Ask a QuestionHere are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community or ask a new question.
How can I do a wedding on a 1,500 dollar budget?
By swan from Nashville, TN
You can make your own boutonierres and corsages as well as table decor and ceremony flowers using silk flowers. Use floral tape and pins for the boutonierres and corsages. Buy assorted vases at garage sales and partly fill with shredded glossy paper or some marbles then insert silk flowers into vases for table decor and ceremony. Wrap stems of silk flowers in ribbon for bridesmaids and your bouquet. Hire a college student or ask a family member to photograph and put a few disposable cameras around at the reception for candid photos. See if a family member can make or contribute a cake and another be a dj for the night. Have the wedding in the morning and you wouldn't be expected to have as much food. Maybe have the reception in a park.
Good luck and have fun!
1. Keep your guest list to a minimum
2. Instead of a traditional wedding cake try a giant cookie or a variety of desserts. If you really want to do the "cake cutting" part have a small cake.
3. Food wise if you have the ceremony in the morning have a "brunch themed" reception. Mid afternoon you could request your guests bring a dish to share in lieu of a present. Early evening you could just do a mini reception with drinks and hor d'oevres. You could also also have a bbq reception where you and the groom and family supply the meat while guests bring a dish to share.
4. Depending on the time of year you are getting married farmer's markets are a great place to find fresh flowers cheap. If you can be flexible on the colors you will have more options. You might want to also consider decorating w/ seasonal items i.e. pumpkins, apples, etc.
5. Rent or borrow a dress instead of buying one.
Hi Swan. It can be done, here are a few suggestions:
Sheets from Walmart for tablecloths (covered with sheers give a dramatic look), or glue some flowers on them. Wild flowers are free. Bake small cakes. $1.00 for a box cake and a $1.00 for the frosting, add some cream cheese and a little lemon, tastes just like homemade. Use boxes and cover with a sheet for different levels.
Keep your food basic; pulled chicken, pork, or beef. Broiled potatoes cut into 8 pieces, add some butter and parsley, bake uncovered. Add a veggie and voila, you have food for everyone. Pasta goes a long way, use some of the chicken for pasta salad.
After Christmas, look for beaded garland at 50% off. Glass squares from Menard's for the table centerpieces, add some glitter (Walmart), some beaded garland. Use PVC or some kind of tubing at about 2 feet high with the flower of your choice, or use tree branches painted your colors. Hang colored plastic stones from the branches, glue fish line and hang.
Sam's club sells chafing dishes (disposable but still nice looking). Ask a few friends to take pictures then choose from them (you can always have a portrait picture made later).
Balloons are fun. Go with white and you color, let them fly around or tie them to string and hang them everywhere.
VFW posts are cheap and you can bring in your own foods or park pavilions. We catered a wedding and bought all the liquor, but still charged for cocktails just to cover the cost, a dollar a drink. I know I would be happy to pay that. Nowadays people understand what it costs to have a wedding, so do what you can and enjoy your day.
I need help with my wedding. I have the venue, for an awesome price. Now I would like to stay on a budget of 1,500 dollars. I welcome any and all help please. I live in the bay area so I welcome the help. My wedding date is 3/24/11.
By Toni from Oakland, CA
Also a lot of brides are renting their gowns, or go to Davids Bridal, it seems like they are always having gowns on sale for $99.00. Skip the dance and the big meal. Have the wedding/reception at at time of day where the guests won't expect any more than cake, coffee, tea, and punch, maybe ice cream. Ask cousins to be waiters and waitresses, instead of catering. Find a friend that can take good pictures and skip the professional photographer. Skimp on decorations, flowers, etc. Sometimes less is more. If you know anybody that is handy with flowers buy silk flowers and have that person make bouquets, ets. Oh yes, for the people that help with the reception, etc. you can buy them a momento. of the occasion.
