I am looking for ideas for how to plan a nice wedding on a tight budget?
By Katherine from Benson, NC
A lot will depend on what you want. The most expensive idea is to just go and get married.
When my wife and I got married we were in college. She had a youth minister do the ceremony for a donation to the school youth ministry. We got permission from the school to have the wedding near a fountain on the campus and they provided the chairs. We used a sound system from the campus radio station were I worked as a student DJ. We had the cafeteria of the school allow us to hold the reception. We had to get the cake and invitations from professional places. I guess they cost us the most besides the ring (which we financed).
The thing is to think of what you have available through youselves or through friends and try to make it work. If you go to a church regularly or know someone who does then that is a good place to start.
First of all, if you plan the wedding around a non meal-time, you can save a bundle by offering only cake, appetizers and beverages. Ours was in the early evening, after a time that our friends and family knew as "Suppertime".
Our wedding, way back in the early 80's, :-) was held in an All Faith's Chapel on a college campus. (No charge, just had to reserve the venue.) My wedding dress cost less than $200.00 dollars as I bought the fabric and a pattern from a local fabric shop which recommended a seamstress that made the dress for a reasonable fee.
A dear friend free-handed the calligraphy on our wedding invitations and my dad was able to use his place of work for duplication. Another young friend of ours was starting a catering business and offered to make the cake merely for the experience, and as a gift. As well, another friend took the pictures, also a gift.
A friendly co-worker of mine at the time was willing to play all of the wedding music on the chapel's grand piano. He also gave us great suggestions for music selections.
I got very lucky with an extremely kind-hearted florist who, after learning that my mother had previously passed and would not be helping me plan the wedding, took me under her own wing and helped me make frugal, yet lovely, floral choices.
We opted out of hiring a DJ or a band for the reception and dance. We made our own "dance mix tapes" and yet another friend volunteered his stereo equipment, services, and other tapes and albums (this was long before the digital age) to keep things rockin' and rollin'!
Many other financially challenged, young, friends chipped in (and after all these years, I'm certain I'm missing someone that should be shouted out) eagerly once we made a point of saying "The best gift you can give us is your presence and your help. We are not expecting material gifts that we registered for from anyone, and especially not from those of you that can offer us your help as you celebrate this day with us."
One of the best days and best memories of my life and the total out of pocket cost was less than $1,500.00!
Oh! I can't believe I almost forgot to mention this, but our wedding rings are melted down, reshaped and redesigned from mostly old family jewelry. The rings are a daily reminder that we are here because our parents were here first. Makes me smile, everyday!
The first place I would start is for you and your fiance to figure out what type of ceremony you want. This is going to be your top priority and you can allow yourselves to spend most of your budget here. The reception is also important to most bride and grooms. You do not have to pay a band or DJ if neither one of you likes to dance, you can instead opt to have a friend play your favorite CD's etc.
You will want to allocate a larger part of your budget to anything at the top of your list and will not mind cutting back on some of things lower down on your list. Be sure to compile a priority list as long and detailed as you want to get. The more detailed it is, the easier it will be for you to allocate your funds.
Once you have decided on where you are going to have your ceremony and reception it will be easier for you to see the ideas of making your dream wedding to come true. Remember to have FUN! Good luck to both of you!
Although I didn't do this myself, I have seen it and it is beautiful. I live about a mile away from a beach off of Lake Huron. I have seen weddings take place right there. No charge for the venue. They just rent some chairs for guests to sit. After the ceremony, the wedding party gets pictures taken right there at the beach by a friend (as a gift). There are so many beautiful wedding pictures you can get with the water as a backdrop. Once in a while you might even get a ship or a boat in the background which I think adds character. The reception can take place right there at the beach too.
If you know someone who likes to barbecue, (maybe that would do it as a gift) there's a good, inexpensive idea. Also, I have seen in place of over a $100 wedding cake, people used cupcakes (again made by a friend as a gift). They were set on a three tier metal tray. I thought that was a wonderful idea, especially since at my own wedding, we spent about $150 for the cake, and it didn't get eaten so we ended up throwing most of it away. One thing I did for my own wedding which saved a bundle of money is make my own wedding invitations. I'm a believer in, if you can do something yourself, don't pay for it. Keep in mind your friends and family members may want to give you a present, but don't know what you want or need. If any of them can take pictures, tend bar, make invitations, cook, make a cake, or even sew or alter your dress, just ask them if they would do that as a wedding present to you. Hope this is helpful to you. Congratulations and Good Luck!
Good time to check craiglist is now. A lot of people sell their wedding decorations for very cheap. You might be lucky and find something even if you post on craigslist what you are looking for in the wanted section. I see a lot of beautiful table decorations etc on craigslist.
My first wedding cost me only 2 grand, bought my dress at a thrift store, groom wore a nice dress shirt with khaki pants, all my fake flowers came from dollar tree, we had a buffet from food bought at sams club and prepared by friends. thats an easy yet simple and cheap suggestion!
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