Author Topic: How did you save money at your wedding?  (Read 20053 times)

MrsTuxedocat

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How did you save money at your wedding?
« on: April 16, 2016, 05:27:10 PM »
I thought this post would be fun to read as I am newly wed and could help out engaged couples too!

My wedding was not frugal, per se, but we did save a lot of money using these techniques:

- I have a non-diamond engagement ring
- I bought my custom made wedding dress from China
- Mr.Tuxedocat bought a nice suit he could wear again (also from China)
- We eloped and combined our wedding with our honey moon
- Did not buy any wedding jewellery
- Had a reception in November (the slow time). We had about 100 guests!
- Paid cash to our vendors and got a better rate
- Emailed reception invites
- Had candle centrepieces and bought most things from Craigslist (mirrors, table numbers)
- Resold our centrepieces, card box on Craigslist which we almost broke even



Zaga

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Re: How did you save money at your wedding?
« Reply #1 on: April 16, 2016, 06:31:05 PM »
It's been a few years, but we did some of the same sorts of things you did, our wedding all told cost about $2.5K in 2007.
  • Non diamond engagement ring
  • Had the wedding/reception at a boyscout camp in the off season
  • DH made our wedding clothes for about $100 total
  • Any friends who offered to help, we accepted help instead of any other wedding gifts.  This included the food (we paid for ingredients), pictures, alcohol, tablecloths, costumes for guests to borrow, etc.
  • Limited flowers to one bouquet purchased, the rest I picked that morning from our lilac bushes.
  • Had a fancy hair braider come to the location and do our hair, she was very reasonable!
  • No bridesmaid/groomsman outfit requirements other than medieval, no one matched.
  • Made our own invitations

It was a fun day for us and our guests, wouldn't change a thing except I would make sure that I wasn't out of checks in my checkbook, oops!  My brother had to cover for me.

vhalros

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Re: How did you save money at your wedding?
« Reply #2 on: April 16, 2016, 07:58:09 PM »
My wedding cost about 1.2 k, including the ring. We got married at City Hall with about 6 people there. The clothes were just formal wear we already owned.

BigLou

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Re: How did you save money at your wedding?
« Reply #3 on: April 16, 2016, 07:58:35 PM »
The best way to save money at a wedding is DONT GET MARRIED! The vast majority of those who get married will get divorced... Getting married is the #1 way to destroy your finances... DON"T DO iT!!

prognastat

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Re: How did you save money at your wedding?
« Reply #4 on: April 17, 2016, 07:48:01 AM »
We saved money by being almost broke. The whole thing cost about 1k.
- We were only 19, so we couldn't afford that much to begin with and parents helped some with the 1k
- My side of the family was in another country and only 1 member could attend, her side is very small and we had very few friends to attend. There were less than 20 people there.
- The ceremony was held in a relatively small church.
- We did the reception at a restaurant without renting out the whole place.
- We bought rings that weren't too expensive.
- We didn't buy best man and maid of honour outfits.
- Invites were done verbally since so few were attending and it was quite short notice.
- No professionals for things such as photographs, make-up etc
- A friend played DJ for the ceremony
« Last Edit: April 17, 2016, 07:50:28 AM by prognastat »

Uturn

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Re: How did you save money at your wedding?
« Reply #5 on: April 17, 2016, 08:04:46 AM »
My folks used to have an old farmhouse on 5 acres.  Picture the blue house with white trim and wrap around porch.  We had our wedding there.  Very casual, verbal invites, local BBQ joint catered. 

My family is very casual, dressed up is polished boots, jeans, and a pressed shirt.  Her family is very formal, the dress for dinner type.  I'll never forget the look on her mom's face when she saw the folding tables under a carport and a minister with prison tats covering both arms. 

Best way to save money, make damn sure the two of you are compatible.  Divorces usually cost more than weddings. 

munchabunch

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Re: How did you save money at your wedding?
« Reply #6 on: April 17, 2016, 08:15:31 AM »
We were in grad school, as were all our friends, so none of us had a lot of money.

- My wedding dress was just a fancy prom dress that we ordered in eggshell.  Gorgeous, and only cost $100
- All the groomsman just wore their own black suits.
- bridesmaids were given a color scheme and told to wear whatever dresses they already had.
- very limited decorations, most either bought from Goodwill for $2 or rented a few things for <$100.
- table decorations involved me and all my female friends hanging out eating trail mix on a Sunday afternoon converting Goodwill ribbon spools into flowers.
- didn't have favors, fancy glasses, chair covers, etc.
- wedding was in the upstairs meeting room of the local theatre.  They did all the setup, we added the rented arch and some flowers.  <$100.
- pictures were done by a grad friend who loved photography
- husband's ring was made by another grad friend who was an amateur jeweler.  Still the most amazing men's ring I've seen to date (but I'm biased :))
- music was two local music students, one cello one flute.  Paid them for an hour of their time.

We did splurge on the reception, but that was the only part that was important to us.  Still saved money by:
- everyone got the same meal.  Kitchens can offer you a big discount doing this because it's easier for their staff and wastes less food (we had steak AND chicken on one plate!).
- had <40 people at the reception
- cake was made by a local lady who was paying off her own student debt.  Best $64 I think I've ever spent.  Every last crumb was devoured that night.

Best party with all the important people in our lives that we've ever had :).

Bracken_Joy

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Re: How did you save money at your wedding?
« Reply #7 on: April 17, 2016, 08:33:36 AM »
Coming up on our 1 yr anniversary! Our wedding cost ~$7k total, but my mom was able to resell a lot of the decor, etc, so it's more like $5k (including helping several relatives with travel and lodging costs). Also included a faaaaaaaancy-ass dress, since that was my one "fantasy" area. I set my priorities as such: "wear a pretty dress, and get married to DH". Check and check!

