Information on How to Have an Inexpensive Wedding

Updated on February 07, 2007
T. asks from Lakeville, MN
48 answers

I'm looking to get information from anyone on how to have a nice, yet relativly inexpensive wedding for under $5,000. This is my second marriage and my future hubby's first. I had the "big, showy wedding" the first time around and found it to be more for everyone else, instead of for "us". This time around I would like it to be more intimate and invite only family. My fience' wants nice, but doesn't want to spend a lot either. Is it worth doing our own cake, food, flowers, etc., or is that more of a headache for the wedding day? Does anyone have any experinces they can share, or suggestions? We haven't set a date yet, because we don't know what kind of venue we will be having yet. Your help is appreciated.

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K.K.

answers from Minneapolis on

Go to theknot.com website local chat pages. I was able to plan mine for about $5,000. I found a lot of really great vendors for not so much money by getting recommendations on the knot. One recommendation of the top of my head: Queen of Cakes in Edina. Best cake I ever had and 1/4 of the price Wuollet quoted us! good luck and congratulations!

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T.S.

answers from Minneapolis on

My cousin had her second wedding at a VFW or someplace like that. They did a ceremony under a lighted arch for immediate family (parents, grandparents and siblings) only and then later on the extended family Cousins ect... They had the ceremony on the dance floor and from what I heard it was nice. Everyone else came for dinner (buffet) and dance. They had a cake in the back and a DJ.. actually I think it was Karokie, but when people weren't singing (which not many did) the DJ person played music. It was fun.

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M.

answers from Minneapolis on

My husband and I had a very intimate ceremony where only 10 people were invited. Later in the afternooon, we asked people to come help us celebrate. Both the ceremony and party were in my in-laws backyard. We rented a tent which we decorated with lights and had appetizers throughout the day. We hired a JOP, got the cake at a local bakery and had flowers only for each other. I found a dress for $99. I'd say all said and done, it was less than $5000.

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M.F.

answers from Minneapolis on

T.,
We made all of our table decor from flower pots we found at a dollar store,they were super cute and everyone raved about them. I would recommend going to Michaels or Joanne fabrics and look through the silk flowers and see what you like. We got married in September so we used all the fall themed stuff they were selling, fake leaves, garlands and flowers. There is an awesome and cheap flower shop in Minneapolis near my hubbys work, I will ask him the name, they are selling 4 dozen roses now for $20...Couldnt get any cheaper...anyway, they have beautiful flowers. Think about the time of year you want to get married and go to the craft stores, you will be surprised at what you can find and make on your own. As far as a venue, try a VFW. Also I know from past weddings, that "off" days of the week are cheaper. Friday night weddings are becoming cheaper all the time. Also check out www.theknot.com you can find local vendors in MN on this site and basically plan your entire wedding online.
Good luck to you and congrats...I will get back to you about the flower shop name later.

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N.P.

answers from Minneapolis on

T.-
Congratulations on your upcomming nuptuals! We had a fairly inexpensive wedding, we made our decorations, flowers, ect. I think if you take time to make things you save lots of money, we went to Archivers to make place cards and menus. I baught beautiful silk leaves when they were on sale and hung them from the cealing of our reception hall, moss and beautiful silk flowers were for my flower girls, anyways there are tons of resources for saving money. My reccomendation is the library, we found lots of resources there for saving money and really great ideas for decorations, cake, invittations ect. Hope this helps and congrats!

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T.S.

answers from Madison on

Hi T.,
For my second marriage I had the same situation, my 2nd and hubbys 1st. We had a candle light wedding at dusk in a little old church then had horderves and cake at the reception. We did get a DJ and covered beer and soda. Also I bought my dress at a bridal shop but asked to only see the discontinued dresses; I paid $350.00 for a $950.00 dollar dress! I got many complements on it and everyone thought I spent a fortune. As for flowers I carried a dozen dark red roses that were ordered special from Cubs or Cops (grocery store) flower department and had them just bundle them and wrap them with ribbon. The girls carried 3 Shasta daisies (they come in a big variety of colors) with the full stem wrapped in ribbons with some streaming down, very inexpensive. We chose to spend the bulk of our money on the photographer to capture those candid moments besides the traditional wedding photos. Our whole wedding came to just over $2,000.00 and everyone thought it was so elegant and beautiful.

Hope this helps!
T.

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C.A.

answers from Minneapolis on

It's a little soon, but around Christmas time is nice. the church or where you have your wedding and reception is usualy decorated.

Another idea would be to have it at a B&B. That would be very intimate. Or a destination wedding to someplace nice.

