Author Topic: Are you planning a wedding right now? Or did you do so recently?  (Read 14611 times)

lifejoy

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I noticed a few people in the "Overheard at Work" thread that have been married recently, or are planning a wedding right now! I am in the latter category, and thought it might be fun/helpful to share our experiences and costs.

  • My fiance and I are overspending on an officiant ($600!) because it is really important to him and his parents.
  • My dress was $50. It needs alterations, and I would like to find a shrug or sweater and new shoes.
  • We are emailing out our invitations because the wedding is in 4 months and also we just don't want to spend $50+ on mailing things.
  • I'm getting two rings I already own re-sized, and they will be my stackable wedding bands. My fiance is looking for a silver ring under $200. Any fave men's weddings bands out there? Link me!
  • We found a venue we can afford :) It will cost $2500-$3500 for venue + food for 20-35 guests.
  • How to keep costs on alcohol down, when it takes place in a restaurant? Ideas?
  • I think I will be doing my own hair and make-up. Risky? Smart? At least I'll look like ME...
What are you scrimping on? What are your splurges?

MayDay

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Re: Are you planning a wedding right now? Or did you do so recently?
« Reply #1 on: April 30, 2014, 11:00:52 AM »
It's been nine years, but we saved a fortune by having an 11am wedding and a lunch reception.  Food was cheaper, and we served red wine only (and water/coffee/lemonade).  There was a bottle of wine out on each table, and they could ask for more, but most tables drank what was there and didn't ask for more.  I kept alcohol costs way down. 

Gen Y Finance Journey

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Re: Are you planning a wedding right now? Or did you do so recently?
« Reply #2 on: April 30, 2014, 11:14:02 AM »
I recently had a ridiculously un-mustachian wedding because my parents paid for it and had no desire to scrimp on anything. I still made plenty of frugal choices like doing my own hair and makeup, not having a videographer, utilizing talented friends for ceremony music and photography, and hiring a newbie DJ, but the venue, food, and alcohol were ridiculous. Of course my parents aren't hurting in the slightest for money and were more than happy to give us everything we wanted + everything they wanted. On top of their already stellar finances, my great-aunt had passed away about a year before and left my mom a sizable chunk of money, so they just used a portion of that to pay for the wedding.

Now if my husband and I had paid for the wedding ourselves, it would have been an entirely different story, but we also would have hurt a lot of my relatives by keeping it to only close friends and family. The main reason we agreed to let my parents pay for the wedding was because they really wanted to invite a lot of extended family who had invited them to weddings and other events, and if we paid for it ourselves that just wasn't going to happen, and there would have been a lot of disappointment.

NumberCruncher

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Re: Are you planning a wedding right now? Or did you do so recently?
« Reply #3 on: April 30, 2014, 11:18:58 AM »
We had a lunchtime ceremony - neither of us actually like wine/champagne/or really any alcohol, so we just had a a sampling of tea! We had half a dozen different varieties of our favorites/fanciest. Having no alcohol is an easy way to reduce alcohol costs. ;)

I did my own makeup/hair and I wish I had gotten someone else to do my hair for me! I had a friend help, but it didn't turn out the way I had planned. :-/  I'd suggest making yourself up ceremony-style well in advance, to see if you're happy with it. If not, look around for tutorials to see if they help any...as a final option book an appointment at a teaching salon or a beauty salon.

nereo

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Re: Are you planning a wedding right now? Or did you do so recently?
« Reply #4 on: April 30, 2014, 11:46:05 AM »
I noticed a few people in the "Overheard at Work" thread that have been married recently, or are planning a wedding right now! I am in the latter category, and thought it might be fun/helpful to share our experiences and costs.

  • My fiance and I are overspending on an officiant ($600!) because it is really important to him and his parents.
  • My dress was $50. It needs alterations, and I would like to find a shrug or sweater and new shoes.
  • We are emailing out our invitations because the wedding is in 4 months and also we just don't want to spend $50+ on mailing things.
  • I'm getting two rings I already own re-sized, and they will be my stackable wedding bands. My fiance is looking for a silver ring under $200. Any fave men's weddings bands out there? Link me!
  • We found a venue we can afford :) It will cost $2500-$3500 for venue + food for 20-35 guests.
  • How to keep costs on alcohol down, when it takes place in a restaurant? Ideas?
  • I think I will be doing my own hair and make-up. Risky? Smart? At least I'll look like ME...
What are you scrimping on? What are your splurges?

I think you may have bookmarked one of my earlier threads, but my fiancée and I are set to be married this summer.
We are also emailing out (most) of the invitations, both for cost reasons and for environmental ones.  Ultimately an invitation is just a piece of paper conveying information.  That can be done electronically just as easily.  We decided to get about 10 invitations for a few folks who really wanted them (entirely people over 40).
Our venue is an education/conservation center that allows us to bring our own food and alcohol.  We'll be ordering the food from a nearby restaurant and have hired someone to help with service, and total cost should be around $25/person, for venue, food, beer & wine.
her dress from consignment.  I don't know the exact cost - know it was more than $50 but much less than $500.  She's hoping to re-consign it after the wedding, so we might be able to recoup most of the cost and keep it in circulation.  She's also doing her own makeup but having it cut the day before.  I don't see why that would be risky - you do your own make-up already, right? 

for other ways we've kept costs down; we have guests coming in the day before and we rented a park pavillion on a lake nearby.  we're going to have a cook-out for all of our friends.  Since several of my friends are in the food service industry they're helping me with sides and prep.  we've budgeted $300 to feed our friends the night before.
my soon to be BIL is brewing beer for the event - he's an avid brewer and his cost should be under 50¢/beer.  We'll also have wine we're buying by the case at Trader Joes.  Not $2 chuck but they have some decent wines for <$8/bottle when you buy them by the case. 
My idea for you for keeping alcohol costs down is to first ask them if they'll let you do beer/wine only service, and if you can select the beer/wine yourself.  If they allow that you might be able to keep the per-drink cost under $2.  Also, our experience is we saved more money by not trying to have four different kidns of beer and five different wines.  We're skipping the champagne toast and opting to let people toast with whatever they want because we've heard that about 1/2 the champagne for a toast goes wasted, since many people feel obligated to have it in hand but don't really want to drink it.
I'm also setting up my own photobooth for guests with the enthusiastic help of my BIL.  I spent years as a photographer and he's in film, so it fit.  It's easy to do and we have all the equipment already; beats the estimates of $1000-1500 for a company to set one up.  I'm taking care of the setup and he's doing props.  Afterwards we're going to post pictures online that people can order and we'll also print pictures ourselves to include in thank you notes to make them more personable (without needing to write a huge amount either).

I guess our splurge (if you can call it that) is having catered food (well, technically it's more take-out from a restaurant and we've hired a mother-son team to help with service).  But we love food and wanted to do this.  We're also hiring a photographer, by far our biggest line-item expense.  However, we know the person and discovered that if you ask for the "junior" photogrpaher and most studios they cost about 1/2 as much.  Since we're supplimenting her photos with a photo-booth (not to mention *everyone* has a digital camera these days, and several of my friends have photogrpahy backgrounds) we're not worried about the images we will get. 
We've scrimped on the pre-wedding entertainment by inviting everyone to hang out in the park.  We're also organizing a free hike the morning of (more like a casual stroll through the woods, nothing difficult).  Also a group is going flower-picking at a nearby flower farm; we found out that for $5 you can get a whole basket of flowers, so that will be our decorations.  One of our friends is going to be the officiant.  He's honored and the cost to us will probably be a really nice bottle of bourbon as a thank-you to him.
We also found a vacation rental that we rented for the weekend to house most of our out-of-town family and people in the wedding.  It's no cost to us (everyone is paying us for their portion) but it worked out to about 1/3 the cost per night per room than hotels in the area.  Plus it means we get to actually spend more time with our family, which has been the most important thing.  Also, it has a full kitchen so the more mustachian (and/or poor) of our family and friends can save on breakfast each morning.  I'm going to make a few coffee cakes before the wedding and make sure the fridge has things like eggs, milk and cheese and cereal, and of course plenty of coffee.

Love to hear any other things you are planning.  Sounds like we're getting married at a similar time (this summer, right?)
Cheers




lifejoy

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Re: Are you planning a wedding right now? Or did you do so recently?
« Reply #5 on: April 30, 2014, 12:02:42 PM »
It's been nine years, but we saved a fortune by having an 11am wedding and a lunch reception.  Food was cheaper, and we served red wine only (and water/coffee/lemonade).  There was a bottle of wine out on each table, and they could ask for more, but most tables drank what was there and didn't ask for more.  I kept alcohol costs way down.

