Wedding Prep 2016

Wedding Prep 2016: Budgeting the Big Stuff

My wedding is short 3 months away!!

Omg. It. Is. Happening.

Disclaimer: I have never had a wedding before. I am not a wedding planner or have a job dealing with finances. All I know is I am spending about a quarter of what many brides spend on their wedding. For 150 guests.

As with many modern-day weddings, our families aren’t paying for our wedding and I don’t expect them too. It just means that I have thought through and price-checked our options to keep cost as low as possible. Here is my advice:

1. Be willing to do some of the work yourself. 

  • Hiring out every detail isn’t always worth the cost, especially if it is something that can be prepared before the wedding itself and if you have family and friends willing to take some of the burden themselves. When people hear wedding, their prices also increase. It is not worth it.

2. Find a venue that is just that. A venue.

  • A lot of wedding venues are significantly more expensive and they often make you use their caterer, who is also expensive and serve their alcohol. See where I am going with this?
  • Check in to venues that also host meetings and birthday parties. Check state and city parks that have a meeting hall, or in our case, a lodge. We are literally renting the space only. This way, we could shop around for the best catering deal we wanted.

3. Make decorations. 

  • I am not an extravagant person. My wedding day will be special no matter what the decorations are. But I still made them. And they are pretty awesome. It took my friend and I just about a day of time in total to make these beauties. I feel like it cost under $50 for all of them too. of course, that doesn’t count the wine we had to drink to get the bottles…but hey…we would have spent that anyway, right?

4. Have a welcome party v. A rehearsal dinner

  • We are hosting a welcome dinner for the bridal party, as well as our close families and friends. In our case, our families haven’t actually met and we’ve been together almost two years. We are using this evening to do meet and greets before the wedding. We are asking family members to bring a dish to pass, so the work and cost are shared.
  • Don’t buy tons of alcohol for this portion of the wedding. Do a bottle share. I am not even sure this is a thing, but we’re doing it. We are craft beer enthusiasts, as are most of our friends. So, everyone is bringing a few bottles to share from their local areas so we can all try different/ new beers and not spend a fortune on alcohol. FYI- this is also something we’ve been collecting beers for over the course of our engagement.

5. Cater “grill-out” style. 

  • While this is still the most expensive portion of our reception, it was the cheapest route, costing about $10 per guest. Our caterer, a local organic health market, is catering. Brats, chicken, burgers and a couple of sides. Done.

6. Don’t have your caterer serve alcohol and dessert. Do it Yourself. 

  • It just adds extra cost. Like a lot of it. And these are simple items you can do yourself.
  • Buy a couple of kegs and several wine bottles. Make iced tea, lemonade and coffee in masses. Have a self-serve station.
  • For dessert, ask the baker’s in your life for their assistance. I am having my mom make her famous scotch-a-roo’s and the future hubs is having his mom make a lemon dessert. Our friend is making sheet cakes in large production.

7. Don’t do appetizers. 

  • Again, its an extra, unnecessary cost. We have about 45 minutes between our ceremony and reception. We chose to do both at the same location to make this happen. Sure, guests will be snack-y, but before they know it, dinner will be served.


Basically, get creative. Be non-traditional. Do what you want, not what everyone else wants. Its YOUR day!

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