Wedding on a Budget!?

Updated on January 08, 2010
A.D. asks from Stephenville, TX
29 answers

We are planning an outdoor wedding for May and we are on a strict budget. I was wondering if anyone has any ideas on how to plan a beautiful unique wedding for cheap. I have really been stressing myself out trying to come up with ideas. Any ideas at all for planning would be great cause im kind of alone on this deal...

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So What Happened?

Thank you all for your help! I got some really good ideas to help get things rolling. We are planning to have the wedding at home or at his grandmothers and doing most of the decorating ourselves with the help of family. Thanks for your support and you can still keep the ideas rolling in!!!!

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S.M.

answers from Dallas on

If you don't mind having postcard invitations, you can get them from vistaprint.com for free sometimes. They have free stuff all the time (you just pay shipping). You can design them, and they look great when you get them in the mail. Very professional!

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L.M.

answers from Dallas on

We got married in May at Scarborough Faire and had a renaissance day with the guests in highland garb...we had the men in kilts and the women in highland colors for my husband's clan. It was around $2K and the guests could rent their clothes there. This included a pavilion and we had roses petals for the my daughters to drop. It was a lot of fun and the guests had a great time. In case you wanted something different...I shot weddings for about two years at that time (about five years ago) and really did not want the same old same old...told the videographer and photographer who were friends to keep up lol.

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S.T.

answers from Dallas on

Best wishes to you! Outdoor weddings are lovely.

As someone who makes wedding cakes, I will tell you upfront NOT to get a grocery store cake. They usually taste awful. There are a few exceptions, but I just hate the taste of generic store-bought cakes. Don't get a professional cake, either, as they can be pricey (and with good reason--wedding cakes are a LOT of work). Have a friend who bakes wonderful homemade cakes make you a couple of big cakes. Ice them smooth. Then get some beautiful strawberries (easy to do in May), dip some in chocolate and white chocolate, and cluster them around the side of the cake with a few on top. Or if you want fresh flowers, get some plastic flower holder picks from Cake Carousel in Richardson or order them online. (Wilton makes some that I like.) Get some organic flowers and put the flowers in the picks with a few drops of water to keep them fresh outside in the warm weather. Put a few flowers on top of the cakes and maybe cluster a few at one part of the base. Easy and elegant and really inexpensive.

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A.L.

answers from Dallas on

When I got married, it was my second marriage (I had three kids) and my husband's first. So we wanted it to be special for all of us but we couldn't afford much of anything. I got all the flowers at Kroger - carnations and daisies and they were less than $100. Girls dresses were made by a friend - keep them simple with material you find on sale. Girls' hair were simple dos that a friend did. I got my hair cut and blown dry that day at Supercuts. No fancy makeup. Got my gown on a clearance rack. Bra to wear with it was more than the dress! Shoes at Payless that were actually slippers. The wedding was classy but simple. I felt it was "elegant". :) The ceremony part of it was very, very important to me to provide an important transition for my children. Oh, and I wore a ring of silk flowers on my head - put together the night before with stuff from Walmart. Cake and punch only. Cake was cheapest I could get at local grocery store and was simple to keep costs down. You can do it - dont have to be crazy with it. Friends will understand. God's Blessings on you and your marriage!

2 moms found this helpful

T.F.

answers from Dallas on

I've read this request for a day or so and kept quiet.

What is the big deal for a "ceremony" that you can't afford? Why go into debt for a "ceremony"?

I don't "get it". I know I am different...I am a believer in no debt...

I COMPLETELY understand that some people can't be "married" without the big deal.

If you don't have the money to spare and you have children to care for then it appears to me that you are putting $$ in a priority where it does not need to be. If children are already in the picture...THEY are the priority.

I admire you for wanting a ceremony to involve children, etc. Do it at a JP office with some flowers and be sentimental about it. Don't be materialistic if you can't afford to do so.

MANY weddings and tons of good advice are listed here for budget friendly.... I guess my rant is that WHY go into debt anymore when you don't HAVE to??

Delayed gratification is hard for some people to swallow but I guarantee if you participate in it...you will be much further along in the long run $$ wise.

In no way do I mean to be offensive...I belive a sentimental ceremony can be very nice and worthwhile.