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A.A.

answers from Minneapolis on

Congratulations!!! well Im not sure when your planning but My cousin got married a few months ago and I did a lot of the work for her. I have worked with food for 8 years so i made meat trays,croissants,fruit(watermelan baskets),veggie trays)hyeroller wraps, chicken salad, plus we ordered the cakes at costco which might i add has the best filled cakes ever(1/2 sheet for $15) we had to feed 175 people and I did it for about $600, also i did all her pictures for her(trying to go to school for it someday) and they were only $650 for all her prints,cds and picture card to send as thankyous plus she payed me $350. she had her reception at a park in bloomington with a large shelter in case of rain which was $250 to rent for the day. all together with everything she spent $ 3500 which a lot of that was her dress and all the flowers. If you need help with anything if you decide to do food yourself or pictures let me know i love to do this stuff and I would love to help you if you would like. just send me a message. Good Luck!!!! A.

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A.A.

answers from Minneapolis on

Great suggestions gals! The only thing I can think to add is to have an off-season wedding (avoid May through August) a lot of vendors charge less during those times. Also, if you can help it don't mention the word "wedding" when you're buying things like a cake or flowers, call it a family gathering, some sales persons tend to mark up if they know it's for a wedding. When I planned my wedding in 2005, I bought a book called "How to have an elegant wedding for $5,000 or less". I can't really recall how helpful it was (it's all kind of a blur now), but if you'd like to borrow it send me a message.

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D.L.

answers from Janesville-Beloit on

Be very careful on the food. Sometimes catering IS cheaper. It depends on how many people and how many dishes you want to have. My wedding was done for under $5,000(barely). My worst expense was the food even tho I had alot of people making dishes for me - I offered them as wedding presents as it was not hubby's 1st wedding and we had all we needed for our home.

Make your own invitations by using the graphics program on your computer.

Hire a photographer for the wedding only. Purchase the proofs and print out only those pictures you need/want. Then supply the guests with disposable cameras for the reception.

Get married in a private home; yours or parents maybe.

Have only your children and maybe 1 person for each of you stand up at the wedding.

Make it a "casual" dress wedding. This way hubby-to-be can wear a nice suit and kids can wear nice dresses, shirt and slacks.

Bartering can be a very effective resource. You have you services as a daycare provider to offer. It never hurts to ask. The worst you can get is a "no".

Make 2 lists; one has all the essentials and two has some of the "wants" or luxuries. Check with friends/relatives who may be in the fields necessary such as a florist or photographer.

Best wishes and good luck with all your planning! I hope I haven't come up with too many duplicate ideas for you.

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C.K.

answers from Madison on

One piece of advice I have is to plan your wedding for a Friday or any day other than Saturday. That's what we did and the hall is usually cheaper. More and more people have been getting married on non-traditional days since then (9 years ago), so I'm not sure if the deals are as good as they once were. Congratulations!

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S.T.

answers from Green Bay on

You need to use all the resources you have. If you are crafty or no anyone who has any trait don't be afraid to ask them. My sister got married for under $5000. The meal was the most expensive part of it. A friend DJ'ed, we ordered the flowers from the florist in stem bunches and bundled them ourselves. We did all of our own decorations, she was married outside, for the rehearsal dinner we cooked out or go out and eat and everyone pays themselves, A friend took pictures. My mother even made all the bridesmaid dresses. If your thining about horsedeuvers make sure you check into it. They can cost as much as a meal. Good luck and keep everyone posted with the progress

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C.M.

answers from Sheboygan on

I think your doing yourself a great service by keeping things small and intimate. My boyfriend of five years and I have discussed this topic ourselves, shall we decide to marry, we are going to pretty much handle everthing ourselves and have excluded the idea of a large, expensive wedding.

First of all, you need to set a date. By not setting a date you really dont have anything to work with, no wedding to plan. Second, are you going to be married in a church or at the court house? If you plan on getting married at church you need to get the ball rolling since most church's require that either you or your future husband are a member, and then all the fun gets started when you go for your pre marriage counciling with the presiding official. Getting married at the court house is much simpler and less expensive, but you still need to set a date. You can invite up to 30 guests to join you at the court house for the ceremony which is basicly pretty short and to the point. If you dont want to get married in church nor at the court, then you need to find someone qualified to marry you who is also willing to travel to your location, usually a retired Preist or Pastor to which you should expect to pay at least a 500.00 gratuity.

