I'm having a crisis moment...advice please

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independant2406 Posts : 58 Registered: 12/8/08
I'm having a crisis moment...advice please
Posted: Jan 25, 2009 8:38 AM

Is it bad that I'm still over a year away from my wedding and I'm aready sick of trying to plan this out?

Here's my problem FH and I are trying to have a wedding on $5,000 not including any kind of honeymoon... but I can't find anything nice in that price range. I'm realizing on that budget all I can have is a tiny ceremony, little to no decorations, no catering and the bare minimum on everything else....I'm DYI-ing my invitations,decorations, bouquet etc.

We are expecting 75 guests and here's our budget so far:

$590 ( a small local church that is badly in need of paint)
Caterer Food







Florist $0



Bride Clothing/Dress



Band(s)/ DJ


Musician for ceremony $75




(this is the cost of our engagement ring and both our wedding bands)

Groom and Best
Man attire


I can't even think of anywhere else to cut our budget. Am I just throwing a childish fit when this makes me want to cry? I'm one of those all or nothing kind of people where if it isn't something that will make me completely happy I'd rather not have it at all...should we just say screw it and go to the court house and get married and have a nicer honeymoon?

Nothing is going to look very beautiful I won't be giving favors and I also won't have any sort of reception, except maybe to have everyone over at my grandmas home (weather permitting) for a sheetcake and punch.

I'm just really dissapointed I guess... please tell me if you think i'm being a bitch and I need to shut up, or offer some suggestions on how I can make this better?


WinterWonderlan... Posts : 658 Registered: 8/23/08
Re: I'm having a crisis moment...advice please
Posted: Jan 25, 2009 9:12 AM Go to message in response to: independant2406

I understand the stress is getting to you, and the date is still pretty far away, so planning is getting old fast. That is perfectly normal. Take a couple weeks off, regroup, then restart. You'll feel much better after not thinking about it for a while!

There is no reason you can't have a nice wedding & reception for $5000. People do it everyday, as many people on here have already done!

So here is what you wrote as your budget and my suggestions in that department:

We are expecting 75 guests and here's our budget so far: Easiest way to cut cost is to cut guest. I suggest cutting your number to 50, ESPECIALLY if it will help you to have a reception. Less people to feed = less chair, less food, less centerpieces, less tables, less invites, etc.

Venue $590 ( a small local church that is badly in need of paint) This is nuts, find a new venue. Do you not have a church in anyone in the family that would let you do it for less? There is no way I'd pay $600 for a church that is in need of paint. I'm POSITIVE you can find one for less! You can also use the church as your reception venue since most churchs have some type of reception hall. Or since you are getting married in summer, have the reception outside in the fresh air. Also if you don't want to pay sooo much for a venue, look at a nice state park or something. You can normally get those for cheap and you will have natural lighting, making your pictures even better and cutting the need for candles. Plus, nature is already so beautiful, you woudln't need half as many decorations. My favorite wedding on this entire site is Nalas. It was so beautiful, and she had an amazingly gorgeous outdoor area. You should check her pics out. She is also a great DIYer with some great advice.
Caterer Food $0 Fix the food yourself. Get family or friends together, start days in advance, and just make finger foods. Buy things from places like Sam where you can buy bulk. Buffet style!
Alcohol $0 No need for Alcohol (I'm not having it at my wedding)
Staff $0 What do you need staff for? Especially if you aren't having a reception. No need for staff.
Gratuities $0 Read above statement.
Rentals $0 You are having your wedding in a church, meaning seats are already there! Most churches have chairs, tables already too. They may not be round, but long tables work just as well and often better!
Lighting $0 No need for fancy lighting. Use some candles to create a romantic look if you don't want the bright lights, and candles can be bought pretty cheaply!
Valet $0 This is just out there to me. I've never been to a wedding with valet, but that may be also because of where I live. Seems like a lot though for a ceremony of 75 to park at a church that I'm guessing has its own parking lot.
Security $0 Why on earth do you need security?!?!? I'd like to hear more on this story!
Florist $0 DIY! There are lots of ideas on this forum for beautiful DIY centerpieces!!
Photographer/Album $600 Great price!! This is a very important part of your day because you will have these pictures to look at for the rest of your life. However, if your photog will allow it, maybe he/she could give you a CD with the pics and printing rights, and you could make your own album. Someone on here made an album that I am IN LOVE with and I plan to make one of the website she used after my wedding!
Videographer $0 This is important to some people, to some its not...I recommend skipping it if your tight on cash.
Cake $250 If you aren't having a reception then why are you having a cake?? In your post you said that your grandma may make you a sheet cake if you have a reception, so what is this cake for?
Bride Clothing/Dress $600 Good!
Limo $0 Completely NOT necessary. No reason your own car isn't good enough for you on this day.
Invitations $150 I think thats a bit much for less than 75 DIY invites, you could probably do those cheaper. I plan to spend around that much for like 125 invites. Most people are couples, so if you have 38 invites in all, thats about $4 per invite. Hopefully your price is including postage :)
Band(s)/ DJ $0 You aren't having a reception, so not necessary. Even if you were having a reception, still not necessary! Ipods and other music systems work wonders!
Officiant $250 That is a lot of money for a hour of work. Maybe someone close to you could get ordained and do it as a wedding gift or a much smaller cost. It could bring a special touch to your wedding.
Musician for ceremony $75 Completely not needed. People are going to be paying attention to you and your FH during the ceremony. Just use a CD/Ipod from the sound room of the church.
Flowers $200 Good price.
Makeup/Hair $200 This is the first thing I'd cut. I'm spending entirely too much money on my wedding and I'm still doing my make up myself to save money. If I were you though, I'd do both hair and make up by myself.
Specialty Linens $0 No reception, no need for linens. If you do have a reception, there is no need to get extremely fancy linens. Also if you do long tables, the linens will be cheaper. You can skip chair covers too.
Marriage License $30 Can't get around this one!
Rings $1,195 (this is the cost of our engagement ring and both our wedding bands) I guess thats not bad, but if this was going to be in my wedding budget, I would've probably went cheaper and then upgraded later on when I could afford it.
Candles $20
Décor $200
Groom and Best Man attire $300 Why are you paying for best man attire? Your best man should pay for his own.