That's not much, but certainly doable. I suggest looking at just what is most important to you in the wedding. Spend more of your money there, and cut out or cut back the rest. Centerpieces can just be simple votive candles that you get in bulk at a craft store with a few petals scattered around. Favors can be bulk candy that you wrap up in little squares of tulle with a ribbon. You can do your own flowers either by buying them online in bulk or making paper flowers. Project Wedding usually has a whole load of diy projects you can do. The only thing I suggest NOT doing yourself is music. Unless you have a friend who knows what their doing, a professional DJ will make a huge difference in the way the party is run.
Hi all thrifters. I am from New Jesey and cannot afford a $3000 wedding. My fiancee and I want a reception indoors, with a DJ, and dinner food (not brunch), but are looking to spend between $1000 to $1,500. I have made requests for help before but I was not specific, so many people, whose ideas were all great, suggested brunch and outdoors. I am sorry for not being specific in what I was looking for, but I appreciate dearly all the suggestions. Thank you. Now that I given people a clearer picture to what I desire, can someone help me? Thanks!
First off, where are you getting married? If you're marrying in a church, most churches have fellowship halls where your reception can be held at no cost. You can also ask your local American Legion or any civic organization to allow you to use their facilities. You can keep your dinner simple by serving pasta, garlic bread and a veggie. You can purchase paper goods at a wholesale warehouse very cheaply. You can keep your decorations simple, again you can purchase paper table cloths at wholesale warehouses. Check with your local bakeries to get prices for your cake, the more elaborate the more expensive. Also try your local Walmart, they do beautiful wedding cakes. For table decor you could just use a table cloth, sprinkle the middle with confetti and set a votive candle in a votive cup. You'll get sparkle and shine doing that. You can get votive cups for .44 cent at Walmart. Most dollar store have cheap candles. If you have flower arrangements in your wedding, move those to your reception place. If you're using champagne glasses buy those at a dollar type store for a dollar each and tie ribbon around the feet. You can have an excellent reception on that amount of money. If I can be of further help you may e-mail me at email@example.com
How much you will spend definitely is impacted by how many people you will have, and how long the reception will last. DJ's charge by the hour, with a minimum for a certain number of hours. Get a small wedding cake done fancy somewhere-prices vary widely from store to store. Then get an extra sheetcake to have enough to feed everyone. Use the church hall or local civic group for the reception. Alcohol is a huge expense, so you may want to do without, or just have a champagne toast, or a cash bar. You might ask around about a caterer-some newly -in-business caterers might charge less than more established businesses. A pasta entree, maybe a pasta primavera, with or withour chicken, would be reasonable, festive and could accomodate both vegetarians and meat-lovers alike. If you have crafty friends , get them involved in the decorating!
I would first shop around for a reception site. An alternative is city owened halls. I found an oceanfront city owned hall for $265! Check with the community center to see if there are any available where you live. Also check whole sale catologs like oriental trading company and craft stores like Michael's for great decorations and cheap party items. You can even order personalized napkins out of OTC. (www.orientaltradingcompany.com) Look under wedding headings. To save on beverages I had a beer and wine bar. If you purchase wine from Sams or Wal mart you can even return the unopened bottles. Check first in you area though. And if you want a more elegant effect considered a wine tasting. Pick 10-15 wines (or less) and have a tasting event. Serve appropriate cheeses and desserts with the wine at different interverals during the evening. If you buy a case (12 bottles) most wine areas will usually give you a 10% discount. This way you can save on a big dinner, have a great conversation starter and learn something at the same time!
food-get a few people to each make a huge quanty of something they're good at
Beverages- U brew (give extras to folks who did food as a thank you)
flowers -talk to farmers at a weekend market or try to find a small greenhouse to buy direct from
Hall-I was married in a ski lodge in july- with white ta bleclothes it looked swank and was only $300 for the whole weekend
I also live in NJ and am trying to find a wedding venue that will not force me into bankruptcy. I have looked through many of the bridal sites on the internet but everything still seems very pricey. I will be having about 50 people at my wedding. I know of a small restaurant that makes wonderful meals at low cost prices. The problem is finding the right location. If anyone has any recommendations please let me know at lostnnmbrs @ yahoo.com (remove spaces). And congrats to all the other brides to be!!!