You can keep expenses low at the reception party by having your family and friends help with the docorations and food. I dont think that it is tacky at all to rent an inexpensive hall such as the V.F.W. for the party. You will probably be required to buy a keg of beer, but you dont have to order their food. I would suggest serving a buffet style dinner. For myself, I am going to buy about three "spiral sliced" smoked ham's. I can cook them the night before and they are already sliced. All I have to do is reheat and serve in the buffet and once the first ham is gone, again the second is already cooked and sliced! Cold foods such as potato salad are a nice side to cooked ham. Another food I plan to prepare for my own wedding buffet will be Mostacholi. Basicly the same ingredients as Spaghetti, only with a heartier pasta. Better then Spaghetti because some people like their spaghetti sauce poured directly on the fresh noodles, with this dish, after mixing the noodles and sauce it is topped with cheese and baked until the cheese is lightly golden...confuses those spaghetti complainers who wanted the sauce separate. Mostacholi can also be prepared the night before and reheated, (you want the cheese freshly melted anyway) and it is easy to replace in the buffet once the first pan has been consumed. Hot steamed veggie's like broccoli and garlic bread are excellent side dishes. I would however, have your wedding cake made by a bakery and count that in for one of the things that shouldnt be cut out of budget and made yourself. Flowers will be the single most devistating exspence that you will encounter. Who knew florist's make a killing on weddings? I would suggest a small, fresh bouqet for the bride, a nice smelling, fresh lapel corsage for the groom. For the wedding party have the girls wear a wrist corsage contaning the brides favorite flower, or at least a flower that is in the brides bouquet. Lapel corsages for the grooms men that resemble the ones for the bridesmaids and last but most importantly for the mothers and/or grandmothers, present to them a long stemmed red-rose with a ribbion that matches your color scheme. I saw that once at a wedding, it was a very well recieved gesture.

Decide what colors you want and do the decorations yourself with help from family and friends. Simple things like streamers (that you would use to decorate a childs party) in your color scheme rolled with a white streamer around the walls and doorways of the hall. Ask if you can use Christmas lights at the hall. Even the plain white Christmas lights are a nice accent to the streamers. Keep your centerpieces simple. Decide how many tables you will need and buy accordingly. A think plastic table cloth in your color scheme with shiny confetti of a contrasting color sprinkled on the table top. Insted of expensive flowers, have a favorite picture of the bride and groom in a decorated frame. (3x5 and I wouldnt reccommend anything larger than a 5x7) Shop at a discount store and your likly to find everthing there needed to decorate the frames. Spray paint, fake flowers, beaded pearl accents and a hot glue gun can go a long way! Place a small note card at each seat of the table with a special mark on the reverse side of the card, ask your guests to flip their notecards, the ones with the special mark get to take the framed picture home. For the rest of your guests, a votive size candle in your color scheme with a contrasting color of mesh fabric tied around it with a ribbon. You can buy sheets of printable stickers to adhere onto the candle and make from your computer... T. and "Groom" November 10, 2006 .

Good Luck!

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C.K.

answers from Wausau on

I have been to several weddings in the last few years. There are so many "extras" that aren't needed for celebrating your wedding day. Simple, simple, simple. No centerpieces, no fancy hall, no alcohol (at my first wedding, the bar was in a separate room, and our guests could go there for their drinks, which they paid for; we supplied soda pop), your dress could come from a resale shop or outlet, buffet-style dinner, no pricey gifts for attendants, small bouquets...is silk cheaper? I loved being able to keep mine. You should be able to keep it under $5000 if you go with what's necessary, instead of what if fluff.

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T.J.

answers from Minneapolis on

My husband and I managed to do our wedding for about $5000 as well. We had a morning wedding and then had a lunch and open house instead of a sit down dinner. We didn't serve alcohol either (partly for other reasons) and that saved us a bundle. We got a small tiered cake for pictures and then a sheet cake from SuperAmerica (Sam's Club or Costco are good places too). That way we had a cute cake for pictures and plenty to serve our guests at a reasonable price. Just a few ideas for you to help cut costs. Congratulations on your upcoming marriage and good luck!!

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A.D.

answers from Milwaukee on

Hi T.,
My name is A. David I live in South Milwaukee and I am a certified wedding planner. I am a stay at home mom and Lia sophia Jewelry Advisor now, wedding planning took alot time away from my kids. Email me with any Questions and I will try my hardest to help you! Have a great day and congrats on you engagement!

A. David
____@____.com

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A.K.

answers from Milwaukee on

My husband and I got married in May. I'm 19 and he is 23. Our parents paid for the wedding but they don't have a lot of money so we tried to make it as inexpensive as possible. We were married at botanical gardens here in wisconsin. Our reception was a luncheon at a place where my grandma knew the owner. I'm not sure how much the wedding cost, but I am pretty sure it was under 5,000. Our reception didn't have open bar and we didn't have a d.j. We just played cd's. It was a very beautiful wedding. It was laid back. We made our own centerpieces and wedding favors. There are a lot of ways to have a beautiful inexpensinve wedding. I looked a lot online and found a ton of great ides on how to do it yourself. My aunt is great with computers so she made the invites. If you have family that wants to help out, let them. It was a life saver and money saver for us to have the family all pitch in with the work. If you have any questions you can e-mail me ____@____.com Good luck!

