helping brides create beautiful weddings without breaking the bank

Bianca here, checking in with my first BSB post. Sherrod and I have been engaged for about three weeks now, and it’s funny how many times we’ve changed our plans. Our date has changed at least 7 times, with dates ranging from January to May. But what’s firm and won’t change is our budget of $15K…unless it’s LESS of course.

You should know that I am a “champagne taste on a beer budget” kinda gal—always have been. I believe in quality, purpose, and practicality. Sherrod is mostly a “budget” kinda guy, and I couldn’t possibly explain his philosophy any other way than B-U-D-G-E-T. He latched on to this commercial and can be frequently heard belting, “I like savings the money.” Together, we clip coupons, cook, go on road trips, and laugh with (and sometimes at) one another. We’re made for each other in so many ways.

As it pertains to our wedding, Sherrod isn’t that much into the details outside of banning princess sparkles and anything too overtly feminine. However, he’s very very concerned about the bottom line and is insistent on not busting that magic $15K figure we settled upon.

budget or less --edited

The average wedding costs nearly $30K and I simply can’t fathom spending what amounts to a brand new car or a hefty mortgage down payment on a wedding. I didn’t live on the block with the Joneses, but I’ve heard of them and we’ll never share the same values. Even with champagne taste, you can have a fabulous wedding for half of what the Joneses spend or less, it just requires a little discipline and a lot of creativity.

I may have started my budget a little different than most. Knowing that things cost more than we want to spend, I set a high budget based on things that are important to us and the going rate for quality services. Based on preliminary research, our high budget came in at just over $20K—definitely not going to happen. The plan is to cut our way down to $15K by way of smart shopping, DIY projects, and ultimately sacrifice. At the moment, we’re over by $1500, but I will continue to tweak things until we get under $15K. Take a look:

high cost - low cost

Our top priorities are photography and catering for 150 guests—Sherrod has a big family and is footing a great portion of the budget himself. With that in mind, videography, flowers, cake and wardrobe are on the table for reductions. So to all of the BSB readers out there I ask, what would you do? Do you have any suggestions on how I can get more for less?

Sherrod and I have some tough choices ahead, but the best choice has already been made—each other.

Bianca and Sherrod

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About Bianca

I’m Bianca, a Washingtonian transplant from Chicago’s Southside. During the day, I work for the people; after hours, I moonlight as an artist and avid DIYer. On May 10, 2014, I’ll wed my love of 4 years in Atlanta, GA and add a few letters to my list of achievements…M – R – S.

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  • Dana

    You had me at coupons & road trips! Looking forward to reading about your upcoming wedding planning :)

  • http://www.thebudgetsavvybride.com/author/bianca Bianca

    Thanks Dana! It’s been a hoot so far and I’ve got so much more to share.

  • Paige

    Love you for this. Last night, my FI told me that I had the exact same “Champagne Tastes on a Beer Budget”, lol. We’re working with $10k down in Texas for a fall 2014 wedding, will enjoy seeing how you do!

  • Lyndsay

    I hear ya with the changing date! We picked our date based on what was available at the hotel where our reception will be. I’m saving $500 according to your listed budget by having a friend officiate our wedding. He just took the test online to become official a few years ago, but he’s already done 10+ weddings for friends! We’re not doing the videographer either to save a good chunk of money.

    Congratulations! Happy planning!

  • Angela

    You could rent your wedding dress or make it yourself. My mom made my wedding dress for a whopping $150. The I spent 4 months doing the sewing on the beadwork myself.

    • http://www.thebudgetsavvybride.com Jessica Bishop

      SO fun! I would love to see the final product Angela!

    • http://www.thebudgetsavvybride.com/author/bianca Bianca

      Wow! Simply amazing…

  • Vernice

    Congratulations to the lovely couple. I’m excited to read about how you’ll make beer taste like champagne…. hey, maybe we can make it. I’ll start googling recipes.

    -cheesey smile

    • http://www.thebudgetsavvybride.com/author/bianca Bianca

      Hey Sis! ;)

  • Rebecca

    My fiance and I have a $10,000 budget for ourselves. Some of our savings included buy a wedding dress through a consignment shop, getting a friend of a friend who is an up and coming photog to shoot the wedding for a few hundred dollars, and booking a catering company that has a banquet room we can use for just the cost of food — no renting fee! Also, a friend of my mom’s will do flower arrangements and I just pay for the cost of flowers.

    I think a lot of it is in who you know — ask people who can do at a professional level but for a friend price the flowers, music, alterations or even officiate the wedding.

    • http://www.thebudgetsavvybride.com Jessica Bishop

      That’s great Rebecca! We used a few “friend-ors” for our wedding as well- a great way to save money!!

    • http://www.thebudgetsavvybride.com/author/bianca Bianca

      I’m looking for ways to incorporate lots of these suggestions. Thanks!

  • Tina

    Flower budget can be reduced by you only carrying a bouquet. Find alternatives for centerpieces like vases with water and candles, succulents, colorful stones in vases, fake silk flowers in mason jar, etc.

    If you venue is not set in stone, then try to find one where chairs, tables etc are included.

    Diy on the decor, as much as you can, get talented friends and family willing to help make and set up.

    If caterer is not booked, go with one that charges less than $10 per person. Opt for heavy appetizers, cake and punch, equals less food. A fancy buffet or one choice plated meal is cheaper than several choices. Good luck.

    • http://www.thebudgetsavvybride.com Jessica Bishop

      All super great advice Tina!! Thanks for sharing!!

    • http://www.thebudgetsavvybride.com/author/bianca Bianca

      Hmmmmm…(wheels turning). Thanks Tina!

  • Gaby

    Hi Bianca!
    We are doing our wedding for $13k and have found awesome ways to cut back on expenses. My fiance got his suit at Express Men – on sale and with a rewards coupon! In total, with my dress (David’s Bridal, on sale, of course!) and his suit – we spend $800. We are also going more casual for our wedding and saving money on food by having a pig roast – much more cost effective than a traditional caterer. The biggest money saver, however, has been flowers. I think a florist is a huge waste of money if you’re on a budget. We have a beautiful Whole Foods with great flowers near where we live, and very crafty friends! I’m doing 6 bridesmaids bouquets out of baby’s breath, centerpieces out of whatever I find that looks good that day, and my bouquet out of hydrangea for less than $200! I’m also saving literally thousands of dollars by enlisting my friends for everything from making centerpieces to bartending, to making our cake! Take a look at the people around you – they all have skills and want to help! We haven’t said no to anything!!!

  • Elaine
  • vbk

    Hi Bianca & Sherrod
    Keep up the good work and maybe you can pay yourselves as the wedding planners. I am impressed with your practicality$.

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