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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 wrote about her wedding at The Budget-Savvy Bride in 2013 and 2014. She loves sharing info and advice with brides about how to create beautiful weddings that they love. Abby lives in the Midwest with her husband and dog.

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