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I married the man of dreams May 25, 2014. It was a beautiful day for an outside wedding. Being a young couple right out of college and with a baby we had a very tight budget. My husband and I made most of the decorations for our wedding and succeeded in having a wedding under $5000 that was planned in a little less than 3 months. IT IS POSSIBLE to plan a cheap wedding in a short period of time!!!
The most expensive thing was our venue which doubled as both our Ceremony and Reception location. We got married on a Sunday so the price was cheaper and the venue included all the tables, chairs (inside and out), table clothes, arch, kitchen, bathrooms, bridal suite, portable bar, etc... all for $1200- GREAT DEAL for a venue!!! When looking for a venue make sure to ask questions because several of the ones I looked at had hidden fees such as an extra $500 for damages or you have to purchase your own Alcohol/Food license to have alcohol at their location etc...
SAVE THE DATE & INVITATIONS:
Since we had three months to plan our wedding we skipped the Save the Dates and just sent out Wedding Invitations. I created my own Wedding Invitation and made it look like a Save the Date/Wedding Invitation combination. I put our picture and date on one side then I made the other side of the invitation a little more formal. My mother in law works as a Graphic Designer so was able to print our invitations but I recommend getting them printed through Walmart, Walgreens, Shutterfly or Snapfish. Shutterfly and Snapfish have promos all the time so you can check into that. They also have templates you can use to create your own Save the Dates. Creating your own Save the Dates and Invitations will save you a lot of money because Graphic Design companies can be very pricy.
FOOD & CAKE:
We looked into getting a caterer but for 200 people we were looking at a minimum of $1800 and not a lot of food so I came up with a menu and we made a trip to good old Wally World to purchase all the supplies. We then gave each family (aunt and mothers) that offered to help a simple recipe to make. We ended up spending probably a fifth of what it would of cost and had tons and tons of food leftover.
Main Dishes: Pulled Pork, Meatballs, Ham and Turkey Sandwiches, and PB&J's
Appetizers: Cheese, Pepperoni and Cracker Tray, Fruit and Veggi Trays, Potato Salad, Marshmallow Fluff, Puppy Chow, Popcorn Mix, Pretzels, Nuts, Chips and Dips, Rice Krispies, Chocolate Fountain, etc...
|Mini Pallet Bar Sign|
Beverages: We bought several canned soda and waters to fill up the bath tub with and had 2 Liters as back-up. I recommend buying extra water because that was the first to go. 2L are a lot cheaper than cans but would of looked funny in the bath tub. We also had 2 kegs (a friend purchased for us) and 3 Gallon Dispensers, one filled with Lemonade, and the other 2 were filled with Martini recipes we mixed ourself. The Martini's were a huge hit and a lot cheaper to mix it yourself then to have an open bar. This way you limit what your guest are drinking
Cake: I contacted several people about making our wedding cake and the average price I was getting for the amount of people was $700 plus all the extra delivery fees, etc... Being on a budget, we couldn't afford a cake that expensive. Luckily I found an old teacher of mine that made cakes on the side and was able to get him down to somewhere between $250-$300. He never gave me a set price, just said wait till you see it then decide what you would like to pay. We ended up paying him $50 more than he asked because he stayed to cut the cake and pass it out for us. We bought the cake topper at Michael's (used a coupon) and the decorative butterflies off amazon.
Here is a cute cake topper on amazon.
Here are some butterflies similar to the butterflies we bought. They also have Edible Butterflies for sale now.
Every wedding reception needs music to keep the party going but if you are on budget, a DJ can seem like a waste of money. My husband and I made a playlist on our computer and set it to cross fade the end of the songs that way there wasn't a few seconds of silence. We made a playlist of Love and Country songs to play while the guest were eating. Then of coarse we had our Dance playlist filled with all the songs we wanted to here and a couple slow songs. We put them in order to keep the beat going and had about 6 hours of dance music even though we only needed 3. We backed the playlist onto our phone/i-pod incase something went wrong. We borrowed our friends sound system and speakers. My brother did all the announcing and changed the songs when needed for the bouquet toss, etc... Creating your own playlist allows you to control what is being played, avoid curse words and dirty songs for the families sake, and is FREE!!! That is if you are able to borrow a stereo system. If not I'm sure you can rent one for cheaper than a DJ would cost or you can look into buying your own Stereo System , a nice one will cost between $300 - $500.
Check out my blog on How to DJ your own Wedding along with my blog, Wedding Song Ideas for those Special Moments to help you build your playlist if you decide to DJ your own wedding.
