The average cost of a wedding in 2017 was $25,764. I don’t know about you, but to me that is completely
crazy! My now husband and I had graduated college shortly before getting married and were wanting to
buy a house, so there was no way we were going to spend a down payment on a house on ONE day!
We set our budget at $6,000, which was more than we wanted, but between our two large families we
had 140 guests, so getting much lower would be a challenge!
I started by identifying the big things: venue and food.
I knew we needed an inexpensive venue. Most start at $3000-5000 and that certainly wouldn’t work. I
did a lot of research and found a venue that you could rent by the hour instead of a flat rate. This was
WAY cheaper. It cost $250 per hour. I do wish I had booked the venue for longer, we had it for six hours
(one of which was free because we set up our own chairs), but an extra hour or two for pictures and
set up would have been very useful. The wedding started at 5 and by 8:30 people were headed out, so
the length of the actual wedding part was great! Don’t rush your set-up and pictures though. It takes
longer than you think! Total: $1,263
Food was an interesting one. We looked into standard caterers, but they were all way too much per
person (some were $20 plus!). We ended up going with Taco Cabana. I know this sounds silly, but
we supplied the plates, napkins, and cutlery, so nothing said Taco Cabana. They have amazing fajitas.
Everyone was raving about the food, and we spent $9.50 per head for chiken and beef fajitas. We
even had a lot of leftovers, so we were eating delicious food for about two weeks after! Total: $1,445
Cake: We had a beautiful four layer cake by Edge Desserts. It might be the best cake I’ve ever had.
She even delivered it herself and made sure it was exactly the way I wanted it. I’m so, so glad we
splurged for this! Total: $750
Photography: I used a Terry Waldrop who I met at my apartment for my pictures. He was very
generous and gave us a discount because we had become friends over the months our dogs had played
together at the park. He did a great job and got the photos to us quickly! I HIGHLY recommend having a
detailed photo list. Especially let the photographer know of pictures that you really want to have. I totally
messed this up and when I looked at the pictures realized I didn’t have any of Justin, me, and our dog
Atka (the ring bearer) which I really wanted. Total: $500 (normally $1500)
Dress and Suit: I, like most brides, wanted to have a beautiful dress that made me feel like a goddess.
Who doesn’t? I had set the budget for this at $500. I went to David’s Bridal and looked through the gowns
and found one I loved that was on sale for $299. My back up plan if I couldn’t find a dress in my price
range was to look at bridesmaids dresses in white/ivory. They’re cheaper and just as pretty! Or look at
Justin got his suit from Joseph A Bank. He shopped the sale too and ended up buying a suit (pants,
jacket, and white shirt) for a smidge less than my dress! The bow ties for the groom, groomsmen, and
our dog, Atka who was the ring bearer were all from Bowhemian Ties. They also head great customer
service and made the peach ties for Justin and Atka per my request! It was awesome to have something
catered to what I wanted. Total: $540
(I love how the bow ties turned out! It was awesome that they could match so perfectly with the dresses)
Music: I went with a DJ because I wanted to have someone to make announcements. I went with the
cheapest I could find online. Do keep in mind, you get what you pay for. He did an okay job, but certainly
not great! Total: $495
Wedding Party and Parent Gifts: personalizationmall.com was a huge life saver. I had a nice personal gift
for each person that didn’t break the bank. Most people got a mug/glass for whatever they like to drink.
My mom, for instance, got a wine glass that said “Mama of the Bride”. She still uses it all the time! All
the groomsmen got whisky glasses with their names and “Groomsmen” or “Best Man”. Everyone seemed
to really like them. Total: $167
Actually getting Married: This is one I didn’t think about! A Marriage License does actually cost something!
For our county it was $72, but this varies depending on where you live. I had my brother get ordained
because I wanted him to be a part of the wedding too, and we only had three bridesmaids and three
groomsmen, so Justin wanted to use his friends. It turned out perfect. Having him perform the ceremony
was one of my absolute favorite things about the wedding. To get ordained in Texas is a quick online
sign up and $80. Total:$152
Invitations: Vistaprint is fairly inexpensive and has discounts practically every other week! They also have
really awesome customer service. I purchased my invitation from there, added an RSVP card that matched
from Amazon, and printed out an insert of information on cardstock. I ended up with a three piece
invitation for $62. I’m a firm believer in using your talents and your friends talents for a wedding. A friend
of mine loves to do calligraphy, so she addressed all of my invitations in beautiful script for me.
Flowers: We purchased flowers in bulk from Sam’s Club and assembled them ourselves. Word of advice,
have your flowers delivered on Wednesday or Thursday for a Saturday wedding. Mine were delayed
and ended up arriving late on Friday, right before the rehearsal dinner! Thankfully my mom and aunt
were able to put them together without me on Saturday! I had peach roses, greenery, and a blue flower
to match my bridesmaids dresses. The bouquets looked incredible! Another trick to keeping this total
low, use greenery from your yard instead of buying it from the store! Total: $73
The rest of the purchases were small things from varying sales and such. Like, for wedding favors, we
bought little jars and my mom made some jam and we tied paper hearts to them that said #TurningTedrick.
After all of that was said and done we landed right at budget!
For your wedding day:
1. Try to let the little things go and just enjoy it!
2. Things will go wrong (my husband got shingles in his ear and could barely stand!), but you’ll still be
married at the end of the day.
3. Within a few days of the wedding write down everything that you remember happening. It’s really nice
to have your account to look back on.
If you have any questions on how I did something feel free to ask! Or give your suggestions
on how to have a wedding on a budget! A lot of having a wedding without spending a fortune is deciding
what matters to you most and investing in those aspects of the day. The other big part is being willing
to do the research!