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Planning a Wedding for Under $2000

Some couples can plan their entire wedding for less then some brides spend on their dress. This is a guide about planning a wedding for under $2000.
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1 found this helpful
September 27, 2007 Flag

I am getting married May 24, 2008 and we are on a very tight budget, but I want it to be very elegant. My budget is around $2,000, can anyone give me any help, please!

Kisha from Bronx, New York

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September 27, 20070 found this helpful
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I am getting married October 7, 2007 for the first time. I am 39 years old. While planning my wedding, I realized the wedding industry is such a scam! But if you know where to look & do the majority of the work yourself, you can save $. I expect all of my wedding expenses to come in under $2,000 - $2,500. My wedding will consist of 35 people (I invited 50).

Size of Wedding - If you hold a smaller wedding, your costs will be lower. Plus I want to be able to spend time with my guests, I know I couldn't possibly devote time to all of my guests if I held a larger wedding. I only invited those family members & friends that I am really close with. Try to invite only the people that matter the most to you & don't worry about offending anyone -- this is your day, not theirs. Plus most people are relieved to not have to attend weddings for people they are not close with so they do not have to buy a gift.

Wedding Dresses - Look online but make sure you know your measurements before you order anything because wedding dresses are usually not returnable plus I believe you are supposed to order the dress 2 sizes larger than your street clothes. Most web sites post the measurements. I found my dress on Ebay. It was brand new with tags from a bridal shop. With shipping it cost $185!

Wedding Invitations, Flowers, Decorations & Favors - Look at local craft stores/dollar stores/Wal-Mart/garage sales. A local craft store in the Chicago area frequently holds 50% off sales in their bridal department. To give you an idea of the items I bought & prices I paid: wedding invitation kit (60 invites with response cards) - $17; bridal bouquet (silk flowers) - $6; ring bearer pillow - $6; mint tins (30) - $10; favor bags in my wedding color (60) - $6; cake topper - $10. I found wedding invitation samples online for free & printed the invitations on my own printer. I got so many compliments on them that I was even asked for the name of the printing company. Boy, were they shocked when I said it was me!

Hair/Makeup/Nails - If you call salons & tell them you want price quotes for bridal services, the prices are usually higher than if you asked for a quote on hair/makeup/nails under regular services. Don't mention the words "bridal" or "wedding" & get a better deal. If you are really pressed for the reason you want these services, say you have a big date.

Wedding Cake - I am getting my wedding cake from a local grocery store bakery that feeds 60 people for $60! I didn't realize what a good deal that was until my Mom told me that's how much her wedding cake cost in 1964 for 100 people. When I called professional bakeries, the costs for cakes were much higher.

Family/Friends - My Mom is crafty & she created all of the corsages/boutonneires from silk flowers for less than $15.

Thank You Cards - I bought a box of 50 elegant Thank You cards from Wal-Mart for only $4.99.

I hope my tips help you & congrats on your upcoming wedding day!

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September 28, 20070 found this helpful
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Victoria had some wonderful ideas! Also, if you don't know of them, Oriental Trading has some wonderful wedding items for low prices. My daughter was married in August 2004, and I purchase alot of the items from Oriental. They normally have really good sales right before and after Christmas. The dollar stores are great resources for low prices. You can have a beautiful wedding without breaking the bank! It just takes creativity and some "thinking outside of the box"

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September 28, 20070 found this helpful
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The previous feedback seems very helpful and informative. I also was married in 2005, on a tight budget. I found a lot of my wedding stuff for 50-75% off at places like Hobby Lobby or Walmart. We also printed our own invitations and bought the better envelopes to mail them in. I would stay away from bridal websites and magazines, since they push the more expensive ideas. Websites like Martha Stewart Living or Simple Living are great for ideas and research. One idea we used, was to take jelly ice that looks like real shaved ice and put into minature round glass bowls. We then placed floating candles inside and had flower rings outside. I thought they were nice table center pieces. Oh and i borrowed mirrors from a friends to place under the centerpieces. Ask around to family and friends to borrow their formal silver or crystal ware for the wedding. Congratulations on your upcoming nuptials.

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September 28, 20070 found this helpful
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A lot of the little things can be purchesed at discount or dollar stores, such as napkins, cutlery, champaign glasses, etc.

You can make your own table centerpieces from vases, bowls and flowers from there also.