I myself elpoed 21 yrs ago (at age 26)to a JP office vs a big wedding (that my mom dreamed of). Yes, she is still hurt to this day...HOWEVER, we never went into debt from day 1 and we are woefully more stable than my mom and others due to delayed gratification and looking toward the long term.

Look at the BIG picture.....retirement, house, college funds for children, stability and no worries due to overspending. I am fortunate enough to be with a husband who is also very disciplined. We have a lot of nice things...we don't go into debt for them though.. Our deal is...if it can't be paid for in CASH up front...we don't need it.

We are fortunate to have a very nice home, cars, etc all PAID for. We work hard to do this and sacrifice a lot of little things along the way.

You can do it....Keep the long term in your perspective.

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B.S.

answers from Dallas on

Hi A.,

I completely understand about the wedding on a budget. My husband and I did the same thing. In addition to the fabulouse tips already used.

We delegated tons!! We found that people were happy to help out a little here and a little there and it somehow all came together Beautifully!!

Please make sure you have a contingionsy plan if it rains... We rented an old Victorian style house with a gazebo in the back yard, open area up stairs for the reception and downstairs for groom, bride and buffet.

Key Savings...
-We booked on a Sunday afternoon instead of a Saturday...
-Friend made the brides and grooms cake. We dipped a million strawberries and they were a huge hit and cost effective.
-Color theme was basically multi-strong colors.
-Each brides made got her own dress, the rule was that it had to be a formal, and no two colors could be alike.
-I had a friend sing, another, play the flute, and another the guitar... Surprised by how beautiful and touching it was to have family contribute that way.
-Upcoming photographer shot our wedding for free and photoshopped about a dozen of them...Found what other wedding photographers offered in their packages and requested that from our up and coming photographer... He's got a nice portfolio, he gave us a CD and we printed them at Target.
-DJ, we told him that we would refer him business if he would do ours for free. We made a deal that if I gave him 2 referrals, he would come do ours.
-Beef & Chicken Fajita buffet... deligated this to a few good friends... I paid the cost they did the labor... Rice, beans, guacamole, flour torillas, salsa, chips... Most of this doesn't even have to be made from scratch, you can buy at Costco... The nicest paper plates and plasticware I could find... Served Margaritas and a keg... not fancy, but worked... skipped champaigne toast... don't really love the stuff anyways... we toasted with whatever drinks we had. (Pasta buffet with salad and rolls are cost effective too)
-Put disposable cameras on all the tables... our Sunday School class was generous and got them developed.
-Got ring at Kohls on black Friday... dress was on clearance
-Invitations and thank you cards?? Hit the clearance paper stack, and get creative... do layers, ribbons, etc... You can also google how to make your own paper if you're creative like that... It will be fancy shmancy...
-Shop now for white Christmas lights and put lights up everywhere if wedding will go into evening... borrow extension cords...
---Most important... make a list and delegate... relax, and remember that it's your day, so just do whatever you want to do... The rest of the stuff is fluff :-)

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P.G.

answers from Dallas on

First goal - have fun. It is YOUR day and you should enjoy it. You want your guests to have fun, but not at the expense of your sanity. I found a book called 1001 ways to save money and still have a fabulous wedding - hit your library or 1/2 price books and see what they have along these lines. It'll help you brainstorm.

Cut out the alcohol - that will save tons of money. I had my wedding at a state park in PA where alcohol wasn't allowed - didn't have to deal with people complaining that we didn't have it at the wedding. I figure if people want to drink to your good fortune, they can do it afterwards (LOL).

Involve friends and family - who has what talents, skills, etc. that they can contribute to the wedding as a gift? I had a friend that made bridesmaids dresses as her gift to us; another bought the flowers (daisys for the girls, roses for me); focus over enjoying rather than impressing; have a late morning ceremony and do lunch, or have the ceremony after lunch and just do cake and tea/coffee/juice.

Centerpieces can also double as wedding favors. Our wedding theme was "frogs", which was inspired by the invitation my husband picked (cute, but definitely different). It inspired our color theme - sage green; the centerpieces were lilypads (I made them), and cute squeaky frogs - our friends still have them 11 years later.

Feel free to e-mail me for more ideas - I'll see what else I can remember :) Enjoy!

