DIY Wedding

Updated on July 09, 2010
K.F. asks from Denton, TX
21 answers

Hi ladies!
Ive been with my SO for two years and we already have a daughter, we decided to finally have a wedding on october or november, we want a wedding on a budget and I decided to do a DIY wedding, my family is probably helping me with the catering, we also dont want a big wedding (since we have a low budget). Any advices from you ladies about decoration, good photographers, cake, venue..Thanks a lot :D

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answers from Kansas City on

I had a friend who made centerpieces out of pumpkins for a fall wedding, which was fun. and cute. you could decorate with flowers or paint on them.

I would also suggest craigs list if you dont mind a used wedding dress. I've seen great ones on their much cheaper than a store.

And for bridesmaid's dresses, I suggest shopping the prom/homecoming dress area right after prom when they're all on sale.

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answers from Los Angeles on

My husband and I got married around Christmas. We purposely chose a location that was already partially decorated. The room had the white lights, a HUGE Christmas Tree, poinsettias, etc. This really saved us some money in decorations. In our centerpieces we actually used ornaments in a tall glass cylinder. This helped to take up some room so that we did not have to use so many flowers. We also got married on a Sunday and that saved us money. For our cake, we did not go with the trendy fondant cakes that are so popular these days. We went with an old school wedding cake and our florist put fresh flowers on the top. It tasted fantastic and did not cost a fortune! My bouquet was all red roses wrapped in ribbon. My bridesmaids had the same but smaller. We had an open bar but only offered beer and wine. As for the photographer - I agree with Dori - spend your money there. You want a good one. That day is over in a flash and you will want to look back on those amazing memories! Good luck and congratulation's!

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answers from Fort Wayne on

I did my wedding myself. Well, not totally by myself..I had a LOT of help! My cousin did my centerpieces, we went to Hobby Lobby when they had their flowers on sale and bought a ton. I got the vases there too. We got the ones that are called "project vases" They're shaped bigger at the bottom and have a lip on them. We bought lots of colored stones (also on sale) for the bottom. My husband insisted that each vase have a beta fish in it too. I found a place that gave them to me for $1.00 each.
I did a TON of research and found a florist that did my bouquets for dirt cheap. My cake was made by a family friend. All of our food came from Gordons Food Service (kind of like a Costco). We did sandwiches, scalloped potatoes, wings, pasta salad, potato salad, chips, dip, veggies, etc. Just keep it simple! My advice is to cut out pictures of what you want and don't be afraid to deviate a little. Also, research is key. You'll want to call a lot of different places before you decide on a florist or a bakery.
Is there a place around you that offers cake decorating classes? If so, contact the instructor and see if they know of any students that would want to do your cake.
Other than that, make sure you shop sales. Start buying things NOW so that it's not such a hit to the wallet come wedding time.

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answers from Dallas on

cheap, easy and very elegant looking decorations are: netting wrapped loosely around white christmas lights, draped and/or arranged around. A bunch of votive cups with tea lights in other places. Don't put the candles near the netting, of course! I have a good friend who does photography, and if you pm me, I'd be happy to put you in touch with her. Her business fb is: go there and check out her wedding pics.

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answers from Los Angeles on

I had a DIY wedding, although I didn't even think to call it that. LOL. My suggestions would be to find a photographer that is digital, usually the cost is lower. Some people say the prints aren't as nice but they totally are. As far as cake, we wasted money on ours. I really, really wanted cupcakes but my mom refused. My idea was to have cupcakes and just a small two person cake on top (for the photo op), but my mom ended up paying 500 bucks for a cake that came out crooked (although no one noticed but me). I would have been just as happy going to a grocery store and ordering a sheet cake from there, and getting a fancy cake from a bakery (sheet cake for the guests and fancy cake for photo op). We had an asian themed wedding. Most of our decorations came out of oriental trading. Chinese lanterns strung up on twine. We ordered all the favors from there as well (mini take out boxes with candy in them). We had a friend give us bamboo in bulk so we used that as our centerpieces (we also threw in goldfishes in the vases and it came out really nice...most of the guests walked away with one). I wanted to have chinese food, but the venue wouldn't allow it and we had to use their caterer. We got married at The Residence Inn/Mariott, they had a huge ballroom that accomodated our 75+ guests, and the ceremony was supposed to take place outside (but it rained so it was all in one room). We looked at a ton of venues though, wine vineyards, japanese gardens, historical houses, halls, old movie theaters, local parks that have privacy spots, you just have to get creative. Also saturday's are the most expensive day. We saved a few grand by having our wedding on a friday night. I loved planning my wedding, it was fun finding all the vendors and venue. Congrats on the wedding! Have fun!

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answers from Gainesville on

Just a note about using real flowers on your cake-you will need to wrap the stems in saran wraps or press n seal. The flowers are treated with all kinds of chemicals and you don't want that sitting in or on your cake. Can leave a nasty taste behind.