I contacted several photographers ranging from $500- $5000. We almost went with the $500 one not because of the price but she was my favorite out of all of them but decided to go with my husbands aunts brothers sister or something like that. She just wanted DVDs to put the pictures on and gas money but we still gave her $150 because she literally took thousands of pictures and stayed the entire time. So my advice is finding someone who does photography as a hobby or is just starting out to avoid paying the big bucks.
Decorations can add up if you aren't careful, especially if you hire someone to do it for you. Real Flowers alone run a fortune which is why I decided to do it myself. Not only because I love making things but it was so so so much cheaper.
Wood Signs: We cut some old wooden gates in my grandparents barn up and nailed them together to make the signs. I then used white paint to paint what I wanted them to say.
- Bride & Groom Signs on back of our chairs
- Bar Sign
- Wedding Date sign for a picture prop
Chalkboard Signs: I bought frames at the Dollar Tree for $1 and chalkboard spray paint.
I took out the glass to avoid a mess and sprayed the cardboard backs of the frames then wrote what I wanted on them. I also cut some cardboard boxes to size and sprayed them for other signs needed.
*We had a Glow Stick Send off with purple and blue glow sticks we bought online. The send off was set to happen at 10:30 but it ended up being a little after 11:00.
|Glow Stick Send-off|
Table Decorations: A relative cut enough wood circles for the tables and food table. I bought the purple table runners at Hobby Lobby (wait until they are 50% off. No need spending extra money). We wrapped rubber bands around clear bottles we collected and spray painted them purple and blue. We used fake gerber daisies to fill the bottles (I cut up the Bushels of 12, 50% off at Hobby Lobby)
Main Table: We bought Martini Glasses at the Dollar Tree ($1) and glass candles at Wal-Mart to place onto of them. Make sure the candles are in glass. If not they will melt down your glass and onto the tablecloth. Place the top of a gerber daisy under the glass. *see below
*You will probably want to use wine glasses instead of Martini glasses. We used Martini glasses because that is our last name!
Main Table Decoration
Aisle Decorations: We had a relative cut 10 tree stumps to line the aisle. We put mason jars on top of the tree stumps with tissue paper wrapped around fake flower bouquets.
Backdrops: We bought bed sheets from various places (Target, Walmart, Mejer) in the colors we needed. I folded the sheets and used a fabric cutting blade to cut them into strips about 3 inches wide. I then tied the strips to a piece of twine to make them easy to hang. I did not use all of the bed sheets so saved them for guest bedding. The backdrops when on the arch outside, behind the cake, and behind our table/where we entered outside at.
|Backdrop made from sheets|
|Bouquet, Flower Girl Basket and Tutu|
Bouquet & Boutonnieres: I used the several gerber daisies I got 50% off at Hobby Lobby to make all the bouquets. I wrapped the flowers in the green flower tape to hold them together and added another flower until they looked like I wanted them to. Once they were together I used twine and a hot glue gun to wrap the stems of the flowers.
Flower Girl Tutus: I bought silver, blue and purple tulle 50% off at Hobby Lobby. I sewed together a few strips of the headband material then looped the tulle through the holes until it looked like I wanted it to. I used ribbon that went over the shoulders and tied to the back side of the material to keep the tutus up. I added a cheap flower clip to the front of the dress so you couldn't see through the material.
Flower Girl Basket & Ring Holder: I bought a flower girl basket on sale for $4, tore off the ugly decorations that was on it and replaced it with a mini version of the backdrops. The Ring Holder was made for us by a friend who carved the heart out of a piece of wood. I then painted the heart white and attached ribbon and fake rings to it.
*If you can't make your Ring Holder you can buy a similar Rustic Love Ring Bowl here or check out these cute Mr. and Mrs. Wedding Ring Boxes.
Wood Heart Ring Holder
Mailbox for Cards: We painted an old mailbox white then put our hand prints on it and I painted our names on the mailbox to make it look like the mailbox from the movie "UP".
*You can buy a white mailbox here for $18
Mailbox for Cards
Three Months of planning and crafting resulted in a beautiful outdoor wedding. From doing my own hair and make-up along with the bridesmaids hair to making all the decoration and being our own DJ, we succeeded in having an affordable wedding well under $5000. There were a few other things we did/made that I may end up posting as a future blog tutorial. Like I said before, IT IS POSSIBLE to plan a cheap wedding in a short period of time!!! I hope this helps with ideas on either budgeting your wedding or decorations.