Author Topic: A wedding on the (relatively) cheap  (Read 6274 times)

Katnina

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A wedding on the (relatively) cheap
« on: June 11, 2013, 12:19:49 PM »
My sweetheart and I got hitched at the NYC Marriage bureau 2 weeks ago.  My parents are divorced, as are his, and our families are messy so we decided to elope and then have small celebratory dinners with close friends and family when we see them.  We didn't want to make anyone travel to and stay in NYC just for one day.

Total not including rings, photography, dinner with friends the weekend before (at my 10yr college reunion-we took 11 friends out to a fun dinner involving lots of wine) and clothes we already owned: $264.95
Total including rings and photography and clothes we already owned: $3,512.95
Total including dinner with friends the weekend before: $4,262.95.

The joy of a stress-free wedding day: PRICELESS!

We definitely could have spent less, but in a city where $100k weddings are not uncommon, I think we were pretty badass (though we did splurge on rings & photography).

P.s. For more details on cost breakdown, see: http://skinnyflints.tumblr.com/post/52678674226/a-skinnyflintian-wedding-part-3
P.p.s. here's another reason we eloped: we ended up buying a gorgeous arts & crafts style 2bed/2bath rental house in the Detroit metro area for $39k.  it will rent for $900/month. http://skinnyflints.tumblr.com/post/46261541149/a-wedding-or-a-house
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MakingSenseofCents

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Re: A wedding on the (relatively) cheap
« Reply #1 on: June 11, 2013, 05:55:11 PM »
You two definitely did awesome! I just posted part 1 of our wedding budget today. Hoping to spend less than $15K for 250 people.

http://www.makingsenseofcents.com/2013/06/wedding-budget-and-plans.html
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Katnina

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Re: A wedding on the (relatively) cheap
« Reply #2 on: June 14, 2013, 09:23:26 PM »
Nice! Sounds like you are on the right track!!!
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Greg

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Re: A wedding on the (relatively) cheap
« Reply #3 on: June 15, 2013, 11:37:00 AM »
Nice Job.  I know folks who have gone 10K into debt to have a wedding celebration.  Not a good start.

My sweetie and I had a potluck reception, and probably spent about as much as you did with space rental etc.  The potluck was simply amazing, folks really went all out for a special occasion.  A real community feel.

Zaga

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Re: A wedding on the (relatively) cheap
« Reply #4 on: June 15, 2013, 12:43:44 PM »
Awesome job!  We had a wedding on the cheap as well, it was at a boy-scout camp at a chapel in the woods, then the reception was in the main dining hall.  High class?  No.  Lovely anyways, hell yeah!

Katnina

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Re: A wedding on the (relatively) cheap
« Reply #5 on: June 17, 2013, 08:29:16 PM »
it's so great to hear other people's frugal wedding ideas!  I have so many friends having insanely expensive weddings these days and it makes me a little queasy....they complain about how they can't save any money and then they drop $25-100k on ONE DAY!!! 
If it they weren't complainypants about it it would still mystify me, but not bug me...but when they complain about how they will 'never be able to get a down payment together,' it takes everything i have to not point out the obvious.......gaaaaahhhhhh!!!!

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nktokyo

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Re: A wedding on the (relatively) cheap
« Reply #6 on: June 18, 2013, 01:45:38 AM »
It was 6 years ago (god) now but I did it on the cheap and had an awesome day, so awesome that the model has been copied twice that I know of. All figures are in NZD.

- Church and decorations: Free (I grew up in the church and my mother is still a member)
- Celebrant: $150
- Suit hire x 3: $600  (I paid for my brother and best man)
- Flowers: $200
- Photographer: $500. Digital only, a friend of my sisters. Our pics were great.
- Reception:
   - Location: Free. At my Aunty's gorgeous garden.
   - Gazebo hire: $100 from the local high school
   - Glasses and cutlery hire: $200 I think my parents chipped in
   - Beer and wine: $500 all from the local supermarket. NZ has good cheap wines and we did a bulk order for the weekly specials
   - Food: $1,000.
      - Cook @ $50/hr x 8 hours
      - Cook brought a triple decker grill
      - Ingredients $600. Chicken, lamb, salmon and then stuff for salads, desserts and snacks. Lamb dripped onto chicken onto salmon. Unreal.
   - Cake: $150. A friend's Mum makes cakes and as she was a guest gave us a discount.
   - Help: $200. Hired two local students (Mum is a teacher) to help serve, wash up etc.

Total outlay about $4,000. Because we got married in NZ and live in Japan we didn't want luggage so we asked guests to either waive gifts or give money instead. That was nice because we didn't get a ton of stuff and the $2,000 covered the half of the wedding.

