Tuesday, March 26, 2013

A budget wedding like no other.


 Now days you hear the words "Budget Wedding" go hand in hand with the price tag of about $20,000.  As of 2012 the average cost of a wedding was $26,000. For us that's just out there!!!

Now I was working with a $5,000 budget thanks to my parents being willing to pay. Or else it would have been down to the court house we go. What I can't believe is that I feel my wedding was a bit over the top. We could have really shaved down the cost (which the total was $5,987.79)

Our Mistakes:
  1. Over ordered our invitations. We should have ordered 50. I wanted to order 75 but I followed my moms suggestion and we ordered 125. That added up when you factor in we did a package order so it was Invitations, RSPVs, Mail back RSPV envelopes,  Reception Cards, Envelopes, Thank You cards, and the envelopes.
  2. Waited till the last moment to pull together decorations. 
  3. Didn't shop around for alterations.
  4. Didn't shop around for accessory items such as the garter and veil.

Still I took very little short cuts that you read about on all these blogs about how you can save money by having the "ceremony at a public park/beach" or by being "...friends with the owner..." or "REALLY Limit your Guest List"

I didn't do any of this. We went with a very popular vendor for weddings. I really just had to have my outdoor wedding. And we didn't like the idea of a park or the beach. While very nice ideas, we didn't want something that was open just for anyone to walk by or join in on.


There was a very nice restaurant in our area that offered everything we were looking for. Outdoors, by the water, in a remote setting. We had to do a lot of negotiations. Most of the dates I originally picked were already booked, but my husband and I were flexible. We talked it over and decided a Sunday afternoon wedding would be nice. They already had a booking for that evening at 6pm in their upstairs ballroom, which was too big for our party anyways, so they let us use the downstairs "Garden room" and "Tapestry room" for half the cost. The only catch was that we had to be cleaned up and out by 5:30pm. So we did a 1pm Wedding Ceremony.
Tapestry Room
The Garden Room which over looked where we held the ceremony.

The venue provided Catering (for 35-40people), Cake Service, Bar Set-up, Wine for toasts, chairs for ceremony, tables/chairs/table linens/glassware/tableware for reception, and centerpieces it ended up being a total cost of $1,808.00. We got massive savings by doing a "Brunch" style buffet with more finger foods instead of the traditional dinner style menu.

My Ceremony Area.
Part of our buffet.


The attire was what really put my budget over the top. We went to David's Bridal for my dress, I had in mind one of the discount dresses you know, the $299 and cheaper. Well it didn't work out that way. I am glad I paid extra for the dress $500.00 And the care package was worth the $150.00. However the alterations and other items were highly over priced.
The "Bride's Accessories" was the garter and a sheer shawl that I didn't really use. I could have gotten them from some place like Target for half the cost that I paid at David's Bridal. Same with the veil, it was next to impossible to find one already made, but I stopped by my local craft store and they did have the items to make it, but my mom insisted on buying it from David's Bridal. Would have saved use around $100-$120 if I had made it. 

It was the applique on the veil that made it so expensive.
My dress hanging in the ready room provided by the vendor.
Couldn't find strapless heels, so I had to remove the straps.

Let's not forget the shoes and jewelry. Though my jewelry cost was a bit on the extreme side, mainly cause I wanted louder than traditional jewelry as per my usual style in jewelry accessories, all in all my jewelry cost about $130 and that was for two bangles, a necklace, earrings, and the tikka. The shoes were very reasonable and I got them while they were on sale.
Photo showcasing my jewelry.

My husband did excellent with his tux and the ring bearer tux for our son. He was able to talk to a manager at MensWarehouse and manged to get the tux for our son at an extreme discount. Because I had gone to David's Bridal we received a $40.00 off coupon for all tuxes bought under our wedding party group ID. Which included his Best Man. On top of the $40.00 off coupon, my husband managed to get another $60.00 off of little one's tux. We also avoided renting shoes since everyone already had a pair of dress shoes for one reason or another.


Now the rest comes from wheeling and dealing or having a great social network of friends. For us, it was the wheeling and dealing.

