weddings on a budget??

Discussion in 'Budget Board' started by figment fan21, Dec 17, 2008.

  1. figment fan21

    figment fan21 Can't wait to be a Disney Bride!

    Oct 17, 2007
    Hello ladies!

    On my list trip to the world DBF became my DF. :woohoo: :bride: Now that its been a couple months since the engagement we are starting to talk about wedding budget. Since we are paying for it ourselves it is really really tight. (we just bought a house this past september which makes the budget even tighter) I'm trying to get ideas on what we can do to save as much as possible. I started looking on websites like craigslist and ebay to try and find dresses cheaper than at those little boutiques that charge and arm and a leg. Has anyone ever bought a dress that was used? How did that work out for them? Should that be something i should cut back on or should i go to those boutiques? Any helpful hints from you girl would be much apprecaited on any aspect of wedding planning on a budget. You girls are the experts! :worship:

    TIA! :goodvibes
  2. michellejed

    michellejed DIS Veteran

    Jul 7, 2005

    Some of our local stores have a yearly sale...All dresses are $99!! keep checking local ads for the sales and don't be afraid to look at used. If the dress is not a big issue to you then why not get a gently used dress?

    There are so many budget ideas out there, depending on the time of year, how many people are invited, etc.

    You could have a small wedding in your new home, in a park, at a friends house.

    You could make all the food yourself with some help from friends.

    You could use free wild flowers for your wedding(depending on time of year)

    Have a friend video and take photos (put a disposable camera on each table for the guest to take pics for you)

    Have a cupcake cake instead of the big expensive one.

    Good luck with your planning:thumbsup2
  3. Avatar


    to hide this advert.
  4. RachaelA

    RachaelA DIS Veteran

    Dec 9, 2007
    David's Bridal has $99 sales many times throughout the year. They also have dresses for $249. You could check ebay. Maybe you could find a dress used and then go try on a version in the store before you buy a used one.
  5. englishteacha

    englishteacha Have courage and be kind.

    Apr 2, 2006
    Congrats! DH and I paid for our wedding ourselves, too, 6.5 years ago. We were also 22. :) We had a church wedding and a reception at the American Legion, which had a lovely ballroom. I first bought a dress at JC Penney-simple white evening gown for $99. It was lovely. After I thought about it a while, though, I realized I wanted something more fancy. So I returned the JCP dress (and found my bridesmaid dresses for $40 each at the same time, so I figure it was fate!), and went to the small, local bridal shop. It was a mom and daughter business, not a fancy boutique. I tried on several dresses and "The" dress jumped out at me as soon as I put it on. Total cost was $400, which seemed expensive at the time (I was a poor college kid), but I've since learned that in wedding dress prices, $400 is actually pretty low. So, don't discount the small bridal/formalwear shops. Almost every town has one. The shop I went to had some very expensive dresses, but also a nice selection of gowns under $500. My niece got married this past summer, and wore a dress almost identical to mine, and she paid $1000. I was in shock! I did shop used dresses when I first began looking, but being 5'4" and a bit plump, there weren't a lot of pretty dresses in my size. :) I would definitely consider a used gown. My sisters all offered me theirs, but they got married in the 80s...lots of lace and puffy sleeves. Ugh.

    2 friends bought dresses at David's Bridal. While the dresses were pretty, the alterations didn't hold up. One hem tore out, and another the bustle came apart. For a dress you're only wearing one day, you'd expect it to last through the day! So if you buy from DB, you might want to hire your own seamstress to make any alterations for you.

    Edited: Just checked JC Penney online. They have 4 bridal gowns, all under $150. They're quite pretty, and on sale. Thought you might want to check it out! Some of their special occasion dresses are also available in white as well as the "bridal gowns." An advantage with JCP is that you can return special occasion dresses if you change your mind! A bridal shop won't let you do that!

    Edited again: has a couple simple gowns in ivory/white under $100. One is very Greek, like the wedding dress in Mamma Mia. :) Quite striking, really!