-Vistaprint for invites, which I did calligraphy on the envelopes
-Small guest list
-DH wore a suit he already owned
-Brother was officiant
-Married in parent's back yard... instead of a venue fee, that cost went toward improvements to their (new to them) home, which is a value that will last much longer! Part of them revamping a foreclosure, and it's been revalued at $45k more than all the $ they have put in. Bonus: the concrete work was done by a relative, so cost much less than it would have otherwise, and was incredible quality of work
-Built the wedding arch ourselves
-Bought the groomsmen suits on super sale at JC Penny, I think black friday? Anyway, all the brothers, so we paid for everyone, but for nice suits it was like $10 for the pants and $15 for the jackets. The ties were $10 but were buy one get one free. We went with charcoal so they're easily reusable for everyone.
-Went dumpster diving with my parents the winter before the wedding to find abandoned plants. Were able to nurse quite a few back to health, so we had some incredible cactus blooms for the wedding! For free! Plus, pretty sure that's good karma ;)
-Mom bought the chairs from a rental company auction and then resold on CL for a profit
-wore shoes I already owned, and jewelry I (or my mom) already owned
-I did a mismatched china for place settings, all bought from CL, and several free- all told about $20 for 50 place settings of nice china... could have resold these, but instead they are part of the family "wedding circuit" now (we have a big family!)
-Wholesale flowers and did all the arrangements ourselves, including my bouquet
-Family connections for the professional photographer, and DH and Brother bartered some of the services for his... we just paid airfare, shipping for his equipment, and tipped him as a gift for his time. ~$400 for a photographer who generally charges $3-5k for the level of package we got. Incredible.
-Spotify for the music, and DH installed the outdoor sound system, and we used a USB microphone for all the vows, etc
-Great local grocery store did our catering and our wedding cake, which was just a little 8" round- otherwise we did little individual deserts. People loved it.
-Costco for alcohol, and in the state we got married, you can return unopened alcohol, so we had no extras
-Diamond was inherited, DH had a custom ring made to remount it- had an artificial diamond put in the old mounting, so that Relative could still wear the previous ring (This didn't really save money, but I thought it was incredibly sweet)
-Cousin did my hair, makeup, and nails
-Parent's friends did the serving, are experienced servers, and were excited to see the wedding... they didn't want paid, but we gave them thank you cards with tips anyway. Still way less than hiring a service formally though!

Best way to save money, make damn sure the two of you are compatible.  Divorces usually cost more than weddings. 

+1. Make sure you're getting married for the marriage, NOT for the wedding.

As for keeping the important things in perspective, I found this website super helpful:
http://apracticalwedding.com/2009/04/wedding-industrial-complex-as-it-were/http://apracticalwedding.com/2010/01/your-wedding-is-not-show/
http://apracticalwedding.com/2010/01/you-guys/

It also helped that I was in nursing school up for the planning, so I didn't have time to dwell or overly complicate things. And my graduation was exactly one week before the wedding, in a different state, which I drove between (26hr drive). Insane? Yes. Help with wedding stress? Also yes, it compressed it all into like 3 days! We wrote our vows on the road trip down, and frankly, that journal with our hand lettered vows is my favorite piece of "memorabilia" I could possibly have.
« Last Edit: April 17, 2016, 06:52:02 PM by Bracken_Joy »

Freedomin5

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Re: How did you save money at your wedding?
« Reply #8 on: April 17, 2016, 08:46:02 AM »
Had the wedding in the off-season - the banquet hall charged half the price it normally charged

Held it the week after New Years and asked the banquet hall not to take down their decorations (topiaries, lights, etc.) from their New Year's Bash - so we essentially had the hall professionally decorated for free

Bought the wedding and bridesmaid dresses at a sample sale. It was a mad dash with people grabbing dresses off the rack, but kind of interesting see sobbing brides-to-be because the dress they like isn't in their size, etc. - never want to do that again though

Handmade our bouquets - purchased flowers with 50% off coupons

Photos taken by amateur photographer friend

Music by a musically talented friend

Diamond engagement ring custom designed and purchased from the wholesale jewelry market in Hong Kong - I think it cost about $100 CDN for a diamond ring in a white gold setting

Had over 400 people at the wedding and over 200 at the evening banquet, and we didn't break even - we ended up making money on the event - but then, in our culture, it is common to give money as a wedding gift

SwordGuy

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Re: How did you save money at your wedding?
« Reply #9 on: April 17, 2016, 09:14:39 AM »
How did we save money at our wedding?

Well, the only way to SAVE money at a wedding is to have relatives hand you envelopes chock full of cash - and more cash than you spent on the wedding.

So, we didn't save money on our wedding.

I'm guessing what was actually being asked was, "How did you cut costs and still hold a nice wedding?"

Cutting costs for us was insanely easy.   We had no money to spend.   No bank in their right mind would loan us a dime (and being in our right mind we didn't ask).   We were about 2 years away from going to a bank and giving them $300 cash to secure in order to get a credit card with a $300 limit.

So, we just didn't spend money on the wedding.  Our total budget was $50 which was a huge sum to us in those days.   That was 1983 dollars, you can figure out the inflation-adjusted amount for yourselves.

We designed the invitations ourselves and ran them on the after-hours copier at work.   We hand-delivered the invitations for those we saw frequently to save on postage.  (The wedding license and the postage were our biggest expense.)  We held the wedding and the reception in our apartment.   We told people that if they wanted something to eat or drink at the reception it would be wise to bring it.

We had a bear of a time finding a preacher to marry us.  This was a small southern town and my honey was a divorced woman.   A local fireman who ran a part-time shoe store (with inexpensive shoes) heard about our problem finding a preacher and volunteered his.   The preacher was a very fine man who refused to accept a penny for his services.   He even went home and got his camera when he found out we didn't have a photographer.   (He paid to have the film developed and delivered the photos to us later.)

The preacher was black, much to the surprise of my racist mother, but I digress.

We only invited relatives and friends.   If they didn't fit into either of those two categories they had no business at our wedding.

We had a great party, people were having so much fun they didn't want to leave.  Some stayed with us for 3 days.

The secret to a GREAT wedding is a couple who really loves one another, so much that it just glows out of them, and friends and family who want to share in their happiness.  That's it.  Nothing else is needed.


CatamaranSailor

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Re: How did you save money at your wedding?
« Reply #10 on: April 17, 2016, 11:13:59 AM »
My wife and I have been married for 20 years and I still am proud of how my wife pulled everything off! She was Mustacian before Mustachian was cool! We had a grand total of 5k. That was for everything! We were poor college kids and had almost no help from family.

She went into hyper planning mode and managed to pull off a wedding that looked like a million bucks. First, we got married in December, so the church was already decorated with hundreds of poinsettias. Gorgeous! Her dress was off the shelf and had a very minor flaw (which she and a friend fitted and repaired for $2.00). The dress was stunning. despite being $150.00. The rings were about the same...all from J.C. Penny. She wears hers to this day, although I did have to replace my wedding band thanks to losing it camping a few years back.

We hired two teachers to cater the reception who were just getting started in the catering business. The food was outstanding. We held the reception in the fellowship hall of the church where we got married which also cut down on cost. The photographer was the most expensive part, mainly because we had him do all of the pictures and assemble the wedding album. Prior to the wedding we had a big outdoor party at a campground which cost us 2 kegs of beer and hamburgers for the crowd. Like I said....5k almost to the penny. I know this because that was exactly the limit of the one and only credit card we had. Took us a year to pay it off, but to this day there's probably nothing we'd change about it.

Lastly...my wife made Christmas ornaments for every guest to take as a favor. To this day we get Christmas cards with people showing us their Christmas trees and the ornaments my wife made all those years ago.

BTW...she is still a badass mustacian!