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P.N.

answers from Minneapolis on

hello T.

my husband and i didnt want a big wedding nor could we afford one. we spent 2,000$ on our wedding and it was magical. we did our own flowers, and a friend did our cake for free. the only thing that we spent money on was my dress, the tux and the place were we had our wedding. it took a lot out of me doing all this. but in the end it was worth it. if u would like more infor on what i did. email and i will expalin it..

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J.M.

answers from Minneapolis on

My husband and I had our wedding in the wedding chapel at the mall of america they include everything it in for the chapel the flowers the music and stuff. We then Had our reception at the vfw in white bear lake and did the decorations ourselves. It was actually pretty easy. We even did the bouquets and boutiners ourselves it was really fun to do. If you ask im sure family and friends would help you and I bet you could find a small caterer to do the food and cake my mom had friends to help us. We did this because my dad had passed away before I got married so finances where hard and I didnt want to have my mom spend so much money. It was really nice.

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A.P.

answers from Minneapolis on

My husband and I had a wedding on $5,000 dollars and it was very nice. It was family only and had a big party later at our house were it was " help us celebrate, bring something for the grill" for the people that were not family. For all the people that still wanted to be a part of the wedding reception. I only spent $100 dollars on a dress that was not a wedding dress (big and puffy) and was still very elegant and formal. We had the wedding at our small churh and instead of having a big reception we had food catered and at 13.00 a plate for 75 people it was pretty inexpensive. We had plenty of leftovers that we were able to keep and take home. We made all of the decorations and used vases and other fish bowl things to make very nice decorations. ( I have five other sisters and three were married the three prior years before me so I had plenty to choose from.)I had the bridesmaids buy there own dress of choice but in the color I wanted. The groomsmen wore black dress pants white button down shirts with a tie in my wedding colors. I bought the blank invitations from Target and they were on clearance for $5 for 25 and printed them at home. The people in our wedding was my sisters and brother and his brother and my brother in law. We made it very inexpensive for everyone involved. But it was also a very pretty wedding and would never have know that we only spent $5000 on it. Our photography was done by my cousin who is a photographer and only charged us $150 to do pictures, and she gave us all the negatives and developed them. I would definitly ask your family to help make things or if they have things for decorations. I bought silk flowers when they were 50% off at Hobby Lobby and Michaels. This kept the cost down. We bought frozen cheese cakes from Sams Club and put strawberries over the top. Any help that people offered I took. Any free things that people offered I accepted. Dont be affraid to skimp on things this was my first wedding and I was not about having a big eloborate wedding. I did not have nearly the headache my sisters did that had a big production wedding. I too was a SAHM of one at the time and just found it to be a lot less stressful then my sisters planning huge weddings. I hope that whatever you choose to do that your wedding and wedding day are beautiful. Best of luck A.

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J.

answers from Minneapolis on

I suggest Paddleford Packet River Boat tours. I used the small boat that held 50 people and they provide the food. I was married in 95 so don't know a price now but it was under 5000 then. I realy liked the fact that it was all done on the boat and in 3 hrs. :) good luck.

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J.G.

answers from Minneapolis on

If you are okay with an outdoor wedding, you can usually reserve a park in your city for little or no cost. Ordering bouquets and flowers online (they will be fake) will be cheaper, and if you can find a bar/restaurant instead of a hotel for your reception, your cost will be really low. There's a great place in Robbinsdale called The Breakaway. you can rent the party room for cheap, and the food is awesome! Otherwise you can use their band that is playing for the night and the cost will be even lower!
The other thing you could do is consider a morning wedding with just champagne (or mimosas) and a small brunch. Its a lot cheaper and more intimate than a large dinner reception.

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J.B.

answers from Janesville-Beloit on

Hi Tammy,
Well, when i got married in 87 (i'm divorced now after 16 years), we did our own, it was my first and his 2nd. My parents bought a ham and sliced it up, had it with potato buns, i made some salads, your choice of those, I think we had jello too i don't remember back that far, but it wasn't that expensive to do. And if your girls would like to help with the salads and such would be great and also could be fun too. Like you could have veggies and dips, things like that along with it. I also bought a 1/4 barrell and then we got $2 pitchers after that when that was gone. Hope this helps and you two can plan a nice wedding for way less than $5000.
J.

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B.L.

answers from Minneapolis on

We did ours for around 2,000. (Including our getaway)

Had friend marry us ( a JP would be just as easy), made a resevation for dinner at a nice resturant (everyone payed for there own meal except us. Our parents flipped the bill). We went to the north shore for our getaway (Eagles Ridge). It was in August but hindsite would have been even more cost effective to do it in Sept.
After our getaway we had an informal open house (like a grad. party sorta thing) Meat and cheese, fruit crackers and, of course, Cake!

It wasn't so much about the wedding as it was about celebrating us! We really have no regrets and had very little stress while planning.

