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helping brides create beautiful weddings without breaking the bank

If you remember from my first post, my initial target budget was $10,000 for 200 people.  It seemed like an impossible task, but I thought “Hey, I’m up for the challenge!”  Deep down, I think I knew I would need to re-assess the budget and increase it.  And, I was right.  As I was assessing wedding costs and budgeting, I too often felt like Leslie Knope from this scene of “Parks and Rec.”


So, a chat with Mr. M and a generous offer from my parents, and we decided to up our budget to $11,000.  Mr. M and I are fortunate enough to have our parents helping us with the wedding, a gift we’re quite thankful for.

How is our budget shaping-up?  Here’s the official update with rough estimates.

over budget

Here’s a bird’s eye view of where the money is going:

  • Venue: We’re getting married at a local college near my home.  Because it’s my dad’s alma mater, we received a 20% discount.
  • Appetizers, Dinner  + Tips:  Mr. M and I wanted to feed our guests a plated meal, and we cut the cost by having a single option (with requests for vegetarian meals if desired).  The catering deal was a package, which included a salad, entree and dessert.  Since a cake wasn’t important to Mr. M and I, the caterer let us have cupcake for our dessert, another cost-saving measure!  Note: Don’t forget about tips for the catering staff, and make sure you find out the best way to distribute the tips.
  • FavorsAlthough Mr. M and I had originally decided not to do favors, but since we were able to save some money with cake, we decided to have custom cookies made to give our guests.
  • Stationery: We’re having invitations made from a template printed at a local printer.  Also, we’re having people reply via email versus traditional RSVP cards.
  • Photography: This is a big splurge for us, but we are so happy that we chose the photographer we did and have no regrets!
  • Bride’s Attire: I got a steal on my dress ($700ish marked down to $250; just need alterations!), a friend of the family who is in beauty school is doing my hair, and I’m having a make-over done by a friend who’s a Mary Kay consultant.  All of this should come to $500.
  • Groom’s Attire: We’re still in the process of selecting Mr. M’s suit, but I expect that it will come in under $500.
  • Church Decor: We’re keeping it simple and sweet– tulle bows at the end of the aisles, some candles and few flowers.  This is a big advantage of getting married in a pretty location.
  • Flowers: Sam’s Club and Blooms by the Box are going to be my best friends!  This includes flowers for the reception tables, attendants, greeters, ushers, the church, etc…
  • Reception Decor: What do Goodwill, a special collection of mine and gray fabric have in common?  You’ll have to tune in later for a tutorial to see how I’m keeping my reception decor down.
  • People: This includes the fee for our pastor and his airfare, a friend who’s is helping with sound, and a gentleman from church who is doing our videography.

We’re still a bit over budget, but I’m not concerned.  I think it will be easy to shave off some of the expenses as we incur them.  Mr. M and I are less than 4 months out from our wedding, and it’s a great feeling to know that we’re not that far off of our new budget!


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About Abby

Abby is an agricultural communicator and black tea and British miniseries aficionado marrying the exceptionally fabulous and remarkably sweet mechanical engineer, Mr. M. As a couple, some of their favorite things include "Parks and Rec," reformed theology, Purdue University, and good food and drink. They're planning a classy, relaxed wedding for May 2014 that celebrates their marriage covenant and community.

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