Total $4,660

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SoonToBeAWard Posts : 280 Registered: 5/22/06
Re: I'm having a crisis moment...advice please
Posted: Jan 25, 2009 9:45 AM Go to message in response to: independant2406

First of all, I really admire that you have a budget and that you are trying your hardest to stick to it. A lot of brides don't and then end up going into huge amounts of debt to get married or panic like crazy about how they are going to pay for everything they have booked.

$5000 is still a do-able budget though.

Can you cut the guest list to a more manageable number?

I noticed that you are DIY-ing invitations, decorations and bouquets. How many invitations are planning on sending? Even if you are sending out 75 invitations at the very most, $2 per invitation is pretty pricey if you are DIY-ing. I did our invitations and they came in under $4 per piece and that included an invitation box, invitation trimmed with crystal beads, info card, RSVP card, RSVP envelope .. all the bells and whistles. Plainer invitations can look really modern and chic and save you money as well! I'd be happy to send you some links to some great sites that you could borrow ideas from!

When you say decorations are you referring to table decorations or other decorations around the reception venue? For our receception we had one set of decorations per table - 2 glass candle holders ($1.95 each), small square glass vase ($4.95 from Ikea), and roses (about $2 per table). We had 7 tables of 8 - 10 people so it cost about $75 to do table decorations. We did no other decorations around the venue.

Our reception was at a restaurant. Reception and function venues are generally very plain inside which allows each event to personalise it however they want. Our restaurant had a warm feel about it and the decor was gorgeous. Because of this we did not have to add extra decorations or pay for chair covers etc.

Is there an alternative for the venue? What is the expected weather at the time of the year you are planning your wedding? Could you erect a marquee in a lovely park and save some money that way instead of hiring a church?

Limo - do you have a friend or a family member who has a nice car and they could drive you to the wedding instead. When my husband's sister got married a few years ago, my husband gladly drove around her new husband's Mercedes for them. He picked her up for the ceremony, walked her down the aisle and then we drove them back to their hotel at the end of the night.

Favours - don't worry about them. We didn't have them. People are not going to walk away from your wedding and say, "Gosh it was nice, but did you notice that they didn't have favours?"

Cake - do you have a family member or friend who can help you out with this one? We were very lucky to have a family friend make our wedding cake for us. It was her gift to us.

Makeup/Hair - Hair can be tricky to do yourself but do you have a friend who does their own makeup really well who can show you some application tips? If your wedding is a year away you can always practice some makeup applications and take some photos on your camera to see how it photographs. Cosmetic company websites have instructional videos on how to apply makeup. www.chanel.com is one that springs to mind.

Grooms suit - my husband bought his suit for our wedding on sale. It was reduced from $600 down to less than $200. His shirt was $30 and his tie cost $50. He has since worn it to 2 other weddings and two Christmas parties. Would the groomsmen be OK with buying/renting his own suit at his cost? You can only ask. That way you would only have to cover the cost of the groom buying or renting his suit.

Musician for the ceremony - is recorded music an option for you? Is there a college with a music program close to you where you could get a music student to play for less?