One other thing I highly suggest, it will cost less to stay at a resort versus a B&B (we thought about doing that). Save the B&B for your anniversary if your thinking about that option. (most B&B's will run you over $300 for 2 nights)

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P.K.

answers from Minneapolis on

If you belong to a church, that cuts the costs. It's the reception that gets costly, as you well know. My brother got married at Como Conservatory and had a smallish reception at the Como Pavillian. Then, it's just a matter of food, bar, etc. The bar could get costly too, but you could serve wine or beer to cut the costs and have a cashbar. Anywhere you can cut costs, do it. Buy center pieces in bulk and do them yourself. Don't hire a photographer, hire a friend who is good at taking pics and someone who has hired a photographer before, so they know what poses they need to capture. Borrow as much from your friends as possible, cake knives, card box, etc. If you make invitations/rsvp's/thank-you's on your computer, it's ALOT cheeper and that's the "in" thing now. It is also the "in" thing for wedding dresses should be simple, yet elegant. Not all floofy with bows and big hoops. You can buy a really pretty white dress from a department store that looks like a wedding gown, but not the wedding gown prices. If your friends want to go, tell them that it's family only, but you're looking for a personal attendant, or bartender. They'll gladly jump at the opportunity to volunteer, especially if they get to go to the wedding/reception to help. It'll make them feel special and you don't have to pay them. Flourists, just shop around and do greenery when you can, instead of flowers. My attendees had 1 rose each. We also used those same flowers for the head table at the reception. We just laid them on the edge of the table to make it look pretty. They're are lots of ways to cut costs, you just have to be willing to put in the leg work to make it beautiful. It might be just planning way ahead and making things yourself. If you want low-cost, prepare youself for doing alot of it yourself. Buy candles, get a friend to bring you to Costco/Sams to buy your mints/peanuts, etc. You also might want to think about a lunchtime wedding, instead of supper. You're talking the difference between pasta salads and lunch meat vs. hot chicken breats and new potato's. Also, it might be easier for costs just having less to buy entirely. Table candles, etc. You could also get married outside if you do a lunch thing. Good luck.

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J.F.

answers from Rochester on

A co-worker of mine spent under $1,000 for his wedding, and it was fabulous. I'm not sure on the particulars of the dresses and whatnot, but for the reception they rented a kariokie (sp?) machine for $150 for the night. It was a blast!

They also did a nice buffet with sandwiches and whatnot. They used flowers and cut fruit to doll up the salads and side dishes and it looked way more expensive than it really was. There was a cash bar for those who wanted it, and root beer kegs for the kids. The photographer was the only pricy thing.

Also, if you haven't set your date yet, having a picnic style reception in the spring/summer is great fun. That's what we did. It was nice and informal, but it gave us a chance to have our whole family in one place, and it was free. :)

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B.S.

answers from Eau Claire on

Well, T., if you're part of a gospel-preaching local Baptist Church...many times all the ladies in the church put out a potfaith meal for the wedding...someone usually knows how to make wedding cakes...and someone else often knows how to do flowers...pick a nice park in the spring or summer or even fall time and maybe rent a canopy or tent in case it rains and you'll probably have a beautiful day. Borrow or use your first wedding dress...have bridesmaids in pastel colored or varied colored dresses then the groomsmen can wear their best gray or navy blue suit and it won't matter that they are different colors or shades because the girls' dresses are different pastels or what have you.

As a pastor's wife, I've seen many a beautiful wedding without all the expense. People who love you in the Lord are glad to help and it's much more personal.

B. in Eau Claire, WI

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A.

answers from Minneapolis on

My husband and I paid for our own wedding so we were very concerned about saving money. I made our inviations, I bought a dress for 500 (you can always go to second hadn stores to geta dress)a friend made our cake for $100 and our reception was a pig roast in the in-laws backyard. Congratulations and hope this helps!

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C.

answers from Milwaukee on

I love this question. I had the most inexpensive wedding that I have ever been to. I paid approximately $5000.00 for a full wedding with 300 guests. First, I was lucky enough to be able to borrow a dress, but resale shops and discount stores are a good place to start. In some areas you can even rent dresses. Second, I asked around my friends for ideas and suddenly they started offering stuff as wedding presents... My cousin did my flowers (fake) and table centerpieces (little bubble bottles wrapped in mesh with balloons attached to them). All I had to do was buy materials. A friend offered to video tape the wedding as a present. I found a retired newspaper photographer that would shoot photos as long as I supplied the film and had them developed (then I owned the negatives, too). For food, I used a cash and carry place and they delivered it to the hall we were using (we used an American Legion Post hall because they had a great price and my sister in law was the manager). We had enough food left that we fed everyone at the gift opening the next day, sent leftovers home with relatives and fed a bar full of people for a football game. Not having an open bar or just allotting a certain $ amount of free beverages is a way to save money too. The only thing I really didn't save on was a cake because I really wanted one from a bakery near here which has the MOST FABULOUS cakes ever. The night before the wedding, the wedding party decorated the hall. We had it set up that there was a couple of hours between the wedding and reception which gave time for a few people to go back to the hall and do last minute stuff like blowing up balloons. Since you plan on a small wedding, you should easily be able to find a few ideas that will keep you under your budget. I'd be happy to help in any way I can as well.