Check out a feedback that was posted under cheap wedding reception by jenH. Hope this helps.
I had a really elegant indoor evening wedding for about 55 people on new years eve. I cut corners where I could and the guests all thought it was atleast a 5,000 dollar wedding and it was nowhere near that. We spent the bulk of the money on the venue and the meal and the music. We went very simple on flowers, pictures, no champagne toast,no limo. All that saved atleast 1500 and was not missed by the guests. Decide what you can do without and spend the rest on what you really want.
I am a wedding consultant. My own wedding looked as if it cost 20,000.00 or more but, it cost approximately 3,000.00. I was married in October of 2006. The biggest expense was the food. We had a meal and appetizers. I will be glad to help you with some ideas,(too many to list here) if you would like to email me at planningevents4u AT yahoo.com or sam_occasionsevents AT yahoo.com. You may call me at (828) 729-8434. I live in NC.
I am planning an outdoor wedding in Brick, NJ. I already have the reception site booked, but am having trouble finding outdoor locations to have the ceremony. any ideas? Any and all ideas are welcome. I am willing to travel to surrounding towns like point pleasant. Thanks in advance.
P.S. If you know any nice indoor sites to, they would be helpful.
There are some great tips already. If I can add to that, try a wedding planner. They usually have an up front fee, but they can sometimes save money overall by getting bulk and pro deals you can't get yourself. Look for someone near you at
http://www.gath nt_planners.html . Ask up front if they can save you more money than they are charging you- they will usually be honest.
I live in Linden, NJ and I am looking for a wedding reception that will cost me about $1000 for 300 people, I also need wedding decorators, videographers/photographers who are inexpensive. I have my own caterers who would provide food, I am also looking for a cake decorator who is reasonable. My budget for all these is $3,000, any ideas?
You will not really get a ceremony, reception with dinner, DJ and photographer that cheap unless it is someone you know. Weddings are not cheap as you all know and you probably won't get much for that price.
I'm planning a wedding for August 1, 2009 (12 weeks from now) and have limited budget ($1500). I would like to find a place to have the ceremony and reception with about 80 guests. Does anyone out there have any suggestions? I'm running myself in circles without much help. So anything you've got would be helpful.
By missdee818 from N. Hollywood, CA
State parks are great. you pay per person, but they have facilities there and are always beautiful. I did my wedding on mt philo (vemont) I think it cost $140.00. There was use of a large cabin (or small hall) tables/chairs and tables outside.
I've been creating & performed wedding ceremonies for nearly 15 years. If you email me more details, perhaps I could offer some solid suggestions.
1. Do you want your ceremony & reception to be in different places (eg, a church & a hall) or in the same place (eg, a park or a restaurant)?
2. Do you want an outdoor or indoor (or both) event?
3. How much donation of time/ services exists around you among family & friends? For instance, someone to take photos, or to run an iPod, or to cater, etc.
3. How formal or casual are you aiming for? Formal may cost more in terms of invitations, place cards, gifts for wedding party members, & all of that. Casual might entail such cost-cutters as home-made & non-calligraphy invitations, inexpensive or no guest favors, etc.
These are just a few basics for some good feedback. My email is bsvgs AT yahoo.com
Good luck, Nica
My son is active duty Army in Alaska and just got married. We were given only 4 weeks notice so of course no one from our side of the family could attend. Tickets are a minimum of $1,100.
They will be here in March (he will be deployed in April). I am planning a wedding reception for them - semi casual. Probably at a VFW. We definitely want a dance with a DJ. I only have about $1,500 to spend on the whole affair, that includes venue, DJ, food, decorations, (drinks?). There could be just over 100 people attending including children. He loves children and is very close to his little cousins. I need food ideas and any other advice. Thank you.
