Wedding Budget By the Numbers
The Budget Savvy Bride

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We are officially into the double digits here in wedding planning world.  This may sound strange to most of you in the same planning stages as we are, but I feel like things are starting to finally slow down a little bit.  At the beginning there was this RUSH RUSH RUSH to get everything booked because work was going to take up so much of my time.  Now that almost everyone is booked (still looking for cake, flowers, and a police officer), I can sort of sit back and semi relax with all of my projects.  Do not get me wrong, we still have a lot of crafting left!

This past week I have been looking at the numbers of our wedding budget and wanted to share a “where are they now” post.  I am going to be as real with you as I can and tell you my budget was thrown out the window.

Original budget: $7000 which would not include our rings, my dress, or our gifts to our bridal party

Hair/Makeup: FREE-I am so lucky my sister is in the beauty industry and does great work.  Her salon has offered to do my hair for free and she will do my makeup.  Everyone else will pay for their own hair if they want it done.  I gave the option and they have all requested an appointment.  The cost to them is $50

Cake: $450 budgeted-I have to stay strict with this budget.  In looking at a few local bakeries, I may slide under (cross those fingers!)

Catering: $3,110-This is for our max guest list and it looks like A LOT of my out of town family will not be able to make it :(

Alcohol: $800 budgeted-I am hoping to come under that with some savvy shopping

Ceremony Music: FREE-I am going to brave the elements and use an IPod.  Suggestions?

DJ: $795-A friend recommended him to me and I made sure to be honest with him about my budget.  His response: he took $100 off to fit in my budget

Dress: (Not included in budget): $900 for the dress (which we bought consignment), veil, and jewelry.  My shoes were $25 and I think I have everything I need

Alterations: TBD-This scares me because my dress is about four sizes too big

Groom’s attire: TBD-To be honest, I haven’t allotted much to him because I am always seeing deals if you rent everyone’s tux, the groom gets his for free.

Rings: (Not included in budget) Mine was a set with the engagement ring and his was $160.

Favors: $87 budgeted-If I can find what I need for cheap or free (borrow), I will come in much lower.

Flowers/Decor: $600 budgeted-This includes the ceremony and reception, but I have a feeling we will be over.  I have a few ideas to cut some of the costs (and DIY projects for you to see).  My ceremony décor is going to be very simple (and free because I found some great pieces being sent to the trash)

Invitations: $170 budgeted-So far so good.  I have only spent $70 on invitations, Save the dates, and escort cards (thanks to Groupon).  The stamps are the bulk of this budget.  More information to come

Officiant: $250.

Rentals: I HAD $215 budgeted to this because our reception location came with some tables and was set to come in much lower.  After setting up the tables and seeing how awkward and crammed it looked, I had to rent everything.  I am at $679!  Lets take a minute to cry together.

Photographer: $1000.  I had a friend planning on shooting the wedding for a very small fee, but sadly something else had to take her away so my budget sort of popped.  Our new photographer is a friend of my sister’s and was so nice to help us out.  We explained the predicament and he brought his price down from $2000 for me.  I will have to pay for the cd, but I will count that as the gift to the groom and our parents.

Venue: Ceremony-$225 (which was gifted to us), Reception-$1000, Rehearsal-FREE at my parents, Police Officer-from the advice of a former officer friend, $100 budgeted

Where does that leave us now? I don’t want to even share…..Roughly $9,700.  Enter tears.

There are still a few places I know I can cut by simply DIYing, but I think my dreams of having a wedding for $7000 are gone.  The sad fact is, it COULD have been done for that.  Staying positive.  In three months, lets regroup and see if I was able to cut anything down to get a little closer to $7,000.  Stay tuned for more DIY!

I'm Heather, a 28 year old Tradeshow Account Executive living in Atlanta, GA. Matt and I have been together 8 years and plan to be married May 25, 2013 at our rustic wedding in Atlanta.

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  1. A couple of easy ways to cut the budget. Cut the guests list, that is always the most expensive part of the wedding. If you have not seen the person in a year then you should probably cut them. Don’t let people make you feel guilty about not inviting Uncle Joe who you have not seen in 10 years.

    Also if you could re-sell your dress for the same you price you bought it… I would. You can a get a used wedding dress online much cheaper then $900 and get one that is closer to your size, that way you would need less tailoring. Also getting a corset dress helps cut down on tailoring because you have more wiggle room with your weight.

  2. Sadly for us (lucky for our budget) the guest list has been cutting itself since both sides of our family are from all over the country. We havent sent out invites yet, but I have been checking in with people and it looks like a good 20 people (so far)are going to decline.

    As far as my dress, I didnt include that in the budget because I am going to resell it back to the consignment shop I bought it from. At the end of the day, I MAY have only spent $200-$300 on the dress and accessories.

    This weekend I had alterations and thanks to shopping around and reading reviews about different companies, my alterations were MUCH MUCH MUCH cheaper than I expected. Phew!

      • Marzelle
      • April 21st, 2013

      It would take longer than a week, but you can give this as a gift ceicrfitate, which is a very popular item. OR you can order the sketch and give them a piece that states the sketch is on the way. We can email or mail either pieces. Let me know if you have any other questions Janet!

    • Valerie
    • March 12th, 2013

    With decorations, I’d ask around to see if you can borrow anything like table mirrors, vases, candle holders. That helped us out a lot and it was less wasteful than buying new ones ourselves!n My wedding was around Christmas, so the garlands and small trees with white lights that I used as decorations ended up being my current Christmas decor now. Think about decorations that might have longterm use.

  3. Have you thought about doing your own wedding flowers? Check out Bridesmade Blooms! (Jessica offered a few free packages on her website a couple of weeks ago… I think there are still a couple available!). What do you think? Want to give it a try?

    • Denise
    • March 13th, 2013

    For your ceremony music; you could always talk to your DJ about including it in the package if the ceremony & reception are close to each other! We got a great price for our DJ ($579) and he said that he’d include the ceremony music.

    Also, you’re getting married on an *undesirable* date (I know, I’m getting married on May 25th of this year too!). Since it’s Memorial Day weekend, a lot of our vendors didn’t have other weddings and were willing to be more generous.

    • Lauren
    • March 27th, 2013

    so, we are doing the whole no DJ thing (luckily, our venue has a sound system already). we’ve loaded all of our music into a spotify playlist. if you have spotify premium, you can play that list offline. we got the free month trial, so it’s going to end up being free!

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