I love the idea of putting out wine and that kind of being it. I think that would help my fiance and control costs instead of fainting when we see how much people drank!

lifejoy

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Re: Are you planning a wedding right now? Or did you do so recently?
« Reply #6 on: April 30, 2014, 12:04:32 PM »
I recently had a ridiculously un-mustachian wedding because my parents paid for it and had no desire to scrimp on anything. I still made plenty of frugal choices like doing my own hair and makeup, not having a videographer, utilizing talented friends for ceremony music and photography, and hiring a newbie DJ, but the venue, food, and alcohol were ridiculous. Of course my parents aren't hurting in the slightest for money and were more than happy to give us everything we wanted + everything they wanted. On top of their already stellar finances, my great-aunt had passed away about a year before and left my mom a sizable chunk of money, so they just used a portion of that to pay for the wedding.

Now if my husband and I had paid for the wedding ourselves, it would have been an entirely different story, but we also would have hurt a lot of my relatives by keeping it to only close friends and family. The main reason we agreed to let my parents pay for the wedding was because they really wanted to invite a lot of extended family who had invited them to weddings and other events, and if we paid for it ourselves that just wasn't going to happen, and there would have been a lot of disappointment.

Ontario - my fiance and I are throwing ourselves.
BC - my parents want to have a BIG PARTAY, and like your parents, they can afford it. So why stop them? :D I like to party!

lifejoy

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Re: Are you planning a wedding right now? Or did you do so recently?
« Reply #7 on: April 30, 2014, 12:05:44 PM »
We had a lunchtime ceremony - neither of us actually like wine/champagne/or really any alcohol, so we just had a a sampling of tea! We had half a dozen different varieties of our favorites/fanciest. Having no alcohol is an easy way to reduce alcohol costs. ;)

I did my own makeup/hair and I wish I had gotten someone else to do my hair for me! I had a friend help, but it didn't turn out the way I had planned. :-/  I'd suggest making yourself up ceremony-style well in advance, to see if you're happy with it. If not, look around for tutorials to see if they help any...as a final option book an appointment at a teaching salon or a beauty salon.

THIS! Thank you so much! Can you believe how clueless I am that it did not occur to me to do a dry-run on myself? I can totally do my hair, makeup, put on the dress - and take pictures to see if I'm happy with the result! This will make me much less stressed. Thank you for this I-guess-it-wasn't-obvious suggestion!!

lifejoy

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Re: Are you planning a wedding right now? Or did you do so recently?
« Reply #8 on: April 30, 2014, 12:20:03 PM »
    [/list]What are you scrimping on? What are your splurges?

    I think you may have bookmarked one of my earlier threads, but my fiancée and I are set to be married this summer.
    We are also emailing out (most) of the invitations, both for cost reasons and for environmental ones.  Ultimately an invitation is just a piece of paper conveying information.  That can be done electronically just as easily.  We decided to get about 10 invitations for a few folks who really wanted them (entirely people over 40).
    Our venue is an education/conservation center that allows us to bring our own food and alcohol.  We'll be ordering the food from a nearby restaurant and have hired someone to help with service, and total cost should be around $25/person, for venue, food, beer & wine.
    her dress from consignment.  I don't know the exact cost - know it was more than $50 but much less than $500.  She's hoping to re-consign it after the wedding, so we might be able to recoup most of the cost and keep it in circulation.  She's also doing her own makeup but having it cut the day before.  I don't see why that would be risky - you do your own make-up already, right? 

    for other ways we've kept costs down; we have guests coming in the day before and we rented a park pavillion on a lake nearby.  we're going to have a cook-out for all of our friends.  Since several of my friends are in the food service industry they're helping me with sides and prep.  we've budgeted $300 to feed our friends the night before.
    my soon to be BIL is brewing beer for the event - he's an avid brewer and his cost should be under 50¢/beer.  We'll also have wine we're buying by the case at Trader Joes.  Not $2 chuck but they have some decent wines for <$8/bottle when you buy them by the case. 
    My idea for you for keeping alcohol costs down is to first ask them if they'll let you do beer/wine only service, and if you can select the beer/wine yourself.  If they allow that you might be able to keep the per-drink cost under $2.  Also, our experience is we saved more money by not trying to have four different kidns of beer and five different wines.  We're skipping the champagne toast and opting to let people toast with whatever they want because we've heard that about 1/2 the champagne for a toast goes wasted, since many people feel obligated to have it in hand but don't really want to drink it.
    I'm also setting up my own photobooth for guests with the enthusiastic help of my BIL.  I spent years as a photographer and he's in film, so it fit.  It's easy to do and we have all the equipment already; beats the estimates of $1000-1500 for a company to set one up.  I'm taking care of the setup and he's doing props.  Afterwards we're going to post pictures online that people can order and we'll also print pictures ourselves to include in thank you notes to make them more personable (without needing to write a huge amount either).

    I guess our splurge (if you can call it that) is having catered food (well, technically it's more take-out from a restaurant and we've hired a mother-son team to help with service).  But we love food and wanted to do this.  We're also hiring a photographer, by far our biggest line-item expense.  However, we know the person and discovered that if you ask for the "junior" photogrpaher and most studios they cost about 1/2 as much.  Since we're supplimenting her photos with a photo-booth (not to mention *everyone* has a digital camera these days, and several of my friends have photogrpahy backgrounds) we're not worried about the images we will get. 
    We've scrimped on the pre-wedding entertainment by inviting everyone to hang out in the park.  We're also organizing a free hike the morning of (more like a casual stroll through the woods, nothing difficult).  Also a group is going flower-picking at a nearby flower farm; we found out that for $5 you can get a whole basket of flowers, so that will be our decorations.  One of our friends is going to be the officiant.  He's honored and the cost to us will probably be a really nice bottle of bourbon as a thank-you to him.
    We also found a vacation rental that we rented for the weekend to house most of our out-of-town family and people in the wedding.  It's no cost to us (everyone is paying us for their portion) but it worked out to about 1/3 the cost per night per room than hotels in the area.  Plus it means we get to actually spend more time with our family, which has been the most important thing.  Also, it has a full kitchen so the more mustachian (and/or poor) of our family and friends can save on breakfast each morning.  I'm going to make a few coffee cakes before the wedding and make sure the fridge has things like eggs, milk and cheese and cereal, and of course plenty of coffee.

    Love to hear any other things you are planning.  Sounds like we're getting married at a similar time (this summer, right?)
    Cheers

    Emailed invites just make more sense in this day and age. Eco-friendly, faster, simpler.

    Make-up riskiness = nerviousness + shaky hand + liquid eyelinger = disaster! Haha! But really it would probably be fine. I guess the only other risk would be the potential for regret - is it ok to look like yourself on your wedding day, instead of a haute couture model? I am considering going to Sephora. If you make an appointment and agree to buy a $50 gift card, they will do your make-up for you. I have done this once (in my pre-mustachian days!) and it was AWESOME. I looked amazing (IMHO). Haha.

    I think your SO's idea to re-consign her dress is AMAZING! Good for her!

    Re: food - how stuffed should the guests be? We will be choosing between two menus: one is $55/person and one is $67/person. We can technically afford either option, but the first option leaves more funds for those mysterious costs that somehow add up and omg where did all the money go? But the second option includes two entrees instead of one, and it just seems fancier and nicer and I KNOW that people will not be hungry afterwards. Am I over-worrying? Our guests will (on average) be spending $1000+ just to get to the wedding. I want to make sure they are properly taken care of.

    Hey GREAT idea about serving beer and wine only. That will make my parents and his parents happy, and everyone else can like it or lump it ;) The prices of the cocktails had me so nervous... but mainly because I rarely drink so spending any money on alcohol makes me feel like ACK! I love that your BIL is so multi-talented and helping out with so many things! That is really great :) Ours is practically a destination wedding, so we're trying to make it so that nobody has to do anything more than show up.

    Wow, I love all of your wedding plans. It just sounds perfect, and that you are focusing on things that really matter! Well done! We're not planning on doing flowers or decorations, simply because I don't want to have to set things up - I want to just show up! And you can't eat flowers (usually).

    Mind if I ask how much you're spending on photography? Right now we're spending almost nothing, and I'm scared we'll wish we had spent more there. HOWEVER, my fiance and I (as luck would have it) happen to already have some professional VERY nice "wedding" photos of the two of us. We volunteered for a friend that was doing a wedding-style photo shoot, and so we have some really deluxe photos of us in our faux bride and faux groom attire! It makes me feel like we'd be mad to spend money on photos when we already have some really great ones.