The year leading up to our wedding, we really cut back on extras. We didn't go out to dinner (except if we were invited for other people's birthdays etc), I took public transport instead of taxis, I stopped having my nailsdone, we didn't go the cinema as often, we made a shopping list and stuck to it, I joined a library instead of buying books etc. It was actually really good because 2 years later we are still really careful like that because it's now habit and are saving money all the time.

Let me know if I can help more.

:: Lisa x ::


CatStandish Posts : 2,766 Registered: 6/20/08
Re: I'm having a crisis moment...advice please
Posted: Jan 25, 2009 10:07 AM Go to message in response to: independant2406

Hey hon.... where in Indiana?

My first wedding was there -- at Bonneyville Mill in Middlebury, Indiana In June. I think the venue was $25 (and that was to have a locking shelter for the day). Yes, I did have to have someone at the actual WEDDING site that I'd picked early to make sure no one got there -- CHECK WITH YOUR LOCAL STATE PARKS.

You'd want a nice locking shelter for two reasons: you can get it set up for your reception, then go off to the wedding, AND if it rains, you've got an alternate venue.

Another beauty of the state park? They are absolutely beautiful -- you don't really need any flowers other than what your attendats carry.

So.....THAT's $565 back in the pot <G>

Photographer: This one is going to hurt. Do you have any friends who are photohobbyists? Take a look at their work and if you like it, ask them to be your photographer. Give them a 1 G card for their camera. And buy them a thank you. Who are you getting for $600? Or is this just your estimate? (Good luck with that. In this area (the south), photography STARTS at $2000)

Food: My current wedding is being catered by CostCo - we're getting sandwich trays, cutlery, plates, cups.... everything ... for a reception for 100 people for about $700 (so... NOW you have food! YAY!!! and you're still within your budget)

Cake: Publix makes a great cake....not sure of the price, but it is yumm-o

Musician: Okay, $75 is a great price -- it really is. But if money is tight, it's also one of those things I'd cut. CD / iPod it.

Make up / Hair: $200? You may have to DIY this. Unless your hair is just completely uncooperative, or you've bought some headpiece that you can't work yourself. Besides -- today, natural is more in than highly styled.

Groom's attire, sure I can see you paying for. But the best man nees to rent his own tux. Your bridesmaids are buying their own dresses, and those are a damn sight more expensive. Tell him you are doing low budget and he cannot expect you to pay for his tux rental.

Rings: take the cost of YOUR engagement ring out of that budget. It's already bought, and that is his gift to you pre-wedding plans.

Officiant: Do you have a friend who is very important to you? They can be ordained ONLINE for absolutely free (FH likes to joke that he is ordained now). You can pay them $75 to $100 as a thanks, eh voila.... budget for favors!! (Saved: $150 to $175)

Invites: I'm assuming that budget includes stamps? Because mine cost about $40 (I bought them at Michaels using their 40% off coupon. $29.99 x 2 at 40% off. ) Note: the price of stamps goes up in MAY. Get your FOREVER STAMPS now!! I know, the wedding ones are prettier, but truly, what's more important, saving some money or pretty stamps <G>? Granted, I know we also need to get our programs and the thank you cards (incidentally, I'm buying my stamps for thank yous, response, and invites right now) I think you've got a good estimate on invites.

Have you bought your dress? If not, hit Davids at their next sales event. You won't save a lot, but it is something. Also, check out jays bridal on line, they are always selling samples. $600 is a good estimate. My $350 dress ended up at $630 with shoes, veil, bra, and slip. Those things DO go with it, but often we go: I have $500 for the dress and buy a $499 dress and then wonder what the heck happened!

I hope that does help some. I'm doing a very low budget wedding too -- but we took the rings, my dress, his outfit, and our honeymoon out of the budget. Fortunately, my church is free....and I know a florist, and a photographer, and a hair stylist -- I have a whole host of friends who are in, quite frankly, very useful professions when it comes time for a wedding. But still.... our wedding should come in at around $3000 (add in the dress and the rings, it's $5000)


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independant2406 Posts : 58 Registered: 12/8/08
Re: I'm having a crisis moment...advice please
Posted: Jan 25, 2009 11:00 AM Go to message in response to: CatStandish

Thanks ladies for your quick responses. Your helping me feel so much better about this...

WinterWonderlandBride: You're so right... I think I'm just burned out. I'm going to take your advice and give myself a week or so to stay away from planning all of this... maybe till Valentines Day and then start up again. J

The venue I guess is the major problem. Oddly enough both FH and I come from families who do not attend church, so we're in a bit of a dilemma that way. Most churches around here charge around $1,000 to have wedding which I think is highway robbery! Plus, a lot of them require that you be their faith: catholic, Methodist etc. The little church I was using in the budget looked really cute online, but when FH and I drove by it was pretty clear the photos had been taken at least 5 years ago... it was looking sadly in need of a paint job.