    Good luck!
  6. JillandFamily

    JillandFamily earning my ears

    Feb 17, 2006
    We made our own invitations. We bought the special wedding card stock, and printed them ourselves. Saved a bundle and they looked really pretty.
  7. kimsuenew

    kimsuenew DIS Veteran

    Aug 6, 2007

    We had a very tiny budget, but had a very nice wedding! :lovestruc Where there is a will... there is a way!

    We had our reception in the Church we were married in, and served cake/punch/dainty items... only (no meal). I made my bouquets and bouteniers (I had taken floral design at a JVS for two years), we only had one attendant for each of us, my two younger sisters were the book attendant, nephew was the ring bearer, and we had no flower girl (as we knew no one with a young daughter).

    I rented (yes, rented) my wedding dress and veil... it was a dream dress and actually brand new! :goodvibes DH rented his tux, as did the best man and ring bearer. My oldest sister was my "MOH" and we actually bought her dress second hand and we had it professionally cleaned.

    My husbands DSis had married a man that DH whole family was close to and had grown up with. Everyone attended the same Church, same Christian school and college, and were always at holiday's together (his family became extended family). My BIL's father volunteered to take all of our pictures and while he was not a paid professional, he had top of the line professional equipment (camera and lenses), was talented, and had quite an eye for pictures. He refused any type of payment... his taking the pictures, film cost, and development (but not enlargements of course) was our wedding gift!

    I had my "dream wedding" (with about 100 close family and friends in attendance) for very little money, so yes... it can be done! :thumbsup2 Our biggest cost was the cake and invitations (and rental fees for tuxes/dress)... the Church use was free (we did pay the Minister of course).

    Check out gown rentals in your area... you might be pleasantly surprised! :goodvibes Consider being married in your Church and having your reception there as well! Keep your reception/refreshments very simple and keep the number of attendants low (ecspecially if you are paying for the tux rental/dresses as we did). Consider having a talented friend, armed with a wonderful camera, be your photographer... same with the videographer!

    Congratulations! :flower3:
  8. TifffanyD

    TifffanyD DIS Veteran

    Apr 23, 2007
    Hey OP, you sound like us! We eloped to Vegas (in theory to save money). My mom paid for the plane tickets and room as our wedding gift, and we booked a $1000 wedding package that included pictures, a small cake, limo, location fee, minister fee, bouquet, and buttoniere.

    I bought my dress on sale at White House Black Market outlet in orlando. It was normally $180 marked down to like $40. Black and white, so non traditional. DH got his wedding clothes at kohl's - just a nice shirt, slacks, and a tie.

    We got lucky and my mom knew someone who could do the catering fairly inexpensively for the reception. We held it at a community center we rented. My cousin who is a divine baker made our wedding cake as our gift. Invitations we bought the special paper and printed on our PC. We got it on clearance and spent about $8 for invites, envelopes, reply cards, reply envelopes, and seals.

    For music we made cds and hooked up extra speakers and played them. We also made our own centerpieces and wedding favors.

    All in all we spend < $5k for the wedding in vegas, clothes, and reception - not bad!
  9. natmurr

    natmurr Mouseketeer

    Aug 14, 2008
    consider a day other than Saturday - we were married on a Friday and saved a bundle on the reception hall rental

    consider an evening wedding. We were married at 7pm - the church was beautiful in the evening lights so we didn't feel the need to add decorations. We had a cocktail reception so the guest knew not to expect a full meal

    look into local community groups or ladies auxillary for your catering. My Grandmother's Women's Institue made up beautiful fruit & veggie trays, dessert sqaures and cookies and finger sandwiches. We bought frozen jumbo shrimp when it was on sale (just thawed it the day of the wedding and served in a crystal bowl. We also had an appitizer day before the wedding. My family got together and made up a bunch of appetizer that could be frozen and thawed the day of the wedding.

    skip the wedding favours - make a donation to your favourite charity instead - put cards on the tables announcing your donation.