I think the one area I would spend money on is the photographer. We didn't and I regret it big time! Do your research and you should be able to find someone with a range that can work with your budget.

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answers from New York on

A dear friend of mine got married (her 2nd, his 1st) a few years ago. It was a DIY, a few suggestions...

She had the ceremony and reception in the same hall.

The bridesmaid dresses were cocktail type dresses bought at Macy's on sale for $40 each.

No photographer. She had disposable camera's on each of the tables. One of the relatives had a high end digital camera and took pictures of the ceremony. I also took tons of pictures for her. She was able to put together some great albums for herself and parents.

She had a cash bar. Soda was free to the guests.

The cake was a sheet cake bought at the local grocery store. It wasn't the most beautiful cake, but it sure tasted good.

Just out for decorating suggestions. Candles are inexpensive and can be quite elegant, however, make sure there are no safety issues. For something less formal, you can do alot with balloons.

Congratulations and good luck!

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answers from Phoenix on

I got married last Oct and did pretty much everything. First, google "weddings in Denton, TX" or wherever you are getting married. That will list a bunch of places. Also consider a Friday or Sunday (10/10/10???), its usually cheaper. I did my own silk flowers for my 2 girls. I got matching baskets and happened to catch a 50% off sale at our local Hobby Lobby for silk flowers and EVERYTHING in their wedding dept. I put together my favors myself and ordered our toasting glasses and personalized fans thru Also, if you have a theme in mind, google that too as well as "cheap wedding ideas" and tons of sites come up. Congrats and good luck!

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answers from Cincinnati on

my wedding cost less than $500 total. We got married at the courthouse but then had a big reception. if you have an outdoor wedding you can book a shelter in a state park for $40 dollars (for all day but generally you want to have the reception during the day if you choose that because most shelters dont have electricity) my dress was a white prom dress and cost me $60 at debs. our local church gave us extra tables and chairs for free for the day.

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answers from Tulsa on

I have never had a catered event, I did have a formal photographer at my first wedding and really missed the good pictures from my second wedding where we just had some friends take pictures with a good camera. We did my flowers ourselves, we bought a book at Hobby Lobby and practiced on cheap, cheap artificial flowers until we got it right and decided what we wanted. We made stands out of scrap wood and covered them with thin satin squares I hemmed. I had a couple of white baskets that i liked and we made larger floral arrangements and they went on the stands on either side of us. We got a lightweight arch from either Wal-Mart or Hobby Lobby and decorated it with greenery strands that we bought half price at Hobby Lobby. We wove flowers that matched the bouquets throughout the greenery. We had a local pastor perform the ceremony and it was lovely. The flower girl and ring bearer wore their own clothes, if yours don't have anything like you want then start looking now at thrift stores or consignment stores and buy the next size up or even the next and you can always use double sided tape to hem the pants if you can't sew. You also have a Tuesday Morning Club in your area if I remember right and you can get large flat sheets to cover tables for your guest book and reception tables. Check with a local Vo-Tech or Community College and see if they have any Cake Decorating Classes. The teacher usually makes cakes on the side and they are usually awesome, they love their craft and work extra hard to make lovely things.

So, my advice:

Pay for professional pictures

When you have finally decided the floral arrangements look good buy quality silk flowers on sale at Hobby Lobby or Michaels and then make them look extra good.

Buy a cake from Wal-Mart or another store that makes a lot of them. Look for quality.

You can wear whatever you want and you can find a less expensive dress if you start looking now.

Good luck in planning your wedding.

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answers from Boston on

Check out (no www) if you haven't already. Even if you're not planning on being "offbeat" there's tons of DIY suggestions there. Congratulations!

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answers from San Francisco on

VENUE: I don't know about your area, but where I got married (outside Chicago) there were some gem locations that were part of the park district. Which mean CHEAP! Our facility was a "conservatory" with a lovely courtyard and indoor gardens. They had a decent room to eat in (not fancy but I didn't care since it was just for dinner) and a kitchen for the caterers to set up in. It was lovely and very inexpensive.



answers from Dallas on

We did the same thing. One thing I can recommend is how to do the cake. We ordered a cake from our local grocery store - plain, 3 tier cake with no decorations. We used real flowers for the decorations - it was beautiful (and delicious)!



answers from Pittsburgh on

I've got two words of advice for you: Las Vegas!
My hubby & I got married in Vegas 14 years ago. (Neither of us wanted or wanted to plan a big deal.) In Vegas it can be as classy, or funny, or expensive, cheap, or elaborate, or as simple as you want it to be!



answers from Dallas on

We did our entire wedding ourselves. If you want to use fresh flowers, order in bulk. We used orchids and lillies and they were amazing!! I highly recommend

You get them a few days before the wedding and have to rehydrate them in buckets. They look kind of bad at first and it totally freaked me out. They look beautiful after rehydrating. I made all our bouquets, corsages, centerpieces, etc.