    Decision-making overload! Fun, though :)

    Yes - my wedding is in late August. SO. EXCITED. Yours?


    nereo

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    Re: Are you planning a wedding right now? Or did you do so recently?
    « Reply #9 on: April 30, 2014, 12:44:41 PM »
    Probably should have specified, there's more than one BIL to be.  Yes they are multi-talented, but the one who's brewing the beer is not the same as the one that's going to be helping me with the photobooth.
    The photographer is $1k for the day (minimum 6 hours), and includes us having shared digital rights of all photos (we get the raw digital files which was can upload, share with friends and put on something like flikr where people can buy their own reprints.  photographer also gets to keep the images and can use them for her own portfolio and to market herself to future clients).  She's a good photographer but she'll be there for 6+ hours (she thinks she'll stay longer) but seeing that 1k number is a bit daunting. 

    we pondered over our alcohol options and the beer + wine just seemed to make the most sense for us.  It will be open bar, but not cost a fortune (especially since we buy it all ourselves and there's no venue markup).  We'll have bottles on each table like another poster suggested, and then people can get up and get beer if they prefer.  People kept bugging us about having a wedding favor and then we discovered that you can buy pint-glasses with your own design on it for about $2/glass, so that was a double win for us - people get a glass for beer or soda, its reusable and we don't have to worry about washing them.

    as for food - i don't think you need to stuff your guests; if its normal sized portions then whichever meal you choose I think should be fine.  ask the restaurant what the portion sizes will be - they'll know down to the half oz.  If there's going to be a large gap between the ceremony and the reception it may be good to have some form of apps available so people don't get cranky, but if you want to cut down costs its cheaper to have them on a buffet table than to have a roving band of servers with hors devours trays.  I think we're just going to do a table of local cheeses and fruits that we'll pick up at the farmer's market the day before.  One of the reasons we picked august - one of the best months for fresh local food!

    Gen Y Finance Journey

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    Re: Are you planning a wedding right now? Or did you do so recently?
    « Reply #10 on: April 30, 2014, 12:46:13 PM »
    I did my own makeup/hair and I wish I had gotten someone else to do my hair for me! I had a friend help, but it didn't turn out the way I had planned. :-/  I'd suggest making yourself up ceremony-style well in advance, to see if you're happy with it. If not, look around for tutorials to see if they help any...as a final option book an appointment at a teaching salon or a beauty salon.

    I wasn't too worried about my makeup, but I must have tried out 10 different hairstyles and did about 8 trials once I had settled on the hairstyle. This was the hairstyle I ended up going with, and it was awesome: http://www.thesmallthingsblog.com/2013/02/the-french-twist/

    I have a lot more hair than the woman in the tutorial, so it didn't look quite the same on me, but it was stunning and nobody could believe I did it myself.

    lifejoy

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    Re: Are you planning a wedding right now? Or did you do so recently?
    « Reply #11 on: April 30, 2014, 02:08:33 PM »
    Probably should have specified, there's more than one BIL to be.  Yes they are multi-talented, but the one who's brewing the beer is not the same as the one that's going to be helping me with the photobooth.
    The photographer is $1k for the day (minimum 6 hours), and includes us having shared digital rights of all photos (we get the raw digital files which was can upload, share with friends and put on something like flikr where people can buy their own reprints.  photographer also gets to keep the images and can use them for her own portfolio and to market herself to future clients).  She's a good photographer but she'll be there for 6+ hours (she thinks she'll stay longer) but seeing that 1k number is a bit daunting. 

    we pondered over our alcohol options and the beer + wine just seemed to make the most sense for us.  It will be open bar, but not cost a fortune (especially since we buy it all ourselves and there's no venue markup).  We'll have bottles on each table like another poster suggested, and then people can get up and get beer if they prefer.  People kept bugging us about having a wedding favor and then we discovered that you can buy pint-glasses with your own design on it for about $2/glass, so that was a double win for us - people get a glass for beer or soda, its reusable and we don't have to worry about washing them.

    as for food - i don't think you need to stuff your guests; if its normal sized portions then whichever meal you choose I think should be fine.  ask the restaurant what the portion sizes will be - they'll know down to the half oz.  If there's going to be a large gap between the ceremony and the reception it may be good to have some form of apps available so people don't get cranky, but if you want to cut down costs its cheaper to have them on a buffet table than to have a roving band of servers with hors devours trays.  I think we're just going to do a table of local cheeses and fruits that we'll pick up at the farmer's market the day before.  One of the reasons we picked august - one of the best months for fresh local food!

    Where can you buy custom pint glasses for $2/glass?! That is awesome!!!

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    Re: Are you planning a wedding right now? Or did you do so recently?
    « Reply #12 on: April 30, 2014, 02:22:39 PM »
    Two words: Breakfast Wedding! We had our wedding at 10am and it was the best ever. No booze (aside from Mimosas and Champagne) and the food is wayyyy cheaper. Our venue was free, but we had to use the caterer that owned the venue for food (which was no problem- our food cost was I think $19 per person, so around $2300 total). Overspent on clothes at our wedding, though I bought a suit that I could wear to other weddings/events, so I get good use out of it. My wedding band was under $100- it's Cobalt, maybe something to look into (it looks like silver). Other things we did to save money: no wedding favours, no bridesmaids or groomsmen, no rehearsals. My wife's sister officiated. My brother-in-law baked the cakes (he's a professional baker). Also- get your in-laws to pay! Haha, we weren't expecting it, but in the end, they really really wanted to- so I'm glad we went the frugal route. I felt bad enough spending their money as it was.

    lifejoy

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    Re: Are you planning a wedding right now? Or did you do so recently?
    « Reply #13 on: April 30, 2014, 02:39:14 PM »
    Two words: Breakfast Wedding! We had our wedding at 10am and it was the best ever. No booze (aside from Mimosas and Champagne) and the food is wayyyy cheaper. Our venue was free, but we had to use the caterer that owned the venue for food (which was no problem- our food cost was I think $19 per person, so around $2300 total). Overspent on clothes at our wedding, though I bought a suit that I could wear to other weddings/events, so I get good use out of it. My wedding band was under $100- it's Cobalt, maybe something to look into (it looks like silver). Other things we did to save money: no wedding favours, no bridesmaids or groomsmen, no rehearsals. My wife's sister officiated. My brother-in-law baked the cakes (he's a professional baker). Also- get your in-laws to pay! Haha, we weren't expecting it, but in the end, they really really wanted to- so I'm glad we went the frugal route. I felt bad enough spending their money as it was.

    +1 to the bolded items! I think that those things simply do not need to be a part of weddings!!

    kyanamerinas

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    Re: Are you planning a wedding right now? Or did you do so recently?
    « Reply #14 on: April 30, 2014, 02:40:42 PM »
    planning a wedding in the uk. my parents are paying for most of it, although his parents are also making a generous contribution.
    i would be happy to have a much more diy wedding but the parents want us to have everything they did and i'm happy to go along with that.
    my main wishes have been all my family and closest friends plus an evening ceilidh. large family means we'll be doing breakfast for around 80 and about 110-120 in the evening.
    fixed cost for venue, food, dj and wine with meal is around $8400, photographer $1500, dress $1000.
    we're planning to diy the flowers and centrepieces, makeup and hair, various friends are providing the band and car, making bridesmaid dresses, the cake and invites, plus other bits.
    it could be a lot better but it could be worse and everyone is happy. i love the look of intimate weddings but i have always felt the idea of making this commitment in front of all your loved ones was a big part of the wedding to me.

    i love the hairstyle you posted Gen Y Finance Journey, i may have to have a play with that!

    lifejoy

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    Re: Are you planning a wedding right now? Or did you do so recently?
    « Reply #15 on: April 30, 2014, 04:03:43 PM »
    I did my own makeup/hair and I wish I had gotten someone else to do my hair for me! I had a friend help, but it didn't turn out the way I had planned. :-/  I'd suggest making yourself up ceremony-style well in advance, to see if you're happy with it. If not, look around for tutorials to see if they help any...as a final option book an appointment at a teaching salon or a beauty salon.

    I wasn't too worried about my makeup, but I must have tried out 10 different hairstyles and did about 8 trials once I had settled on the hairstyle. This was the hairstyle I ended up going with, and it was awesome: http://www.thesmallthingsblog.com/2013/02/the-french-twist/

    I have a lot more hair than the woman in the tutorial, so it didn't look quite the same on me, but it was stunning and nobody could believe I did it myself.