That said, I'm still looking for a venue. I would love to have an outdoor wedding, but virtually every weekend in June has a 50% chance of rain. Everyone in my family keeps telling me not to risk an outdoor wedding... but I think I may do it anyway. I've heard that in the UK it's actually considered lucky to have rain on your wedding day.

Sorry about all the extra junk with $0 after them... I just copied and pasted from a excel spreadsheet I'd been working off of from somewhere online.

Upside is I've found a wonderful photographer who has small packages starting at $600. Since its one of the things that's really important to me, I was glad to find someone who fit the budget and had a good resume of photos.

The Best Man in our case is my FH best friend who is still in high school. He's also the guy who introduced us, and he's like our adopted little brother. We really can't imagine anyone else being our best man. He doesn't have a job and is frequently kicked out of his parents' home... weird situation but anyways I really don't think he could afford to rent/buy a suit so we're going to do that for him.


The decorations budget is mainly for the following: flowers, bows etc for the ceremony, our car (which we're using instead of a limo), and also includes the purchase of the flowers for myself and my MOH, the buttoneers etc.

Yep I think recorded music might be best.


We're in central Indiana just south of Indianapolis.

$25 for a park venue?? Wow... I'm definitely calling the IndyParks department!!

Your right if I could cut the venue cost I could have a reception J

Yep the invites themselves run about $75 and the rest of the budget I have for invites covers ink for our printer and Stamps etc.

Hair/Makeup: I'm pretty certain that my makeup will be ok if I do it myself, but my hair is ALWAYS ick... so I definitely want that professionally done. Also included in this budget is getting my nails and toes done. (which I haven't had done since prom...so I feel like its ok to splurge once every 3-4 years = P

Anyway, thanks again for your supportiveness!! I'm going to remain positive and stop looking at expensive things I can't afford. (no reason to torture myself about such an important day!)


Nalamienea Posts : 2,924 Registered: 6/13/08
Re: I'm having a crisis moment...advice please
Posted: Jan 25, 2009 11:12 AM Go to message in response to: independant2406

Winter - thanks for the compliments! hehe

I did my wedding at a state park and it was beautiful, If I do say so myself. hehe It was a chance I took that it could rain, but I did have a backup plan just in case. Her in Virginia I was able to rent the ceremony and reception location for the half day before, the full day of, and the haf day after for about $300. $110 for ceremony location and $170 for the reception room. DEFINITELY try the state parks!!

Here's the website for indiana state parks: http://www.in.gov/dnr/parklake/11925.htm.
Think of it this way: even if you have to end up renting a tent for gosh sakes, you'll still wind up ahead, I'm sure of it! But I didn't want a tent and be outside, I just planned on setting up somethign pretty inside next to a window in the reception room in the case of rain.

edit: I'm looking at that site for you right now and I see just south of Indianapolis is a Monroe Lake state park... here's a website for their sailing club, maybe they have a venue you could use: http://www.lakemonroesailing.com/
I found thsi pretty picture of a spillway at Monroe Lake - So pretty for a wedding! :)

The Lake Monroe Spillway by Fulldeck.

IMG_7120.jpg picture by sarahandchris2008


Edited by: Nalamienea on Jan 25, 2009 11:15 AM


Nalamienea Posts : 2,924 Registered: 6/13/08
Re: I'm having a crisis moment...advice please
Posted: Jan 25, 2009 11:30 AM Go to message in response to: Nalamienea

Umm... I seriously just think I found a great solution to your problem. LOL

In Brown County, which by the looks of it is just south of indianapolis, there's a little chapel that I found whiel I was clicking around:

wedding chapel seats 65

It offers packages: here's their biggest one:

Orchid Package

The Couple plus 70 guests
(this includes the wedding attendants)
90 minutes chapel/gazebo time
Use of changing rooms
Traditional Wedding Music
Large Silk Bouquet for Bride
3 small silk Bridesmaid bouquets
Matching Boutonniere for Groom
3 Groomsman Boutonnieres
60 photos on photo c.d.
40 4x6 prints & 10 5x7 & 4 8x10 enlargements
Guest Book
$1050 !!!! that takes care of the whole entire ceremony

Then they suggest four different places for a possible reception:

  • Mike's Dance Barn(www.thedancebarn.com)
  • Artists Colony Inn Banquet Room(www.artistcolonyinn.com) Super cute!
  • Green Valley Lodge Party Room(www.greenvallylodge.com) like a dance space. Blank but not outdated.
  • Valley Branch Retreat Party Barn - i couldn't find a website for this one.
This is all in about 15 minutes of clicking around and google searching. Believe me! You have options out there!! :) Then it'll just be all about making the calls and checking prices, driving out to the ones you like... etc. Let us know if we can help again! :)

IMG_7120.jpg picture by sarahandchris2008



CatStandish Posts : 2,766 Registered: 6/20/08
Re: I'm having a crisis moment...advice please
Posted: Jan 25, 2009 1:14 PM Go to message in response to: independant2406

I just went to the Bonneyville Mill site -- my shelter is now $75 (was $25 in 1995 <G>)... but Indiana also has COUNTY parks. Check those too.

