Posts : 3,962 Registered: 3/16/07
Re: We Don't Have Much Money
Posted: Dec 5, 2008 9:54 AM Go to message in response to: CheetahAngel

Just to let you know, as a guest, my favorite wedding of all time was of a close friend who got married with a less than 6,000 budget. Very minimal flowers (she bought them the morning of the wedding at a local farmers market) food was a buffet from a local restaurant, the ceremony and reception was in a tent that was pitched in the parking lot behind the inn that most of the guests were staying at. There were about 100 people there, and there was a DJ.

What made it special was the ceremony -- it was performed by a friend of the family and various friends recited poetry and there were a lot of meaningful ceremonial moments that felt very personal and organic.

Another friend saved money on alcohol by getting buying the liquor herself and getting her brother and his friends to bartend.

Another friends saved money on alcohol by only serving beer; which might seem a little tacky to some, but it was cool because there were about 6 different brands, and they were all from local breweries of places the bride and groom had visited. So each brand had its own little story. This bride also saved money by using an iPod and speakers instead of a DJ.

Good luck!

My new favorite website: www.poptimal.com

"I'd hate to advocate drugs, alcohol, or insanity, but they've always worked for me." Hunter S. Thompson


CatStandish Posts : 2,766 Registered: 6/20/08
Re: We Don't Have Much Money
Posted: Dec 5, 2008 10:55 AM Go to message in response to: CheetahAngel

Hey Miss Cheetah!

Your wedding is well over a year away, and boy does that buy you a lot of cool things!

1. Decide on your theme, and decide early. For example: Fall wedding. Well, in 2010 do you want to be shopping for your decorations while everyone else is..... OR would you rather buy them at the end of the season in 2009 at 50% off? (Guess what I was doing this year for my 2009 fall wedding, buying cheap decorations.) The ceiling of our reception venue will be decorated with white christmas lights (that I got on sale) and have strings of leaves cascading down -- to look like stars from under the forest canopy...indoors. I got the leaves at the hobby store for 50% off, because I waited until the fall stuff was on sale.

2. Invites. Our invites are costin us approximately $300. The cost -- Approximately $250 for a color laser jet (which we can also use for the programs and newsletters that we're sending to the bridal party) and $30 for the invites themselves. I got the invitations (two boxes) at Michaels. I used their coupon for 50% off, and bought two boxes of the invites we wanted. I've not printed them yet. They are hanging out in my "Wedding Stuff" box. BE WARY OF A LOT OF STUFFING IN THESE. You want them to not need special stamps to send. You want to be able to use standard postage and if you stick too much in them, they will weigh too much.

3. The things that you can make -- decorations like the centerpieces, you can buy the items in advance and off season, so you're not spending out the wazoo. Why pay $10 if you can pay $5?

for example: I'm making candles, and I wanted them in glass containers -- I was initially planning on wine glasses. I didn't care if the wine glasses matched. YARD SALE! But while I was yard saling, I came across a box of candle stuff... all the tapers I will need for everyone to participate in the Unity candle, except the actual unity candle set (I want all the family members to take part in this portion), and 23 matching votive holders that are just the perfect size to actually make into candles. For $8. A true steal. The wax isn't going to be cheap, but again, I have time to go to the craft store every week with their 50% off one item coupon and buy it. And keep an eye out for their sales.

The more time you have, the more you can pick out in advance and watch for sales. Or go on eBay -- eBay is a wonderful friend (where we got the $250 color laser printer.... it was the exact one we watned at Office Depot and the cost was well over $500 for that one)

4. Favors. A lot of people do these. They are not really necessary, but they are a nice touch. But they can also be pretty pricey if you don't do wisely. Ours will end up costing about $1 each....that's factoring in the equipment that we bought to make them -- CDs with lightscribe on top (that's where the design is etched into the top of the CD rather than via lable)

5. Invest in an iPod. Honestly... you can use it for the ceremony and for the reception and it's a lot less than the DJ. Okay, the DJ is more fun, but let's be honest, we need to spend the money on what is IMPORTANT to us. If the DJ is that, then that is where your budget goes.