    Wow - I just went to this, and it is such a great style!! Thanks so much for the link! Was it comfortable?

    lifejoy

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    Re: Are you planning a wedding right now? Or did you do so recently?
    « Reply #16 on: April 30, 2014, 04:08:03 PM »
    I plan on using one of Kandee Johnson's tutorials to help me take my makeup to the next level of awesome: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v1N26G6DQ4o

    Does anyone else love her videos?

    daymare

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    Re: Are you planning a wedding right now? Or did you do so recently?
    « Reply #17 on: April 30, 2014, 04:55:41 PM »
    I'm getting married in August - wedding is not Mustachian in any sense, but it's also not irresponsible ( we have no debt, max IRAs, can afford the wedding).  I don't live in the same city as any friends (except really new ones that don't count), so I wanted to get all my peeps together.  The whole thing is absurdly expensive (20K probably) b/c we got a 'venue' and we're having dinner catering, getting a tent & dance floor (it's outside), DJ, photographer.  Generally doing the conventional stuff means you get conventional (insane) wedding prices.  But aside from all that?  I really don't want to spend money - don't want to buy flowers, rehearsal dinner, professional makeup/hair (just cut my hair short, yay for not really being able to do a hairdo anyway).  I got my dress from Amazon for $40, a friend is officiating, invites were $15 off Vistaprint and people are RSVPing online cause I ain't paying postage twice.  Actually, I hate my wedding and wedding planning and all that right now.  I'm in my first year of grad school and really important qualifying exams are coming up - probably after that I'll enjoy thinking about silly, fluffy wedding things, but in the meantime I don't have the mental capacity to care.

    If I could go back in time, knowing what I know now, I would TOTALLY have a Sunday morning brunch wedding - way cheaper food, alcohol, venue, and I fucking love breakfast food.  Actually, maybe I wouldn't have a 'wedding' wedding at all.  It's sorta like grad school - don't regret it (at this time) but sometimes I do wonder about other paths I could've taken that might have been simpler or less costly (stipend vs industry salary, courthouse vs wedding).  For anyone who's still planning: just remember, bitches don't know shit.  AKA, you can do/not do whatever, the ultimate goal is being married, and it turns out that requires very little.  People will definitely say ridiculous things (and it totally doesn't matter): if your bridesmaids wear black it'll look like a funeral, you caaaaaaaan't have no flowers, what are you colors?  What's the theme? (hint: don't care/all of them, and getting married).  All gems I've heard - at this point I just find them all hilarious.

    MayDay

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    Re: Are you planning a wedding right now? Or did you do so recently?
    « Reply #18 on: April 30, 2014, 06:14:09 PM »
    To echo the PP who said no bridesmaids and groomsmen, my top money spending regrets are:  1.  Bridesmaid and groomsmen attire (we should have just told them all to wear a suit they already owned and a dress in a simple color like navy or black, of their choice) and 2. Photographer (we never look at the photos, at all, ever.  We should have gone with the cheapest semi-decent one that we could fine. 

    My parents paid for basically all of it, and the total was around 10k, so still fairly cheap for 125 people.  But if I was doing it all again with my own money, I would invite ten or twenty people to meet us at the courthouse and then go out to lunch.

    Eta:  and yes it is instance to say that 10k is fairly cheap, but for a traditional wedding (ie, church, meal, 100+ people) that is fairly cheap, sadly. 

    HappierAtHome

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    Re: Are you planning a wedding right now? Or did you do so recently?
    « Reply #19 on: April 30, 2014, 06:22:01 PM »
    I'm not yet engaged, but we've set a tentative wedding date and have commenced the planning.

    What's helped me in my little baby steps so far is working out things that I don't give a stuff about (invitations, flowers, chair covers) and things that I really, really care about (looking pretty, having plenty of food and drink). We'd love to have our wedding at someone's house / a park / a rented space, which would be far cheaper with far more ability to customise things exactly as you want them, but the flipside of that is that it's a lot more work for the couple, and their family and friends who they ask to help. For me, paying more to have our wedding hosted at a restaurant or function venue is well worth not being stressed out on the day by having to make a million preparations, or having to ask family and friends to effectively 'work' that day. (Yeah, I know people are happy to help, etc, but I want my family and friends to be sipping champagne with me and dancing, not washing dishes).

    Some of my choices are going to be very unpopular (like email invites), but meh. I'm the bride, I can tell people to fuck off if they give me a hard time.

    Planning to spend about $10k, which we can well and truly afford. I'd love to elope but my BIL sort-of-eloped and that didn't go down well with the family.

    lifejoy

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    Re: Are you planning a wedding right now? Or did you do so recently?
    « Reply #20 on: April 30, 2014, 07:03:03 PM »
    To echo the PP who said no bridesmaids and groomsmen, my top money spending regrets are:  1.  Bridesmaid and groomsmen attire (we should have just told them all to wear a suit they already owned and a dress in a simple color like navy or black, of their choice) and 2. Photographer (we never look at the photos, at all, ever.  We should have gone with the cheapest semi-decent one that we could fine. 

    Thank you for this. It makes me so, so relieved to hear that! I do not want bridesmaid or groomsmen attire, I do not want a photographer. I was very worried about that, and now I feel better :)

    I'm not yet engaged, but we've set a tentative wedding date and have commenced the planning.

    What's helped me in my little baby steps so far is working out things that I don't give a stuff about (invitations, flowers, chair covers) and things that I really, really care about (looking pretty, having plenty of food and drink). We'd love to have our wedding at someone's house / a park / a rented space, which would be far cheaper with far more ability to customise things exactly as you want them, but the flipside of that is that it's a lot more work for the couple, and their family and friends who they ask to help. For me, paying more to have our wedding hosted at a restaurant or function venue is well worth not being stressed out on the day by having to make a million preparations, or having to ask family and friends to effectively 'work' that day. (Yeah, I know people are happy to help, etc, but I want my family and friends to be sipping champagne with me and dancing, not washing dishes).

    Some of my choices are going to be very unpopular (like email invites), but meh. I'm the bride, I can tell people to fuck off if they give me a hard time.

    Planning to spend about $10k, which we can well and truly afford. I'd love to elope but my BIL sort-of-eloped and that didn't go down well with the family.

    Ditto on the no one doing dishes + emailed invites for the win (even if they ruffle a few feathers!)

    shelfins

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    Re: Are you planning a wedding right now? Or did you do so recently?
    « Reply #21 on: April 30, 2014, 09:18:03 PM »
    We are just starting to plan our wedding to take place sometime next spring. We've set a strict $5000 budget for ourselves, so we're eager to hear the advice that comes up on this thread! For those of you who found great inexpensive venues, how did you go about looking for & finding your venues? We're planning to have the wedding in the DC area, and our search so far has yielded places that market themselves as wedding venues, cost $3000+, and mostly come packaged with mandatory pricey caterers, which is out of the question. Any ideas for how to go about finding more frugal options?

    JustTrying

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    Re: Are you planning a wedding right now? Or did you do so recently?
    « Reply #22 on: April 30, 2014, 10:43:58 PM »
    I had my dream wedding on a private beach for $5000. I looove telling people about how we saved money on our wedding!

    We saved 50% on our venue by getting married during the off season. This meant that we nearly got hit by a hurricane. But we didn't! It all worked out in the end! Besides getting married in the off season, we also picked a venue that did not require us to use a specific caterer/bar service. We were able to bring in an inexpensive caterer who is more party-oriented than wedding oriented, but still had delicious food (so that saved money). Then, because our venue and caterer were not affiliated with one another, we were also permitted to bring in our own beverages with no corkage fee (because we didn't ask them to serve for us). This meant that we were able to buy wine and beer at Costco and save a ton of $$. - If you're running into trouble finding an affordable venue, look into renting a pretty house in a pretty location, or even a gazebo at a park. You're completely right that anything that is meant for weddings is crazy expensive!

    I did my own hair and makeup. (I actually found that it was really fun practicing and learning to do this). My family helped set up decorations before the ceremony. We just used an iPod instead of a DJ. I found an amazing photographer who was just starting out, so her fees were low but the photos still turned out really well.

    The list could go on...I just can't emphasize enough the importance of finding a venue that allows you freedom with catering/bar service.

    **I apologize! I now realize that much of my reply did not apply to the OP, but rather to one of the replies! Sorry about that!
    « Last Edit: April 30, 2014, 10:45:59 PM by JustTrying »

    Gen Y Finance Journey

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    Re: Are you planning a wedding right now? Or did you do so recently?
    « Reply #23 on: April 30, 2014, 11:32:09 PM »
    I did my own makeup/hair and I wish I had gotten someone else to do my hair for me! I had a friend help, but it didn't turn out the way I had planned. :-/  I'd suggest making yourself up ceremony-style well in advance, to see if you're happy with it. If not, look around for tutorials to see if they help any...as a final option book an appointment at a teaching salon or a beauty salon.

    I wasn't too worried about my makeup, but I must have tried out 10 different hairstyles and did about 8 trials once I had settled on the hairstyle. This was the hairstyle I ended up going with, and it was awesome: http://www.thesmallthingsblog.com/2013/02/the-french-twist/

    I have a lot more hair than the woman in the tutorial, so it didn't look quite the same on me, but it was stunning and nobody could believe I did it myself.

    Wow - I just went to this, and it is such a great style!! Thanks so much for the link! Was it comfortable?