Our Photographer was a hassle, we interviewed and interviewed.  The biggest problem we ran into was "rights release" yeah I was able to get most of these photographers to come down off their $1,200-$2,500 price tag down to something more reasonable in the $400-$500 range. But what I couldn't get them to budge on was their $300-$600 "Rights Release" which would allowed me my photos without their logo across all of them. Plus a lot of photographers put a limit to how many photos they'd give you. We also had an issue with a photographer bailing on us for a bigger paying gig. With two weeks looming till our wedding we found one guy who was just awesome. 4hours, no rights release hassle, and all in all our photographer gave us 800 photos on DVD, "Photographer's Choice" Slideshow DVD, and all of the edited photographs on a "Custom" DVD. He made 3 copies of each DVD so in all we had 12 DVDs!!!

Our Cake came from our local Publix Grocery store. They don't have a lot of exotic flavors, but if you plan on sticking to the basics like we did, well then maybe your local grocery bakery might do the trick like ours did. They had a lot to offer as far as design, but my husband and I wanted to steer away from the traditional wedding cakes you see and put a more "Indian/Nepali" feel to it. We went with Two tier Chocolate/Vanilla (His favorite/My favorite) cake that feed 45-50 people. I added the personalized monogram initials and silk flowers to the cake myself (That's factored into the "reception decorations" price and not the total price of the cake.).

 Decorations got a little pricy, but that was mainly because I waited till the last minute to do everything. And because I wanted to add color in the reception room outside of just the flowers. It had a very "white" feeling to it, with white linens, white napkins, white walls, and white ceiling. Which would have been fine except I like a lot of color. With my mom's pull towards traditional white and black and my smuggling in of color I feel we got a very tasteful balance. 

The table runners was the most expensive part to the decorations. We ended up going with a cloth that was $12 a yard and when you're talking about 10+ yards and then beading which was $8-$12 a yard for 8-9yards. it adds up. Fabric, tassels, and materials to make them the runners cost me about $30 a runner and we ended up needing 10 runners. Which still saved us a good bit of money because the runners in the style I was looking for turned out to be about $45-$65 per runner.

The flowers were very reasonable, however if I had the chance I'd go back and make them myself. Mainly because working with the vendor I had was more hassle than it was worth. They did turn out very pretty though and the cost was within budget. 

My bridal bouquet

My Maid of Honor Bouquet
The most surprising part that I attribute to my vendor and not the florist, is the fact that my vendor managed to match my centerpieces almost perfectly to my ceremony flowers without ever seeing a picture. The only major difference was they didn't have the Mokara Orchids, which all of the ceremony flowers contained.
Centerpieces provided by vendor


Beauty and Health

Extra Items

Hair and Makeup

Prewedding Pampering



Dress and Attire                  $1,487.78


Bride's Accessories$41.00

Dress and Care package$650.00

Headpiece and Veil$200.00




Additional Items

Bride Bouquet

Bridesmaid Bouquets

Ceremony Decorations

Groom/Groomsmen Boutonnieres

Reception Decorations


Invitations and Reply Cards

Jewelry                              $130.00

wedding jewelry

Men's Attire




Ring Bearer

Officiant                  $368.00

Marriage License$93.00


Photography                $300.00


Venue                                                                                      $1,808.00

Bar Set-Up$100.00

Cake Service$75.00


Ceremony Venue Fee$500.00

Non-alcoholic drinks$125.00

Reception Venue$200.00

Grand Total:
                                                                                           $  5,987.79

After the wedding, me being me, I went back and calculated where I could have saved more money. You know, the whole "Hind sight is 20/20". Plus, I'm one of those real arts and crafts type of people, so the wedding could have been way more DIY for savings.

Where We Could Have Saved:

  1. Invitations: Cost $168 if we went with 75 SAVINGS: $150
  2. Veil: Cost $90 if I had made it. SAVINGS: $110
  3. Accessories: Cost for Bride $20 if I had shopped around. SAVINGS: $21
  4. Decorations: $450 if I had stuck to the black and white theme instead of the table runners. SAVINGS: $450
  5. No per-wedding pampering (for me and my mother) SAVINGS: $110
  6. If I did hair and make-up myself. SAVINGS: $150
  7. Jewelry had I gone with traditional pearl set: SAVINGS $130
  8. Flowers had I done them myself: SAVINGS $170
Total Savings:  $1,291

Which would have brought the final cost of the wedding down to $4696.79

In the end we were very happy with our wedding. Though we probably could have watched our budget a bit closer, and though there were many areas we could have gone DIY with, I am still ecstatic that we kept it all under $6,000 after it was all said and done.


  1. Pretty cake. Check out my blog http://leavesofknowledge.blogspot.com