Here is the link to Hamilton County (Indianapolis is in Hamilton County, right?)


Bonneyville Mill was always one of my favorite places to visit -- it is gorgeous -- and I particularly remember the burble of the nearby creek as background sound during my wedding. As soon as I knew I was having a wedding in Indiana (I chose to marry in Indiana, though I lived in Alabama, as my grandfather had Alzheimers -- grandma could get away for three HOURS....but not three DAYS, so I brought the wedding to her), it was not even a question of WHERE it was going to be. I point blank stated that it was going to be at Bonneyville Mill (REGARDLESS of the cost). That was not a point of negotiation. My parents were only glad that it was so reasonable <G>

I did have a low budget wedding in Indiana too.. . I didn't have a DANCE reception -- I had a Southern Baptist reception in Indiana. Basically, meat & cheese trays with rolls, veggie tray, fruit tray, cake & punch. Lasted maybe an hour and a half... MAYBE. And I did have it all .. I had flowers and photography, I had a cake, I had flowers, and a reception. And we used a lovely cassette player for our music (I still want to strangle my uncle over the music. Seriously, I had put 30 minutes of gathering music on one side -- Clearly labled GATHERING MUSIC. I had put the ceremony stuff on the other side, clearly labled CEREMONY MUSIC. I had the gathering music cued up. i told him to pop it in at 1:30 <2 pm wedding> .... so he pops it in... REWINDS to the beginning, because he put in the ceremony music. I arrive and hear the ceremony music, groan. He then has to REWIND the tape again. And as soon as I got to the front, there was a loud "Click" as he punched stop. There was maybe 10 seconds of the song remaining. Gotta love CD players <G>)

You can do it. And it will be lovely. But I know you can do it.


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ArtBride Posts : 4,838 Registered: 5/9/07
Re: I'm having a crisis moment...advice please
Posted: Jan 25, 2009 1:41 PM Go to message in response to: independant2406

First off, relax. You still have plenty of time, and there are tons of ways to cut your costs. Secondly, you're not alone in being totally annoyed over wedding planning. I hated every minute of it.

Ok, my first observation is that you're approaching this backwards. You're looking at the cost of things, and trying to make it work within your budget. I don't blame you for being overwhelmed. A lot of things cost more than many of us have to spend, and it can be frustrating when all the magazines tell you that you absolutely NEED to have something. It's easy to buy into it and start thinking you need things like valet parking (nope! People park their own cars every day. They can do it at your wedding!), security (What? Unless you're getting married in a ghetto, you REALLY won't need it), and professional makeup (You do your own makeup every day, right? So how will your wedding day be any different, except that you may spend a little more time on it? With your budget, professional makeup would not be a priority for me).

Here's the good news: This will all become less stressful and overwhelming if you approach it in a different way. Rather than figuring out how much things cost and trying to build your budget around them, divide your budget into categories and determine how much you have to spend in each category.

Sit down with your FH and determine your priorities. Be flexible, and realize that you can't have everything. Decide what elements are must-haves, and put more money into those categories. You can easily cut out other categories entirely or trim your costs.

This was our priority list: Good food, Open bar, Good music, Close friends and family, Ceremony at a church. Anything else was negotiable, though there were, admitedly, a few things that we didn't particularly care about, but were necessary, such as invitations. So we just didn't spend a lot of time or money on invites. We spent about 2/3 of our total costs on the reception.

If you really want a reception, my advice is to look into restaurants that have a private room (that's what we did, though our place had a separate floor for events and specialized in weddings). When we added up all the costs, it was much cheaper to have our reception at a restaurant than at a venue that needed a separate caterer, rentals, decorations, etc. First off, a restaurant will rarely charge you a site rental fee (though some places require you to spend a minimum amount for a private party). Secondly, they already have chairs, linens, plates, etc, etc, so you won't have to spend a dime on rentals. Thirdly, you won't have to pay a separate staff fee, though they usually add a 15-20% gratuity (also consider the sales tax for your state, as it will likely add a few hundred bucks). Fourthly, restaurants are usually decorated pretty well, so you'll save on decorating fees. They may even have standard centerpieces and may be able to provide candles, so you'll probably save on those costs, too. And if you are flexible and you can have a lunch reception rather than a dinner one, you'll find the costs to be pretty reasonable.