    Incredibly comfortable! Even with 40 bobby pins to make sure it stayed in place all night. :)

    lifejoy

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    Re: Are you planning a wedding right now? Or did you do so recently?
    « Reply #24 on: April 30, 2014, 11:34:57 PM »
    We are just starting to plan our wedding to take place sometime next spring. We've set a strict $5000 budget for ourselves, so we're eager to hear the advice that comes up on this thread! For those of you who found great inexpensive venues, how did you go about looking for & finding your venues? We're planning to have the wedding in the DC area, and our search so far has yielded places that market themselves as wedding venues, cost $3000+, and mostly come packaged with mandatory pricey caterers, which is out of the question. Any ideas for how to go about finding more frugal options?

    We wanted a place where we could show up, get married, and eat - with no set up or take down. After getting quotes from restaurants and art galleries, we were worried we'd have to up the budget. As it turns out, lunch at the art gallery was within budget... But only just. So we kept looking. After searching "Ottawa wedding venue cafe" - we happened upon the perfect place! No venue cost, just a minimum spending requirement. A dream :) So for keeping costs down, keep the guest list down if you can, and think outside of the box.

    And check weddingbee for local ideas! I got a few leads on there.

    I had my dream wedding on a private beach for $5000. I looove telling people about how we saved money on our wedding!

    We saved 50% on our venue by getting married during the off season. This meant that we nearly got hit by a hurricane. But we didn't! It all worked out in the end! Besides getting married in the off season, we also picked a venue that did not require us to use a specific caterer/bar service. We were able to bring in an inexpensive caterer who is more party-oriented than wedding oriented, but still had delicious food (so that saved money). Then, because our venue and caterer were not affiliated with one another, we were also permitted to bring in our own beverages with no corkage fee (because we didn't ask them to serve for us). This meant that we were able to buy wine and beer at Costco and save a ton of $$. - If you're running into trouble finding an affordable venue, look into renting a pretty house in a pretty location, or even a gazebo at a park. You're completely right that anything that is meant for weddings is crazy expensive!

    I did my own hair and makeup. (I actually found that it was really fun practicing and learning to do this). My family helped set up decorations before the ceremony. We just used an iPod instead of a DJ. I found an amazing photographer who was just starting out, so her fees were low but the photos still turned out really well.

    The list could go on...I just can't emphasize enough the importance of finding a venue that allows you freedom with catering/bar service.

    **I apologize! I now realize that much of my reply did not apply to the OP, but rather to one of the replies! Sorry about that!

    Don't apologize! This is for sharing ideas and excitement :) You did it exactly right! I wanted a place that I could come to for a "chat" that wasn't weddingbee or the knot. I needed a place where people understand when I say budget MATTERS. :)

    dilinger

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    Re: Are you planning a wedding right now? Or did you do so recently?
    « Reply #25 on: May 01, 2014, 12:48:29 AM »
    My wife and I got married a little over 2 years ago.  We spent somewhere between $1k and $2k on everything.  Neither of us are religious, and I hate traditional weddings.

     - Venue: a local park.  We paid for an event license ($250ish), though we probably could've avoided that.  I'm okay giving money to the Parks fund, though.  We set up a table with snacks (mostly fruit), drinks, etc.  That was probably around $100, max.
     - Clothes: my wife found a non-traditional wedding dress at a consignment shop.  I think she paid around $50 for it.
     - People: we limited it to 25 people, max.  Invitations were made to local friends and family, as well as close remote family.  We couldn't justify having remote friends fly in for the occasion.  How often do you actually get to hang out with the bride & groom when you fly in for a big wedding?  We'd rather just visit our friends on a separate occasion.  Many of the people who were invited also had some kind of purpose during the wedding.
     - Reception: a local crepe place after the wedding.  That was the most expensive thing, running around $1k.  Much to my surprise, my father-in-law picked up the bill at the end.  That $1k included alcohol.
     - Cake: we had a local gelato place make us a two layer gelato cake.  It was amazing, and a number of people commented that it was the best wedding cake they'd ever had.  $50.  Also, part of the fun was going to the shop in advance and trying out every single flavor to figure out what should be in the cake.  By the time you get through every flavor, you've forgotten what a bunch tasted like, so of course you need to try them all again.. :)
     - Photographer: one of my wife's coworkers is also an amateur photographer.  He took many fantastic photos.  As someone above commented.. we never actually look at the pictures.
     - Officiant: a friend was ordained off the internet. This was his third wedding.
     - Music: My wife's (local) uncle plays violin.  Done and done.
     - Bachelor/Bachelorette party: we had a pillow fight at the location with a bunch of friends (wearing our favorite PJs, of course) the evening before.  This served multiple purposes as well; we wanted white feathers all over the ground at the location, so we supplied the pillows.  Goodwill purchases, $30 max.  We all went out to dinner afterwards.
     - Transportation: the park and crepe place were about a mile from our house.  We walked.  Some of our guests drove, including between the park & reception, but that's their car-centric lifestyle problem, not ours.
     - Rings: we both dislike jewelery (I just dislike the feel of it, she constantly loses hers).  Instead, we exchanged seeds that we picked out for each other, with the species being worked into our vows.  They were planted in our garden the next year.  $5-10.
     - Flowers: it was summer, there were plenty of them around.  We had a friend go out and pick a bunch.

    That's all I can think of.  We had a great time, and it was very low stress!
    « Last Edit: May 01, 2014, 12:50:40 AM by dilinger »

    mrsggrowsveg

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    Re: Are you planning a wedding right now? Or did you do so recently?
    « Reply #26 on: May 01, 2014, 07:00:15 AM »
    We actually had two weddings.  We had one we threw together in a few days in a field that we catered ourselves, tacos and sangria, (cost around $300 total) and the "real" church wedding my family insisted on.  Our church wedding was in Mexico, so it was already much cheaper than it would be in the US.

    -Location:  wedding was in a beachfront Catholic church.  I think there was a $300 donation to the church.  The reception was at a country club by in-laws were members of (on the beach!).
    -Dress:  Facepunch for me $2,000.  I was not mustachian at the time at all.  My husband bought two suits for around $200 total.
    -Rings:  I don't even want to say (again not mustachian)
    -Reception:  We hired a DJ and my in-laws splurged for a tent and light up dance floor.  The food was a 4 course Mexican seafood feast for $10 a person.  We had around 50 guests.  The country club included many waiters to take wonderful care of us.
    -Alcohol:  The country club allowed us to bring our own alcohol.  The meal price included one cocktail from the bar for everyone.  After that, we switched to Champagne and wine that we bought on sale and brought with us.
    -Others:  Photographer:  $300, Limo (not sure someone else paid), hair and makeup $100 per person

    Libraryjoy, are you set on doing the reception at a restaurant?  It seems like it could get really expensive to buy alcohol at a restaurant.  You could get it catered to somewhere that would let you bring in your own alcohol.  Congratulations on your wedding!  You did really well getting an inexpensive dress and ring.

    nereo

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    Re: Are you planning a wedding right now? Or did you do so recently?
    « Reply #27 on: May 01, 2014, 07:20:07 AM »
    We are just starting to plan our wedding to take place sometime next spring. We've set a strict $5000 budget for ourselves, so we're eager to hear the advice that comes up on this thread! For those of you who found great inexpensive venues, how did you go about looking for & finding your venues? We're planning to have the wedding in the DC area, and our search so far has yielded places that market themselves as wedding venues, cost $3000+, and mostly come packaged with mandatory pricey caterers, which is out of the question. Any ideas for how to go about finding more frugal options?
    Sure - first off consider what reflects you and your SO as a couple.  For us, we are outdoorsy/nature-types so having an wedding at a conservation center (where she was involved when she was younger) seemed a good fit.
    Also, if you want to save money on venue think outside the box.  I'm not saying avoid wedding venues entirely in your search, but realize that the vast majority of them will cost a lot more than your budget allows.
    A few suggestions: Parks/recreation areas often have pavillions or facilities you can rent. Ditto for the local community centers - my friend got married in Fairfax Co at a local firehouse (had a community center/room) - think it cost her $250 to book.  If you have any connections with people that own a huge property (like an unused and empty barn - tons of people have these on their properties in Reston, Manassas, Great Falls, etc) you might be able to use that angle - our 2nd choice was going to be a barn.   Ask around, it's surprising how many people know somebody that has an empty barn, and they'd be willing to let you rent it for $500 or so.
    I've also heard that you can get married around any of the national monuments for a $75 park fee (no reception there though).  The Lincoln Memorial makes a stunning backdrop to say "I do".  You have to be ok with curious tourists nearby though.