Get your attendants to help you at a pre-wedding party for a fun time.

You can make your own, or have made wedding invitations (they don't have to be ingraved)at statonery stores. There are also programs for the computer to print out anything.

Shop around for discounts or rentals of table linens. Ask family members to help prepare some of the simple food items instead of catering the whole "affair".

Look into renting a hall of a fraternal organization, which should be cheaper than a Hotel, or some churches have nice accomodations for weddings.

At the party for making table decorations, have them also help you make "birdseed bags" to be thrown after the ceremony.

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December 15, 20070 found this helpful
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The one thing I can say is dollar store! Not sure if you have a dollar tree in your city, but that store that sounds so cheap, has some pretty things in it. I watched the show who's wedding is it anyways and one lady by the name Lynette, made one couples wedding just so elegant and expensive looking using many things from the dollar store. You just need to use your imagination from with in to make it work. Good luck!

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October 6, 20070 found this helpful

Think outside the box. Look at stores like IKEA for centerpieces done with candles. Another website to look at is Candlecraving.com for ideas with candles. Stay away from purchasing candles at dollar stores. They are usually low grade wax and have awful chemicals in the wicks to make them burn hotter. An idea for having a reception at a "place" but at a better price is to have it on a non-traditional day of the week like a Thursday. And don't say it's a wedding. Tell them it's an anniversary party. In a year it really will be your anniversary. Skip having a photographer and buy a good quality camera and ask a member or friend of the family to take the pictures for you. Sign up at Shutterfly.com and you can get GREAT prices on printing your pictures. A way to combine something to throw, placecard holders, and favors is to use luggage tags with the guest's names and table assignments, and a bell tied on. Instead of throwing something the guests ring the bells. The biggest thing about doing something on a budget is knowing what is most important and focusing on that aspect. Forget about all the other "traditions". You're still married if you don't have a champagne toast at the reception and you've saved that much money towards paying a down payment on a house. Best of luck and good fortune on your upcoming wedding.

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October 7, 20070 found this helpful

Well all I can tell you is to let everyone chip in that's in ur family not on money but on setting up the wedding. Gather up ppl who can cook, decorate, and whoever is a good planner and very organized to send out invitations and get married in a church that you go to b/c they wont charge a thing. I mean that's how I will do it and the only thing you will be paying for is ur dress, and ur bridesmaid dresses and ur food and invitations so see how that works b/c that's what I would do.

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October 17, 20070 found this helpful

You can also make your own veil and bouquets, so easy. Just google DIY bouquet and veils, ring pillows as well. If you work on a project a day, you should save on your special day! Congratulations!

ps- always negotiate! You can negotiate on almost everything you buy! If you have a ac moore nearby, they have a 40%off coupon every week on there website.

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November 3, 20070 found this helpful

Hobby Lobby is my bestfriend, I am getting married April 26, 2008, and I have gotten everything I need for under $3,000, I just need my dress, and thats only $500.00.

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December 28, 20070 found this helpful

i bought my dress on ebay, it's beautiful and it was only $200.

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1 found this helpful
October 27, 2010 Flag

Is there a way I can have my wedding reception for under $2,000 including venue, DJ, and catering. The wedding is in 60 days please respond ASAP. Thank you.

By betsyla from Jacksonville, FL

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October 27, 20100 found this helpful
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Why don't you just plain go and get married. The wedding should have been planned a lot further ahead. If you have to have a reception, have it in the church fellowship hall, one of your parents homes or the home of friend. Have it at a time of day that all you have to serve is cake, coffee, tea and punch. Forget the dance, it isn't necessary. Have friends or relatives such as cousins, serve the cake, coffee, etc. Having this type of reception, the main costs would be the location and the cake. Your helpers can make the coffee, tea, and punch, with your furnishing the supplies.

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October 27, 20100 found this helpful
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We actually found a minister willing to marry us in his backyard in front of our immediate family. He was willing to meet us anywhere we wanted (within reason) and hold the ceremony.

We held a party literally in a field two days later, perhaps you could rent a shelter at a local part and have a barbecue cookout/potluck party to celebrate with friends and extended family. My original plan involved hiring a few of my brother's friends to grill burgers and hot dogs for us, but my mother got involved and vetoed that plan. If you have a connection to some teenagers (that you trust) you could pretty easily hire them for a few hours to lend a hand. What teenager would say no to cash?

