By Jessica from MN
So I am somewhat in the same situation as you, except my wedding is dated far in advance and might get pushed back due to lack of funds, but I have been looking into how I can still have a dream wedding on a low budget.
Tip: Don't use real flowers. Whether it's for center pieces or bouquets, real flowers are a huge part of a wedding budget. Instead, look into creating fabric flowers or paper flowers. My sister has a shop on Etsy and is really great with making things so she is going to be making my bouquets and accessories. This will save a bunch!
Following my sisters footsteps:
My sister just got married this summer and she also was married once before (referring to a post below). The first marriage was very traditional. They had a church ceremony and rented out the VFW and she purchased a really nice dress. The second was low key but still very beautiful and actually more unique. The second time around she purchased her dress used from an online site like BravoBride.com and it was gorgeous. They had a private ceremony at 8am at the Como Zoo Conservatory. Early I know, but I think that has to do with not interfering with the Zoo opening up at 10am. Since their reception was at 8pm later that night, they had time to take photos throughout the zoo area. A friend of the family volunteered to take the photos and my other sister volunteered to photo-shop them. It ended up just being their wedding gift from them.
Since there was such a big time gap between the ceremony and the reception, people went to one or the other. I found this to be a good idea. Although it was a long day for those closest to the bride and groom, it seemed like people liked just going to the reception. Having a private ceremony made it a little more special and definitely less expensive.
They held the reception in their back yard. it was small but still beautiful. All the flowers and decorations were hand made by the bride and her friends, they rented tents, chairs, and a dance floor through a company that was set them up and took them down the next day. Instead of a big meal she had a friend, who does catering as a hobby, make orderves for the guests. They were awesome! They purchased several cases of "three buck chuck", which is a relatively inexpensive wine. They also offered specialty drinks and beer for the guests. They were able to do this because they saved so much by having the reception in the back yard. (most event places charge well over one hundred dollars for a keg of regular beer that is usually $40 to $50!) I had three of my guy friends come and bartend for the event. My sister paid them each $50 for the night. They were more than willing to do this and they had a blast!
The next day, friends and family helped clean up in the back yard and inside the house. It was a great event and we all had a blast.
If you are looking for something within a actual event center, try Profile Event Center on Washington avenue near the U of M campus. They have some good deals with lots included. Also, timing is a huge deal. You will notice big discounts for wedding during the winter vs spring, summer and fall.
I don't know if this will help you, but when I was faced with a similar situation, I made a decision to not spend any more money than necessary. My first marriage was a big, fancy event in a magnificent church. The marriage lasted 3 years. This time around, I baked the cake and a friend decorated it as her wedding gift to me. My husband-to-be made the wine. None of our dishes matched. We gave the minister $40 for his brief involvement. We held it in the restaurant I was operating at the time, on the day it would normally be closed. You get the idea. We are looking forward to our 30th anniversary this coming October. I wouldn't change those memories for all the tea in China!
Jessica, I am an event planner and I can work with a shoestring budget. My daughters wedding had 75-100 guest and was under $5000. First when are you getting married? If warm weather consider renting a tent, just have finger foods at your reception and rather than open bar or champagne have a signature cocktail. Dresses are easily found on Ebay CHEAP! and go with in season flowers. I have a million ideas! Just ask me
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