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S.R.

answers from Appleton on

My first wedding was at the court house, so the second one I wanted to be more traditional. But of course money was tight with 5 kids. We managed to pull off our entire wedding for just under $2,000, including my dress. I found my dress on Ebay for $36.00, brand new. It was a discontinued style that originally sold for $450.00.

I made all of our bouquets and bouts., my MIL made the center pieces for table setting with left over material from the bouqets and we were lucky enough to have a friend of ours make our entire sit down dinner as our gift. He even made our cake!! So, if you have family and friends that are willing to put in a little time, you can really cut corners financially.

Also, I opted to omit some of the tiny details that you usually see at a reception. We did not purchase champange for the wedding party, mostly because one of my BMs is in AA. We did purchase Hershey Kisses and put them in small sheer bags that I found on Ebay. A lot of stuff was purchased on Ebay. My BMs gifts were found on Ebay as well as GMs gifts, FG & RB gifts, FG & RB gowns.... So, if you take the time you can really save $$$.

GL

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A.L.

answers from Minneapolis on

Inexpensive weddings are easy and can be very nice if that's what you want. My husband of 6 years and I did ours for under $5000 and nobody would have known it. We did an evening wedding at 7pm (so no dinner) and had appetizers for food (very good and inexpensive compared to dinner). We had a banquet room with a DJ for dancing which had only a minimum for $1000 and that was spent on the appetizers which was the most expensive part of the wedding. I would suggest letting someone else make your cake, but an idea would be to have a small "wedding" cake and maybe a sheet cake to serve. Make the bar cash unless it's soda or wine (or soda & beer) and let everyone pay for anything beyond that. For a photographer see if you can have them come and take photos and simply give you all the negatives and then you can have them developed as you want (BIG Savings!). As for everything else it's relatively cheap in comparison, depends on your tastes. Good luck!

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T.L.

answers from Minneapolis on

Maybe someone has already suggested this - you could do a Friday evening wedding, instead of the Sat. ordeal. It can save money on the reception, since it's a time not ordinarily chosen, and they would like to book it up! Then you can have appetizers and cake only, no dinner.

I did my wedding for around $5000, but I got married in Northern MN - much cheaper than the Twin Cities! I made cakes for my sister's wedding - I wouldn't do it yourself, since it's more stress than it's worth. But if a family member is good at it, go for it! I made small cakes for each table, with photos of the bride and groom as kids on each - very simple. I didn't have an open bar, and the reception was a buffet. I have been to weddings with ham sandwiches, etc. and they are very nice too. Good luck!

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S.F.

answers from Minneapolis on

First, Congrats! How exciting for you both! I'd suggest having a nice intimate wedding at your church or if you find a place where you want to have your reception, maybe marry there? There are a lot of places that will let you do that. But, no matter what don't skimp on pictures. You want those to last forever. I was on a budge withmy wedding and that was one thing I forked the most money over for. I know of a fantastic wedding photographer....my mom! :) She's affordable (at today's rates). As for the flowers, get creative and do them yourself! I think that would be so fun to do! Check out Sam's Club-they have fantastic prices on flowers and I THINK you can place orders. then you could make your own arrangements. I ordered my invites online and they were great and super cheap! HAVE FUN!!!!!

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S.K.

answers from Eau Claire on

Hi T.,

Congratulations! Yes you can have a nice wedding on a budget but I suggest sitting down with your future hubby to find out what, if anything, is important to him. You have had the big wedding and know that the whole thing is nice but over priced for how fast the night goes. Determine areas that need to be "special" and consider doing those parts with a professional then rate the others with importance and come up with ideas to save. And considering that it is his first wedding I would suggest step 2 might be having the same conversation with the grooms parents (siblings). You don't want to start out on the wrong foot with them by not knowing you have skipped or skimped on a time honored tradition in their family. Besides the key to getting a budget wedding to turn out wonderful is getting family involved. You might be surprized at the suggestions. I remember my aunt couldn't afford table decorations but her sister thought it was very important and they found an odd shaped beer bottle and bought a couple cases. They let the family drink it for the bride/groom shower then painted them and put ribbons on them and candles in - no one knew they were inexpensive. I have helped put together several lower budget weddings that turned out great. In my family the cake was the one thing we splerged on every time because wedding cakes are sometimes a pain to transport and set up. I have made flowers for several weddings and when I started out I just bought a book from the craft store. To be honest it was fun and useful because when my step-son's went to prom last year I made their coursages to save money. If you don't want to do it yourself spread the word that you are looking for people to do various things for your wedding and say you would prefer to hire family and friends. You will get offers of help or friends that do it as a side job which will be a lot less expensive. If you belong to a church that is a great source of information to find people. Doing the food yourself saves a lot of money but for it to go well you should hire help to serve or try to get volunteers from your church. My brother-in-law just got married last year and the brides family sprung for a huge expensive wedding and to tell you the truth my favorite part was the old Irish toast her grandfather gave and the expense of that was to break a glass. Well, I have gone on long enough - Good Luck!