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J.G.

answers from Dallas on

Wishing you the very best, but questioning the expenditure of funds on a wedding if you have two little ones for whom you are responsible. That leads me to the next question which is why isn't your fiance picking up the expenses for the wedding? And that, then, leads me to the next question and that is if your fiance doesn't have funds for the wedding, he probably isn't in a position to provide for you and your children. I think the next question is obvious.

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K.D.

answers from Dallas on

I only have one suggestion. Dont forgo a photographer. You will regret it.
My husband and I did a simple cheap wedding as well, which is what I wanted and it was great. Just close friends and family at a small chapel in Hot Springs Arkansas. We depended on everyone else to take pictures and bought some disposable ones to pass out. I really regreat not having a professonal. We got some good pictures but in most of them everyone is looking in a different direction. Its now been 10 yrs and I am still upset with myself for not having good pictures of my wedding.

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M.B.

answers from Dallas on

The gazebo in Addison is on Beltline and it's on a wooded trail but also easily visible from the road. I know someone who got married there and they reserved it through the city. It makes for beautiful photos but it's kind of noisy. The park behind the gazebo is called Celestial Park and is a romantic park. No idea about reservations etc.
I would get on the city websites for your city and the nearby ones and look at sites to rent. Some are real bargains. I got all of my wedding food and my cake done by a lady who is a home ec. teacher and loves to cater her DAR meetings. I think my wedding was the first time she'd been paid for catering, but I got so many compliments on the food. The cake was lovely and tasted amazing.

Good luck to you!

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R.A.

answers from Dallas on

I married my husband in my (now our) backyard! All the money that I would have put into rentals and flowers, I just put into sprucing up the yard. We kept everything very simple, had a relative take pics, ordered food from our favorite restaurant ( a nice big Italian dish), and the guest list was short. It was perfect for us! And less than $1000.

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J.P.

answers from Dallas on

I had a cake and punch wedding and still seemed to spend a lot. Mainly because I paid for a photographer and I wanted a photo booth(that was my "entertainment"). I will tell you that I borrowed a dress from a friend. I loved her dress, I didn't have to spend the time shopping for one, and the decision was made. I did buy a Vail that I kept for my keepsake and I got lucky and found some shoes on clearance. I've seen lots of wedding dresses at consignment shops. We had a friend do the cake and flowers and that cut our costs! Good luck!

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M.C.

answers from Dallas on

I got fantastic flowers for cheap at the local farmer's market (all in season and local, obviously) for my sister's wedding--get a couple of friends together the morning of to do your own arrangements. GL!

D.L.

answers from Dallas on

Hi A.!
Congratulations on your wedding!

I have a suggestion for the photographs. I'm starting my digital photography business and my business partner and I are starting to build our portfolio. I would love to talk to you about doing your photographs and possibly HD video.

I understand you are looking for inexpensive ways to make your day special. And since we are just starting out we would be happy to talk to you about how we could help you capture the special memories without breaking the bank!

I'd love to forward my website information to you so you can look at our work. Message me or email me directly and lets talk about it! [email protected]____.com.

D.

DebbieL Photography

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L.B.

answers from Dallas on

i ordered flowers in bulk online - there are tons of different sites and you can compare price on roses, cala lilies, or tulips, whatever is in season will be cheapest & especially if you buy 100 or so of the same stem in bulk. I went with cala lillies, then had a family friend wrap 2-3 stems in ribbon for bouquets, w/o any extra "filler" and use the rest in $1 bud vases from the dollar store (w/small votive holders and extra flower petals)on the table for table settings. Very inexpensive and pretty. You can also check the website save-on-crafts.com for specials for inexpensive wedding reception supplies. Use family/friend connections as much as possible - often someone has jewelry, dress, shoes, baking ability etc. they would love to loan or give you.
Also pick 1-2 things that are important to you and put the bulk of your money there, that way if you have to cut corners later you can remind yourself that you are going to have the things that are most important to you, and the rest is gravy. I also splurged on fan programs that would be easy to make yourself, I thought of that later - basically just print your program on cardstock & fold the paper like a fan & glue a stick on it...you can google that too for pictures -- i tied ribbon around them & tied them to the back of chairs and it was a nice decoration, served as the program, and kind of necessary in case it is hot for an outdoor spring wedding. It would also be inexpensive if you have access to a computer/printer. Only other thought is that I chose red as a wedding color b/c I just happen to like it, but i was able to get so many things on super-discount (vases, votive holders, etc.) after christmas and after valentine's day - so if you like red or any other 'holiday' color, go with that and wait for the after-holiday clearance sales!!