For instance, if you can find a place that offers lunch for $20pp, you could feed 75 people for $1500. Add on a champagne toast (with the house champange, it could be as low as $2pp) and your alcohol costs are $150. It's fine to limit alcohol service to just a champagne toast. So with that scenario, your total would be $1650. If they add an 18% gratuity (standard), you're up to $1947. Assuming that your state taxes 5%, your reception cost would be roughly $2,044. That's not that large a chunk of your budget, and you've totally eliminated the need for decorations at the reception by having it at a pre-decorated venue. If you can't find a place that cheap, consider cutting your guest list. Dh and I made major cuts to our original guest list, because we preferred to throw a kick-ass party for our closest friends and family than a mediocre one for everyone we knew.

Here's my suggestion on how to break down your budget:

Ceremony: $455 total
Church fees: $200 (I'm assuming that the $590 is a voluntary donation. Personally, I would make a smaller donation at the time of your wedding and plan to make several more donations during your first year of marriage rather than donating $590 all at once. Also, assuming that your officiant is the church's pastor, you probably won't have a separate officiant fee. Pastors usually ask for a donation to the church in lieu of a personal fee.)
Musician: $75 (assuming that you have to use the church's musician and that's the cost)
Flowers: $150
Marriage license: $30

Reception: $2,000 total
Food: $1500
Limited alcohol service: $150
Tax and gratuity: $350

Clothing: $650 total
Bride's dress and accessories: $500
Groom's clothing: $150

Rings: $1195 total
(I'm assuming you've already bought them and that the money is indeed coming out of your wedding budget)

Miscellaneous: $700 total
Photographer: $600
Invitations: $100

That comes out to a total of 5K. If you can put another hundred bucks into your budget, you can get your hair done professionally. Professional makeup isn't necessary - do your own. I'd also cut limo entirely - you can drive ANYTHING! (We drove our own car, despite having enough money to have gotten a limo) For music, I would use an ipod and make your own playlist. That's what we did - we rented a mixer for about $150 and plugged into our venue's speaker system. It worked great, and we had total control over the music, which I liked.

As you can see, your rings take up a hefty chunk of your budget. If you haven't bought them yet, I'd REALLY recommend going with simple bands - for now - and then upgrading them on your first anniversary, when you're not worrying about paying for wedding costs anymore. Also consider hiring a photographer to take the photos, do some minor editing, and then give them to you on a DVD. That way, you can print them yourself and make your own album. More importantly, you won't have to take the album money out of your wedding budget - you can pay for it later, after the wedding.

It will be a challenge to have what you want for the price you want to pay, but you can do it by being creative and making a few sacrifices. Make your budget, divide it into categories, and stick to it. Keep looking around until you find a solution that works for YOUR budget, not for the budget you wish you have.

DaisypathWedding Ticker


racegrrl720 Posts : 31 Registered: 4/13/08
Re: I'm having a crisis moment...advice please
Posted: Jan 25, 2009 5:54 PM Go to message in response to: independant2406

Honey, believe me, I feel your pain. I am trying to do a wedding this July for about the same number of guests with even less money than you are budgeting with. Fortunately I'm pretty lucky to have found some good bargains...

Venue $0. We are having our wedding and party (I'm not calling it a reception because it's not going to be your typical reception by any means) at my fiance's parents house. Thankfully they have a really beautiful farmhouse and some land. If we weren't doing this, we'd be doing the state park thing too.
Caterer Food $0-100 I know this is probably going to cause a riot because it's not considered "good etiquette" but we're doing a pot luck dinner. It's going to be the fourth of July, my dad's going to bbq, I'll probably make some kind of pasta dish and a few sides, and some of my other family members and even some of the guests have volunteered to bring a dish.
Alcohol $200-300 I'd say we'll probably spring for a keg or two
Staff $0 No staff, although, it'd probably be nice!!!
Gratuities $0 Read above statement.
Rentals $~250 I'm going to need to rent probably 6 tables, 75 chairs and an archway
Lighting $0 No need for lighting, our wedding is going to be during the afternoon
Valet $0 I don't think anyone in Farmington Mo is going to miss a valet... lol.
Security $0 My fiance and his friends WORK security, so I'm not too worried about this, even if there were something to worry about... LOL
Florist $0 DIY! I'm DIY'ing my bouquets, boutteniers (sp?) and centerpieces with silk flowers from someplace like Michaels or Hobby Lobby. Hobby Lobby seems like they are constantly running a 50% off sale on their silk flowers.
Photographer/Album $300 I have both a friend and an uncle of the fiance that are (really good) amateur photographers with wedding experience. Part of that budget is for processing and part will be for a tip for whichever one ends up being our photographer
Videographer $0 I'm going to set my dad's camcorder up on a tripod. Done.
Cake $150 But could be $0... fiance's mom talking about buying this for us.
Bride Clothing/Dress $300-400 I'm getting a dress from David's Bridal online store, the most I'll spend on it is $200. But I'm really thinking about going for one of the $99 dresses. It's going to be hot as hades on our wedding day because it most always is during July in MO so I am looking for a very simple, very airy dress... nothing heavy, beaded or long.
Limo $0 Completely NOT necessary. No reason your own car isn't good enough for you on this day.
Invitations $75 I got my DIY invites from Hobby Lobby for less than $20 for everything (Love their 50% off sales!) I'd say the bulk of my expense will be on postage!
Band(s)/ DJ $0 Ipod baby!
Officiant $100 My church's pastor is doing our wedding and technically it's free but I'll be makng a donation to the church.
Musician for ceremony $0 Once again, Ipod baby!
Flowers $100 See Florist.
Makeup/Hair $25-50 I'll be doing my makeup myself... don't know about my hair yet so this may increase. But I'm including the price of new makeup in this cost...
Specialty Linens $0 We're having a backyard bbq wedding... no need for special linens.
Marriage License $51 Can't get around this one!
Rings $300(this is the cost of our engagement ring and both our wedding bands) Yes, you can get rings this inexpensively.
Candles $20
Décor $100 I'm not too worried about decor... it's outdoors so it's pretty enough anyways. But we are doing fireworks, of course!
Groom and Best Man attire $100 Why are you paying for best man attire? Your best man should pay for his own. And the boys are just wearing white button up shirts, ties and dress pants.