As for music, we found a friend with a PA system (you could always find someone in the family with a loud stereo system that you can bring) and brought CDs to listen to, you could absolutely bring an mp3 player and just shuffle through all the songs.

Remember, no matter what you decide to do to celebrate with friends and family the only really important thing is that you and your fiance show up and get married. Your marriage will not be worth less than anyone else's just because it cost you less.

Best wishes for a happy marriage,

Kristi in Kent

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October 27, 20100 found this helpful
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Our reception hall was free, my father in law worked there. Find a friend or relative who works somewhere with a big open space. Maybe a park, school or library. Find a deal.

Do you know someone that owns a restaurant or catering company? Call around to mom and pop restaurants. Or make a deal like we did. We paid a caterer to make the main dishes (chicken, mashed potatoes, vegetables) and we supplied appetizers, salad, soup and beverages from a restaurant supply store. Total was under $500. If you like, just serve cake, coffee and punch. Call local bakeries. They are more willing to work with you and your budget than the bakery departments of chain supermarkets.

Our friend is a DJ so we supplied him with CDs of our favorite songs and told him what we absolutely did not want to hear. His gift to us was free DJ service. Call local karaoke bars or DJs in your yellow pages if you can't find someone.

Do you have a skill or service you can trade? Do you babysit? Can you make a website or sell someone's collectibles on eBay for them? Offer to wrap all their Christmas presents or crochet them a blanket in exchange for what you need.

Don't worry if you can't serve filet mignon and have a string quartet. The most important thing is the commitment you are making to each other. Everything else should just be for fun and memories.

Good luck and best wishes!

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October 28, 20100 found this helpful
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My husband and I got married last spring at a large park in Atlanta, which was free. The minister was $150, I believe. We didn't need decorations since it was so beautiful outside.

For the reception, we chose a nearby pub in an old fire station. Since we were buying food, we got to use the large event space for free. We got married at 11am, so we had a brunch reception, which was much more affordable. We had a large buffet of all kinds of brunch items, as well as mimosas, draft beer, and non-alcoholic beverages. The entire bill for 60 people, including tip, was $1,000! We did not have a DJ, but instead just plugged in our iPods to the existing speaker system. We also spent about $200 on cupcakes, rather than getting a cake.

So our entire wedding cost under $1,500, and it was fun and sweet and perfect! Our guests said it was one of the most special and beautiful weddings they'd ever been to, and that it suited us to a tee. :)

Be creative and have fun, this wedding is about celebrating your love!

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October 28, 20100 found this helpful

You don't mention the number of guests so it's hard to judge. If you want lots of guests just do the coffee and cake reception. For a small group of 25-30 people you probably can reserve a private room in a restaurant and have a dinner served.

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October 31, 20100 found this helpful

Why don't you look at the Nate Berkes show website on ABC? He does things all the time for cheap, and you can buy a lot of the table decorations cheap at the dollar store.

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2 found this helpful
April 9, 2010 Flag

My fiance and I are getting married next March and I only have a budget of $2000 to work with. I don't know where to start. I also don't know what type of low budget foods people would like, and we are inviting over 100 people.

By Hollie from Paducah, KY

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April 12, 20100 found this helpful
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Think outside the box; just adding "wedding" to the name of any items shoots the price up. A plain white guest book will do, lovely dresses that aren't "bridesmaid" can be found, the same with "wedding" dresses. A white Bible with a single flower and ribbons trailing is a lovely bridal bouquet.

We did a beautiful wedding when all the decorating "flowers" were greens of all kinds clipped from our yards and placed in clear glass vases, etc., the only colored flowers were the the bridal party carried. The high end florist (who did the bridal flowers) was so impressed because it didn't detract from the key flowers and looked very lush.You have a work party of family and friends put them together ahead of time. I have been to totally dessert receptions where the bride and groom baked a number of cakes themselves. Everyone was charmed.

There are so many ways to make your day "yours" and special by staying away from the "traditional" stuff. Aisle ribbons are simple to make and just running/draping plain tulle between pews that are tied at the end of each pew with ribbon is charming and also keeps guest out of there before the wedding. Ushers can release it at end of wedding if you want guests going out that way.

There are so many simple, elegant, cheap things you can do it you just make a plan and follow it. Favors are not necessary. A handmade program can serve two purposes if you feel the need. Some friends made handmade paper covers and included special scriptures and words inside beside the service program and thanks. It was lovely and enough. I could go on and on (as a former wedding coordinator) but you can do it, Keep it simple and elegant.