But absolutely -- look at the traditions and remove what is not important to you. Determine what your areas are that are must haves. For example: I don't really give a rat about having a spiffy cake cutter and server. I really don't. We found one for $9. It's not 'wow' but I don't care about that thing... I see no reason to shell out $50 on something I don't CARE about. I did care about the cake topper -- and we did spend $30 on it (and that's not even too bad). but the cake topper perfectly embodies our theme (it's a porcelin claddagh). The only way it could have been more perfect was if we had designed a mold of our wedding logo and cast it ourselves (and I assure you THAT would have cost more than $30).

But once you decide what you want, don't look back. Sure, have fun with it, but don't keep adding things. That's what FH and I are having to do -- rein ourselves in, because we are both constantly adding new DIY things. Fortunately, it's not simultaneous -- so I can pull him back from his delusion that he can completely rewire the ceiling of the church's fellowship hall so that it will have places for the lights (and they would like that) because I'm currently being level headed about our ability. But I'll turn around and decide that the candles I am making aren't enough -- I need to get styrofoam circles and start doing something with them to make them more elaborate. So he talks me down. Decide what you want, what you can reasonably do. If you have time AFTER YOU FINISH THOSE TASKS and you have money for them too....then consider adding.

Also... STAMPS GO UP IN MAY (I don't know what to). I know, Forever Stamps aren't as cute as the love ones (and they have one IN my wedding colors, dang and blast!), but if you buy a book of Forever Stamps every payday, it costs you $8.40 a pop....and those stamps will be good forever (love the concept!!). For 100 guests, it will take 10 paydays to do the invites and the reponse cards. And other 6 pay days should take care of your Thank You notes. However, if you buy all of these at one go? Let's see.... 200 for the invites/response cards, and another 120 for thank yous -- that's 320 stamps at TODAY's rate of 42 cents $134.40 OUCH for one sitting. You don't feel it as much if you are buying in tiny increments

Get one credit card that you use for Wedding Stuff (pay it off each billing cycle) . If you pay by check, your recourse is less. Credit cards offer you a certain level of insurance. You'd want to use this card for vendors. Create a bank account for your wedding things, and try to put some money in it every pay period. This way, when you're ready to put the deposit on your rings, its there. (Pay on the credit card, and then paythat credit card!) You'll also have an automatic tracking of your wedding expenses by maintaining separate accounts. When you buy the stamps, pay with that check book. When you buy the decorations, that check book.

Since you do have so much time, definitely consider being a DIY bride. What kinds of crafts do you love? What are your hobbies? Incorporate them into your wedding.

I sincerely believe that our wedding is going to cost around $3,000.

Good luck and Have Fun.


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Nalamienea Posts : 2,924 Registered: 6/13/08
Re: We Don't Have Much Money
Posted: Dec 5, 2008 11:40 AM Go to message in response to: CheetahAngel

HI Cheetah!

I had a fall outdoor wedding on October 26th here in Virginia for about $3000. you can see pictures if you'd like at: http://s420.photobucket.com/albums/pp283/sarahandchris2008/

I think what I did was something elegant and formal. My big secrets? #1 and most important: SMALL guest list, I had less than 30 people there. #2: I elected to have my service at a state park. The tables and chairs were included in the room rental fee as well as a gorgeous outdoor venue by the lake. The whole schebang was less than $300.

A bunch of other things I eliminated or cut down on that are common to a lot of other weddings: ipod music, catering was from the local culinary arts program (was WAY yum!!), no guest book, geez, i'm sure there were others. I also DIY'd a lot, since I had time but no money. Things like my stationary, invitations, and aisle runner. I did not diy my flowers, I just cut way back.