MissNancyPryor

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Re: How did you save money at your wedding?
« Reply #11 on: April 17, 2016, 11:39:10 AM »
In 1989 ours was maybe $800, all-in including the venue, formal wear, invitations, pictures, everything.  The biggest cost savings is that we only had cake, punch, nuts and mints, no catering.  We were not 21 yet so we had to go back to my parents house for a cheap champagne toast, I mean really cheap champagne, like $2 per bottle crap.   

I do regret the cheapness of it though.  My folks were pretty well-off but didn't believe in spending money on what was just a one-time 'party' in their mind so even what was had was almost fully funded by DH and myself and we were broke beyond broke.  The thing that bothered me was that many in-law relatives came half way across the country and we couldn't even afford a piece of dried out chicken for them, just a cheap piece of disgusting grocery store cake (it was even crooked and leaning) and some canned nuts.  My in laws were incredibly gracious and put out a big spread at their house the following afternoon for their family which we attended since we had no honeymoon, couldn't afford it.  My own family didn't have many relatives attend, not surprised.  My sense from it all was that my parents were not endorsing our marriage by being such cheap-asses about it.  But that is how it is with them-- their own wedding was similar.  They have been married 50 years and we have been married 27 so obviously cost doesn't equal longevity.   

We have two adult daughters and will do much more for them if they choose it.  Not crazy ostentatious crap but at least a real celebration and welcoming event for family if that is what they want.  As smart as we now are about money and frugality I can say we do see that my folks' lack of effort was not the way to go and it made a lasting impression.                 

nereo

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Re: How did you save money at your wedding?
« Reply #12 on: April 17, 2016, 12:04:34 PM »
The best way to save money at a wedding is DONT GET MARRIED! The vast majority of those who get married will get divorced... Getting married is the #1 way to destroy your finances... DON"T DO iT!!

The part in bold is simply not true.  There has been no time for any generation where more than 50% of marriages has ended in divorce, even after 30 years!  People married since 2000 are on track to have the smallest percentage of divorces since WWII.
http://www.nytimes.com/2014/12/02/upshot/the-divorce-surge-is-over-but-the-myth-lives-on.html

Back to the OP's question:
1) we found a venue that allowed us to provide our own food and alcohol, and the venue cost $200 (and it was awesome!)
2) we got party-sized takeout from a local restaurant, keeping the food cost-per-guest under $10.
3) my friend was the officiant, BIL brewed beer (plus some storebought cases), friends provided live music as a wedding present and the rest of the music was an iPod party playlist.
4) we dropped all the wedding stuff that didn't mean anything to us. For example, we like ice-cream over cake, so we did a sundae bar with locally made ice cream (i think that cost us under $100 for ~50 people).
5) we hired two college kids from the neighborhood to do set up and clean up.

mostly - we kept costs down by treating it as a big intimate party instead of trying to make it into some production. It was wonderful.

SilveradoBojangles

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Re: How did you save money at your wedding?
« Reply #13 on: April 17, 2016, 12:27:59 PM »
We saved by making our wedding a week long family vacation. For less than the cost of a venue we rented a beautiful big old house and put our families up there for a week, so we got a week's worth of memories instead of a few hours. Then we got married on the last day of the week in the garden of the house, and went out to dinner after. We also saved miles to help pay for as many plane tix for our family members as possible. Also, no flowers needed because we were in a garden. I didn't do any decorations or anything like that, and my FIL performed the ceremony. We also combined our honeymoon into the same trip to save on airfare.

Our expenses were rings, house rental, clothes (nothing too fancy), photographer, dinner after the ceremony. Also, we saved by having only 1 ring each (instead of the traditional engagement ring + wedding band for women). I designed the ring I wanted, and saved by using sapphires instead of diamonds.

Shinplaster

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Re: How did you save money at your wedding?
« Reply #14 on: April 17, 2016, 12:30:08 PM »
We got married 37 years ago, so I don't remember the dollar value of ours.  But it was very mustachian!  I didn't want an engagement ring, but Mr. SP had a small solitaire designed and made for me.  Our wedding rings are just plain bands that cost maybe $100 each.  My sister made my dress - the material cost $60. We got married at city hall, in a cute little chapel.  Lovely ceremony - the J. of the P. even gave us a printout of the vows, etc.  We invited immediate family and a couple of friends, so maybe 10 people.  My niece and nephew were 7 and 5, and we wanted them to attend too, and have fun.  Tappan steak houses were just moving into Ottawa - we found one that had just opened, and they were very happy to give us a good deal for dinner after the wedding.  We thought watching the chefs would be entertaining for the kids - we didn't realize how much we would all love it.  We hadn't planned on having a cake, but the restaurant presented us with one for dessert, and sang the Japanese wedding song for us.  It was so much fun!  To this day, all our family says it was the best wedding ever.   I'm thinking the total cost (excluding rings) was less than $1000.

Our son got married last summer.  DIL had a ring that she inherited from her Grandmother, and son designed a new ring and had the stones reset.  Cost about $1000, and the ring is worth 10 times that now.  They made their own invitations, place cards, favours, and thank you cards.  DIL got a wholesale order of flowers, and she and the bridesmaids made all the centerpieces.  Bridesmaids were asked to wear whatever they wanted that had a touch of pink somewhere.  Groomsmen wore whatever suits they had, and our son bought them all identical ties.  Family friend made the cake.  Another friend did some professional photos for them - the rest are from everyone taking photos during the day.  The bride ordered her dress from Modcloth - it cost $140.  She and her Mom made her veil from an old piece of lace her Mom had, and it was beautiful.  I think a friend did her hair.  The  biggest expense was the venue - a great restaurant with a 'loft, industrial' vibe, and a fabulous window.  The ceremony took place in front of the window, and then everyone went to the park next door to chat and take photos while the staff rearranged the tables, etc.  All in I think they said they spent $4000 ( they paid for it themselves), and that was for 75 guests.  The entire day was perfect - I can't think of anything I would have added.  It was exactly what a wedding should be - full of laughter and good wishes, and absolutely no drama or meltdowns.

sol

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Re: How did you save money at your wedding?
« Reply #15 on: April 17, 2016, 12:47:47 PM »
We saved money by being almost broke. The whole thing cost about 1k.
- We were only 19,

We got married in our late 30s with a net worth of about $600k, and the whole thing cost us about $500.  Half of that was that we overpaid for the rings (tunsten carbide) and the other half was food for the barbecue we hosted at our house immediately after the ceremony in our yard.