TWU has an amazing chapel, that they offer some various priced packages for. I've been to a wedding there and it was so beautiful, you don't even need decor in the chapel. They have a reception area also, that you could decorate.

There is a wedding chapel in Lewisville, that has special prices for small weddings and weddings on weekdays. (



answers from Dallas on

We were married at Grand Traditions in Corinth. They are a one-stop wedding shop with a really nice ceremony space, an outside gazebo and a nice reception area with kitchen. They do EVERYTHING, music, video, digital photos, decorations, and have a rack of various silk bridal bouquets that you can use. They even have a list of associated ministers that you can work with. The one we chose emailed several different "wedding vows" to me and I was able to pick and choose wording from several ones to put together something that was customized for us. Our whole wedding was less than $500 to the venue (10:am ceremony with no reception). I found my dress on the prom dress sale rack for $25 and the veil and garter totaled $45 from a bridal store. The groom wore black Levis and a grey button down shirt with black lace-up Ropers, he looked comfy and very handsome. For dresses check out the formals at J.C. Penney's outlet at Grapevine Mills mall--great prices. We had a very small wedding, (not the first for either of us) and used a Little Debbie Zebra Cake for the cake cutting ceremony, which they put on a beautiful silver platter with the beribboned silver knife, then toasted with bottled, sparkling water in champaigne glasses. I made my bouquet with fresh flowers from the local grocery store, approx $20 including ribbon. We each picked a song with special meaning to us for the processional (mine) and recessional (his) and brought the CDs to the chapel, they added their own soft music to the middle of the video and we walked out with video and photo CD in hand, had no planning stress and truly enjoyed ourselves. Immediately after the ceremony, we attended a CD release party for a band that we liked, we wore our wedding clothes, veil and all, and the band invited us up on stage, their photographer made photos of us with the band and we purchased 2 photos from her for $20, both of which still hang in our home 9 years later. After the CD release party we went to our favorite restaurant for lunch, still in our wedding clothes, and they made a big deal out of it and gave us free dessert paraded out by all the waiters clapping hands and the other patrons joined in. Super cheap, tons of fun, no stress and memories that will last a lifetime. Congratulations to you and your groom, and good luck!!!



answers from Fort Wayne on

We had our wedding for less than $1500. We said our vows in our church and had our reception at Mongolian BBQ. It was a perfect place everyone could make their own dish and could have as much as they wanted. We had an open bar. and with 50 people including us the bill came to $600 with tip. Everyone took pics and then put them on a dvd for us to download then we printed off what we wanted. My friend and I made the invites that was a blast. all in all it was a very nice afternoon.



answers from Washington DC on

One thing that a few people at my church have done, is to get married during evening service.

Since it will be fall, the church will already be decorated nicely. Just arrange for the minister to set aside some time in the evening service, or just after. Then the ladies of the church had a 'pot-of-love' potluck reception after the service.

Also, the time of day can help out. Married at 10a, you could have a brunch reception. Married at 2p, you could have a tea/hordourves reception. Married at 7p, you could get away with just a desserts reception.

If you don't have a family minister that can marry you, check with the courthouse. Here in VA, the 'justice of the peace' will come to you and can only charge $50, plus travel fees.

Ask a family friend, who's been married before, to help you organize/run it the day of so that you can focus on you.




answers from Honolulu on

Venue: a park, or at a private residence.
Decoration: ask friends or anyone that knows a florist.
Photographer/video: ask friends or if they know anyone.

that is what I did... to plan our wedding.
I honestly said, I am on a budget. Our wedding was fabulous! We kept it small... only 50 people. Close friends/relatives.
I also told the caterer I am on a budget.. .and they came up with a FABULOUS menu....
We also planned our wedding as a "high tea." Therefore, we didn't have to serve a "meal" ie: dinner or lunch time weddings. Nor serve alcohol.
We just had finger foods and 'tea' sandwiches.

We got many compliments on our wedding. You could NOT tell, we had a "budget.
We spent just $1K on it.
Did not have to go into any debt because of it. We paid cash for everything.

all the best,



answers from Tampa on

We picked an older and very small chapel that was very simply built and needed very little in the way of decoration (in fact it would have looked silly with lots). We picked wild flowers for the tables and the alter which my grandmother arraigned in plain vases we bought at Micheals for about $1 each (I think the larger vases were $10). The reception was held at a VA hall that didn't want much money to rent it. Served only beer and champagne, no liquor (which we aren't big drinkers anyway).

We did get a lot of breaks on things - for instance the wild flowers came from friends of my parents who raise bees and plant the flowers for them. It might be worth seeing if there is an apiary near you. My dad knows the man who sold us all the beer and we were actually able to bring unopened bottles back to him for a refund. A friend made our wedding cakes as his gift to us. My grandfather is a retired minister and preformed our ceremony.

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