    The only thing I would spurge on is a wedding planner or decorator. They can make things look fantastic without spending a bundle (I was luckily and had my designer uncle-in-law give us his time let us borrow from his stock of supplies!) I also used family photos as the main part of the table centre pieces - I had wedding and anniversary photos of our parents & grandparents and had them blown-up and printed in black & white. It was a great tribute to their happy marriages!

    I got my dress at David's Bridal but had it altered by my own seamstress - it held up beautifully. The tuxes were rented, and we didn't rent a limo. We did all our photos before the ceremony (that was the best! - I HATE going to weddings and waiting around FOR HOURS while pics are done!)

    When it was all said and done we spent about $5000 and had about 180 guests. People still to this day tell me what a lovely wedding it was!
  10. Darcy03231

    Darcy03231 DIS Veteran

    Nov 1, 2006
    I did my 2nd wedding on a budget. Here's what we did:

    I wore DSis dress. It fit perfectly and it was a gorgeous dress. She's a bit taller than me so I bought a full petticoat for under it and with higher heels than she wore it didn't need any alterations.

    We got married at 9 am and had a brunch. Much cheaper than a dinner. Also, there was no need to serve alcohol, which can get very expensive.

    Between my family and friends we did all the pictures ourselves. They came out better than the professional ones from my first wedding.

    We didn't bother with a limo or a DJ. We kept the guest list small. We bought the cake at a local supermarket bakery (sheet cake) and cut that. We didn't bother with throwing the bouqet, but that could be easily done.

    After the brunch we did a big party at our house. We told everyone who wanted to come in shorts and t-shirts, we had the pool open and did a big barbeque (hamburgers, hot dogs, potato salad, macaroni salad, tossed salad, etc). Members of both of our families pitched in and made lots of food. We had a keg and punch (non-alcoholic) and bottles of rum and vodka if people wanted to add to the punch. Everyone had a great time. It was so relaxed and fun. People still tell me it was the best wedding reception they've ever been to.
  11. englishteacha

    englishteacha Have courage and be kind.

    Apr 2, 2006
    Kimsuenew, your wedding sounds great! Our wedding was only possible because of our family's help, too. We made our own invitations, my family made the food, a friend made our cake as a gift, and a friend took photos. Since we didn't have a professional photographer, many of our guests gave us copies of their photos, too. We have an amazing wedding album with over 600 pictures! :)

    It's important to decide what's important to you. I wanted tasty food, good music, a beautiful dress, and pretty flowers. My mom is an amazing cook, and made a dozen pans of lasagna for the reception. We heated them in the hall's kitchen in the convection oven. She made them in advance and froze them, so it was easy to handle on wedding day. We hired a DJ who kept the party going. :) My flowers were awesome. I wanted daisies and wildflowers, and let the flower shop design the bouquets. They were gorgeous, and because I gave the shop free reign, they were able to make them very inexpensively.
  12. foltzy

    foltzy Mouseketeer

    Jun 13, 2007
    We spent around 6K for the entire wedding (including all clothes for us, my brother-in-law, sister, mom, and dad).

    Our wedding was held outside at the hotel where we were getting married (They had a beautiful ballroom). Everything was included food, cake, a nights stay, the use of the outside gazebo, and the ballroom.

    We got married on a Sunday afternoon and it cost us way less. If we would have gotten married on Saturday night it would have cost us $40 a head, having it on Sunday meant we got the cost for $20 a head. No alcohol though except the champagne toast but with our families that was a good thing.

    We also got a lot for free. My dh aunt did mine and my girls hair as part of our wedding gift, another aunt officiated as part of our wedding gift. A friend of my mom's did my flowers for cheep and did pictures for cheap.
    Don't be afraid to utilize all the connections you have.

    My dress was the most expensive at $600, but the price included everything (veil, undergarment, stupid skirt thing) no alterations so it just had to be bustled.

    We did buy our invitations but my mom works for a printer (we used every connection).

    We also did our own favors and I bought stuff on clearance (bells to ring) too.

