According to The Wedding Report, couples spent (on average) ~$26,000 on the big day in 2011. When we tell people we got married in lovely Franklin, TN (just south of Nashville) with a wedding budget of $5,000, most people are shocked. Some couples spend that on their venue…or on food. Or a number of other “necessities”.
Well, regardless of what your budget is, you’ve got to decide what your priorities are, commit to those priorities and be willing to be more flexible with other areas of the budget.
Here are a few ways we stuck with our smaller wedding budget:
1) Save on flowers. Or consider a unique alternative. I had no desire to budget money towards something that was going to wither away and die. I spent weeks perusing blogs for floral alternatives. Thankfully I found my bouquet solution when I stumbled upon Amanda Heer’s amazing brooch bouquet creation. She created a beautiful piece of art that we now display in our home, plus 6 mini-brooch bouquets for my fabulous bridesmaids. (These also doubled as bridesmaid gifts.) We rescued some silk florals from one of my cousins who had recently gotten married and integrated those with our centerpieces for our reception. See below. If you’re set on real flowers, ask around. You may have friends who have connections and could help you get wholesale prices.
2) Serve guests buffet style. Philip and I LOVE barbecue. After a bit of research, we found that Whitt’s Barbecue could help us keep food costs under budget, while still serving a delicious meal. At the end of the day, we only spent about $550 feeding our guests…which came to approximately $4.75 per person. This included tasty barbecue, buns, potato salad, coleslaw, sweet and unsweetened tea, water, plus 2 people to help serve our guests. We felt like our reception was a fun, backyard barbecue!
3) Save on wedding stationary. It’s easy to break the bank with paper products like invitations, place cards, wedding programs, save the dates, etc. While these items are absolutely lovely, it just wasn’t in our budget to splurge in this area. The only paper products we used were wedding invitations, response cards, programs and thank you cards. I found a lovely wedding stationary design/set at Target and printed them myself. The paper was a cream color with an apple green letterpress-feel design. I setup the print design using a pretty purple font. See below. I bought a box of 50 invitations, envelopes, response cards and envelopes for less than $35 per box. Quite a deal! I also printed our programs using cardstock and scrapbook paper. Plus, I only printed two programs per reception table. I did not print programs for every guest. This was one of my few DIY projects and I was very pleased with how they turned out and how much we saved.
So these are a few of the ways we stayed on budget with our $5,000 wedding. Many people think that lower costs means skimping on quality or losing the “wow” factor. I hope you can see that by setting priorities and staying flexible and creative, you can make your wedding a fun, thoughtful experience without going broke.
Are you planning a wedding? How are you splurging or saving? Do tell!