My wife's sister made us a cake.  There were already a ton of cameras present, so we didn't hire a photographer.  It was in the summer, so my yard was full of flowers.  The officiant was a friend of ours with a UL ordination.  We asked guests to NOT bring us any wedding presents, since we were already combining two fully functional households and really didn't want any additional toasters or gravy boats.

prognastat

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Re: How did you save money at your wedding?
« Reply #16 on: April 17, 2016, 12:56:22 PM »
We saved money by being almost broke. The whole thing cost about 1k.
- We were only 19,

We got married in our late 30s with a net worth of about $600k, and the whole thing cost us about $500.  Half of that was that we overpaid for the rings (tunsten carbide) and the other half was food for the barbecue we hosted at our house immediately after the ceremony in our yard.

My wife's sister made us a cake.  There were already a ton of cameras present, so we didn't hire a photographer.  It was in the summer, so my yard was full of flowers.  The officiant was a friend of ours with a UL ordination.  We asked guests to NOT bring us any wedding presents, since we were already combining two fully functional households and really didn't want any additional toasters or gravy boats.

Pretty similar here the largest cost for us was probably $200 for 2 wedding bands and $350 for an engagement ring. The rest was shared with parents and split across the ceremony, my wife really wanted it to be in a church which meant it had to be a little extra and then the cost for a dinner for about 15 people. No Wedding gifts either beyond our parents helping pay for the ceremony and restaurant was the only gift.

I would have been ok with a smaller ceremony at home or at a courthouse, but though we wanted to keep the cost low my wife did still really want a classic style wedding with gold rings an engagement ring with a diamond and a ceremony in a church.

LAGuy

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Re: How did you save money at your wedding?
« Reply #17 on: April 17, 2016, 01:54:51 PM »
I'm divorced now, but my ex and I did a fairly frugal but still mostly traditional wedding. The key, I think is to skip anybody and everything advertising wedding services.

For example, we didn't use a traditional wedding reception venue. We used a local wine tasting bar that had a huge garden/patio area. Set up tables and chairs out there. Total price was like $1000 for the venue and plenty of cases of wine to get everybody plenty drunk.

We did the ceremony itself in a nearby park overlooking the ocean. We skipped the wedding cake and instead did a dessert bar that my mom handled as her wedding gift. We skipped the DJ and dancing. That shit is stupid anyways. We just hooked an ipod up to the sound system at the wine tasting place.

BlueMR2

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Re: How did you save money at your wedding?
« Reply #18 on: April 17, 2016, 02:11:11 PM »
The biggest things that saved us a ton of money were:

- Limited it to 85 people (let us use a MUCH less expensive place that was still very nice for the reception).
- Had friends take pictures (professional photographers are extremely expensive and honestly, I have amateur friends that are better at it anyways).

Worked out pretty well overall.  Managed to only lose 2 friends in the process that took it personally that they didn't make the cut.  I've heard worse results from much larger weddings!

Guava

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Re: How did you save money at your wedding?
« Reply #19 on: April 17, 2016, 05:26:02 PM »
Posting to follow. Thanks for all of the ideas!

formerlydivorcedmom

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Re: How did you save money at your wedding?
« Reply #20 on: April 17, 2016, 06:05:10 PM »
We held the wedding and reception at our favorite restaurant.  They devoted half the building to us, and didn't charge us a cover/rental cost.  The restaurant wasn't fancy - sandwiches and casseroles and to-die-for soups, so the food didn't cost that much either. 

The centerpieces were small flowerpots that we painted in our wedding colors, with perennials planted in them.  Those that the guests didn't take home, we planted in our front flower beds to bring good luck to our home.

I'm a red panda

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Re: How did you save money at your wedding?
« Reply #21 on: April 17, 2016, 06:33:11 PM »
My wedding was not at all frugal and I often lost battles about money and things cost way more than I was comfortable with (but it wasn't my money so...)

Some things I saved on:
-Used in season flowers (roses). My flowers were about 20% if what had been budgeted.
-shoes on sale ($8)
-no limo. Friends with a crazy fancy car drove us to the reception.
-no bachelorette party. We went to dinner together and it cost $14.
-no decorations in the church. The alter already looked good to me.
-no reception dress. I paid a lot for my wedding dress I was staying in it!


We also used the leftover cake for a Rose Bowl party the next day :) the hotel we had the reception at was surprised we wanted it wrapped up. Um? I'm not leaving a crumb of a $2000 cake to go to the trash.

MrsTuxedocat

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Re: How did you save money at your wedding?
« Reply #22 on: April 17, 2016, 06:43:17 PM »
- I also didn't have bridemaids/groomsmen
- For our reception day, I did my own make-up
- Bought shoes that I would totally wear again

HappierAtHome

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Re: How did you save money at your wedding?
« Reply #23 on: April 17, 2016, 06:53:04 PM »
I second the point about how the most important financial aspect of getting married is making sure you're on the same page about money.

My wedding is less than two weeks away.

We've saved money by:

Hosting the ceremony and reception in our backyard / home.

Because of the venue choice, we can use an ipod and speakers for the music instead of paying for a band or DJ.

Because of the venue choice, we can use our own choice of caterer.

Because of the venue and caterer choice, we can purchase alcohol ourselves to be served on the night, and were able to get a great discount on lovely champagne.

No attendants (bridesmaids, groomsmen etc).

Reasonably-priced non-wedding wedding dress ($218) that I can easily wear to other weddings as a guest, and the groom's suit is one he can wear for work - he needed a second suit anyway!

No photographer - just wasn't important to us. A few friends will take happy snaps.

Vistaprint invites. I actually texted a "save the date" to my family once we'd confirmed the date with the celebrant... Mr H did not even bother to do that much :-P

Cake is being made by my gorgeous SIL.

We're having flowering plants in cute pots instead of cut flowers.

My wedding shoes (which I love!) cost $2.50 ;-)

Admittedly, all of these choices are in line with our values and made based on what we actually wanted, not on the basis of trying to save money.

We've tried to tell people that we just want them to come celebrate with us, and that we don't need presents, but I suspect we will still be incredibly spoilt. People REALLY don't feel comfortable coming to a wedding without a gift.