    For food  - one option is to find restaurants that have a pick-up for large parties option (e.g. you buy large trays of food, each of has 15-20 servings).  Then hire a few college kids to help with service.  For ~$200 cash you shuold be able to get 3 responsible people who will do set-up, serving, and cleanup over a 3 hour period.  If you find a venue that allows you to bring your own alcohol (a huge $ saver) then a keg is the most economical way to go.  BevMo, Total Wines and Trader Joes (all in the DC area) have great prices on decent wines by the case. One keg and two cases of wine will set you back ~$250 and will yield over 200 drinks.  Adjust as necessary for the number of guests - or don't have any alcohol.

    Samsam

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    Re: Are you planning a wedding right now? Or did you do so recently?
    « Reply #28 on: May 01, 2014, 07:34:23 AM »
    My fiance and I are actually planning a wedding right now too.  We can't get married in NC so we are heading out to San Fran (this makes things a little more expensive...actually a lot).  We decided on CA instead of something in the NE because her family is out there and my family is willing to travel a bit for the ceremony. 

    It will probably cost around $4k total - 1week in a hotel, airfare for 2, and expenses of getting married at city hall. 

    I am very happy with how my fiance limited herself in the dress category - I think it was around 500 with alterations.  And instead of buying a 300 dollar belt, bought a sash and is going to decorate that with jewels herself.  She will also be doing her own hair. 

    We will be going to a restaurant after the ceremony and my dad offered to pay, which I greatly appreciate. 

    Her ring..was...not mustachain...haha, but that was my choice :) 

    iris lily

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    Re: Are you planning a wedding right now? Or did you do so recently?
    « Reply #29 on: May 01, 2014, 08:02:31 AM »
    OP, yes to doing your own hair and makeup it's fine for the kind of laid back event you are describing. I don't quite understand the formality of professional hair and makeup and the trials that seem to be necessary and etc. I personally wouldn't want anyone else messing around with my hair or makeup because it could end up to be a freak show.

    Weyfarere

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    Re: Are you planning a wedding right now? Or did you do so recently?
    « Reply #30 on: May 01, 2014, 07:40:33 PM »
    You have 4 months to plan? That would be plenty of time to print and mail invitations if you had wanted to.

    My dress was borrowed, though I still needed it altered.

    We chose to invite a bunch of guests (150ish?) and have a mid-afternoon reception with cake/snacks/beverages instead of a full meal.

    For the cake, we picked a good-quality bakery and had several different flavors but didn't bother with the tiered "wedding" style of cake.

    I did my own make-up. My cousin did my hair. I didn't care very much how either the make-up or the hair would turn out.

    We had the reception at my church, which didn't allow alcohol, so that made alcohol costs a non-issue.

    Flowers: The church brings in flowers on Saturdays anyway, to be ready for services on Sunday, so I just made sure the flowers would be there before the wedding. I borrowed my sister-in-law's (fake) bridal bouquet to carry, and my maid of honor carried the bouquet I had carried in my brother's wedding. I think my husband ordered some strands of (fake) greenery to hang around the reception area.

    We had a maid of honor and a best man and no other attendants. I gave my maid of honor very general clothing guidelines, and I think she wore a dress she already owned.

    Photographer: My husband's sister, who has a part-time photography business.

    Our budget was $5,000, including the honeymoon but not including my engagement/wedding ring. We came in well under that. (I never asked how much my ring cost.)

    shelfins

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    Re: Are you planning a wedding right now? Or did you do so recently?
    « Reply #31 on: May 01, 2014, 08:42:56 PM »
    Thanks so much for the venue suggestions! I started looking into rooms in community centers in the two suburbs where our families live, and found some options with really fantastic rates for residents!

    lifejoy

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    Re: Are you planning a wedding right now? Or did you do so recently?
    « Reply #32 on: May 01, 2014, 11:17:52 PM »
    Thanks so much for the venue suggestions! I started looking into rooms in community centers in the two suburbs where our families live, and found some options with really fantastic rates for residents!

    I am so glad to hear this! This thread has been a major help to me; I'm glad I'm not alone!

    JustTrying

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    Re: Are you planning a wedding right now? Or did you do so recently?
    « Reply #33 on: May 01, 2014, 11:42:12 PM »
    There's also a blog about this - she got married years ago, so to find the "goods" you have to look in her archives, but she's a frugal lady and has some good ideas for saving money on a wedding! http://2000dollarwedding.com/

    RunningWithScissors

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    Re: Are you planning a wedding right now? Or did you do so recently?
    « Reply #34 on: May 02, 2014, 02:21:04 PM »
    I was married 6 months ago... We set a budget, stuck to it and had a wedding that was perfect for us.  Here's a breakdown of the major costs:

    Venue:  free (my Dad went into the hospital the week before the wedding and the hospital allowed us to use their beautiful light filled chapel for our 30 guests.  Then, we held the reception in our home)
    Food:  $3500, catered by 4 Red Seal chefs in our home, including all serving dishes, glasses and table rentals.  We had a mingle/cocktail party rather than a formal sit-down dinner for our 75 guests.
    Officiant:$300 fee
    Booze:  $300.  We bought $1000 worth and returned what we didn't use. Included a few bottles of champagne so we could have a mini-reception after the ceremony at the hospital with my  dad.
    Photography, Music, Bartending, Wedding Cake :  free , thanks to donations of friends and neighbours.
    Flowers:  $700.  This seemed like a frivolous item but I got my money's worth by deconstructing all the bouquets and put one flower with a floating candle in small vases throughout the house. 
    Rings:  $25 each, ordered on-line
    Groomsmen:  $30 each, wore their own suits with a new tie that matched the wedding theme color.
    Wedding dress $250 plus $100 alteration.
    Hair/makeup: $400 for bride and attendants. Bridesmaids wore their own dresses.  Bought matching feather fascinators at $15 each, on-line. 
    Invites/thank you cards etc:  $200 on-line   
    Reception decorations:  $100 for paper lanterns which were sold for $65 afterwards. 
    Gifts for guests:  $200 for a custom-designed bride and groom pair of chocolates for each guest.
    Miscellaneous: $100 for bits and pieces.  We made up mini-baskets for the ceremony for each guest which included a kazoo (guests hummed the wedding march as we walked in to the chapel - great fun for everyone!, package of Kleenex, and a bubble wand for the outdoor champagne reception after the ceremony).

    It was the perfect wedding for us and with only one or two exceptions the money was well spent. An unexpected surprise was finding out the generosity of our guests paid for it more than twice over, although we specified that no gifts were required.

    lifejoy

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    Re: Are you planning a wedding right now? Or did you do so recently?
    « Reply #35 on: May 03, 2014, 03:18:57 PM »
    I was married 6 months ago... We set a budget, stuck to it and had a wedding that was perfect for us.  Here's a breakdown of the major costs:

    Venue:  free (my Dad went into the hospital the week before the wedding and the hospital allowed us to use their beautiful light filled chapel for our 30 guests.  Then, we held the reception in our home)
    Food:  $3500, catered by 4 Red Seal chefs in our home, including all serving dishes, glasses and table rentals.  We had a mingle/cocktail party rather than a formal sit-down dinner for our 75 guests.
    Officiant:$300 fee
    Booze:  $300.  We bought $1000 worth and returned what we didn't use. Included a few bottles of champagne so we could have a mini-reception after the ceremony at the hospital with my  dad.
    Photography, Music, Bartending, Wedding Cake :  free , thanks to donations of friends and neighbours.
    Flowers:  $700.  This seemed like a frivolous item but I got my money's worth by deconstructing all the bouquets and put one flower with a floating candle in small vases throughout the house. 
    Rings:  $25 each, ordered on-line
    Groomsmen:  $30 each, wore their own suits with a new tie that matched the wedding theme color.
    Wedding dress $250 plus $100 alteration.
    Hair/makeup: $400 for bride and attendants. Bridesmaids wore their own dresses.  Bought matching feather fascinators at $15 each, on-line. 
    Invites/thank you cards etc:  $200 on-line   
    Reception decorations:  $100 for paper lanterns which were sold for $65 afterwards. 
    Gifts for guests:  $200 for a custom-designed bride and groom pair of chocolates for each guest.
    Miscellaneous: $100 for bits and pieces.  We made up mini-baskets for the ceremony for each guest which included a kazoo (guests hummed the wedding march as we walked in to the chapel - great fun for everyone!, package of Kleenex, and a bubble wand for the outdoor champagne reception after the ceremony).

    It was the perfect wedding for us and with only one or two exceptions the money was well spent. An unexpected surprise was finding out the generosity of our guests paid for it more than twice over, although we specified that no gifts were required.

    That sounds like such an incredible wedding! :)

    OldDogNewTrick

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    Re: Are you planning a wedding right now? Or did you do so recently?
    « Reply #36 on: May 03, 2014, 04:09:21 PM »
    First wedding, I felt too guilty insisting my bridesmaids purchase useless dresses--most of them were fresh out of college and had no extra money to blow on frivolity, (1981!). I asked them to grab every prom dress and used bridesmaid dress out of their closet and bring it over to our wedding planning tea. That's how I chose my colors! Mixed and matched the best of the bunch. I'd share a picture, but I burned them all after the divorce.

