When he first proposed, we decided to just go to justice of the peace. However our family demanded we have a real wedding. Jason and I had just bought our house so spending thousands of dollars on a wedding was out of the question. Luckily Jason thought to marry a bargain shopper. I remember spending hours on the Internet comparing prices till I finally found the best one for our buck.
I also joined wedding websites that had help forums that till this day I still get emails. It took about a years worth of planning for our wedding to happen, but that year long wait was worth it. We were able to hold our wedding on a 2k budget.
Spending 2k on a years worth of planning isn't really that much if you think about it. Matter of fact I'll break it down.
What took the most money for this planning is the venue. Jason and I looked at tons of places seeing what they offered when I finally had the brilliant idea to try a state park. State parks normally have a building on the property that can house meetings, and special events. The park we finally decided to go with had a luxurious room with balcony. They even provided the table and chair and set them up before the event. For a 6-7hr event we only paid 695.00 that also included food warmers which we decided at a later date we needed. Every other venue we looked at took up our whole budget and didn't offer table and chairs.
The food was a mixture of home made food and large pasta portions from my favorite Italian restaurant. Alot of restaurants when ordering for event size portions will ask if you need eating utensils and how much bread. We ended up with so much extra utensils that Jason and I are still using them till this day. Our food budget including drinks was 200-300. We spend 250.00 and were able to feed 75 people with food still left over for our honeymoon.
Decorations are a major part of a wedding. Thankfully our wedding was in October I used the fall leaves to my advantage. Everything was fall! It amazed me at how easily it was to gather things for free and use them for the wedding. We sent out a message on different social networks asking for empty wine bottles and they came by the carloads for free. People want to get rid of things and they want to help out others and have some part in wedding planning. The only things I had to buy decoration wise was Hot glue, Faux leafs,spray paint, and cheap flowers. $100.00 total.
We had a guest tree instead of a book. The branches were from a tree in our front yard. The leafs from our local dollar tree. The paper and twine we had from a previous craft I did. It took us $3.00 to make this.
These are the free wine bottles like I said only had to buy spray paint. The mason jars we also got for free. The twine and picture frames were spares we had around the house I decided to use last minute.
Our card holder was first an ugly green bird cage that we spray painted white and added cheap dollar tree flowers and some ribbon and card stock we had around the house. $3.00 decoration!
Our bouquets and boutonnieres we got as a steal! Social Networks are full of groups that are dedicated to selling used items for half the price. I was able to get 4 faux bouquet holders and 5 boutineer holders for $10.00. The faux bouquets go in the store for $8.00 each and the boutineer's for $5.00 All I had to do was buy different flowers and Viola!
I believe the attire for Jason and I cost under $500.00 Thankfully! I fell in love with a David's Bridal dress that was currently on sale $399.00 right now. That total included the slip, corset, and veil. I used a pair of brown heels I had for another wedding I attended instead of buying new ones. Jason got his tux for $80.00 it would of been free when your party pays for 4 tuxes. Also the men's wear was cheaper than original price of $100.00. We didn't order the full tux and what we ordered was pants, shoes, vest and shirt. it knocked a whole $20.00 off each order.
For our bridesmaids I asked them to just buy a dress that they would wear on other occasions. All of them bought dresses from online Amazon has Davids Bridal dresses half off and free shipping. You need to look out for that sale when it comes around. They also bought their own shoes I knew I didn't want them matching I only asked they buy brown dresses. However I did buy them all matching ear rings and bracelets. That I got from a new store that opened up in our local mall everything was half off and it was costume jewelry but made very well. That total was $40.00. Our groomsmen got etched shot glasses for 30.00 for 6 that said PROBLEM SOLVER. And I did spurge and get a custom made Legend of Zelda Garter for $30.00 on etsy.
For our table covers, napkins, and plates. Here's a little helpful tip for you. When buying napkins go with colors. The plain white napkins sale for more. We bought Orange and Brown ones for half the price. And we're still using them at home. Don't buy alot! Most people only use one at a wedding. Also when buying food from restaurants the utensils they give will also come with napkins. The plates and bowls we picked up from family dollar and yes they were Styrofoam I didn't want to be stuck with table ware to sell after the wedding. Our cups were clear and plastic because our venue recycles so we kept them in mind. And our table covers were plastic white, because the venue could use them for other events if needed. We spent $100.00 on that. Keep a look out for coupons for your local party supply place and watch for deals. That is the only reason we got it for so cheap.
Our wedding cupcakes was made by a family member who also did the grooms cake. So I couldn't tell you the price. I will however say if anyone offers to do something for free take them up on it. It helps lower your stress level. Also if anyone offers to pay for something...you're not lowering yourself when you accept their offer. I didn't have to pay for my dress fitting and having it taken in. Granted it only cost 60.00 which I would of willingly payed.
**When buying a dress from Davids Bridal they will also charge you and arm and leg for fittings. Its cheaper to take it to a little hole in the wall shop. They normally have cheaper prices and better customer service.**
Ceremony Officiant's and Photographers are tricky when it comes to finding the right one. Most if not all officiant's will require some type of class. (You also could just have gotten someone that is a notary). Ours was a friend of the family and wanted only one class and charged us $200.00. The photographer was also a friend of the family and we didn't have to pay a dime. A simple person that is able to take decent pictures would do for us. Shop and ask around you will be surprised the things you will find.
* Brides it will be ok. I cant tell you how many times I freaked out and cried. When looking back was it really necessary to cry because what you ordered didn't come in a month before the wedding?
* choose your bridal party carefully. I had to demote my maid of honor because of a year of non communication till the end.
* The Internet and bargain shopping is your friend
* Party favors are an option and not necessary.
* Guest expect food
* Go cheap on centerpieces guest only sit at the table for 30mins for dinner, the rest of the time their up socializing.
* Keep the older generation guest in mind when picking venues. If its in the summer pick a shaded location for their seats.
* Seating charts should be exact! It has a major role to help separate certain enemies from each other and keeps a smooth wedding.
* Nothings wrong with hand downs
* Recycle what you can: All our centerpieces we were able to thrown in our venue's recycle bin so we didn't have to deal with them later.
* Give back! I am very grateful to the people who we bought from wedding groups for half off.
* Coupons! Start Clipping!!!!
* Find a crafter friend if you're no good at DIY.
* Free doesn't mean Cheap Quality
*Mistakes will happen...laugh through it
*Your future husband wants to help....don't downgrade or ignore his thoughts on something.
* Always register for things you need and WANT!
* Something will always go wrong at the wedding. Our ceremony officiant called me the wrong name before quickly correcting himself.
* Have fun and LAUGH!
* Take a day off
I hope that this post will help the future brides and those wanting to watch their budget.