Total $2500... at the most.

My wedding is going to be very simple and very very casual... a nice, simple ceremony and then we're having a party afterwards... like I said, I'm not calling it a reception. But we're going to try to make it as fun as possible. We're going to set up a volleyball net and a horseshoe pit, we're having the pot luck bbq and we're going to set off some fireworks. We're only inviting the closest people to us.
You just have to become a great bargain hunter...and be willing to sacrifice some of the more frilly things like a limo and a valet.


WaterySylph Posts : 208 Registered: 3/5/07
Re: I'm having a crisis moment...advice please
Posted: Jan 26, 2009 1:07 AM Go to message in response to: racegrrl720

Potluck Reception WOOT! 5k weddings WOOT! I'm doing both

Oh btw Indie I'm having an outdoor ceremony on May 1st...in Oregon. Do you know what I tell everyone who asks "well what if it rains?" I smile and say, "Dress for it."

To love means to open ourselves to the negative as well as the positive - to grief, sorrow, and disappointment as well as to joy, fulfillment, and an intensity of consciousness we did not know was possible before." -- Rollo May




BirdLover Posts : 2,834 Registered: 3/30/06
Re: I'm having a crisis moment...advice please
Posted: Jan 26, 2009 2:29 AM Go to message in response to: WaterySylph

I think the idea of a "potluck" all depends on what you are talking about. If it means "homemade food - people even offered to help" then that can work well. If it's "we're asking each guest to bring a dish", well that's just rude. It would sorta be like charging to come to the wedding, in a way. But homemade food? Certainly nothing wrong with that. I personally wouldn't have wanted to worry about it though :P

There's also the option of having a caterer for certain things (for example, the main courses, if you want more than one) and having the sides, desserts, etc. homemade. But I know that every venue seems to have different rules and that might not even be "allowed"...hmmm...now I'm hungry...

I also agree with Artbride that there is a lot of wedding stuff that is nice to have, but not at all needed. People won't notice, for example, if you don't have favours. You don't have to have a cake at all (many people are opting out of one and just having normal desserts that cost a lot less). I didn't wear a veil or tiara or anything like that, which also saves money. The thing you have to do is come with what are "must haves" for you and your FH, and what things you can do without.

Out of curiosity...I know that there are at least a few ladies on here who did their weddings for around 5,000$...I am wondering, maybe some of you could post your budget breakdown on here and give the Original Poster something to look at for inspiration!

Lilypie Expecting a baby Ticker


MrsMcCain Posts : 580 Registered: 10/24/07
Re: I'm having a crisis moment...advice please
Posted: Jan 26, 2009 10:50 AM Go to message in response to: independant2406

Unfortunately weddings are very expensive, especially when it comes to the food/photography/venue and alcohol. You do not have to provide alcohol at your wedding. If you do it is important to find a venue that permits you to bring your own alcohol (then you can have a keg or two at $150.00 each). If your venue will not let you do this yourself then they will charge you $5.00 per drink. If you do not want to pay for alcohol or you can't find a venue that allows you to bring your own then it is ok to have a cash bar. Just make sure your guests know about it ahead of time.

