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Beautiful Wedding on a Small Budget is Possible

January 29th, 2007 at 09:25 am

Someone else wrote a big rant about the cost of weddings and I was going to leave this as a reply but as it got so long, I decided to just make it my own blog entry.

I had a beautiful, gorgeous church wedding with about 60 people. My mother and father's gift to me for the wedding was my $500 dress. The dress was exquisite and I couldn't have been any happier in Vera Wang. My in-laws gift to us was the cost of the church rental, with the accompanying wedding planner whether we wanted her or not, and the kitchen clean up crew for approximately $500. I did spend $119 on a veil. I could have made a perfectly good veil for $20, but I fell in love with this one and paid for it in cash. I borrowed the hoop skirt slip thing that holds the dress out poofy from my SIL. My shoes were $10 white ballet shoes.

What did I spend (pre-paid by the way) on: I spent $750 on photographs. I'd seen what an amateur photographer had done to my SIL's wedding and I felt this was an appropriate splurge. We had a long enough engagement that the photo package was paid for long before the wedding took place. To this day, nearly 12 years later, I do not regret that.

I paid $100 for silk flowers and florist's tape. My wedding colors were burgandy and teal, which would have been hard to find in real flowers and cost about $400 to have prepared. I checked out every video tape and book in the library on how to arrange wedding flowers that they had and I learned how to do it. I put together two massive bouquets for either side of the altar, that stood on 2 $10 rented pedestals. I also made a large swag that went over the fireplace in the reception hall in the church basement and two of the ushers were charged with bringing the vases and pedestals down to the reception after the wedding was over to make them do double duty.

I did my own bouquet and that of my two attendants, did the mothers' corsages and all of the boutinierres for the men, buying a package of pins with a pearl like head for pinning them with for $2. I used about $30 worth of white ribbon (not from the bridal section, where it was much more expensive) and $5 worth of burgandy ribbon leftover from Christmas, to add finishing touches to the flowers and to make pew bows for the first ten pews, every other row (which I also learned from a library video.

We rented two candlelabras from the rental place for $10 each that held 24 candles each, each box of 12 candles cost $2, so $8 for candles. We are still using those white candles nearly 12 years later during power failures. I bought a unity candle at Micheal's for $12. The preacher we paid $50 and the pianist was $20 to play Moonlight Sonata during the lighting of the unity candle and to play the actual Here Comes the Bride Music. We used a CD with Pachabel's cannon in D for the processional, and we played a song that was special to us, also on CD. Both CD's we already owned.

We actually paid for the rental of the groomsmens tuxedos and had a coupon, 3 for the price of 2. So DH got his and the 2 others for $100. We also bought the fabric for the bridesmaids' dresses, a lovely teal satin, and my mother sewed them. They were simple and forgiving yet elegant, as my SIL was quite pregnant and my other attendant was also a bit larger. They were designed to be dresses that could be worn again, as perhaps to a banquet or another wedding as a guest. The material, pattern, and thread cost $70 and the girls bought their own shoes together. The flower girl dress was her Christmas dress, and it was burgandy and she wore her regular white patent leather shoes.

We got our wedding cake from the local grocery store. Instead of buying a wedding cake we got a 25th wedding anniversary design. It was completely white and very elegant, 3 tiers and one sheet cake, simple white cake with white frosting and frosting as the filling. The store set it up for us, and the cake cost $100. Comparable wedding cakes in the same design book cost $300. We had bought a cake topper for $15 at a craft store and put it on ourselves after the store people left.

We mostly used the church's dishes for the reception, though we did use my grandmother's punch bowl and the cake serving set I had been given at my bridal shower, as well as two champagne glasses also given at the shower. We used a $2 bottle of sparkling cider for our wedding toast. We had coffee, tea, punch, nuts and mints. The wedding had been at 2 so that people would eat lunch before the came and the reception was done by 5 as we had a reservation to make for our honeymoon, so people didn't need to eat a meal there anyway. We spent around $30 and most of that was the price of the can of coffee and the nuts. No fancy dinner, no big dancing extravaganza.

Decorations downstairs included 6 packages of streamers and 2 packages of balloons in the wedding colors, 2 teal paper tablecloths for $30, engraved wedding napkins $25 for 100 when we bought our wedding invitations at the same mail order catalog for $100. Aside from the punch bowl of my grandmother's we used a five branched silver candelabra with candles from upstairs that my husband and I and my SIL and BIL had given as a gift to my in-laws for their 25th wedding anniversary. SIL had used it at her wedding, too.

So the grand total for my wedding was $1646 out of pocket, $2646 if you count the gifts of the church and the dress form our parents. Oh, and add in the price of the book How to Have a Big Wedding on a Small Budget, $4 used at the used book store. $2650. A beautiful wedding with not one thing I would have changed, all for less than $3000, and everything prepaid with cash.

Everyone told me what a beautiful wedding it was, how they were sure it must have cost a fortune. I just smiled at my DH and we kept our secret.

5 Responses to “Beautiful Wedding on a Small Budget is Possible”

  1. Sindel Says:

    wow! that is truly inspirational. I love how you got the cake topper. that was really smart Smile
    and sounds like the whole thing turned out very pretty as well!

  2. campfrugal Says:

    Congratulations and Happy Marriage.

  3. Ima saver Says:

    Sounds beautiful, I only spent $100 for mine, but it was the happiest day of my life.

  4. threebeansalad Says:

    Nice post. "Bridal Bargains" by Denise and Alan Fields is another book I'd recommend.

  5. KEALINA Says:

    haha... i almost kept going on my response and turned it into a blog but i stopped myself cause i had some stuff to do... like i pointed out, there is a middle ground... those who have nice simple weddings and can pay for it without debt... sounds like you did a great job....

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