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J.R.

answers from Minneapolis on

I got married in 2000 (my second, his first) and also didn't want to repeat the huge wedding like the first time around. I don't know where you are originally from but we did ours in our hometown (Grand Rapids) on Dec. 23 when everyone was home for the holidays. We rented their big fancy room for $200 for the evening and had them fill it with big round tables with white linens and Christmas centerpieces. We had 60 people and they sat at the round tables for the entire thing, ceremony, food and dance. We only invited my Aunts, Uncles, Grandparents and immediate family and then his family and friends since it was his first. Then I told all my cousins that they could come at 8 or so for the dance only. Since they already had a Christmas tree up in the room we just added a bunch of poinsettias. We got married at 6 pm so no one would expect a big meal and then had meat, cheese, veggies, meatballs, etc. ordurvies. We bought one keg and the rest was cash bar. We got a DJ for $250 and a small cake for $150 and the clerk of court married us for $50. I think all in all with the $400 dress it cost aout $1500 total. We had a family friend do the pictures. We each had one person stand up for us and since it was Christmas it was all red and while with gold and silver accents.
I was beautiful and I was so glad to have paid for it ourselves since my parents were probably still paying for the first one :o)
Congrats!
J.

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T.

answers from Milwaukee on

My advise is to first figure out excatly how many people you are going to invite. Then find the hall or whatever you are going to use and the church/chapel first as those are your biggest expenses.

I did all my own flowers, my grandmother made the 2 bridesmaids dresses and I bought my dress off the rack which cost a lot less! Then we did a candle light ceromony at 7:00pm with appetizer's (not spelling right) at the reception. And everybody in my family made something for the appetizer's. It worked out great, very laid back. As a matter of fact my sister had a big fancy wedding, and everybody kept talking about how much more fun my wedding was! If you need advice e-mail me...tlecher@.mcw.edu

I did everything for under $5000.00 as a matter of fact I believe it was 3500.00 total. So I would be more than happy to give suggestions!

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T.L.

answers from Minneapolis on

I know a couple of preachers that are inexpensive and also a person who does flowers, centerpieces, and even veils to your taste and budget. T.

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T.K.

answers from Madison on

hi, i would like to share my wedding experience with you. i was too married before and i had a small church wedding with only family. that cost us about 400 dollars. but that didnt last. i found my current husband through the personals, and were together for a year then decided to get married. my current husband is the asst chief for our fire department, and so then i thought what a great thing it would be to help people out, so i then too joined the fire department. i had been on the department for a year when i thought how cool would it be to get married in front of a burning house. well then abour 6 months later we had a practice burn that we did and decided this was the house to get married at. it was awsome. the house was fully involved when we said our vowes. my best firend who is a minster married us and it only cost us about 100 dollars to get married. this was the best and most memorable wedding anyone had ever seen in this town. we the had our reception at the fire station. so things can happen and be very memorable with little or no money.

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S.

answers from Minneapolis on

My husband and I got married two weeks after we graduated from college, so we did the budget thing. We did buy an invitation software kit for about 50 dollars and printed out own, no one new the difference. I may still have the software actually, if you want it. There is a great consignment wedding shop in down town Minneapolis near Penzeys spices(Can't remember the name, but I could find it). Or, if you are not looking to do the actual wedding dress again, something nice and simple from a department store could work. We also rented beautiful silk decorations from a florist rather than buying everything fresh so that really saved money. For the bouquets, I found when Michaels had their coupons and made my own. I am not good at that sort of thing, but they looked nice, so you could do it. Finally, I limited the types of alcohol served free at the reception to beer, wine, and vodka. Everything else had to be purchased. I didn't like this last thing, but when people started doing tequila shots, it was worth it. Good luck with everything!

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T.L.

answers from Minneapolis on

We had a beautiful wedding and for a pretty good price, in my opinion, although, naturally it is a bit more than others may consider a 'good price". I would suggest picking a very typical theme, because you can find the items to go with the wedding very easily. Example, our wedding theme was red roses, especially around Valentine's day, but pretty much everyday you can easily find items pertaining to red roses, we found many of our decorations from local $$$ stores, especially around V-day. Keeping the guest list to a minimum, especially if you're considering cooking yourself etc, and the bridal party smaller will keep costs down. And a lot of art and craft stores offer 'do it yourself' type items, some can be over priced or expensive, I'd say to hit wal-mart when the wedding stuff is on sale.