The missing item is my wife's wedding dress. Her Mother, who is FI, couldn't make the flight so gifted that to her. So instead of a rental I think they spent a lot on the dress. We were budgeting for whatever a dress rental costs, I forget.

expatartist

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Re: A wedding on the (relatively) cheap
« Reply #7 on: June 18, 2013, 03:20:49 AM »
Some fantastic weddings here! There are great ideas and translate well no matter where you live.

We were married in Thailand 8(!) years ago, it was a combination honeymoon & wedding at once. The Man called my parents to get their permission from Bangkok, and they were happy to agree. Due to family challenges and people spread on three different continents, we decided to elope: http://elizabethbriel.blogspot.com/2005/09/diy-wedding.html

At the time, he was working for a pittance, and I was living off my savings as I set up a charity photo project in Cambodia. So our costs were pretty low. From what I remember:

~$40 Tailored wedding dress (made with silk I'd used for artwork that didn't turn out)
~$60 Tailored silk Nehru-style jacket for him
~$50 translations and paperwork at US and UK embassies
~$40 to make our silver wedding rings
~ ? Engagement ring (white gold & small sapphire & tiny diamonds) The Man doesn't recall how much it cost and refused to tell me even when he knew. I think probably under $500

~$1500-2000 for everything (except engagement ring) during our month-long honeymoon/getting-married process in Chiang Mai, Bangkok, Koh Lanta and Malacca

grantmeaname

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Re: A wedding on the (relatively) cheap
« Reply #8 on: June 18, 2013, 07:55:14 AM »
How does everyone else feel about parents paying for a wedding? I'm not totally independent from mine yet at twenty, but with people getting married later and later I'm always surprised by how often the parents pay for it and how seldom the couple getting married does. The idea of not paying for it myself just seems really uncomfortable!

Katnina

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Re: A wedding on the (relatively) cheap
« Reply #9 on: June 18, 2013, 09:44:36 AM »
Grantmeaname- my dad offered to pay for half if we wanted a big wedding (that's what he did for my sister), but since we didn't want one, he offered to pay for our honeymoon instead-saweeeeeet since we are going to Hawaii and flights from NYC are $$$.  Good deal for him, too, since it will be about 1/3 of what he shelled out for my sister's wedding (which was beautiful & since she had a big one, I felt like my family wouldn't be as sad when we eloped...).
What I've seen among my friends is that when the parents pay, there is a lot of compromising-parents figure since they are paying, they should get to invite whoever they want and what was going to be a 50-60 person casual affair turns into a 100+ fancy occasion.  Meanwhile, bride & groom feel like they can't say no because the parents are paying.
Sadly, of my friends who complain they'll never get a down payment together, none have thought to ask their parents if instead of an expensive wedding, the parents would gift them the cash to help them put a downpayment on a house.  But then there's the possible issue of the parents feeling like they should have a say in what house is bought because it's partly 'their' money....
Money from others is never 100% no-strings-attached, which is why we paid for our wedding ourselves-we didn't want anyone else to have a say in how we planned our day.

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Zaga

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Re: A wedding on the (relatively) cheap
« Reply #10 on: June 18, 2013, 10:07:00 AM »
When we got married we were 27 and 38, so it would have been really weird to ask for money for a wedding.  Overall we spent between $5K and $6K, counting a honeymoon that was more than half of the total.

I think it depends on the circumstances.  For us, we'd both lived away from home for years and weren't in any way dependant on parents.  Now my dad did decide to gift us $10K in cash (which paid off my car), but that wasn't a factor in any of our decisions.

MakingSenseofCents

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Re: A wedding on the (relatively) cheap
« Reply #11 on: June 18, 2013, 10:13:00 AM »
How does everyone else feel about parents paying for a wedding? I'm not totally independent from mine yet at twenty, but with people getting married later and later I'm always surprised by how often the parents pay for it and how seldom the couple getting married does. The idea of not paying for it myself just seems really uncomfortable!

We've lived together for over 6 years now, so I feel that it would be weird to have anyone besides us pay for it. We're paying for it all ourselves!
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Re: A wedding on the (relatively) cheap
« Reply #12 on: June 18, 2013, 10:23:24 AM »
My parents paid for ours despite the fact that were were both mid-30s, primarily because we were already legally married (officiated by a friend at my workplace), and my mother was Not Pleased that she hadn't been there. We didn't intend to have a "real" wedding, so we let her pay for "her" wedding. She did all the planning and most of the picking out of things, but that was my choice; I didn't have the time to spare then, one reason for the unannounced legal marriage in the first place.