    The wedding and reception was terrific. It couldn't have been more perfect.
  13. KigerKat

    KigerKat DIS Veteran

    Mar 24, 2008
    Here are some tips I came across when planning our wedding last year:

    1. Don't get married on a Saturday! We got married on a Sunday and saved on the reception location and DJ

    2. Have a small bridal party - less stress having to keep up with fewer people

    3. Don't serve a sit down meal if you are having the reception catered. Heavy hour d'oeuvres can make a great meal.

    4. Try making some floral arrangements out of silk flowers - that way you'll get to keep a nice souvenir from the day.

    5. Search on Ebay for some of your supplies like cake topper, knife set, toasting flutes, jewelry, shoes, veil, tiara, ect...

    6. I got my programs from Greeting Card Village online. They were cheap and beautiful! I wish I had found them when I did the invitations, which DH and I spent hours printing and putting together by hand.

    7. For favors, we made music cd's of some of our favorite love songs. They were cheap to make and people loved them!

    8. This one is kind of touchy, but it saved us a TON of money...don't serve alcohol at the reception. DH and I don't drink to begin with, and we didn't see the point in spending hundreds of dollars to let other people get sloshed out of their minds. It worked out in the end, since we didn't use the caterer that owned the facility and there was some weird liquor license law that prohibited our caterer from serving alcohol in the same location. It all really depends on what the two of you want to do at your reception.
  14. tinker&belle

    tinker&belle DIS Veteran

    Jan 25, 2006
    We had very little money and were going to have to have the reception in the church, but DH's family said if we would rather have them pay for a Hall we could do that for the reception and then we had pizza and 2 liters for the rehersal. The rehersal was really low-key that way and we loved it, plus we liked that the reception was fancy instead which was what we cared about.
  15. EthansMom

    EthansMom <font color=red>spare yourself from asking me to d

    Jul 13, 2003
    We had a budget wedding that was great. We invited only our immediate family, my dress was a simple bridesmaid's dress, and we had the wedding ceremony and reception in a small reception room at a moderately-priced hotel.

    A friend of mine had a more elaborate wedding and rented a designer dress for a fraction of it's full value.
  16. LeeLeeLuvsDisney

    LeeLeeLuvsDisney Mouseketeer

    Oct 16, 2006
    We did our whole wedding for about $5k. Here are some budget ideas that I used:

    1. We had an 11:00am ceremony at our church, then a lunch reception at a small country club. The per person charge was much less for lunch than for dinner, and there was no minimum (Saturday evening the minimum on food alone was $5k!). Avoid Saturday evenings - lunch, or Friday, or Sunday, everything is usually less expensive.

    2. We kept our wedding small. We only had 40 guests, and that kept costs down.

    3. We did not get a videographer, but we splurged on a professional photographer. We had her there for 3 hours, and she gave us the rights to make all our prints ourselves. We got our photos on CD a few weeks after the wedding, and we can go to whatever store we want to make enlargements, copies, etc.

    4. I chose an inexpensive flower (daisy) for the bouquets and table centerpieces. We also used a local florist rather than a wedding specialist florist. We saved a bundle.

    5. We got the cake from our local grocery store. It was elegant and pretty and tasted good. We saved a bundle.

    6. I got my dress on sale from David's Bridal. I luckily did not have to alter it, but if I had, I would have done the alterations at a local seamstress, not at David's. I think I paid about $300 for the dress and crinoline.

    7. We made our own invitations. We bought paper stock and ribbon and just printed them on our home printer. They turned out really nice and they were inexpensive.

    Other tips:

    - Serve only beer and wine if you are planning to serve alcohol. It's much less expensive.

    - Food choices make a huge difference in price - explore your options.

    - Consider skipping the videographer and just set up some cameras on tripods, or have friends film. You can edit everything together later if you want.
  17. Handbag Lady

    Handbag Lady Disneyland Bride 2000

    Jun 15, 2005
    We got married at the DLH Rose garden and it was lovely. We were also on a budget.

