**Any and All Wedding Ideas Please!!! on a Budget!!**

Updated on July 20, 2011
B.G. asks from Harbor City, CA
19 answers

Hello ladies! I'm getting married in the beginning of October! Woo Hoo! We are on a budget big time though. I'm having the wedding in our big backyard. I basically have a $1,000 budget, (what my parents have offered to pay, on top of the honeymoon) I have a dress already, that I've actually had for a while and going to use. I think we have a DJ for free, we also have a friend photographer. I need ideas for food, decortations, chair rentals, Father Daughter dance songs, wedding songs. What flowers can I get cheap in October, or should I just forget about having them their too expensive?? I'm thinking of asking our closest friends to make a dish for a potluck. We'll have a keg or 2 and alcohol. Any good ideas as far as caterers?? Its just our CLOSEST friends and immediate family, so all together including kids hopefully less than 80 people. I also need to send out invitations, whats the cheapest way to do that?? Print them myself?? Do I have to send the RSVP envelope with it our can I just say RSVP to an email?? Really, any and ALL wedding ideas would be greatly appreciated. I want it to be simple but a BLAST for everybody. Its a little more than 2 months away so I'm on a time crunch!! Thank you sooo much in advance!!

**ALSO THINKING OFF BEACH THEME** My dress is beachy, and the boys will probably wear kaki color with white shirts. Maybe glass vases with some sand, shells and candles??**

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answers from Los Angeles on

Target has some cheap invitations that are pretty cute. For centerpieces, my sister got very large vases and put these beautiful rocks with just a couple of flowers in them. There are all sorts of things you can do instead of flowers. You can do different sized candles which can be cheap, then you have pretty candle holders afterwards. Catering can be cheap. What type of food are you looking for? Mexican food in large bulk is not too expensive if you wanted that. I think having someone make stuff might be stressful. Do you have a Buca Di Beppo near? They have awesome food, large quantities, decent prices.

Good luck!

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

My SIL just had a baby shower and she went to a printing place and had the invites put on a post card - less expensive and less postage.


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answers from Albany on

we just got married on 7-9-11. it was fantastic. We had someone cook us a pig, for the pig roast, and i had about 20 out of 170 people bring salads, or a dish. The tent, chairs, and tabels we rented from a company....they were the biggest cost. we also had 4 kegs for the amount of people. on my invitations, i put at the bottom r.s.v.p. and my phone number by a certain date. the people who did not rsvp, i called about 1 month before so we had an idea for food. We had a friend bring his bounce house over for the kids.... i hope everything goes great for your day. Congrats and good luck

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Detroit on

I got married in October and we also got married in our backyard. We had pots of mums around the yard and for a centerpieces we took the small pumpkins and used them like a vase with mums inside. It turned out really beautiful.

I don't know if you like country but one of my favorite songs is I Loved Her First by Heartland (it still makes me tear up!)
Cinderella by Steven Curtis Chapman is another good one

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

We did a wedding on a tight budget and everyone had a blast!

I made my own invites. You can buy inexpensive paper at the store that's for weddings and print them out on the computer. If it's just close friends and family you can RSVP to an email. At least that's MY opinion! Hardly anyone sent those darn cards back anyway and I put postage on all of them!

We had Chinese food catered from the local restaurant. They gave us a great deal and everyone loved it! It was cheaper than "gourmet" food but didn't have that "picnic" feel which we wanted to avoid. However, I don't see anything wrong with having some close family bring a dish! My friend did her wedding that way and everyone was glad to pitch in.

We didn't do a wedding cake and instead did wedding cupcakes. My mom and my aunt made all the cupcakes and we used one of those 3-tiered platters to display them on.

For flowers we bought them at the local discount store and made the bouquets. I bought 3 different bunches of roses in different colors and made them into bouquets with ribbon. I did buy the mens' boutineers. The bunches of roses were $8 each! Our bouquets were just as beautiful as the ones you pay a lot of money for.

We had fortune cookies for favors! We put our own fortunes inside that said "Thanks for enjoying our special day with us!"