Congrats! And good luck!!!!

Savannah

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B.B.

answers from La Crosse on

Hi I just joined the group and seen your question. I am also a licensed childcare provider, but for 13 years. For the wedding, my niece just got married and kept it real simple. She made her own flowers and invitation to the reception on her computer. She also made little candy bars with the date and names on them with address labels I thought that was really cool. The cake she did order but kept it only 1 tier just simple. She did not really have a theme for it. Hope this helps B.

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M.B.

answers from Milwaukee on

My sister in law asked for and got major discounts on a lot of stuff just for putting a small "ad" on the back of the church programs. Maybe if you find that it is more trouble than it's worth to do some of the things yourself, you could print up some flyer type things listing the companies that agree to it and place them on the tables at the reception.

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A.L.

answers from Appleton on

Hi T....maybe you are already married by the time you receive this, but you could have a potluck for the food, and the flowers could be relatively inexpensive if you choose a cheaper flower. We had daisies, and our flowers only came to around $300. Best wishes!

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J.

answers from Minneapolis on

Our wedding wasn't expensive, but was quite nice. We chose a location we loved, Boulder, and planned a small ski wedding at a lovely, Victorian hotel. By having a destination wedding, only those nearest and dearest attend. We kept our wedding small with only 40 guests. Colorado law doesn't require an officiate, so we married ourselves at the hotel. We were able to offer a full bar, appetizers and dinner. The night before the wedding, a pizza party was hosted at a restaurant a block away from our hotel for all the guests. This kept with the ski theme and, since our location had great shopping, restaurants and skiing within close proximity, everyone had something fun to do whilst in town. It was fun to wander around and constantly run into friends and family wherever we went. I highly recommend letting someone else do the cake, flowers, etc. You can select flowers which are simply arranged and in season to cut costs there. I brought ivory pillar candles and pewter plates for all the tables and the hotel set them up for me. The only flowers I had were my bouquet and small flower arrangements for my husband and our parents to wear. Our location was so pretty that it didn't need much more than that. I think it is so worthwhile to be able to spend the day on yourself and with friends instead of worrying about all the details. If you end up being consumed with the details, this wedding will also be more for everyone else and you don't want that again. Be able to enjoy your day! Most importantly, don't fret when something goes wrong. Let it go and have a giggle at the imperfections that make us human.

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J.B.

answers from Green Bay on

Congrats! Bay Beach rents out the Pavillion for a great price and tables and chairs are included (fits about 300). It's a great location if your friends/family have alot of kids and you want to include them. You could also have the ceremonyt there which is alot of fun and many beautiful spots!

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S.

answers from Minneapolis on

I think cost depends on what you want. If you want small and intimate it's easy to do at even under $1,200.00. Instead of a "traditional" wedding cake just order a nice cake from a good bakery, most will decorate sheet cakes and they cost much less then a "wedding" cake. Hold the reception at a restaurant most have a party room and set menus that help keep the cost down. Good photographers are not cheap, but don't skip this part just hire one to do some great shots of you and your husband and family, this would be just a short time and well worth it. The biggest thing is to figure out what you want and then go from there - Good Luck.

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M.B.

answers from Minneapolis on

Congratulations!!!!! If you"re getting married in the warm weather I would say to use artificial flowers-saves so much money! and if you like to put bouquets together or have a friend or family member ,arrange all the flowers yourself.If it's a smaller wedding/reception rent a cheap hall-you can always decorate it have a dj-they're cheaper.for food just have sandwiches,all types of salads etc..(but easy and cheap)have guests buy their own drinks from the bar.Good Luck!! Hope I sent some possibilities your way :)

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A.S.

answers from La Crosse on

Hi T.. I had an inexpensive wedding.
First the dress. Don't even look at the regular rack. A friend of mine found her dress in the reduced rack after prom. They had a lot of dresses considered to be only for "destination weddings". These are generally under 150 dollars and are beautiful.
If you have your wedding in a church, usually the only fee is a donation. I also discovered that the church ladies like to help. They donated salads, cutting the price of catering.
The food is easy to do on your own if you don't want a five course meal.
The cake is another story. Unless you or someone you know loves to bake, the bakery is the best bet. We got a small layered wedding cake and then sheet cakes for the guests.
I found that flower arranging is best left to the professionals. However, decorating is cheap and easy. You can rent flower vases and the like from party connections. And set it up the night before.
A friend with a video camera and a tripod can videotape the ceremony for you, and if you're lucky you have at least one friens who's an avid photographer and with walmart's new photoprocessing you can get cheap prints that look just as good as those done by a professional.
I hope something here helps you.
Good luck.

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