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Piggy Bank Budgeting + Our Budget Breakdown Thus Far

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Jennifer Stevens

So I’d been meaning to sit down and actually go over the budget we’ve been working with and see how we were doing with things. Some things we don’t have to pay for until the day of the wedding while several things we know we will have to pay for a few weeks before (such as the food) and the rest has been purchased as we went along straight out of our savings account. When we decided on a guest list of 75 to keep our wedding small and still give it that intimate feeling, it helped a great deal when we started planning on our budget. In the end, we decided on a max of $6,000 and that if possible, we would keep it somewhere between $4-5,000. So how are we doing? Here’s the extensive budget breakdown …

budget breakdown
Saving Every Penny
Source: http://itsabrideslife.com/tag/wedding-budget-templates/

Ceremony & Reception Venue: FREE (hosted at my parent’s house in the woods – thank you, Mom & Dad!)

DJ: $500 (with a discount of $50 off for every referral I send his way – so this is now down to $400!)

Photographer: $300 (our pro photographer friend who works with me, who has agreed to do professional shooting for 2 hours and charging us a low rate as part of our wedding gift)

Engagement photos: FREE as a gift from our friend

Videography: TBD – another friend who does videography (for my wedding photography and event business) has agreed to film … but no price yet; it may likely come down to a combination of home brewed beer and monetary payment.

Save the Dates? Nope, didn’t do them – We were engaged in April 2013 and planned an August 2013 wedding … it was senseless to us.

Invitations: $200 (including the Shutterfly) by using coupons and taking advantage of free shipping through  Shutterfly– we waived doing RSVP cards since everyone is immediate family or in the bridal party … money down the drain, especially since we aren’t having a formal sit-down dinner.

Wedding Programs: $17+$11 shipping thanks to a Groupon for Vistaprint (worth $70)

Witty Ceremony Brochure “How to survive this wedding”:  $17+$11 shipping again, thanks to a Groupon for Vistaprint (worth $70) **I”ll post about this fun little addition to our wedding later – it’s hiliarious!**

Groom’s Tux Rental –  FREE through Men’s Warehouse

Groom’s newsboy cap – $25 (all of the groomsmen are wearing these)

Bride’s Dress: $405 after tax and including $50 of jewelry that was purchased with a coupon with any purchase at the boutique!

Bride’s headpiece: $48 shipped and handmade from the Ukraine

Bride’s shoes: $39.99 free shipping from DSW online

Bride Hair/Make-Up: $40 on location the day of the wedding

Bride’s Hair Extensions (22 inches baby!): $75 (thank you, China! and yes, I did a LOT of research and found the same extensions I bought for TWICE this price at half the length with the same exact company – it pays to shop around!)

Custom Red Wings Garter (set): $19.99 plus $3 shipping off Etsy

Guestbook: Customized tree off Etsy by the Burlap Babe at $60

Wedding Party Gifts: $180

Wooden Hangars and tags for dresses in party: $30 (tags will be handwritten with everyone’s name for display purposes prior to the ceremony)

Mrs. Stevens Handmade Hangar for dress: $29.99 + $5 shipping from the Burlap Babe Etsy site

Broaches for bouquets (that will also be gifts to BMs): $200

Fabric for decorating & bouquet flowers: $60

Dowels/flower holders and Styrofoam balls to DIY bouquets: $20

Flower Girl Dresses for Ceremony (Tulle Gowns with Train – Custom made): $150 for 2, shipped

Flower Girl Dresses for Reception: $50

Tulle (over 300 yards): $300 approximately

Rental equipment: $500 with delivery = 75 white chairs, 15×15 dance floor, 10×10 EZ up tent, 8 cocktail tables  (using these for inside the barn around the dance floor for people to stand around and mingle and to be host to our glasses as we bust a move on the dance floor!)

Second 10×10 EZ Up Tent – FREE borrowed from a friend

Hay Bales – FREE – While we are renting chairs for the ceremony, the rest of the seating will be on hay bales, free from my grandpa’s farm

Wedding Rings: His = $29.99, Mine = $39.99 (non-name brand off Amazon.com – same exact rings we looked at Kay Jewelers!)

Customized pieces (signs/décor/canvas prints): approximately $150

Ceremony/aisle decorations (shepherd hooks, organza, purple flower balls): $190

Misc Items for ceremony (gazebo decoration, flower petals, fabric for hay bales): $70

Ring Bearer Pillow: Free – being gifted by a friend who is custom making this for us

Flower Girl Basket: Free – decorating a fun basket I found at a garage sale a few years ago with leftover decorations

Cake: Free – sister in law is making this for us, 2 tier and just for the bridal party and parents

Candy table treats: approximately $75-100 roughly

Food: guessing we will spend about $2-300 on this – cooking pulled pork and pulled chicken with potatoes and vegetables

***Here’s the part where I drop the bomb that we are NOT having a formal sit-down wedding; we knew that a sit down dinner wasn’t really our style and it was going to add at least $2,000 to the budget. Instead, we decided that while we do photos after the ceremony, our family and friends can enjoy a buffet of home-cooked food made by my mother-in-law and brother-in-law while exploring the property and enjoying the peacefulness of the location – pull up a hay bale and enjoy some grub and enjoy an ice cold home-brewed beer (or lemonade!).

Plates/Serve and Glasswear: $50 (thanks to Hobby Lobby 50% off on wedding items!)

Silver Platters & Cake Stand for Treat table: Free – had these in storage from a garage sale I bought for $5 several years ago!

Table Linens: $150 (handmade fabric skirts are being handmade with already purchased fabric for all of the tables by ripping and cutting long pieces of different colored fabric and tying to string to wrap around the tables – tutorial coming soon!)

Cocktail table centerpieces: $40 for 8 tables

Yard Games: $40-50 (either borrowing or making our own such as ring toss and yard/grass twister)

Misc decorations (chalkboards, chalkboard paint, balloons for barn ceiling, mason jars/lights/twine, disposable cameras with a frame to hang from a tree for a DIY photo booth, etc….) – about $250

Lights for decorating the barn for the reception: FREE (borrowing from friend of the family)

Tables for food/cake/treats/DJ and for guestbook table: FREE (borrowing from friends of the family and we have card tables to use)

Boutonnieres: $25 for 12 on Save-On-Crafts.com website

Corsages: unsure … will make four of these with the same flowers being used to make the fabric bouquets

Officiant: FREE (my fiance’s dad who is a pastor is marrying us!)

Home Brewed Beer: we are brewing four kegs (borrowing the kegs from a friend) for our keezer (my fiancé is building but we are not including into the “wedding budget” because this is something he’s building for himself but just doing it NOW so we can use it for the wedding – cost of the four beers we are estimating will be about $100, maybe a little more

Grand Total Thus Far …… $4,741.95 (on the high end of those estimates of prices we KNOW of so far)

Our goal to stick between $4-5,000 has so far been successful! Now with 2 months and 18 days until the big day, we are keeping those fingers crossed that the last of the things we need to buy and pay for that are still unknown will fall under our max of $6k and as close to $5k as possible. Ballpark estimate on the unknowns estimate that we should fall somewhere around $5,500 when it is all said and done (not counting the honeymoon).

Fist pump for the win! Super proud to have been able to have so much done and still be under the budget!

What ways did you find to go outside of the box or to grab good deals on things for your wedding to stay in budget?

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Jennifer Stevens

is a Professional Photographer & Federal Employee living in Kalamazoo, Michigan. She got married in 2013 - read her wedding planning posts here.