Good luck! And congrats!

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Honolulu on

A way to control costs... is to control how many people, are invited.

My own wedding, was strictly on budget, and it was about $1,000.
We had a small, wedding. Less than yours of 80 people.
ONLY immediate family and close friends.
That's it.
It was elegant and very nice.

I also had a caterer, which was really nice and I told them what my budget was and they came up with a great menu for us. All within budget.

My friend's boss was our Florist.
A friend, was the Photographer.
My friend, did the music. No DJ.

You NEED to control, how many people are invited to control costs.
Also, do not have the wedding/reception at a 'meal' time. Otherwise, you will have to feed everyone a 'meal.'
We had ours at an off time. And it was a "tea" wedding/reception/buffet.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Philadelphia on

We had our foster daughters wedding in the yard and it was wonderful. We told everyone about it as a budget wedding and asked (verbally) if they would be willing to bring a dish. Many people were more than happy to and that really helped. We did not serve alcohol, it is expensive and most people went ahead and brought their own but it cut down on drinking as a problem at the event. October should still have some flowers growing depending on where you are, we got lots of "left overs" at the local stores and cut the plants up for displays...

These days a mailed invite is still best, but you can send e-vites. Just make sure your older relatives get a real invite in the mail.

There are CDs of wedding collections available cheap. Cheap and easy to use. If you tell everyone it is a party with a wedding thrown in for fun they'll accept the more relaxed atmosphere and chip in.

Have fun!

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answers from New York on

First, congratulations.

Second, cut your guest list in 1/2 if you want this under $1000 TOTAL. You are talking aout doing a wedding for less than $15 per person... you can go to Friday's for that!

Just some thoughts...
- Invitations can be purchased at a craft store and mailed. Ask for an email or phone call as a response. This will save you on printing AND postage, as a printed response card should include postage. Think outside the "box" too... checkout the Crane Papers website and look at things other than "wedding" invites, like bridal shower invites or garden party or even "fall themes"!
- If you are having a backyard recpeption before the sun goes down, consider a tent. If you can't afford the tent, then have the wedding after the sun starts to set.
- Beer/wine/soda/water... much cheaper than liquor.
- Flowers... consider doing a single stem (like a calla lily) for yourself and no flowers for the bridal party (if you are having one).
- Rent the tables and white plastic chairs and use PAPER GOODS!
- Decorations: white table cloths on the tables, colored paper goods, hurricane candles on the tables (really pretty in the evening) with votives for additional light, Christmas lights in the trees for lighting

Definitely hire someone to do the food, but consider a restaurant or a private caterer who will drop off the food, but won't insist on "serving" it. Do a buffet and remember that if you will be serving alcohol, have enough food!

Cake: consider doing cupcakes. You can legitimately do those yourself ahead of time and just freeze them. Defrost the day before and frost them that day. Arrange them on pretty platters or make a "tower" and there you go!

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Medford on

When my neice married, they asked everyone who wanted to bring their "best" pot luck dish to share, and the recipe written down for the bride to start her recipebox. My sister even included the nice recipe card so it inticed the guests to take part more. It was a nice small wedding (75)and The food was amazing! I helped in the kitchen and made 300 sweet n sour meatballs and they were a huge hit. I was really pleased to hear the guests bring in their food and say how they put it in the nicest dish so it would look pretty on the table. It was really sweet to see how they thought of that instead of your typical tin foil pan or a old bent out of shape Tupperware bowl. They decorated the tables with Dollar Store fish bowls and bought a bunch of cheap feeder fish the day before to put in them. We wrapped the bowls in tulle' and tied them with ribbon to match the color and then afterwards, gave the fish to the preschool that had a tank of fish. My sister baked the 3 tiered cake herself but thats not always something others can do, but you can order a smaller pretty cake, maybe 2 tiers and set it on a beautiful glass cake plate with a pedistal to make it more grand and tall. Wrap the pedistal with the same tulle' or ribbon. Then have 3 or 4 13x9 cakes in the kitchen to slice and bring out on plates..Much cheaper than cutting the big cake for everyone. Betty Crocker is fine. Buy nuts or mints in bulk at a store such as WINCO, or Costco and set in pretty bowls and serve the drinks you want. If you are attending a church at all, you might ask to borrow their chairs, and you might be surprised. Also a few banquet tables. What does the yard look like? Maybe its flowers will be just fine, and save a ton of cash. Congratulations!