    Rebecca Stapler

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    Re: Are you planning a wedding right now? Or did you do so recently?
    « Reply #37 on: May 03, 2014, 04:22:41 PM »
    We were married 5 years ago, on a pretty ambitious budget for our HCOLA. To get around the jacked up prices in the area, here are some things we did to save money:
    • Rented a room in the Town Hall instead of a place that does weddings (it was a spartan but beautiful old ballroom)
    • Bought our own booze -- just wine
    • A friend made our wedding cake
    • Made our own invitations and didn't include "RSVP cards" (saved on printing, paper and postage)
    • I wore my sister's wedding gown, and had a jacket made out of the shawl. Some people didn't even recognize it as her dress
    • Got married in my church, so there wasn't a fee for the officiant or the church
    • Had a DJ instead of a band
    • Didn't hire transportation or buy favors
    We had an awesome time at our wedding. I wouldn't change a thing!

    Mrs. Frugalwoods

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    Re: Are you planning a wedding right now? Or did you do so recently?
    « Reply #38 on: May 03, 2014, 04:55:15 PM »
    Quote
    Any fave men's weddings bands out there? Link me!

    My husband has a titanium band, which runs about $35. Six years married and it's holding up beautifully (just like our marriage...sorry, couldn't resist!)

    Mr. Frugalwoods

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    Re: Are you planning a wedding right now? Or did you do so recently?
    « Reply #39 on: May 03, 2014, 04:58:29 PM »
    Quote
    Any fave men's weddings bands out there? Link me!

    My husband has a titanium band, which runs about $35. Six years married and it's holding up beautifully (just like our marriage...sorry, couldn't resist!)

    Here's the ring she's referring to:

    http://www.titaniumera.com/titanium-rings/detail?cid=784&pid=682

    I have the 6mm.  Held up great, and I never have to worry about losing it!

    HappierAtHome

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    Re: Are you planning a wedding right now? Or did you do so recently?
    « Reply #40 on: May 03, 2014, 08:47:52 PM »
    My big sister (who is more like a mum to me) said today that she understands that I'm going to do something that will very much NOT be a big wedding, and she'll support me :D this is huge!

    Now I'll be hoping and praying that she doesn't change her mind.

    goodlife

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    Re: Are you planning a wedding right now? Or did you do so recently?
    « Reply #41 on: May 03, 2014, 08:54:42 PM »
    We had a lunchtime ceremony - neither of us actually like wine/champagne/or really any alcohol, so we just had a a sampling of tea! We had half a dozen different varieties of our favorites/fanciest. Having no alcohol is an easy way to reduce alcohol costs. ;)

    I did my own makeup/hair and I wish I had gotten someone else to do my hair for me! I had a friend help, but it didn't turn out the way I had planned. :-/  I'd suggest making yourself up ceremony-style well in advance, to see if you're happy with it. If not, look around for tutorials to see if they help any...as a final option book an appointment at a teaching salon or a beauty salon.

    THIS! Thank you so much! Can you believe how clueless I am that it did not occur to me to do a dry-run on myself? I can totally do my hair, makeup, put on the dress - and take pictures to see if I'm happy with the result! This will make me much less stressed. Thank you for this I-guess-it-wasn't-obvious suggestion!!

    I am getting a stylist for a approx. $200 (which includes a pre-wedding trial run). I don't own any makeup, have never put on makeup in my life and I don't know how to do my hair (other than combing it and putting it in a pony tail), so yah, I think this is a necessary splurge in my case, LOL!

    lifejoy

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    Re: Are you planning a wedding right now? Or did you do so recently?
    « Reply #42 on: May 03, 2014, 09:42:24 PM »
    My big sister (who is more like a mum to me) said today that she understands that I'm going to do something that will very much NOT be a big wedding, and she'll support me :D this is huge!

    Now I'll be hoping and praying that she doesn't change her mind.

    Wow, what a wonderful and supportive sentiment! :)

    Anatidae V

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    Re: Are you planning a wedding right now? Or did you do so recently?
    « Reply #43 on: May 03, 2014, 10:28:11 PM »
    My big sister (who is more like a mum to me) said today that she understands that I'm going to do something that will very much NOT be a big wedding, and she'll support me :D this is huge!

    Now I'll be hoping and praying that she doesn't change her mind.

    Wow, what a wonderful and supportive sentiment! :)
    That is incredibly nice. Any family members on your side will make it a lot easier.

    My mum informed me that I don't have to have a fancy pants wedding, but I'm having at least a BBQ reception. I'm also the only one likely to fit into her wedding dress, which was also my grandma's wedding dress. Not sure if I'll wear it, but it would be one less thing to get! If not hers, I'm thinking second hand and then sell it on, hire one or something I make myself. Not interested in adding a pile of fabric to my hoard.
    We're still pre-engaged (I proposed, he said "not yet" and that he wants to propose back when he's ready. We know we want to get married but after dodging family members about it for years while we still felt too young to do it, we aren't saying anything to anyone until we're 100% ready to make it official). At the moment we think we want something outdoors with a nice afternoon tea spread and lawn games, with some card games set up as well. It'll be about 80 people, because we want our aunts/uncles/cousins there, but not more distant than that. We don't have a date, but I want August/September this year, he thinks sometime after June next year... We'll agree on it eventually. Took him to a boutique wedding expo yesterday and he's a lot less worried by the entire wedding concept.
     
    This thread is great to get ideas, thanks for starting it Libraryjoy!

    erinlibrarian

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    Re: Are you planning a wedding right now? Or did you do so recently?
    « Reply #44 on: May 04, 2014, 12:24:47 PM »
    Finally de-lurking over here. I'm probably going to write an epically long post, so bear with me! I got married 7 months ago and while I felt our wedding was pretty big and fancy (rented venue, 100 people, catered dinner, cake, wine, flowers, the whole shabang), it was very inexpensive in comparison to the average cost of a wedding in Los Angeles. Honestly, the biggest thing that helped us save money was using the "human resources" (aka family and friends) available to us- I owe them all a hundred times over. They set up chairs, decorations, made centerpieces, and did everything the night before and were amazing at keeping things running smoothly during the reception. Even now, among my best memories of the whole event was the "community" feel of everyone working together.

    A few things we did to save money:

    -Invitations: We wanted to do mailed invitations and lucked out on a Groupon for Swazzle. It was around $25 for beautiful but simple invitations/envelopes, plus another $30(?) for postage. We used one of the free wedding website builders and asked people to RSVP through the website and saved money by not having to pay for reply cards/postage. We did email "Save the Dates" about 6 months before the wedding.

    -Venue: We found a city-owned facility that was beautiful and rented out for private events. The provided tables/ folding chairs and a sound system. We were able to come in the night before, set everything up and run a quick rehearsal. They also let us use any vendors we wanted so that gave us a lot of freedom to find low cost options. Having your ceremony and reception in the same place cuts down on transportation costs and a lot of logistical headaches.

    -Food: We had a local Armenian restaurant cater and run the buffet (our first date was at a Middle Eastern restaurant). We're really big foodies and our biggest fear was having bland food and paying too much for it. So we had 3 different kinds of grilled meats and plenty of vegan/GF side dishes, lavash bread and amazing sauces for $25/pp. Everyone said it was awesome and went home stuffed.

    -Booze: Wine only and it was self-serve. Same thing with champagne- we budgeted for one bottle of bubbly and a bottle of sparkling cider per table. Each table got to pop and pour their own when it was time for toasts. We had iced tea, water, and bottled beverages (fancy Coke in glass bottles and Izze juices - Costco!) for the non-drinkers. Our venue let us bring in our own wine and we overestimated how much everyone would drink, so we're well stocked with wine at our house for the foreseeable future!

    -Music: No DJ. My friend played piano during the ceremony. We bought a $10 premium subscription to Spotify for one month and built several playlists for the different parts of the wedding (dinner, cake cutting, dances, party) and assigned someone to change the playlists at certain times. With the premium subscription there are no advertisements and you can download the playlists to play offline so you don't have to worry about a wifi connection. We just hooked up the laptop to the sound system provided by the venue and it worked beautifully. Plus it was really fun for the fiance and I to pick out the songs together!

    Officiant: A close friend got ordained online and did our ceremony for free.

    -Photobooth: I really wanted one and since we didn't have wedding favors (another cost saving measure), I felt the pictures from the photobooth served as "favors" for people to take home. We had a total DIY photobooth and it was a huge hit. Webcam, laptop, photobooth software, inexpensive 4x6 photo printer, and cheap props from the dollar store resulted in hours of hilarity - easily the best ROI on anything we spent money on for the wedding.