StarBright

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Re: How did you save money at your wedding?
« Reply #24 on: April 17, 2016, 08:33:29 PM »
My husband's fam is from SoCal so doing a cheap wedding out there was a nightmare and general expectations were quite high - we ended up keeping it to about 7k (5 years ago) by doing the following:

  • Kept the guest list tiny. Basically his family, some of my family and a few of our BEST friends. We had 50 people which allowed us all sorts of flexibility - this was also surprisingly easy. I suspect getting the number below 50 is easier in some ways than keeping it under a 100.
  • Found a tiny wedding chapel in SB wine country. The place sat 75 people and had beautiful vintage stained glass and old wooden pews. So cheap.
  • I DIYed center pieces, flowers (except for my bouquet), favors, and general decorations for both church and reception.
  • We had the CA wine country reception but since our guest list was small we were able to rent out a large porch area instead of their typical gigantic banquet rooms (We're talking $500 vs 3k).
  • Kept the booze to wine only. We were at a vineyard so it was easy and appropriate
  • I bought a tea length dress and husband wore a suit he already owned.
  • Dinner was family style and leaned heavily on Italian style and lots of veggies - though admittedly food was our biggest splurge and over half of our budget.
  • We found a photographer we loved but ultimately could not afford her.  When I told her as much she recommended that I just hire her assistant (who essentially worked as her second photographer) this ended up saving us thousands of dollars. We also limited the time we paid for the photog, we only paid for a few hours and made them count.
  • We used an ipod for all of our music and created a three hour play list. The vineyard let us hook it into their outdoor speaker system

We loved our wedding! It was homey and family oriented while still having an "event" feel. Like a very nice party we threw for our nearest and dearest. It was too fancy for my mom, not fancy enough for my MIL but hubs and I would do it the same way if we could do it over. In fact, we've already said we'd like to do something similar for a big anniversary. We love entertaining and I love the idea of throwing great parties for people we love (not very mustachian, I know, but it makes me so happy!)

[/list]

Metric Mouse

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Re: How did you save money at your wedding?
« Reply #25 on: April 18, 2016, 08:17:23 AM »
The best way to save money at a wedding is DONT GET MARRIED! The vast majority of those who get married will get divorced... Getting married is the #1 way to destroy your finances... DON"T DO iT!!

Pretty rational advice, statistically speaking. Though from a bankruptcy standpoint, I think medical care knocks out divorce. So it may be more accurate to say divorce is one of the most preventable ways of destroying one's finances.

StarBright

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Re: How did you save money at your wedding?
« Reply #26 on: April 18, 2016, 08:25:46 AM »
We've tried to tell people that we just want them to come celebrate with us, and that we don't need presents, but I suspect we will still be incredibly spoilt. People REALLY don't feel comfortable coming to a wedding without a gift.

Happierathome- I used to think that people felt compelled to bring a gift for weddings and babies and it made me uncomfortable. As I get older I think it has more to do with community and celebration. Gifts are given because people are happy for you and want to show their support. Just try to roll with it and accept the gifts for what they are- a physical manifestation of love and support :)

dagagad

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Re: How did you save money at your wedding?
« Reply #27 on: April 18, 2016, 08:30:52 AM »
- We eloped (altho we already lived a long way from both our home countries) and honeymoon at same time
- Had a reception in summer at her parent's house (big tent, catered and so on). They paid for it as a gift.  It cost around 15k so in a sense we saved them money. Many other parents were forking out over 50k for their kids weddings (madness).
- Went with a moissanite ring - I talked to my wife about this to make sure she was ok with it  - for ethical and financial reasons
- My wife spent less than a $100 a piece on wedding dress and reception dress -

I wouldn't do anything different except elope somewhere different. It was too busy. We know where we should have gone and have a long term plan to go back there.

Multiple people have told me our reception was an one of the best parties they've been to. People got hammered, several people got up to no good in the corn fields and it was just a great time. 

nereo

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Re: How did you save money at your wedding?
« Reply #28 on: April 18, 2016, 08:39:02 AM »
The best way to save money at a wedding is DONT GET MARRIED! The vast majority of those who get married will get divorced... Getting married is the #1 way to destroy your finances... DON"T DO iT!!

Pretty rational advice, statistically speaking. Though from a bankruptcy standpoint, I think medical care knocks out divorce. So it may be more accurate to say divorce is one of the most preventable ways of destroying one's finances.
um... except that statistically speaking most divorces do not end in divorce. 
I'm not disputing that divorces can be effing-expensive.  Simply the validity of the statement "the majority of those who get married will get divorced"

I'm a red panda

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Re: How did you save money at your wedding?
« Reply #29 on: April 18, 2016, 08:41:54 AM »
For everyone who says "no attendants"- how does that save you money?

Where you live, do you pay for your attendants?  Mine didn't cost me anything; though I suppose for some of them I had to "reciprocate" and buy a dress and shoes to be in their wedding...

Bracken_Joy

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Re: How did you save money at your wedding?
« Reply #30 on: April 18, 2016, 08:47:31 AM »
For everyone who says "no attendants"- how does that save you money?

Where you live, do you pay for your attendants?  Mine didn't cost me anything; though I suppose for some of them I had to "reciprocate" and buy a dress and shoes to be in their wedding...

It's standard to give gifts, at the very least. Often help with some aspect of the clothing (tie for guys, earrings for girls, that sort of thing). Bouquets/boutonnieres. That sort of thing.

I'm a red panda

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Re: How did you save money at your wedding?
« Reply #31 on: April 18, 2016, 08:51:53 AM »
For everyone who says "no attendants"- how does that save you money?

Where you live, do you pay for your attendants?  Mine didn't cost me anything; though I suppose for some of them I had to "reciprocate" and buy a dress and shoes to be in their wedding...

It's standard to give gifts, at the very least. Often help with some aspect of the clothing (tie for guys, earrings for girls, that sort of thing). Bouquets/boutonnieres. That sort of thing.

Oh, that makes sense.  My flowers were so cheap I forgot about bouquets. The men were in military uniforms, so no boutonnieres.
My gifts were handmade from things I had, and they all wore their own jewelry, and we didn't do any sort of group make-up/hair thing.

aetherie

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Re: How did you save money at your wedding?
« Reply #32 on: April 18, 2016, 09:07:47 AM »
Posting to follow.

neo von retorch

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Re: How did you save money at your wedding?
« Reply #33 on: April 18, 2016, 09:07:54 AM »
We accepted generous donations of time and money.

* My in-laws helped with planning, decorations, flowers, food/drinks and hosting an after-party
* Friends of the family made the food and desserts and provided photography
* Friends/family helped us set up the decorations and clean up

We spent money on the things that last (and not on the things that don't matter).

* The ring was more expensive than the wedding, reception, after-party and honeymoon combined (OK maybe not extreme frugality, but it was a gorgeous lightly-used set from idonowidont.com)
* The venue was a lake-side park with a pavilion and the sparsely cloud, dry 80-degree weather was generously provided by good luck
* The dress and groom's outfit were about $200 total; he (I) can wear the shirt, tie, pants and shoes whenever he dresses up

We chose our own traditions.

* We didn't have formal "best man" or "maiden of honor" or any of those things
* We did have people we care about all around us, being themselves, comfortable and having a lovely day
* We didn't have a DJ or strict schedule or anyone "having" to do things
* We did make time to skip stones into the lake with our neices and nephews
* We did play card games and let the little ones show us card tricks
* We did play horseshoes/quaits with our siblings (in our "fancy" clothes)

AMandM

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Re: How did you save money at your wedding?
« Reply #34 on: April 18, 2016, 09:15:20 AM »
The thing that bothered me was that many in-law relatives came half way across the country and we couldn't even afford a piece of dried out chicken for them,

I feel the same way, and that's why food has been the major expense of all the weddings I've been involved in (my own, my twin daughters' double wedding two years ago, and my third daughter's upcoming wedding in June).

