How can I plan my wedding on a $1500.00 budget?
Tara from Port Charlotte, FL
Get family and friends to help. My wedding and honeymoon 4 years ago probably cost less than $1,500. My mom made my dress and the cake, which was great because she knew what I would like and was willing to listen to what I wanted. She also made a couple of bridesmaids dresses and a few bridesmaids found people to make theirs. It was a simple style that could also be worn to church or other special events.
We found wedding invitation stationary on the clearance rack at OfficeMax and bought all of what was on the rack. There were several different kinds, so our invitations didn't match, but who compares those anyway? I sent the fanciest ones to family, the next fanciest to friends, and the least fancy to people who I didn't think would really come, but I wanted to invite anyway.
We had the wedding and reception at a church that just charged a couple hundred dollars for use of the facilities. When friends asked what they could do to help, we alternated between telling them to bring cookies, a fruit tray, or a veggie tray to the reception, so we had plenty of food and it was free and delicious.
A friend loaned me her grandmother's beautiful silver serving pieces, platters, utensils, etc. and lace tablecloths so the layout was beautiful and sentimental as well. We didn't worry about table cloths on the tables at the reception because their tables were almost brand new and looked nice enough. I called a florist and told her I wanted pink flowers and told her my price limit. The flowers were beautiful and I didn't spend any time agonizing over finding just the perfect kind.
A friend sang and another played the piano, which was great because they could still be part of the wedding, but I didn't have to have a gazillion bridesmaids. The guys all wore the least expensive tuxes I could find in town. I called around to find out which place had the best price. They looked great and there was no hassle with anybody's size being out of stock, since it was just the basic style. The tux rental place even threw in a special vest for my husband-to-be for no extra charge. I bought 2 dozen pink roses at a grocery store and with a friend's help turned them into boutonnieres for the guys and corsages for the special women besides bridesmaids at the wedding.
We did a couple of special things to make the ceremony memorable that didn't cost anything. The flowergirl scattered dried rose petals from roses my husband gave me when we were dating, and we did the entire ceremony in both English and Spanish so my husband's family in Ecuador could understand it all and it kind of symbolized the blending of our two cultures in our marriage.
We had friends video and take pictures. This was great because it was free and we could specify what we wanted and they really listened. Also, we got to keep the negatives of the pictures so we can make copies whenever we want. We went to Washington DC for our honeymoon. Most attractions are free there. We're nerds so we enjoyed looking at the Smithsonian museums and the other historical touristy spots.
It is totally possible to plan a wedding for under $1,500. You do need to have an open mind. If you have something very specific in mind it may be hard to come by inexpensively, but if you are willing to accept anything special that is inexpensive, you will not feel cheated out of a beautiful wedding. I know I didn't. By the way, we planned our wedding in 6 weeks, so you don't even need a lot of time to plan an inexpensive wedding. (09/04/2006)
I just remembered a few more things. A bunch of my friends' moms helped serve at the reception.
The invitations we printed using a black and white laser printer, not an Inkjet. You can find those for $70 on sale and the toner lasts forever. We printed all the invitations and then probably used the toner cartridge at home for another year. The printer has given out, but it was already 10 years old or so. Anyway, I think printing on an Inkjet printer would be more expensive than buying a laser printer.
We printed programs the same way. I don't think an Inkjet would've done all that.
OK I think that's all. :-) (09/04/2006)
It's not too hard if you don't set your heart on a conventional wedding and/or have you or your family and friends do most of the work. Print your own invitations per above. I also sent out "Save the date" notices via Evite. Find a free/inexpensive site, like a nice backyard or a club/church you belong to. Have recorded music or get friends to provide music for you or get/borrow a karaoke machine.
Consider not having a traditional wedding dress you can only wear once and/or get a dress from a discount place/resale store/thrift shop. Do your own flowers. Get flowers of the season and/or bedding plants which can be planted afterwards. You can even get holders to make your own bouquets from a craft store.
You can even make your own wedding cake! I got my dishes and napkins at Target, not the wedding variety. Nowadays there is so much inexpensive decorative stuff available. Be creative. Does your groom have to wear a tux? My dear husband just wore a nice jacket. Have friends take pix/do a video. Buy only champagne for a toast and limit the amount of alcohol or make a wine-based "punch" and have other N/A drinks. Do not have dinner and limit food to coffee and cake. Maybe some relative will make taking the wedding party out to dinner their present?
You have to be creative. You can decorate with tulle you get at the fabric store. Tulle swags look really nice. They even have bowers now in craft stores! The main point is to celebrate the happy event with family and friends, not to spend oodles of money. My parents married with my father in a suit and my mother in a suit, too and lived happily til the end of their days. Be iconoclastic. Remember that party planners charge lots of $ for creative ideas! Just use your imagination instead. Only you know what is important to you. (09/05/2006)
Depending on the time of year of course, but get married at a state park with a great overlook or big trees or grist mill. I live near the most photographed functional grist mill in the world and I have tried to talk my girls into getting married there because it so so pretty. It is usually free or small fee. The Dollar Tree here sells all kinds of wedding decor for $1 so look at your home town a little "off kilter" and may be start a trend getting married in a beautiful functional setting. Most churches will let their members use their basements for parties and/or receptions. Luck and happiness to you and your fiancee. (09/05/2006)
Here's an article that may give you some ideas.
My Frugal Wedding
I know my wedding didn't cost $1500! I made all the table decorations myself, printed/stamped/embossed the invitations myself, my daughter baked/decorated our wedding cake, bridesmaid and my daughter made all the flowers out of mixed bouquets from the grocery store (at 3 bunches for $10) and my bouquet out of 2 dozen for $7.00 roses from a roadside vendor. Our wedding was on the beach and our reception at an outdoor picnic area (with a cover) at a local park. My younger brother acted as our DJ, my mom and I made all the food.
Think outside the box for your decorations. Don't go to the places you would normally go to get things. Instead shop in thrift stores, rummage sales, and consignment shops. A lot of the time they will have the perfect things to help you make your day as special as you want it to be.
One of the best weddings I ever attended was one held in a state park, in a shelter house, and catered by Colonel Sanders as a picnic. Another idea is to have all of the family bring a covered dish or two, and just supply the meat and cake. One of our daughters had her flowers given as a gift and the other went to Krogers and local florists the night before the wedding and made her own arrangements and bouquet.
Ask if you can borrow a friend's or relative's wedding dress or make one yourself. There are so many to choose from in the pattern books believe it or not. My mother made mine for about $20. When we planned the rehearsal dinner for our daughter, it cost about $200 at our local Donato's. This was for 35 people and included salad, drinks, and pizza in a private room. My brother's was in an ice cream parlor's private dining room, and he had a full dinner and the most heavenly ice cream desserts. Check your local restaurants and fast food places for catering. You may be surprised. I know that you will have a wonderful wedding, and may God bless you in your married life. (09/06/2006)
Be creative it will be fun. I did mine 11 years ago on a fraction of your budget and it was gorgeous. I had so many compliments. I held it at Spanish Mission
Presido looking over San Diego and had a champagne cake reception with so many appetizers
that were good and fun to make. One friend surprised us with a seafood tray with cheese and crackers from a local seafood house.
Ask around and decorate with clear or white Christmas lights. Borrow as much as possible. Relax and remember it's the marriage that counts. I have been to very costly weddings and unfortunately I am the only one still married. Involve him; my husband and friends loved
running errands and helping.
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