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Anchorage on

At my wedding $$ was tight, so we got a bunch of ingredients and all my aunts made the food and we did it buffet style. It went great. I got my decorations at the valentines clearance sale, but it is too late for that (my colors were red and black, so it worked well). Skip the flowers, and just do a nice bouquet for you to carry, and get one made of fake flowers to throw. You can get the stuff to make one cheap at Micheals. Congrats and best of luck

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Houston on

I got maried in October.. best time of year! To save money, I bought dying flowers or went to florists and they gave me flowers they were going to throw out! Then, I dried them all and used dried floral arrangments. It was actually quite pretty. You can add pinecones, feathers.. all kinds of neat things for cheap (or free) for that kind of stuff.. I'm thinking the seashells would still look pretty with that as well. FOr the bouqeut, you can have the flowers, maybe some pale white berries or tiny pumpkins and seashells:
these seashell picks are cute:

You can put pretty tea lights in mason jars. Mismatched is fine and sometimes even better! Just save lots of mayo/spaghetti/pickles jars, friends and family members can donate too. Tie them with ribbon or a strip of burlap or raffia.

I go to http://ruffledblog.com/ for lots of cheap diy ideas, that still turn out pretty gorgeous.

Put fairy lights or fabric garlands or banners around in the trees or on the patio.


1 mom found this helpful


answers from Dallas on


This website had a lot of neat ideas for diy wedding stuff. I like the look of beach wedding themes. Maybe mason jars with sand in the bottom with votive candles for the tables?

I had a very casual, small beachy wedding (years ago) and we had a blast. For my "wedding dress" I actually wore a hawaiian print beach cover-up, and my husband wore a white hawaiian print embroidered shirt and white linen pants. We were married on the deck of a restaurant near the ocean. We paid for it, so we did everything CHEAP!!!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Phoenix on

This sounds like the time to accept help from all those people who ask, "Can I do anything to help?"
Do you have any friends who cook? If so, plan a menu that is simple and have them prepare it. Same thing with the wedding cake, do you have any friends with a flair for baking and decorating? For flowers, check out Costco, they do wedding flowers, and if you have a friend who is creative, you can buy your flowers at Costco and have her put them together. Tables and chairs could be borrowed from friends/family. Check on-line and at Party City for decorations. I think an email RSVP is acceptable, and again check on-line and Party City for invitations, as well as Costco.
Most importantly, relax and have fun.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Syracuse on

Maybe make it a picnic style with a country theme. Cover all the tables with red checkered table cloths and then decorate each with a glass vase/jar and a few sunflowers or black eyed susans. Tie a colored ribbon around each vase for added decoration. I would skip asking people to bring food and instead go with something like hamburgers/hotdogs/sausages/chicken...good rolls and all the toppings along with some side dishes like potatoe salad, garden salad, pasta salad,beans. Find a friend to run the grill. Set it all up nicely on a big buffet table, it's all about presentation. I think replying to an email is fine, especially since these days everyone is trying to be greener.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Cleveland on

Don't cater, not on a budget. Have family help cook. 2 of my mom's friends cooked for my wedding, about the same size as yours. We had salad, ham, fruit and veggie platters and a potato dish. Really simple. My cousin just got married and they had an ice cream bar, they just rented a soft serve machine, so I'm guessing pretty affordable, and I'm not sure what you would call it but about 8 different chip/cracker/veggie dips, both of which I think are great ideas.

here are some ideas that may be more cost effective than real flowers,just check google images for wedding centerpieces. They have lots of tealight floaters, and various size vases with candles you can fill them with rock or with sand in your wedding colors.

another neat idea, instead of doing favors for the guest my cousin had a little sign in a frame, typed all pretty, explaining that they made a donation tot he local animal shelter in their guests honor instead. The frame was next to the guest book so everyone saw it, and no one ever needs to know if the donation was 100 bucks or 20.

as for invites, you can find do it yourself kits at any craft store and even places like walmart. it's a computer program, you enter the info and print them on your printer at home. Cheap and actually really easy to do, and I don't see anything wrong with rsvp'ing to an email. Maybe you can set up a free wedding page online where people can rsvp?