I don't know the exact cost, but I know the whole wedding was under $1,000. We were married at a state park, a free venue that was absolutely gorgeous, up on a cliff at an overlook. I did fine my dress,  $16 (half price day at Goodwill), plus nearly $100 to have it cleaned and hemmed. Pictures were a gift from a photographer cousin, and the officiant there was a different friend. I'd wanted to pick my own wildflowers, but Mom had a bouquet made up at a local florists'. That was probably the biggest single expense. The cake was from a bakery, but my artist brother made the topper. The reception was also in the park, cake and finger foods my mother and sister-in-law made, plus a watermelon we picked up at a roadside stand on impulse the day of. Decorations were borrowed, mostly, supplemented with items from the dollar store like plastic champagne glasses. I made my garter. We rented my husband's tux for nearly $200, so come to think of it, that was probably the biggest single expense. My mother helped me do my hair and makeup in the campground at the state park (where we'd all stayed the night before).

It was a beautiful day, and now I'm really glad we did it because all our family and friends came, and the photos are beautiful.

VikingBraids

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Re: A wedding on the (relatively) cheap
« Reply #13 on: June 18, 2013, 03:55:47 PM »
This is awesome and I just read your entire blog and it's lovely! I can't do the vegan thing (allergic to fruit) but the recipes were inspirational.

Bank

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Re: A wedding on the (relatively) cheap
« Reply #14 on: June 19, 2013, 12:28:31 PM »
How does everyone else feel about parents paying for a wedding?

Excellent question.  My wife and I determined what type of wedding we wanted (we semi-eloped at at a friend's restaurant with a couple of friends and her parents attending).  They had some ideas for the wedding -- some of which we vetoed, and some of which we accepted.  They paid for their ideas, such the cost of mailing out a couple hundred very fancy wedding announcements.  They also ended up paying for the "reception" at the restaurant in which all six attendees ordered off the menu, but that wasn't planned.  My father in law just grabbed the check.  Everything else we covered.

I felt okay about this arrangement because we never asked them to pay for anything that was our idea.

Katnina

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Re: A wedding on the (relatively) cheap
« Reply #15 on: June 25, 2013, 01:30:04 PM »
Thanks, VikingPrincess!  My sister and I have a lot of fun writing the blog :).  I'm happy to hear you enjoyed it!
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jwystup

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Re: A wedding on the (relatively) cheap
« Reply #16 on: June 30, 2013, 07:16:58 PM »
We just got married in Vegas about a month ago and now we're planning a party just so we can have the fun part! Nobody was in vegas with us, we went there for a punk festival and decided that since we'd be there anyways, why not? I got a dress at Sears for $50 and got shoes, fabric to alter the dress myself, and stuff for a veil for about another $50 or so (I'd say my entire outfit, including a fake bouquet I threw together myself was about $100). Since we were never really "engaged" and we just kinda decided together (instead of a proposal), I don't have an engagement ring, I got a wedding band full of diamonds for about $800 and he wound up getting a ring for about $100. I think the wedding, license, etc was about $200. The in-laws paid for video and pictures for about another $200 (we were going to skip those to save $$!). So I think the wedding part is at about $1400 (200 paid for by inlaws).

Oh and the $20 for the groom's tux t-shirt. He was pretty excited that he could get away with that and not get dressed up.

Now we're planning the party. There are a lot of family members on his side that would be sad if we didn't do something. I was hoping we could just  do a backyard thing at our house but we're going to have it in our favorite town instead (where we're from, about an hour from us). My dad is in cahoots w/ the bar whose reception hall we will be using, so I'm sure we're saving some money there. I feel so weird about them paying for it, but my parents are taking care of the food. I think the reception location is included in that price. If 150 people show it will be about $2500. Hubby's getting chicken wings and that's all that he cares about. Everybody else gets a buffet of  beef on weck and/or baked chicken. We still need to work out the alcohol w/ hubby's parents, but they're taking care of that. Judging by past christmases, if we didn't let them pay for that, they'd wind up giving us too much money somewhere else! But yeah, he's 36 and I'm 28 - we've owned a house for 2 years - it's weird that they're paying for all of these things. We're definitely trying to keep it cheap for everyone involved. I figure we'll wind up paying for all of the decor, favors, etc. We're going to be playing our own tunes on an ipod or something :)

The best thing about eloping in vegas is that we already broke some big rules. Since there is no ceremony on the day of the party, we get to break any other rules that we want :) I just sent out all of the invites - postcards that I printed myself w/ rsvp-ing on a website I threw together.

hoodedfalcon

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Re: A wedding on the (relatively) cheap
« Reply #17 on: June 30, 2013, 07:35:40 PM »
Congratulations! Also, I dig the Milo tattoo.