Things we've done that kept costs down:
Double wedding (so our side of the family only had to travel once)
Reception in the church hall or my old school hall
DIY flowers (paper or farmer's market)
Simple food (local BBQ joint catering, friend)
My wedding dress was made by a friend of my mother's--we bought fabric & pattern, she charged us I think $100
Second-hand wedding dresses: one daughter wore mine, the other two bought theirs at charity sales
I wore my mother's veil, so did one twin, so will #3
Other twin made her own veil
My mother made my bridesmaids' dresses
My daughters told their bridesmaids, "Please wear blue/red"
The groomsmen wore their own suits
No DJ
No limo
Photography by a friend/cousin--we did not care about photojournalism-style documentation of every moment of the day.
Invitations laser-printed from my sister's calligraphy
Centerpieces DIYed from scrapbook paper, quilting fabric, wine glasses, and farmer's market flowers

gardeningandgreen

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Re: How did you save money at your wedding?
« Reply #35 on: April 18, 2016, 11:50:44 AM »
Thank you all for posting this I am about 5 1/2 months away from my own wedding! So far this is how we have saved on our wedding.
-having the ceremony and reception at my families campground(bonus people can stay there for free!)
-Wearing my grandmas dress for the ceremony and an inexpensive mod cloth dress for the reception. They also had a $20 off coupon!
-Having family and friends make all the food! This should be interesting but awesome!
-Making all beer and wine ourselves.
-Using rented things instead of buying thing we will use for one day. This also gave us some sanity...

Ceridwen

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Re: How did you save money at your wedding?
« Reply #36 on: April 18, 2016, 12:10:08 PM »
We did not have a Mustachian wedding (18K in 2007, and yes - we regret it), but it was mostly funded by our parents (at their insistence).  Some things we did to save some money:

- Non-diamond engagement ring
- No-frills wedding bands purchased at a shop closing down for business (I think we spent $200 total)
- Second-hand wedding dress, no reception dress
- Make-up done by my sister
- Cake made my a family friend, and we got a reduction on the menu price for serving the cake as our dessert (instead of their dessert). I'll never understand why people get a wedding cake and then serve a different dessert with the meal!
- Centerpieces (fresh flowers) purchased and arranged by a friend as her wedding gift to us
- Live cocktail-hour music performed by a friend as her wedding gift to us
- Invitations and all other "stationary" (programs, menus, thank-you cards) made at-cost by a very talented friend who was thinking of starting an invitation business and wanted to build a portfolio (and now has a very successful etsy shop)
- For all of our single friends who were invited (and there were lots of them - we were 25 years old at the time), we didn't invite them with a +1 if we knew they weren't dating anyone and would have plenty of friends to hang out with.  I know that's seen as a big faux-pas by many, but we did not feel the need to spend $100pp (meal and open bar) for someone we didn't know/would likely never see again.
- Had a limo for the daytime (home to ceremony, ceremony to reception) but took taxis at the end of the night

Inaya

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Re: How did you save money at your wedding?
« Reply #37 on: April 18, 2016, 12:42:21 PM »
Our ceremony was $10. One Saturday per month, 10 couples can be married by a judge at the Chicago Cultural Center with up to 20 guests. People pay thousands to rent that place out for weddings, but it only cost us $10.

Other savings:
  • Pick your priorities - figure out what is nonegotiable for you before you start spending money; you don't want to spend half your budget on rings then realize that you would rather have spent that money on having food trucks cater your reception (just an example--our priorities were photography, rings/clothes, cakes, cat comfort, and a bouncy castle)
  • Have the reception in a park - we had to pay for a permit because we rented some tents and chairs and a bouncy castle, but it wasn't a huge fee
  • Potluck - we provided cake and drinks and asked the guests to bring food instead of a gift (people sent checks anyway, which was an unexpected bonus); we also provided an online signup for food items so we didn't end up with 50 dips and 1 bag of chips
  • Buy local in-season flowers - my bouquet was tiny, bought from a farmers market for less than $20, and made by my mom
  • No attendants
  • iPod playlist instead of DJ
  • Avoid the Wedding Tax - where possible (and ethical), don't mention it's for a wedding; our rentals were for a "family picnic", our cake was certainly not a wedding cake (and didn't look like one), and the park permit was also for a "family picnic"
  • Crowdsource - we asked our family to fill in where we had gaps: extra chairs and tables, cupcakes, lawn games, etc.
  • Don't get the whole wedding photography package - photography was a huge priority, so this was a hefty chunk of our budget, but we only paid for 4 hours of the photographer's time; most wedding packages involve a whole day, a backup shooter, videography, prints, etc. etc. And FEED YOUR PHOTOGRAPHER. (As well as any other on-site service providers.)
  • Walk away from big purchases then come back once you're sure - we had a ring crisis that led us buying rings at retail price from a jewelry store; i wasn't cheap, but it would have been a whole lot more expensive had we just bought the first set that caught our eyes
  • Don't fall for up-selling - you said yes to the dress, but don't let yourself be talked into the veil, headpiece, belt, and sandals (unless you were planning on getting them anyway)
  • Alterations are rarely included in the cost of the dress - alterations tend to be a large and hidden cost; my alterations almost equalled the price of the dress
  • DIY what you can, but...
  • ...be honest with yourself about your DIY abilities - I blew a lot of money on materials to DIY and wasted a ton of time failing said DIY only to end up buying the thing I was trying to DIY; if you're not sure you can do it (or have the time to do it!), just buy it.
  • Be gracious and accept people's money (provided no strings are attached) - neither of our moms are well off, but they both wanted help pay for our clothes (which was the largest budget chunk); it was really hard for me to say yes until I realized that it was making them both genuinely happy to help out
  • CVS has a great cosmetics return policy - after YouTube taught me how to do my own makeup, I was able to try out products and return them until I found the ones I liked best; all told I probably spent about $130 on products, but returned $90 of them
« Last Edit: April 18, 2016, 12:45:11 PM by Inaya »

MrsTuxedocat

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Re: How did you save money at your wedding?
« Reply #38 on: April 18, 2016, 01:22:44 PM »
In 1989 ours was maybe $800, all-in including the venue, formal wear, invitations, pictures, everything.  The biggest cost savings is that we only had cake, punch, nuts and mints, no catering.  We were not 21 yet so we had to go back to my parents house for a cheap champagne toast, I mean really cheap champagne, like $2 per bottle crap.   