P.W.

answers from Dallas on

first, ignore that Harold creep. I have an idea it's some kid that will be surprised when the FBI or someone comes knocking on his door. Kids tend to think they are anonymous on the internet, but they aren't.

second, Don't stress! The day will be beautiful whatever you decide to do. Don't try too hard to be creative. Just make it sweet. There is a beautiful Gazebo in Addison off beltline. It's Addison City Hall or some govt blgd and I am betting you can get married there for free. Kids go there all the time to take prom photos, etc...

If you can, have your luncheon or dinner or just cake and champagne at someone's home.......or don't disregard a nice rec center. Cheap decorations can make anywhere festive and beautiful. White on silver tablecloths. White candles, silver confetti in the shape of something to do with weddings.

Congratulations and Best Wishes!

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K.S.

answers from Dallas on

You can make your food and cake, also all your decorations and flowers can be made. You can also make your dress if you can sew. I have done this for a friend and I made my wedding dress. Of corse my wedding was a rennesaunce wedding, so a very unique style of dress. If you can find a pattern and someone to do it, it can be done. Look for stuff in michaels or hobby lobby. go for fake flowers, you can also make your invitations on the computer and print them out. Good luck, if you need help with anything or any more ideas contact me [email protected]____.com

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S.M.

answers from Dallas on

Hi A.,

I was in the same boat as you for my wedding. You can plan a cheap, but elegant wedding. Be careful about having it outdoors in May, though. Our wedding was in May and it was in the 90's! Very hot! Check out this website. http://www.theheritageinns.com/weddings.html
We didn't have our wedding here, but we did check it out and I remember that the price wasn't too bad for what you got. As far as other ways to save: you can do your own invitations. My invitations only cost $50. We got them from Office Depot and then did them ourselves on our computer. And they were really pretty. If you don't go with this package deal and you do your own decorations, for the centerpiece here is what we did (very cheap, but pretty): you take a glass bowl (like a fish bowl type of shape) and fill it with water, maybe put some of those colored beads at the bottom, then float a gerber daisy in the water. you can put some rose petals on the table and maybe some votive candles which you can get from the dollar store. That's what we did and it looked really nice. If you need any other suggestions, send me a message. I would be happy to help.

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M.C.

answers from Dallas on

The Botanical Gardens in Ft. Worth would be a beautiful setting, and I don't think it costs much to reserve a spot. You wouldn't need flowers except for your bouquet, if you choose to have one. My daughter and son-in-law were married there and my son played the guitar for the music - it was lovely and inexpensive.

E.C.

answers from Dallas on

It really depends on how you envision your wedding!! What do you want? What do you want to see when you look back on your wedding? Do you want it to be fun, sentimental, serious (very ceremonial)...? What is your budget?

PM me and let me know. I can help you get this done on the cheap! :) (I won't charge you - don't worry!)

I will let you know, however, that my husband does video recordings of weddings, my daughter photographs weddings, and my son plays guitar at weddings. (Weird, isn't it?) Anyway, if you are interested in those items, I am sure I can talk them into a great package deal...

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J.P.

answers from Dallas on

I recently planned a wedding for 200 guest on a budget of $3000 which included some finger food, decorations, the wedding attire for all the attendants and bride's dress which was outside.

I would be happy to share the ideas I used for her wedding with you at no cost to you. There are many things you can use to be creative that would not normally be used. For example in the gazebo we used rolls of white plastic table cloth to create the swags leading from the top of the gazebo to the sides and down to the floor. We used coupons from Michael's and Party City to purchase a lot of things.

If you would like to contact me please feel free to e-mail me.

J.