    -We got married on a Monday. Saved $2500.

    -No videographer. This is my biggest regret. Everyone told me that someone or more people would videotape it and we can just borrow the tape. Yeah, no one brought one.

    -I shopped around for photographers and found one for $1000, all inclusive for 8 hours. If I do this again, I'd hire college students as I wasn't happy with our pictures.

    -My mom bought yards of material that I loved and doled it out to the bridesmaids. They made or had someone make their own dresses. Saved a bundle right there PLUS my back-up singers had dresses made that they liked. I ony cared that they had the same color & material. One wanted sleeves, one wanted a two-piece skirt and bustier. They were happy, I was happy.

    Although I LOVED getting married at Disneyland, we were only able to because my dad pitched in some cash. Otherwise, we could have had a very nice budget wedding ourselves.

    Here another idea: Call around to friends and family and see if anyone has a condo in a gorgeous setting. My sister rented out my aunt's rec room at her condo for $50 and had her wedding reception there. Luckily, my aunt lived in an awesome condo overlooking the ocean, so it looked a whole lot more expensive that it actually was...
  18. HunnyPots

    HunnyPots DIS Veteran<br><font color=purple>The Tag Fairy is

    Apr 30, 2001
    My daughter is getting married in July and we are also doing a budget wedding and I mean with a capital B!

    We checked out David's Bridal and she found the dream dress. Unfortunately, it was $700 which I just cannot justify right now. Actually, even if I could afford it, I hate the idea of spending that much money on a dress she'll wear maybe four hours out of her whole life. Still, I wanted her to have a beautiful dress that she loves. Our solution? Ebay! We found the exact dress, very gently used, and got it for $200! Now that I can live with!

    If you're wearing a veil, don't buy it from a bridal shop! They are ridiculously expensive! Buy some tulle from a fabric store for less that $1 a yard and make it yourself or if you'd rather not, buy one at Michael's for around $10 - even less with a coupon. Know one will know the difference.

    Speaking of Michaels - watch for those weekly coupons and make good use of them! Can't stress that enough!

    I am doing her cake. Nothing terribly fancy, three tiers frosted smooth and trimmed with ribbon and decorated with strawberries. Instead of stacking the tiers, which can be trouble if you don't know what you're doing, I am using a three tier cake stand that I got at Michael's with a 50% off coupon! The least expensive wedding cake I could get from a bakery was Wal Mart for $140 - not bad but I can beat that!

    She is getting married in the garden of a nursery so we won't need extra flowers for ceremony decor, just her bouqet, boutineres, etc. so we are getting the flowers from Sam's Club and putting them together ourselves. I can get two dozen roses for $20 so I'll probably spend a total of $60 for flowers!

    We are also printing our own invitations. You want them to look nice of course and be something to have as a keepsake but remember that most of them will end up in the trash. I am buying blank invitation cards and envelopes in the colors of her wedding and printing them on my husband's laser printer, just as we did for her graduation invitations. They will cost me less than $1 each.

    Don't waste your money on favors. Most of them will get trashed anyway. If you want to send your guests home with something, make it something edible.
    We are going to have Dove Promises and Hershey Kisses on each table that guests can help themselves to.

    That's all I can think of now but I hope it helps. Have fun!
  19. Handbag Lady

    Handbag Lady Disneyland Bride 2000

    Jun 15, 2005
    Oh, yeah! My veil was less than $10. I wanted a LONG train, but my dress didn't have it. So, my crafty maid of honor bought yards of tulle, and then bought fake pearls and dotted the tulle with the pearls. THe edges didn't need finishing because the pearls made it look finished.

    We just tucked it into my tiara (on ebay for $15) and voila! I looked GORGEOUS! She even cut a layer of tulle short then I had a blusher! (It helps to know crafty people.)
  20. Inigo

    Inigo DIS Veteran

    Jun 24, 2008
    My wedding 22 years ago was budget. I don't have much in the way of parents, so I pretty much had to do this on my own. With DH's help, of course. And with the help of a lot of people whom I love.