I do regret the cheapness of it though.  My folks were pretty well-off but didn't believe in spending money on what was just a one-time 'party' in their mind so even what was had was almost fully funded by DH and myself and we were broke beyond broke.  The thing that bothered me was that many in-law relatives came half way across the country and we couldn't even afford a piece of dried out chicken for them, just a cheap piece of disgusting grocery store cake (it was even crooked and leaning) and some canned nuts.  My in laws were incredibly gracious and put out a big spread at their house the following afternoon for their family which we attended since we had no honeymoon, couldn't afford it.  My own family didn't have many relatives attend, not surprised.  My sense from it all was that my parents were not endorsing our marriage by being such cheap-asses about it.  But that is how it is with them-- their own wedding was similar.  They have been married 50 years and we have been married 27 so obviously cost doesn't equal longevity.   

We have two adult daughters and will do much more for them if they choose it.  Not crazy ostentatious crap but at least a real celebration and welcoming event for family if that is what they want.  As smart as we now are about money and frugality I can say we do see that my folks' lack of effort was not the way to go and it made a lasting impression.               

I totally get that! It is only one day and you do not want to be swept away with the whole wedding industry. At the same time, however, you have people taking time, spending money to travel to your wedding. I could have been wayyy more frugal but I wanted to have good food and an open bar for my guests.

mm1970

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Re: How did you save money at your wedding?
« Reply #39 on: April 18, 2016, 01:29:53 PM »
My wife and I have been married for 20 years and I still am proud of how my wife pulled everything off! She was Mustacian before Mustachian was cool! We had a grand total of 5k. That was for everything! We were poor college kids and had almost no help from family.

She went into hyper planning mode and managed to pull off a wedding that looked like a million bucks. First, we got married in December, so the church was already decorated with hundreds of poinsettias. Gorgeous! Her dress was off the shelf and had a very minor flaw (which she and a friend fitted and repaired for $2.00). The dress was stunning. despite being $150.00. The rings were about the same...all from J.C. Penny. She wears hers to this day, although I did have to replace my wedding band thanks to losing it camping a few years back.

We hired two teachers to cater the reception who were just getting started in the catering business. The food was outstanding. We held the reception in the fellowship hall of the church where we got married which also cut down on cost. The photographer was the most expensive part, mainly because we had him do all of the pictures and assemble the wedding album. Prior to the wedding we had a big outdoor party at a campground which cost us 2 kegs of beer and hamburgers for the crowd. Like I said....5k almost to the penny. I know this because that was exactly the limit of the one and only credit card we had. Took us a year to pay it off, but to this day there's probably nothing we'd change about it.

Lastly...my wife made Christmas ornaments for every guest to take as a favor. To this day we get Christmas cards with people showing us their Christmas trees and the ornaments my wife made all those years ago.

BTW...she is still a badass mustacian!

Happy 20!  Our 20th is this year too.  I didn't even want a party, but my husband did and was willing to pay for it.  I would have loved a backyard wedding, but my Catholic mother wanted a priest, and I decided it wasn't worth fighting!

Budget was probably $7-8k for a little over 100 people in DC.

Simple things:
1.  Got married on the Army base by the Navy priest = free! (Well, we were required to hire a "coordinator" on the base for $100)
2.  Organist = $100
3.  Dress = $416, Veil = $125
4.  Reception: I was lazy, it was at a hotel, $55 a person (including open bar) = $5500
5.  Invites (mom paid):  $100
6.  Decorations: $50 (we made little wreaths and used the hotel's centerpieces - candles basically)
7.  Flowers: $400
8.  Photog: $500 (ceremony only, it was a government photog with a side job)
9.  Etc: the hotel gave us a room for free for the night and use of a towncar to go from wedding to reception.
10. DJ: $500

Now many people wouldn't consider this mustachian, and we weren't particularly mustachian back then (just lived within our means), but pretty sure the average wedding in DC back then was at least $16k.

MudDuck

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Re: How did you save money at your wedding?
« Reply #40 on: April 18, 2016, 01:30:48 PM »
I didn't invite anyone.

mm1970

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Re: How did you save money at your wedding?
« Reply #41 on: April 18, 2016, 01:39:07 PM »
    My husband's fam is from SoCal so doing a cheap wedding out there was a nightmare and general expectations were quite high - we ended up keeping it to about 7k (5 years ago) by doing the following:

    • Kept the guest list tiny. Basically his family, some of my family and a few of our BEST friends. We had 50 people which allowed us all sorts of flexibility - this was also surprisingly easy. I suspect getting the number below 50 is easier in some ways than keeping it under a 100.
    • Found a tiny wedding chapel in SB wine country. The place sat 75 people and had beautiful vintage stained glass and old wooden pews. So cheap.
    • I DIYed center pieces, flowers (except for my bouquet), favors, and general decorations for both church and reception.
    • We had the CA wine country reception but since our guest list was small we were able to rent out a large porch area instead of their typical gigantic banquet rooms (We're talking $500 vs 3k).
    • Kept the booze to wine only. We were at a vineyard so it was easy and appropriate
    • I bought a tea length dress and husband wore a suit he already owned.
    • Dinner was family style and leaned heavily on Italian style and lots of veggies - though admittedly food was our biggest splurge and over half of our budget.
    • We found a photographer we loved but ultimately could not afford her.  When I told her as much she recommended that I just hire her assistant (who essentially worked as her second photographer) this ended up saving us thousands of dollars. We also limited the time we paid for the photog, we only paid for a few hours and made them count.
    • We used an ipod for all of our music and created a three hour play list. The vineyard let us hook it into their outdoor speaker system

    We loved our wedding! It was homey and family oriented while still having an "event" feel. Like a very nice party we threw for our nearest and dearest. It was too fancy for my mom, not fancy enough for my MIL but hubs and I would do it the same way if we could do it over. In fact, we've already said we'd like to do something similar for a big anniversary. We love entertaining and I love the idea of throwing great parties for people we love (not very mustachian, I know, but it makes me so happy!)

    [/list]
    I live in SB, and I'm very impressed!  Which chapel and winery, if you don't mind my asking?  (Because, I love checking out new wineries!)

    As a comparison, my office mate got married a year ago in the wine country here, and spent at least $30k.

    There are so many lovely wineries and lovely places to get married here, but they can be expensive.  20 years ago, my friends down the street got married at the park up the street, for the cost of a BBQ and a couple of hundred bucks.  The same venue now costs $2k to rent.  That doesn't include food, chairs, tables, etc.

    Some wineries used to be great places to have a laid-back wedding.  After "The Bachelor" and "Sideways", lots of places are getting on the bandwagon, and charging a lot more.

    My friend got married about 5 years ago.  They were having such a hard time finding a place - they ended up renting the avocado grove in a local farm for $500.  (The farm was looking to do more events.)  The future husband found a caterer, but the cost was enormous.  When my friend called to get a quote for a "party", it was miraculously half price.