Good luck!! :)




CheetahAngel Posts : 2,017 Registered: 11/29/08
Re: We Don't Have Much Money
Posted: Dec 5, 2008 3:34 PM Go to message in response to: Nalamienea

You all have been such a BIG help! I have some ideas in my head now that won't be that pricey :) THANKS! Any more ideas keep them coming.....


sjhc132 Posts : 164 Registered: 3/18/08
Re: We Don't Have Much Money
Posted: Dec 5, 2008 4:55 PM Go to message in response to: CheetahAngel

You can absolutely do a fanastic wedding for less then 3000...i like a lot of Cats ideas...definately sign up for crafts stores weekly newsletters...they pretty much always include a coupon...i did a mixture of silk and real flowers...i got all my silk,candles,photo album,stock paper,and ribbon at michaels for 50% off...i didnt do a traditional guest book...i bought the stock paper for people to give advice or put their fondests memories with us for my scrapbook...my unity candle and tapers were just a plain candles and i found some really cute leaf candle holders on sale for like 1 and 1.50...i think most everything i spent at michaels came to a total of 350-400 which it would have been double if i had not went while it was on sale...my real flowers for the bouts and bouquets were from wally world...i borrowed and bought of case of mason jars to serve as a "vase" for my centerpiece and filled them with popcorn kernels and beans which i bought from sams...u can get like 25 to 50lb bags there pretty cheap...all of our food was done by a family friend that owns a little country store/ catering business that did it for free...the music we played was burnt on a cd and played through our churchs system...venue was free since my fil is the preacher of our church...my invites i bought off ebay...150 for like $40 including shipping then i had someone print up about 100 of them for cost of the ink...didnt use the respond cards...using them as my thank you cards...my mom bought my dress and acessories plus did my and my bridals partys hair for free...we're both licensed hairdressers...i did have someone from merle norman do my makeup though...thanx sara for the tip on merlenorman:)....my cake i found a little baker in my area that does it out of her home...wasnt the best in looks but from what i heard it did taste good(the only part i tasted was icing sliding across my face...lol)...i negoitated my rate on my limo since i was only taking us to the hotel and we ended up in bad traffic on the way there so we ended spending more time in it for free...no alcohol since its against our religion to drink...plastic table cloths work wonders and nifty paper plates from hobby lobby... i bought candy and popcorn balls from wally world for my favors...my inlaws bought mums and borrowed straw bales from an amish market along with all our cornstalks and pumpkins....i called around to get my guys the most bang for their buck on their tux rentals...the only thing they need was underwear socks were included...the only thing i spent out the wazoo for was my photgrapher and that b/c i cherish pictures and i wanted someone who had lots of experience and awesome quality to their pictures...and when i asked my married friends what was one thing that they wish they had done differently they all said they wish they had had a better pictures even if it meant spending more on them...so thats what i did...though i havent seen them yet not even a proof my photographer is a very busy man i got to see the shots as he was taking i know they will be awesome:D i think in all we spent 1700 2000...so my best advice is to ask people you know...you never know what they might be able to do for you and always try to negotiate:D! good luck and god bless


i was meant for him and he was meant for me :)



rqz7 Posts : 27 Registered: 12/2/07
Re: We Don't Have Much Money
Posted: Dec 5, 2008 5:50 PM Go to message in response to: CheetahAngel

Regardless of the budget, make sure the wedding really shows who you are. I've been to weddings where I'm sure they spent a ton of money on the food or whatever, but the ones I really remember and enjoyed the most were the ones where the bride's and groom's personalities really shined through. When in doubt, use 40 and 50% off coupons at Michael's and Joann. I go about once a week. =-) Michael's in particular has some great silk flowers, and it's incredibly easy to make a veil if you're having one.

And you don't have to do flowers or even candles for centerpieces. I'm using snowglobes I bought from Ebay. I've also seen weddings with no centerpieces, and nobody even noticed. Food is another fun thing to use.


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