    -Flowers: Some family members, my bridesmaids, and I went to the flower mart the day before and bought all the flowers we used for the ceremony, bouquets/corsages, centerpieces, and decorations. It was a TON of flowers and cost probably 10% of what a florist would have charged. We had a lot of fun arranging flowers and making bouquets the day before the wedding (just make sure you have someplace cool to store them overnight!).

    -Cake: I found a lady with a side gig making cupcakes for weddings. Her prices were super low compared to the bakeries and caterers in the area and the cupcakes were just as delicious. Cupcakes were easier since we didn't have to worry about anyone cutting or serving cake. People just came up and grabbed a cupcake after we did our little cake-cutting photo op. We did a mix of mini cupcakes and regular sized ones stacked them up on a 4 tiered cake stand. 


    -Craigslist: Lots of brides are trying to offload their leftovers. We bought beverage dispensers, mason jars, shepherds hooks, ect for practically nothing. I let a family friend use a lot of the things I had purchased for her wedding a few weeks ago and now I'm going to resell them on Craigslist. Sometimes it's cheaper to buy and then resell things like tablecloths than renting them.

    -Little Things: We kept our wedding party small (2 bridesmaids and 2 groomsmen). I bought the bridesmaid's dresses on ModCloth instead of a bridal store and we did our own makeup. Little things like favors, escort cards, ceremony programs, monogrammed/personalized things, Chiavari chairs, ect can really add up so we decided to just not do them. Nobody cared and we wound up having a fantastic and fun wedding!

    Whew, sorry for the long post! We had a blast planning our wedding with the goal being to minimize costs and maximize the really meaningful parts of the day. Don't get sucked in to the "Wedding Industrial Complex" and instead focus on what's really important to you.

    crazy jane

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    Re: Are you planning a wedding right now? Or did you do so recently?
    « Reply #45 on: May 04, 2014, 12:50:49 PM »
    Got married last summer.

    Venue-his house rented two tents and stand up tables. Picked up set up took down and returned by ourselves.

    Food-my parents brought 12 dozen brats from a butcher in Wisconsin. Boiled in beer butter and onions. Finished on the grill. Burgers buns and chips from Costco. I baked tons of cookies and a friend made a cake.

    Drinks-beer and box wine and booze from Costco. My daughter bartended.

    Dress-I wore a football jersey. White away jersey because I was the bride. Husband wore a football jersey dark blue home jersey. We are fans of rival teams so we had a referee officiate the intra-divisional event.

    We had 200 people come in the jersey of their choice for the tailgate party reception.

    We probably spend less than a grand on all of this.

    Makeup-none

    Photographer-this was our big expense. 2 grand as he was a friend starting out his business. He did an awesome job and we were happy to hire him. We made him wear a referree jersey.

    It was loads of fun!


    miss snow

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    Re: Are you planning a wedding right now? Or did you do so recently?
    « Reply #46 on: May 04, 2014, 08:44:53 PM »
    I had my wedding in March and I would not consider it Mustachian ($16,000 but paid for by parents). However, considering we got married in a kick-ass venue in Seattle and had 80 guests,  it's wasn't too over the top. A couple things I saved on...

    Flowers- Farmer's market. I spent $120 at Pike's place and had beautiful fresh bouquets for the whole venue. We just broke them up into some cool goodwill vases and they were stunning. I made my bridesmaid bouquets with grocery store tulips :)

    Make up- At some Aveda salons, you can get your make-up done on your wedding day for $50, but if you buy $50 worth of makeup, they wave the fee. So, I ended up with some nice makeup that will probably last me for the next year.

    Alcohol - We spent $400 on wine and beer at BevMo and ended up bringing about half of it home. We could have kept it but we just kept it so we could use it the rest of the year.

    Etsy, Etsy, Etsy - there are some steals on that site. And you are supporting small independent crafters. Win win.

    Cake- Use a local bakery. Much cheaper. We were thrilled with our small cake and many cupcakes. UNDER order though. Your guests will not eat as much desert as you think. We came home with about 30 cupcakes. yikes!


    Don't skimp too much on photography! You will be so happy when you get back your gorgeous photos!

    Best wishes!

    lifejoy

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    Re: Are you planning a wedding right now? Or did you do so recently?
    « Reply #47 on: May 06, 2014, 03:58:03 PM »
    Got married last summer.

    Venue-his house rented two tents and stand up tables. Picked up set up took down and returned by ourselves.

    Food-my parents brought 12 dozen brats from a butcher in Wisconsin. Boiled in beer butter and onions. Finished on the grill. Burgers buns and chips from Costco. I baked tons of cookies and a friend made a cake.

    Drinks-beer and box wine and booze from Costco. My daughter bartended.

    Dress-I wore a football jersey. White away jersey because I was the bride. Husband wore a football jersey dark blue home jersey. We are fans of rival teams so we had a referee officiate the intra-divisional event.

    We had 200 people come in the jersey of their choice for the tailgate party reception.

    We probably spend less than a grand on all of this.

    Makeup-none

    Photographer-this was our big expense. 2 grand as he was a friend starting out his business. He did an awesome job and we were happy to hire him. We made him wear a referree jersey.

    It was loads of fun!

    That sounds like *SO* much fun!!!!!

    jflo

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    Re: Are you planning a wedding right now? Or did you do so recently?
    « Reply #48 on: May 06, 2014, 06:22:18 PM »
    I got married a couple years ago in Joshua Tree. Once you tell folks they're going to a dome home in the desert, expectations change. We rented the home to help cover accommodations for DH's family since they were flying over from Scotland and had the ceremony outside in the desert.
    Bridesmaids - mine wore their own clothes and helped me on the big day. One did my hair & makeup, one looked up videos on coursages on YouTube and made those and my bouquet with some cheap (but pretty) flowers my sister picked up on the way. Since I too was living out of the country, I made sure they knew they didn't have to bother with throwing a shower or pre-wedding silliness.
    Officiant - BIL is a pastor. Helped convince the religious side that it was a real wedding having actual clergy do the ceremony.
    Pictures - a couple of friends are fabulous photographers. Let them know that we would love it if they'd help us our. Once word got out that we weren't hiring, everyone brought cameras. I really love some of the photos from
     my more artistic friends. I couldn't have paid for better and made a shutterfly album that I love.
    Booze - had a very chill caterer that let us bring our own beer & wine. We hand selected decent but affordable bottles and a keg of craft beer. The Scots brought liters of duty free whiskey.
    Music - friend brought decent speaker system. We premade some playlists but friends also took the controls once the traditional dances (includingng caleigh dancing) were done.
    Decorations- borrowed Christmas lights and cheap votives. As long as its nice and glowy, no one cares.
    Thoughtful but not spendy thank you gifts to all who help out.
    Overall, if you really just stress to folks that you want all to have a good time, enjoy themselves, wear what they  like, etc., you'll set a good vibe and the details won't matter so much.  Also, remember that people want to help and participate, so as long as you're not demanding that they spend money, most are happy to share their talents for your big day. It made the whole event feel more personal and like a collective project for me.
    Quite the opposite of bridezilla land.

    rujancified

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    Re: Are you planning a wedding right now? Or did you do so recently?
    « Reply #49 on: May 07, 2014, 09:56:44 AM »
    Got married in the US southeast at the end of 2012. Both sets of parents paid for substantial portions and wanted us to have a big shindig.

    Important to note: neither set offered a straight cash gift; the funds were for wedding expenses only. We invited almost 300 people and ended up with around 200.

    Where we saved:
    -I think I spent $45 on "favors" which were little bags of gummi bears. We love gummi bears.
    -We spent very little money on his band, as he's "not a ring person"
    -I got a discount on the ceremony location by having the rehearsal dinner there as well
    -His mom decorated the rehearsal/ceremony & reception locations. Looked amazing and we didn't have to rent or buy a ton of junk

    Where we splurged:
    -Food & drink were not cheap and were approx 33% of the total budget. Not super mustachian, but okay for a large event.
    -Transportation between locations because my dad thought it was rude to make people figure that out themselves
    -I love to dance, so we got a great DJ. Could have done an ipod/soundsystem and created my own playlist but it wasn't worth the headache at the time

    Where we met in the middle:
    -His whole outfit. He got a new shirt, suit, & pocket square that were expensive and has worn the whole package to 3 other wedding since then. He wore existing shoes.
    -I bought my dress new and plan to donate it.

    Please note: My husband and I (and our parents) are all financially secure with no non-mortgage debts (and our parents probably have less than 10k on their mortgages these days). When we got married we were socking away the entirety of my salary (which was larger than his) for our house purchase. We put nothing on credit unless we were doing so for points/miles. We could have afforded more than we spent, but quite frankly the amount we spent still gives me heartburn. I had so much fun at our wedding and wouldn't change a thing, but it's one day.

    Enjoy your wedding!