    SwordGuy

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    Re: How did you save money at your wedding?
    « Reply #42 on: April 18, 2016, 01:42:20 PM »
    The best way to save money at a wedding is DONT GET MARRIED! The vast majority of those who get married will get divorced... Getting married is the #1 way to destroy your finances... DON"T DO iT!!

    In the US, 50% of marriages end in divorce.  The other half end in death.

    You could be one of the lucky ones. 

    ;)

    Villanelle

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    Re: How did you save money at your wedding?
    « Reply #43 on: April 18, 2016, 01:44:55 PM »
    Our wedding was not remotely frugal, though we still spent far less than average. 

    We kept the guest list smaller than average.  We'd have done this anyway, and the savings was just a bonus.  I wanted to celebrate with the people who were special to DH, me, and our families, not some 2nd cousin I couldn't pick out of a lineup or a person I hadn't spoken to in nearly a decade, or whatever. 

    Beyond that, the only other really significant thing we did was look at all the things that are usually part of a traditional wedding, and decide whether they were necessary.  I had a perfectly good car and many perfectly good drivers. Why would we need to pay to rent a car to take use to the venue?  Wedding favors?  They are hardly noticed and often left behind, so we decided not to do them.  (We did actually end up having a favor.  My dad is really into brewing beer so he made and bottled a large batch of "Nupti-ale" and a family member printed labels, but that was only done because he thought it would be fun.)

    So while our wedding was by no means inexpensive, we were able to do what looked like a full, traditional wedding, but to save money by evaluating each thing to decide whether it was truly necessary.  And when we decided it was, we looked for reasonably priced options.  I was amazing when contacting bakeries what so many of them charged for a damn cake.  With enough phone calls, we found a little place that made great cakes, though they were not ostentatious art pieces, for  less than half of what many other charged. 

    We decided our first priority was our guests.  We wanted to throw a great party for them, and that was the priority.  We had a full open bar, with decent wines, and that was an expense well worth it for us, especially since no one went in to any debt (of course!) to do it. 

    markbike528CBX

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    Re: How did you save money at your wedding?
    « Reply #44 on: April 18, 2016, 01:51:45 PM »
    Los Vegas.
         Non-planned.  Just wedding costs ~$200  ($75 service, ~$40 tip for minister, + remainder for flower,  fees, etc)
    Wednesday night, ~9PM, Clark Co. courthouse still open, with the cheeriest public servant clerk I've ever met.

    If you include the whole trip <$700 (gambling $20 included). 

    ysette9

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    Re: How did you save money at your wedding?
    « Reply #45 on: April 18, 2016, 01:54:28 PM »
    Quote
    Well, the only way to SAVE money at a wedding is to have relatives hand you envelopes chock full of cash - and more cash than you spent on the wedding.

    Interestingly, this is about how it turned out for our wedding reception/banquet since I married into a Chinese family who give $$ instead of presents. While we paid for everything ourselves and didn't count on the gifts (at least I didn't because I didn't quite understand what I was getting into), we ended up cash positive on the banquet/party side of the affair.

    That said, my biggest pro tip on saving money on a wedding is to just not care about very much. If you don't care about it then you either do without or do with whatever is cheapest/easiest/someone else will do for you. I didn't want a wedding dress so my sister helped me pick out a bridesmaid dress instead. I didn't care about a big wedding show so we got married at city hall on a Friday morning. I didn't think about hair/makeup/flowers but my mother cared so she made me a hair appointment and bought a bouquet. We didn't care about banquet table decorations or favors but his sister did so she stepped in an put something together. We didn't care about how the chairs looked at the restaurant and weren't going to pay extra for chair covers, but the restaurant apparently wanted their place to look good so they put them on for free. We didn't care about cake and so skipped that but the restaurant ended up serving some plates of cookies to our guests anyway, that we didn't ask for.

    We did care about good food and a good time and we got a great deal at a local Chinese restaurant. We had the full 10-course menu for 100 people, plenty of booze, and fun, for (I think) under $5K. Having the party at a restaurant that does this kind of thing all the time ended up being way cheaper (and tastier) than a catered reception at a separate venue.

    golden1

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    Re: How did you save money at your wedding?
    « Reply #46 on: April 18, 2016, 02:06:07 PM »
    1) Non-diamond engagement ring - total $200 (I think). 
    2) Ceremony and reception at my husband's grandparent's house - free
    3) Catered by the local supermarket - $500 total for food and cake for 30 people
    4) No photographer - just disposable cameras set around the house (it was 1995)
    5) Dress - $150

    I think when all was said and done it was less than $1500 for every thing involved with the wedding.


    FLBiker

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    Re: How did you save money at your wedding?
    « Reply #47 on: April 18, 2016, 02:17:58 PM »
    Like others have said, rings were the most expensive part for us.  DW wanted a trad ring, which we got from an estate jeweler.  I think it was in the neighborhood of $2K for both her rings, $100 for mine.  Full disclosure, though -- I got a wooden ring, and after 5 years it fell apart and I replaced it w/ recycled sterling silver for another $125.

    Other than that, we spent almost nothing.  We eloped in the Smokies, spent a week in a cabin (which we would have done as a vacay anyway).  Don't remember what the license cost, but we got married in a gazebo behind a pastor's house for $100 (maybe $150?).  It included a cake and a video.  My wife also had her hair done, got a dress (maybe $150?) and a bouquet (maybe $30?).  After the wedding, we drove around the national park and took pictures of ourselves.  It was really fun.

    A few months later, my wife's folks had a party for us that functioned as a reception.

    iris lily

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    Re: How did you save money at your wedding?
    « Reply #48 on: April 18, 2016, 02:37:45 PM »
    We got married at city hall so it didnt cost anything.

    However, my engagement ring cost that 3 months of his gross salary that the ads tell us we need to spend. Haha. He was a graduate student so hence the large % of his salary that went into it. But its ok, he actually had a large net worth,about $100,000 in 1980's dollars.

    I wanted a nice ring, didnt care about the rest of it, and even then it is less than a carat.

    11ducks

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    Re: How did you save money at your wedding?
    « Reply #49 on: April 19, 2016, 05:11:10 AM »
    I feel like such a bad mustachian. We have a max budget of $9000 US- I would be so happy to spend less, but future DH is a spendypants (though he is getting much better). Coming from such disparate financial backgrounds (he is much better off) has led to some tricky talks about money, but we are geting there.
    For our wedding, we are saving by:
    No fancy cars
    Using decorations available at the venue
    Minimal flowers (bouquet only)
    I'll look for a cheap dress (budgeted $600 hope to spend way less!)
    Buying alcohol on sale

    Sigh. It's his one day to splurge. After that, a lifetime of frugality awaits.