    My dress was the most expensive part at about $300, and the tux rentals. The bridesmaid's dresses came from the JCPenney Outlet store in Columbus, OH. I had to drive three hours to get there, but was able to find the exact shade I wanted for about $10 each. The hemline was a little different, but other than that, it was the dresses I wanted. (I even bought an extra in case one bridesmaid bugged out.)

    I found an adorable dress on clearance at Sears for the flower girl.

    The dresses all needed alterations, and I was fortunate to have a friend who could do those. She also did all the floral arrangements, boutenaires, bows, decorations, etc, so all those cost me were for the supplies. I have to laugh, because the friend is actually the older sister of one of my ex-boyfriends. She told me she was planning on doing my wedding when I dated her brother, and she still loved me so she would do this for me even though I married someone else. It's still family though. Her aunt (mom's sister) is also my husband's aunt, since the aunt is the widow of my mother-in-law's brother. We definitely live in a too small town. (My kids are not allowed to marry anyone in the state of IN. We need fresh genes!) My friend borrowed the petticoats from her friend, and she made me the most beautiful veil.

    My aunt (not related to my husband, BTW) helped with the flowers.

    We got married by my husband's 78 year old great uncle. That was funny, since he did go off a tangent during the ceremony, telling stories about when DH was a kid, and when I was a kid. (DH is 9 years older, so we were never around each other when we were kids.) That made the ceremony more personable. (Uncle Lloyd will be 100 in three weeks!)

    We were married in the church where my grandparents attended. My grandfather was the trustee who helped raise the money to build the current church, so it was almost like having my grandparents there.

    The rehearsal dinner was huge, and I think just about everyone that was invited to the wedding came to the rehearsal dinner. DH's cousins fixed the food, and we sat, talked, ate and visited for hours after the actual rehearsal.

    For the wedding, we had punch, cake, mints, and nuts. The cake was baked and decorated by a friend using a design I concocted from putting together parts I liked in pictures of other wedding cakes, so it was a one-of-a-kind cake. Fortunately, I had a friend who had taken all three Wilton Cake Decorating classes. The main cost was buying the pans for the three different shaped cakes.

    DD and I took the Wilton classes when she was 12. Her flowers are beautiful (mine are not-so-pretty), so she could conceivably do the wedding cakes for her friends when they get married.

    My MOH had just finished cosmotology school, so she did our hair and makeup for the ceremony.

    The wedding singer was a cousin of my husband's, and was the granddaughter of the uncle who married us. Another distant cousin played the organ for the ceremony. My high school art teacher, who is a photographer on the side, took the pictures. He gave me the film to have developed, so I was able to get the prints made that I wanted. My friend's dad had a videotaping business, so she was able to have the wedding videotaped as her present to us.

    I've been told, and it seems from the pictures and video, that it was a lovely service. I was there, but a lot of it was a blur at the time.
  21. Hmom

    Hmom Mouseketeer

    Jul 25, 2008
    We paid for ours also. I wanted to have fun, but not break the bank :)

    1. Didn't really do centerpieces. Bought taper candles at a craft store sale for .25 and holders at the dollar store 2/1.00. Volunteered to pull ivy (not the poison kind!) out of friends & family yard to help them "clean up." Wove the ivy through the candles & holders & trailed it out to the plates.

    2. Sister-in-law made our cake as our gift.

    3. Flowers were a gift from a friend.

    4. My hairdo was a gift from another friend.

    5. Made my hair piece. Not as hard as it sounds!

    6. Another friend made my gown. I had to pay, but it wasn't as expensive a buying something at a wedding store. I think I paid what I've heard some people say they've put out in alterations at wedding stores.

    7. Favors were boxes of chocolate. Our wedding was in November, so the day after Halloween, I was out buying every piece of chocolate that I thought would look nice in a small box. Bought the boxes online super cheap, no engraving, not from a wedding site. Tied with ribbon.

    Good luck!

Share This Page