EK

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Re: A wedding on the (relatively) cheap
« Reply #18 on: June 30, 2013, 07:41:07 PM »
After years of putting off planning a "real" wedding, I got married in March for less than $500 (mostly just the cost of a dress and some nice clothes for the Mr.).  It was a very last minute thing- we invited parents, grandparents, and siblings a week before the ceremony.  We had the ceremony outdoors at a public park so the venue was free and beautiful.  Our landlord was the officiant (she's an ordained minister, so it worked out very handy!), and mr. Eva's brother was the photographer.  We had a little reception afterwards at our house.  My parents bought some food, and mr. Eva's mom bought a little cake. 

Spending tons of money just seems so weird.  My life isn't a life of extravagant $50,000 parties... why in the world would I celebrate my marriage by pretending to live a life that I don't?  Keeping it low key felt just right.  I'd rather celebrate in a way that feels consistent with how we live our real lives than pretending to be super fancy people for a day and blowing a ton of money.

We may look to have a bigger party next spring to invite all our friends, but we'll keep it cheap, casual, and fun if we do.  Lets face it- the actual wedding parts of weddings are always boring and horrible anyways, so I figure it's for the best that we didn't subject our friends to that.  Hah, plus, I cried through the whole thing (that was embarrassing...) so probably best that our friends missed that.  I'm thinking of doing a BYOT party- Bring Your Own Tent- and having it at a camp ground and we'll all stay up drinking and cooking veggie dogs on camp stoves and then camp out for the night Maybe a catered brunch the next morning if I'm feeling fancy.  That's my idea of a good time anyways!

We didn't have a honeymoon yet either, but we've started setting aside some money each month for a vacation and we'll go when we have enough saved to afford going wherever we decide to go.

I also am planning to resell my wedding dress on eBay (where I bought it a week before the wedding), for at least what I paid for it.  Once I do that, our total wedding cost will technically be more like $250 instead of $500.

Katnina

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Re: A wedding on the (relatively) cheap
« Reply #19 on: June 30, 2013, 08:31:37 PM »
I LOVE the tux t-shirt!!! And your dress came out lovely :).  Well done!
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Hamster

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Re: A wedding on the (relatively) cheap
« Reply #20 on: July 01, 2013, 12:25:49 AM »
We got married in Korea where all the guests bring money. The gifts covered the cost of the wedding, reception, and 'honeymoon' to a Korean national park with our fathers along for the trip! I think we had a few hundred dollars left over afterward, and no awkward gift returns.

SnackDog

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Re: A wedding on the (relatively) cheap
« Reply #21 on: July 01, 2013, 02:02:32 AM »
Weddings strike me as one of the biggest money wastes on the planet. I cant imagine any reason a wedding ceremony, rings included, would need to be over $500. Invite whoever Wants to come to a public park, use a friend for photos, pot luck food and drink, potluck music, etc.
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katieboo

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Re: A wedding on the (relatively) cheap
« Reply #22 on: July 01, 2013, 12:00:34 PM »
Congratulations! And I think you prioritized things very well. The one thing you should splurge on is a good photographer in my opinion.

pbkmaine

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Re: A wedding on the (relatively) cheap
« Reply #23 on: July 01, 2013, 07:27:41 PM »
We had savings of $10,000 each for my stepdaughters' weddings, but we allowed them to use the money for education instead, if they chose. (We also paid for 4 years at a state school or the equivalent for undergraduate.) One used part of the money for a fifth year of college, two used it for masters degrees. The rest we paid out at wedding time. Result? NO controversy about wedding expenses. For our own wedding, we went to a justice of the peace. Cost of rings, ceremony and lunch for the immediate family after - less than $2,000. 

MissStache

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Re: A wedding on the (relatively) cheap
« Reply #24 on: July 02, 2013, 09:05:23 AM »
Good for you!  I used to manage the special events for a historic site and I was astonished at the stupid things people did.  Things I heard that were the most deserving of face-punches:  "We had enough saved for a down payment on a house, but the wedding is going to cost about $35K, so we are using the down payment for the wedding instead!"  "Thank goodness we were able to get that $15K loan- and only at 11% interest!"  "Our budget was $10,000 but then I just FELL IN LOVE with this $7,000 dress and had to have it!"

People are idiots.  If I get married I'll have it at my parent's farm in Alabama with a horse trough full of Franzia and my dad working the grill!