Now with your catering ordeal. There are many venues who make you pick from one of their caterers. It is also important to find a venue that allows you to choose anyone or even make your own food. I live in Iowa and there are a few grocery stores that can cater a decent meal for $7.00-$11.00 per person. That will put you at about $1,000.00 for 75 guests. You might have to pay gratituty if it is not included in the bill. If you do not want to cater you might to try to find some family members that will cook. I had a friend whose family had many good chefs and they made all of their own food. It included lasanga, chicken wings, salad, garlic bread, etc.... and it was REALLY good. That will save you a ton of money.

Flowers are always expensive, unfortunately. If you cannot afford flowers I would do some fake ones.

Since this wedding seems to be very important to you (and I understand that) I think you should postpone the date and try to save more money. Unless you have already sent out the invitations I think it's a great idea. If I think of anything else I will let you know.


Nalamienea Posts : 2,924 Registered: 6/13/08
Re: I'm having a crisis moment...advice please
Posted: Jan 26, 2009 4:48 PM Go to message in response to: BirdLover

Well Birdie, I was one of those "low budget" brides, and I went and dug-up my old excel spread sheet (Oh how we became close friends! I miss it! hehehe)

Reception stuff:
Venue: $180 (state park conference room)
Food: $430 (catering for $15 per person)
Cake: $80 (we tipped $20 for the delivery)
Dishes: $90 (we got dishes as a gift from my BIL from a restaurant auction so this is for the wine glasses and water glasses we bought, and then the silverware we rented)
Decorations: $280
Total: $1060

Attire stuff:
My Dress: $230 (sample sale)
Lingerie and accessories: $70 (DIY Veil in here)
Alterations $115 (right before the wedding I had a crisis and decided I HAD to have a lace-up back in my dress, so out came part of the zipper! lol)
Hair/Makeup: $60 (I paid for my mom's makeup too)
Groom's Suit: $180 (he didn't own a good suit, and we found this one on clearance. It was over $600 regular price!)
Groom's Shirt: $80 (he's a weird size with a big neck and not so wide shoulders, so we got it custom taylored for him. We probably coulda had one freakin' made, but he really liked it.)
Groom's Accessories: $60 (Belt, shoes, tie)
Total: $795

Ceremony stuff:
Location: $170 (state park amphitheatre)
Officiant: Free (gift from a friend)
Photography: $500
Invitations: $50 (DIY)
Programs: $20 (DIY)
Her Ring: $41 (ebay baby! 18K White Gold band in my size!)
His Ring: $15 (Rhodium band from one of thsoe jewelry auctions... can't remember the site's name, but he loves it and it's super comfy for him. Obviously we'll upgrade these at a later time)
Flowers: $280 (Florist did my bouquet, Bridesmaid bouquet, three boutonniers)
Total: $1076

Other Stuff:
Cabins: $550 (we paid for everyone's cabins to stay because we were kind of doing a "destination" wedding. They paid to get here, so we paid for them to stay.)
Gifts: $60
Total: $610

Grand Total: $3541

We were certainly outside of our original budget by a smidge, but in the end I was really happy with everything that we spent money on.

IMG_7120.jpg picture by sarahandchris2008


Edited by: Nalamienea on Jan 26, 2009 5:31 PM


MasterFlorist Posts : 222 Registered: 11/30/07
Re: I'm having a crisis moment...advice please
Posted: Jan 26, 2009 9:54 PM Go to message in response to: Nalamienea

Wow! Girl you sound just like me! I told my FH now Husband :D, that if I didn't get the wedding I wanted I didn't want one at all..and I would be ok with it. We planned to just go down to the courthouse and do it! Well, it changed when I started looking for a dress.. I realized I wanted SOMETHING...

I didn't want a church since we are from different backgrounds, so I looked for outdoor places..found a few city parks with gorgeous gazebos..I wanted to get married out doors but our date was 1/17/09 so this was pretty much out of the question. His mom suggested we rent a suite. I was a little skeptical.. I mean.. a suite??? But we booked it for $599, a weekend special at the Gaylord Texan and it was perfect!! One whole wall was made of floor to ceiling windows! We got married on the 7th floor overlooking Lake Grapevine with the sunset. Our reception? The high end hotel club which that night happened to have a live 80's cover band..(they were really good too, not cheesy). We had a dancefloor and sat on cushy sofas all for free!! It was a total blast! We even got to have our own dance while the whole place cheered. Best of all we had a gorgeous room to spend our night together. I am a florist so I made my own bouquet which cost me about $25 made of hydrangea and roses, actually most bouquets cost this much to make..but the industry marks them up ridiculously. Our cake for 30 people was $35 completely bare with white icing, I decorated the cake myself with flowers. I bought my dress for $350 at a consignment shop and our officiant was $75.

Maybe something off the wall as a hotel suite would work?? I'm an all or nothing gal too but I wouldn't have changed one bit about my night :D

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