We’ve been to at least 15 weddings since we got married and all have been in a beautiful reception hall or a golf course location. Ours was at a UAW hall. It cost $800 to rent the place and we spent $200 on decorations. There were veteran pictures on the walls and on the back of each dining chair there was a mini plaque with a veteran’s name on it. We didn’t do chair covers; $2 a cover for 200 chairs = $400. No thanks. My dad’s friend made wine for our wedding; $250 for 96 bottles of wine (we had a LOT leftover). There were a few bottles at each table and we used the wine for toasts instead of champagne. The hall didn’t have wine glasses, so we bought some plastic ones to go with our plastic silverware provided by the hall. Since there was no glass to clink to make the bride & groom kiss, the clever idea thought up by friends was to do the slow clap. I got a good laugh when I saw my grandma start it up one time. Wine was the only alcohol we had at our wedding, other than that we paid $100 for some guys to work behind the bar and non alcoholic drinks. It wasn’t the prettiest reception, but we didn’t regret not having to cut anyone from the guest list so we could have a more elaborate reception.
A friend of my dad’s made our cake for the head table for $25. My sister and her friend baked 300 cupcakes using one oven and boxes of Betty Crocker boxed mixes that cost a total of $30 (eggs & oil included). We gave my sister’s friend a $50 gift card for her help.
My mom got bowls and plates from Bed Bath & Beyond for $150. We made the centerpiece by turning the bowls upside down & using sticky-tac to make the plate stay on the bowl. We borrowed the vases from a friend’s wedding and the cupcakes finished off the centerpiece!
Suits & Dresses
All the guys (including my dad) bought their suits from JCPenny on sale for $99 total, jacket and pants. We rented ties from Mens Warehouse for a couple bucks each and the guys just had to wear a black undershirt. The girls’ bridesmaid dresses were from David’s Bridal and cost $135 each. We did get some kind of deal for buying them together but I can’t remember what it was.
We spent $209 total on flowers. My bridesmaid knew of someone in town who did flower arrangements for fun rather than to make a living. This woman was so sweet and she even shaved off a few bucks on each item to make sure we stayed under the $200 budget we had for flowers. The bridesmaid’s flowers became the centerpieces for the head table at the reception. We simply used the church’s fake flower arrangements at the ceremony.
We did buffet-style serving for dinner and there was a salad bar area available while friends and family waited for us to arrive from taking pictures. It cost $12 per head for the meal and an additional $1 per head for drinks.
Dave got the guys a leather pocket bible ($56 total) and I got the girls a necklace that they wore with their bridesmaids dresses ($100 total).
Looking back, there are some things I’d do different. In the big picture, however, God was magnified and we had so much fun celebrating our wedding with friends and family we love so much.
What are some ways you cut costs when wedding planning on a budget? Any clever ideas you’ve seen at weddings that shaved some costs?