A.H. asks from Lakewood, OH on August 27, 2007
hello everyone! so im getting married in a little less then a yr and we do not have money like some. im trying to cut budge at every chance i can, but its sooooooo hard. my dad is paying for most of the hall and thats all. his family is paying for the drinks, i think, and maybe something small. im getting a little stressed because we dont have money growing on trees. if anyone knows where i can get a money tree from, please let me know. lol! i want my wedding to be nice and not hillbilly. i still need a cake, limo and flowers. well and of course the little things like gifts. i know what invites i want and those are below my budget. i set my budget at $15,000, even though i know it needs to be less than that. the hall is beautiful and the food is great but my dad is paying for most of that so i guess thats covered. the ceremony spot will be out side at an apple orchard. i still have to tell the orchard but i want to make sure i have the money so i wont have to worry about paying them off. we have the photo guy, which is where we screwed ourselves. the dj and video are half the price of the photo guy. ok i know i've just been blabing but i do need help. does anyone know where i can get some help. help help help!!!
S.W. answers from Cleveland on August 27, 2007
okay i'm not any sort of wedding expert but cutting costs i may be able to help ya with...if you don't want a big extravagant cake try costco. they are really good and pretty cheap for the price. flowers? go to a craft store and get the fake flowers and make your bridesmaids and flower girl bouquets, and on each of them attach a little personalized note and voila! your have your flowers and your bridesmaids gifts. your maid of honors gift i might do something a little bigger though. your bouquet should be however you want it real or fake flowers. bouteniers for the men should only be about 5 dollars from a decent florist or you can get those at giant eagles or costco as well. your best bet on the limo is just to call around and see who is willing to give you the better deal. and don't be afraid to bargain with them either. if "a limo" says they will charge 500 a night full bar and "b limo" says 550 no bar tell "b limo" that you have an offer for 400 for the night with a full bar but you really like their limo service better and see if they are willing to drop their price for you. (my brother did it and got his limo for $40 bucks an hour when they normally charged $75). as far as your photographer goes, you need a new one.....if hes charging you more than you can afford drop him and shop around. see if anyone you know knows someone. Good luck and if you ever come across that money tree let me know!!!!
J.W. answers from Cleveland on August 28, 2007
We were in a similar situation with our wedding and the way we cut corners was by doing things ourselves - we hand made our own announcements, invitations, programs, thank yous, etc. We also grew a lot of our own center-pieces for the tables, and went with dried instead of fresh flowers for many of the decorations. We spent a lot of time at Goodwill finding interesting pieces of pottery and vases to display things in. We dug through our closets for string lights, table cloths, candles... We spent a year hand making soap for our guests.
A cake is tough, but you have so much time - pick some bakeries in your neighborhood and compare their prices and compare their cakes! We live in Lakewood and there are half a dozen bakeries here. There's a nice one in Rocky River you might consider, and I'm sure there are several near wherever you live. We found a Romanian bakery called, I believe, Cakes Plus or some such thing. The cake was incredible and a lot less than others we had looked at. Keep your eyes open next time you go to a friends party or another event where someone might have a cake. If you like it, ask them where they got it.
Think about what talents or skills your friends and family have that can contribute to what you want for your wedding. For example, we have friends who are musicians who performed for free or for cheap, and a friend with a sound system that we could borrow. We spent some time making a mix CD of appropriate music that we played through dinner, and that didn't cost a thing.
Do you have a friend who is a photographer? Or who can take good pictures? We left a couple polaroid cameras and some disposable cameras around for people to use, but we did have a professional photographer too. The mix of photos we got was great.
Ask yourself what you really need, too - do you really need a limo? Where can you cut costs?
I think that people really appreciate a hand-made wedding that gives you a chance to show who you are rather than trying to put on some version of someone else's ideal wedding. I'm sure a lot of people say this about a lot of weddings, but many of our friends and family said that our wedding was the best wedding they had ever been to. They said that because it was an eclectic, unique event that reflected who we were as people, and that suggested to our guests that we were glad they came, that it was important to us that they came, which it absolutely was.
These ideas aren't free, but doing things yourself does save money. You'll have to spend the time doing the research and driving around to get the bits and pieces you need, but in the end, it will be worth it. Good luck!