By Pauline from MN
ThriftyFun is one of the longest running frugal living communities on the Internet. These are archives of older discussions.
I am planning a $1500 wedding. I need help on ideas?
By Van6 from Columbus, OH
You have your budget planned, you should be able to figure out which items are the most important for you to include in your wedding and how much you want to spend on these items, and go from there. For example, it isn't necessary to have a dance or a sit down dinner. For the reception, have it at the same location as the ceremony itself, and just serve cake, coffee, tea, and punch. Also nuts and mints. You don't need a bunch of decorations. Like I said figure out which items are the most important to you and go from there. (07/17/2010)
redhatterb has good suggestions. Make sure that you ask all guests to bring their digital camera and snap away and have them send you a DVD with the pictures. A few small touches go a long way, such as imprinted napkins to serve a piece of cake. (07/17/2010)
You don't mention how many guests or where it will be held. I would suggest having only close family and friends with an informal feel. If you want a formal look, try thrift shops for candle holders or votive holders. I would only use real flowers for the bouquets and boutonnieres. Cake and finger foods for the reception. I suggest looking at the previous wedding questions for other suggestions; best wishes. (07/21/2010)
I would also hope everyone who is looking for weddings on the cheap doesn't forget to pay the minister, janitor, musicians, etc. well; after all they are taking a night away from their families to honor you and your fiance. (07/21/2010)
One of the most beautifully decorated weddings I ever attended had no blooming-type flowers. They used only common green ivy that friends allowed them to cut from their yards. The ivy was draped gracefully and accented with either a white bow or a white candle, depending on where it was used (on a table, at the end of the pews, on a window sill, etc.). It was very elegant looking and the clean simplicity of it left all the attention to be centered on the wedding party. A wedding is about the love a man and woman share and the attention should be on them, not a bunch of expensive flowers that are only going to die. Other types of free greenery besides ivy could be used. The main idea is thing, simple, green, and free. (07/22/2010)
When planning on a budget you first have to decide what is most important details to you. That is where you should be spending most of your capital. Next look for resources around you before buying anything! If you are part of a church, ladies group, have female friends, or family you have a wealth of resources. Ask around, you might be surprised who comes forward with hidden talents or connections who would be willing to help you at a huge discount or without charging. Also, never under estimate the Dollar Store. Many times their stock comes from stores looking to unload aged inventory. I've found very realistic silk flowers for a friend's bouquet, expensive ribbon, lace circles, tea lights, etc. for pennies on the dollar. (08/12/2010)
I am trying to plan a wedding on a $1500 budget, and that's from start to finish. I am having a lot of trouble finding a place to hold the reception as everything in Baltimore is so expensive. I live in Baltimore county, and have no problem holding it in another county. The only thing I've come across is an American Legion which I have no problem with. Have any ideas?
Natasha from Randallstown, MD
I am not sure what season your wedding will be, but my daughter's was in May and she wanted an outdoor wedding and reception, nothing really fancy, but still nice. We planned it all together, she and I. We called one of our local parks and rented one of the sections they have that had covered pavilions.
We contacted all our family and friends and borrowed all the white Christmas lights they had and hung them everywhere, drooped in trees around and inside the pavilion. In the center of the pavilion, which came to an umbrella shape in the center, there we hung the tissue wedding bells. I rented a 3 section trellis from a local floral shop and also strung the lights atop it. I got long cuttings from a neighbor who had two types of real ivy and just ran that in and out the trellis. We bought outdoor green carpet for the long walk way up the trellis site where they exchanged their vows.