If it's a small wedding forget a program, chances are most everyone knows who is in the wedding and all that stuff.

Also, if you can avoid buying decorations, then avoid buying them. I wish i had thought to borrow more, I have about 25 vases I will never use for anything. Freecycle can be a great resource for finding things people are giving away rather than throwing out. But if you do need to buy things I was really happy with the stuff i bought from Oriental Trading company, and they are cheap.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

if you or someone in your family attends a church ask about renting/borrowing chairs & tables a lot of churches will let you for cheap if they have no events that day

for our reception we grilled if you have a family member or friend who is willing to "man the grill" you can prepare everything ahead of time, we did kabobs, shrimp, chicken, steak, & veggie. then you can do whatever sides you want.

i purchased blank invitations & then printed

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

Beg, borrow and steal. My sister got married last week and worked hard to keep it cheap, but nice. She made announcements at church and on facebook for table cloths. This saved her from having to buy or rent any. Friends brought then and she labeled the backs with masking tape, so they could be easily returned. She got a terrific deal on flowers from Sam's club. For her center pieces she used mason jars that she tied ribbon around. She asked for these from friends too. When her wedding was over, the church was going to use them for a canning project. For her food, she kept it simple. But it was nice and really filling (pasta salads, mashed potatoes, grilled chicken, meatballs, tortilla roll ups, fruit and cheese). She didn't serve any booze. It was just lemonade, water and tea. This saved a ton. She was able to convince friends to cook for her, so she simply had to buy the food. She made mints as her party favor...again, she enlisted friends to help. To save money on the cake, you could have a smaller cake to cut and then sheet cakes to serve.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Tampa on

I would start with freecycle and see what you can get from others. Then maybe garage sales. People get rid of stuff they no longer need but you might. Maybe in October you can have pumpkins instead of flowers on the tables. Use mini-pumpkins and gourds for color.

Can a family member make your cake? Maybe that can be their "gift" to you and your soon to be husband? Maybe your mom, aunts, cousins, etc can make cookies or have cheese and cracker trays?

I would have picnic style food. Or as messy as it sounds a Spaghetti Bar (someone else mentioned that once). Pasta is cheap and goes a long way. Garlic bread and salad there ya go!

Congrats again :)

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Columbus on

Go to the library and check out the book "Bridal Bargains"---you will find a ton of stuff in that book that will help you save money.

Honestly, I would say that you should seriously consider having the reception at a friends house (with a big, nice looking backyard) and have a potluck. My brother's wedding reception was a potluck, and my parents held it in the backyard (they rented a tent, in case of bad weather), and held more as an open house, so people could come & go as they wished. My mom and my SIL's dad had "dualling" barbecue grills going, to cook hot dogs, chicken breasts, hamburgers & sausage; meat was cooked up as needed in batches. Friends & family members brought dishes to pass. They bought jugs of wine (boxes might be better--the boxes are actually supposed to be as good or better quality as the regular size bottles). Not serving alcohol will save you a bundle (if that's an option). The best thing about it was that we all got to help make the day special. There were scheduled times for things (the special dances & throwing of the bouquet/garter), but the bride just wore a nice dress and not the wedding dress. It was truly a community coming together to put on a celebration, and that made it really special.

If you don't have a backyard to do it in, then check your local state/metro parks for renting a picnic area (that way, you don't have to share).

Offer to have them RSVP by phone or email to save $ on postage. You can print nice invitations easily on good paper and regular envelopes; ask family if they would be upset to get an invite via email (some might, some wouldn't care).

1 mom found this helpful
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