H.P. answers from Cleveland on August 28, 2007
Hi A., First, congratuatlations.
I used to own a wedding corrdinating business, so I know quite a bit about planning them.
I would suggest getting a book from the library called "planning a wedding on a budget". There are many good ideas in there. If you can't find the book, let me know.
Also, silk flowers instead of fresh, there are many inexpensive photographers, but be careful. Make sure you see their work.
LEt me know if I can help.
L.K. answers from Cleveland on August 28, 2007
I was in the same boat last year; I was on a very tight budget and wanted a very nice wedding also.
Don’t spend a ton of money on invitations…I bought mine form Wal-mart that I did myself and they turned out beautiful. Think about it do you ever save anyone invites after the wedding over?? Nope…in the trash they go!
Flowers and Center Pieces…there is a store on Brook park Road near Tideman called the Flower Factory it is an awesome store and they have TONS of wedding stuff very in expensive. You might have to get a membership but I promise it is worth it!
I don’t know if you know anyone in the Military but there is a story off of 150th in Cleveland that you can get Alcohol so CHEAP!!! Unfortunately I can not remember what it’s call but it’s so worth. I’m sure if you ask someone in the Military they will know. My best friend did this and she saved almost 50%.
As for you dress…don’t spend a tone of money on that either!!! Really you only wear it for one day and then it sits in your closet forever!!! I know everyone says “Maybe my daughter will wear it” please….fashion and trends change so fast!!! I wouldn’t wear my mom’s big puffy sleeved thing!!! Also remember when you are shopping you are going to need alterations and that will add an additional $100-150 to your dress bill.
Last thing don’t invite a tone of people!!! Really only friends and Family want to come anyways!! They are the ones that are going to be generous w/gifts. I only wanted a 100 and it ended up to be 150. My mother-n-law had to invite everyone form her office and most of them didn’t pay for there plate and one actually came and didn’t give a card…Are you kidding me….who does that!!!
Well I hope that helps!! Just remember when you are stressing over stuff…people really remember the Food, Drinks, Music!!! Good luck planning!!!
A.L. answers from Cleveland on August 28, 2007
I would keep your guest list low and not hire a videographer. We did and while it was great, how often do we really go back and look at it? A friend or family member could have taken some video for us. Same thing could go for pic's too if you know someone who has a nice camera and can take nice pic's for you. Go small and simple on bouquets and I wouldn't use any other flowers- they get super expensive. For table centerpieces we used what the hall offered us for free and then I made some added touches to really decrease the cost. We didn't hand out favors either at our wedding and no one seemed upset or offended. We just didn't have the $ to waste on that:)
I say $ should be spent on the dress you want, rings, good food, and alcohol. There really are a ton of ways to cut back on costs and still have a nice wedding:)
W.S. answers from Cleveland on August 28, 2007
Your budget is pretty good, I'd say, you can definitely do a wedding on $15,000 and keep it pretty traditional. I have to say I think it is important to have a GREAT photographer! I personally wouldn't skimp on that, but that's just me. You have to decide what's important to you. Others have had some great ideas, but let me tell you I did my wedding for that much (although it's been 7 years ago now!) and it was great. One thing we did was stick to beer and wine for the reception, no liquor, and we bought our own (boxes of wine, a keg, some champagne just for the wedding party to toast).
One KEY is keeping it small and keeping the wedding party small, too. It seems like it shouldn't matter, but in my case I guess giving them each a gift and helping with getting their hair and makeup done added up.
I also don't think it would be worth spending $2000 on a dress, unless you really can't find one that looks decent on you for less. You want to look good, but you're only going to wear it once and then pay $100 to store it if you want to keep it...so why pay $2000 (although those dresses are beautiful).
We were lucky in that someone made our cake (an aunt) as a gift, and my in laws gave us the flowers. Is there anyone you know who can do some work for you like that, as a gift?
Last, keep an Excel spreadsheet with your expenses and you'll know when you are overspending. I put a column for "budgeted amount" in each category, and then "actual amount," so I could see where I had to cut something back if I overspent on another category.
Hope that helps, you can do it!