We only have this sheet as an example of averages. It serves the purpose of understanding how an average wedding is budgeted. And I like to tell couples I’m working with, who are just getting started, to see it, then throw that image out for a bit and imagine what you want your own wedding to be.
Your wedding can and should be anything you want it to be. If your entire budget is $5,000 and you want 150 guests something is going to have to give. It doesn’t have to be your guest list but it has to be your picture of your wedding. Your dress can’t be $2000. Your flowers can’t be $2000. Your venue can’t cost $4,500 with no food.
You can get married on a small budget, it just either needs to be an intimate wedding or you need to change up what your wedding looks like. Maybe it’s going to be at a park, with pinic tables, a bbq and diy foraged flowers.
What do you want to do?
I do not care about printed invites!
Then go green! GreenVelope.com sells high quality digital invites with rsvp tracking. So does PaperlessPost. You can even buy a small run of paper invites for moms, grandmas, aunts, the people likely to save these for life and send your friends high quality digital invites to match. They can also match your wedding website. Be cohesive in the designs you choose. These services cost money, but no where near the cost of all printed invites. You can even do it for free with more work on your end through evite and social media events. You can hire a videographer for around $350 to add a love story invite video and GreenVite can incorporate any Vimeo or YouTube short film in your digital invite!
We hate the idea of a huge wedding ceremony with everyone crying and watching us!
We live in Oregon!! Do the ceremony someplace wild and very private with an elopement photographer, your best closest friends, your parents if they can do the hike, and your officiant. Hire a videographer to do a short film you can share later with those who couldn’t be there. Then throw a big party at home, at a restaurant, or a traditional reception style venue later that night or another day. Yes I’m saying elope if you want to. It’s your life.
I really don’t want a lot of flowers or decor.
Then don’t pick an ugly venue, with wobbly banquet tables and folding chairs. Pick an outdoor garden ceremony area, a scenic forest or Mountain View, and you won’t need to do a lot. For your reception two big huge things that will save you money, don’t use banquet tables, rent more expensive farm tables, but no linens (besides napkins) and don’t do a buffet, have your food served family style on large platters. There will be no room on your tables for anything beyond a pretty place setting and some candles and a few small potted plants or floral bud vases.
I want a designer dress!
Then get it. But first, try it on. Leave. Before you buy it, go to Brides For A Cause and BHLDN, check out locally made custom designed dresses at The English Department, to try on other less expensive options. Do you still love it and want it? If yes, BUY IT. Now I’m talking if you can afford it. If it’s $10,000 and your budget is $15k and you’re not eloping, try harder to fall out of love with that dress.
I’ll just DIY all the decor, it will be Pinterest perfect and save me money!
No it won’t. Crafting is not cheap. If you’re crafty, what comes out in the end will be lovely, but it won’t be cheap. Pros like us get everything wholesale. I’ve been online and to Michaels, Joanne’s and Dollar Tree. I know how much the things you buy cost. Also, there’s that little part where you have to go get married! If you’re not crafty, do you really want Pinterest fails at every table? Or to be putting together flowers on your wedding day? No. You don’t. Now seriously, if a designer told you $50 a table and you say no I’ll buy everything instead, for how much? Price our all the parts, what does it actually cost for the tools the pieces, candles, everything? That $50 professional table would be beautiful, your DIY not so perfect display can cost $40 – $80, on the low end! Is it worth it?
I do not want a reception with boring music grandma likes!
I love this one. Then either don’t worry about grandma and dance to whatever the hell you want on your wedding day OR have a ceremony and cocktails and dinner, THEN buy out your favorite restaurant for dinner and dessert, then toss a bouquet and leave the older people behind. Go to your favorite club with all of your party people and dance til you can’t dance anymore. Or have the ceremony and reception earlier in the day end by 9:30 go do your after party. My wedding ended at 4:30pm, we served a late lunch and left on a road trip to Vegas in a van with our best friends. We lived in San Diego. It wasn’t a long drive. That was 21 years ago, I did it then, you can do whatever you like.