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April 26, 20100 found this helpful
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First I would suggest talking to friends and family to see what things you could barrow, like tablecloths, serving platters and table decorations. Maybe talk to them also about being able to help serve food, decorate cake, or do the music as a wedding gift to you guys. If you want to find simple table decorations look at the dollar store. As for location, find a cheap spot like someone's backyard or a church building. Also fake flowers are cheaper. Hope this helps.

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April 9, 20100 found this helpful

As far as foods go, it used to be that most people served nothing but cake, coffee, and punch. Most weddings were in the evening after the time when people had already eaten dinner/supper. Some people have taken to adding buns with stacked ham, turkey or beef on them. It isn't necessary to have a big meal. It also isn't necessary to have a dance. There are places where you can rent your gown, or if nothing else most of the time David's Bridal has a good selection of gowns for $99.00.

Buy either fresh or silk flowers and make the bouquets, etc. yourself. I have seen nice weddings where the bride and attendants each carry one long stemmed rose tied with a nice bow. If you aren't getting married until next March, you have plenty of time to scrounge for bargains.

Ask a friend to take the pictures and do the video. It used to be that friends or cousins would serve the lunch, or if you are having the wedding/reception in a church one of the ladies groups might serve the lunch for a donation. If you know somebody that can sing or play an instrument ask them if they would furnish the music.

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April 10, 20100 found this helpful

My husband and iIgot married in 08, and we had a limited budget as well. we checked with our local hobby lobby store, they run the bridal stuff 50% off often. I was able to get our guest book for $10, where David's bridal wanted $25. they also carry mints and other favor items. we got our flowers from there too while on 50% off sale, and everyone said they would have never guessed they were fake lol.

Our wedding was in October so as decoration in the church we used fall mums. All of the florists we called about doing bows for the "reserved" pews wanted like $6-8 PER BOW so we asked family members and it turns out my aunt could make them, she only asked us to buy the ribbon, which we also got at hobby lobby on 50% sale LOL!

A friend to took the pictures, we used a ipod for the reception music.

As the person before me posted, Davids bridal has the $99 gowns sale, but when I went they didn't have anything I liked, however since you have a year to plan be sure to check when the "season" ends. sign up for their newsletter and they will send you emails when stuff is on sale. we got our brides maids dresses ordered and like 2 weeks later db sent an email newsletter stating the dresses that were out of season were on sale and guess what! Both dresses were about $50 cheaper! Sometimes when the season is over they will sell the display dresses, however be sure to inspect them if this is the route you take because they may have some minor damage from being tried on so much lol

I hope some of this helps out :)

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April 10, 20100 found this helpful

Also we found vases at walmart after Valentine's day that were really nice marked down to .50 each from $4! We filled them with rocks and put a tea light on top of the rocks for the reception tables. :)

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April 10, 20100 found this helpful

Have you thought about going informal. Have a big bbq and a barn dance? The food could be done for about $600 - even cheaper if you find a farmer and make a deal. You could have salads, bread/buns and all the trimmings. If you can there make your own beer and wine - pennies compared to retail. As for the favors - I never keep them, a lot of people don't - but if you want to do them I would do mini terra cotta pots with a small plant in them. You could glue beads and ribbons to the pots if you wanted or even paint them.

Silk flowers have really improved and these can be bought in bulk at discount retailers etc. Look for after Christmas sales for plates, napkins etc at huge discounts. Silver, red, green, white, gold etc are all colors that you find on sale - same with candles after the holidays. Center pieces could be tasteful and simple - some clean sand with candles in it with shells, twigs etc. decorating. You can make great mixed CDS for before and during dinner - if you have a handy teen who is keen on music they can download and mix songs right on itunes - maybe you can go for that.

The one thing I would try not to skimp on is photos - even if you just get one or two professional protraits done. If you have a skill maybe you could trade services with a photographer. Think outside the box - it will save you a ton of cash. And congrats!

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September 20, 20100 found this helpful

First get your venue VFW posts where you can bring in your own food, than keep it simple 2 meats like pulled chicken in broth, or shredded beef, broiled or mashed potateos, and or buns add a veggie. seperate cakes put on a table with boxes under them and cover with a new sheet for hight. Maybe go with wild flowers there free.

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