We rented a white enclosed tent for her to be in until she was to make her walk to say her vows. We rented chairs from a local church. We decided what foods would cook easily and kept them warm in crock pots on one side of the pavilion where the buffet food was served. There were plenty of tables under the pavilion and the weather was nice, no call for rain, so we put all the tables outside the pavilion. We covered them with white pretty table clothes and each one had small glass bowls down along the centers spread out with water inside them and floating candles that were lit.
This left the pavilion empty with lots of floor space for dancing. she had a friend to pre-program her songs on a CD like the wedding march, canon-d, and her song to dance with her dad and other songs to play throughout the reception.
We had our lady friends and family who were not in the wedding party to serve the foods out. We had small separate tables set up and decorated prettily for a place for guests to sign the guest book, and the groom's cake. We used a separate table for the wedding cake. We made all the invitations on our computer using pretty papers purchased at Office Max and added embellishments like tulle ribbon ties for them.
Her wedding was at 7:00 pm so just shortly afterwards it was getting dark, but all the lights strung everywhere were so romantic and pretty. I rented 2 stands from the same florist for the flowers on each side of the place where they took their vows. We had lots of coolers inside the enclosed tent we rented for keeping flowers fresh or extra ice, etc., so nothing was an eye sore.
We made very pretty signs from wood and stenciled letters telling the way to the wedding site. Those were also noted on the invitations. I made a long watermelon boat that was carved with love birds on the outside that had mixed fruit in it on one of the food tables.
It was the prettiest outdoor wedding I ever saw and cost very little because we did it ourselves and started planning 7 months prior to the special day. (11/06/2007)
My husband and I were married this past May and we did all the planning, etc. for our wedding. It was an outdoor country wedding and the best advice is to network! Sit down and think of everyone you know are related to and what talents and abilities they have. Most everyone is very willing to help out with such a happy event and are just waiting to be asked to help.
Our wedding was held in his sister's backyard under an arbor they already had, we decorated it with hanging Boston ferns, sunflower garlands, and white tulle. We had white wicker picnic tables and lawn furniture sitting about the yard for guests to sit in, but also had folding chairs borrowed from his sis's church for the ceremony. Tables were also borrowed from the same church for nothing.
The cake was one of our biggest expenses at $100 and fed 100 people and made by a lady who worked as a professional cake decorator at a grocery store, but also did them on the side for extra money. My brother-in-law is a pastor and he married us for free, I downloaded and burned my wedding music from the internet. I did my own flowers, bouquets, corsages, and boutonnieres with flowers purchased at Hobby Lobby on sale. I made fans for favors (since it was outside and very hot!) and a very dear friend bought my wedding dress for me as a gift.
The groom wore denim overalls and a red t-shirt and my two children were dressed in jeans and red t-shirts also (they walked me down the aisle and gave me away), as I said, it was a country wedding. We had no attendants to worry with. I made all the decorations myself for the wedding and reception and friends came to help set up.
The reception was potluck with friends bringing finger foods and such from a menu I formed at the beginning. All we furnished were the drinks. We bought canned sodas and iced them down in huge galvanized washtubs. I also had a friend bake the groom's cake, which was red velvet, for free. So see, if you stop and think about it you may can cut corners a lot closer than you think with the help from your family and friends.
Good luck and best wishes for a beautiful, loving day with all your friends and family! (11/07/2007)
Look for a public (local) or state park where you can hold the reception for free or for a small fee. Picnic areas, for example, can be reserved at Maryland state parks for free and up to a year in advance of the date wanted. You can reserve a spot online. (12/06/2007)
Maybe a church hall, I know the Rising Sun Banquet Hall and Church is nice. My best friend just had hers there. (03/23/2008)
Fridays and Sundays are cheap day at some places. I'm getting married May 09 on a Sunday which cost $400.00. Now that saved me $1200.00. Saturday would have cost $1600.00. Maybe try a park and a bar-b-que. Keep looking around and get wedding books from free library. (04/14/2008)
By Karen from SC
How can I plan my wedding on a $1500.00 budget?