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S.L.

answers from Dallas on

in may you could get away with a garden wedding easily, which can be cheap. if you have a friend/family member with a nice backyard add an arch and some chairs. fort worth has the botanic gardens which is fabulous! time the wedding right and you can definitely only have cake and drinks, with maybe finger foods at most. there's no reason to insist on a full meal. most craft stores have a clearance/sales section on a regular basis. keep an eye on that area to pick up some great silk flowers, ribbon, lace...make your own flowers for the wedding! there are books at the public library how to do so. candles and ribbon on top of plastic tablecloths look fabulous. if you do an indoor reception, consider white christmas lights, even in the daytime.
using this mentality i did a semiformal wedding in the daytime with catering (finger foods and alcohol) for 50 people for $5000 total. we could have cut a few more corners but there were a few must haves that made it what it was. it was fabulous!

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S.R.

answers from Dallas on

im actually a floral/wedding designer...i work for myself...so if you need any help with your flowers, let me know. im just an at home mom that has been doing floral work for 17+ years as a passion. i've worked in the floral industry professionally as well for many years. Im quite cheap compared to floral shops...so if interested, let me know. i have photos as well.

thanks
S.

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K.L.

answers from Dallas on

We bought beautiful bouquets of flowers at Costco (right out of the bins). We split a couple to make smaller bouquets for the bridesmaids and added ribbon to all of them.

We also purchased carnations at Costco. One of my favorite wedding photos is of us being showered with carnation petals as we leave the reception.

We had a morning wedding and had a brunch buffet instead of a sit-down dinner.

If you choose to buy an inexpensive cake (such as at a grocery store), I recommend whites and or other neutrals. I ordered pastel yellow and blue accents and wound up with electric blue and yellow. It tasted fine but didn't photograph well. :)

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S.H.

answers from Hartford on

We had our wedding outdoors at my parents' lakehouse. I thought I would end up saving a ton of money by this DIY method, but ended up spending a ton more. I know it is counter-intuitive, but when you use a venue that isn't wedding-ready, you have to pay for all the tent/table/linen rentals, decorations, catering and other details, such as the cake and flowers. When you use a ready-set-go venue, usually all the factors are covered under one cost.

Things I would do in the future - put together my own music mixes and skip the DJs/Band, plan a home-style buffet or barbecue versus the pricey caterer and use pre-made invitations versus making my own. All the unique touches, such as the invitations, decorations and flowers were beautiful, but I wish I had stressed less and kept it simple...especially since I did the bulk of the work. Also, I think I would have been just as happy to have gotten married in a sun dress or a used dress - the fancy dress is nice, but totally not necessary.

T.H.

answers from Dallas on

A lot of city parks will allow you to reserve a pavillion with little or no money for any event, including weddings. A friend had an outdoor wedding and used rented chairs, tables...using the chairs for seating and then moving them to the tables for a bbq buffet. They used simple black table clothes and clear glass bowls with green apples and a few white flowers as the center pieces set a top a mirrored glass square. It was elegant & very pretty without a lot of cost. They used simple twinkle christmas lights with white cords sececured inside white & apple green tule tied with black and hot pink ribbons to the Pavilion area. It ended up being very nice without too much cost. Limiting the number of friends is always a cost saver...possibly having family & friends help prepare food ahead of time to use for a picnic style buffet would be a good budget idea as well. If the area you choose has picnic table you might can skip cost on chairs & table. Look on Craigslist for wedding supplies that someone is selling after their wedding that you can purchase for a fraction of the cost. Many people buy table cloths, per markers, lights, etc that they use for the one day but then realize they don't want to keep them long term & try to store them.

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C.P.

answers from Dallas on

Hello A.,

wow, lots of great ideas already. I have two suggestions, if you skip the alcohol, it will save you a lot of money. We had a punch at our wedding and to make it special we added passion fruit concentrate. it was a hit! it was different and special and they couldn't tell what the difference was. oh, another suggestion, make a list of the special pictures you want. family groups, etc. that way whoever is in charge of the pictures can make sure you get the shots you want.

keep it simple and it's your special day. Congratulations! ~C.~

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J.W.

answers from Dallas on

A.,
I got married on a Thursday and was able to save a lot of money. Most professionals and venues will still be able to have a Friday or Saturday wedding so they may negotiate the rates. I was honest with all of them and told them I was trying to save money. Good luck!

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S.M.

answers from Dallas on

One idea I heard of before was to get a pretty, but small cake to display...then have just a plain white sheet cake to actually feed everyone. Usually, they move the cake to the back to cut it anyway, so why pay for a huge cake when a sheet cake tastes the same as the pretty one!

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