Planning a wedding can be very time consuming and unbelievably expensive. Most people have their parents pay for the wedding, or they take out a loan. For me, neither one was an option. After all, I spent most of my life bailing my mother out of poor financial decisions even though she has a great career. Getting a loan was not an option for me. I have three kids and there is no way I could afford another monthly bill.
I set a budget for $900. Yeah, I know, this is not a very big budget for a wedding at all. Most people spend more than that on their dress. After carefully evaluating what was important to me, and what was not, I set out planning.
I purchased a dress from a second hand store for $50. I spent another $20 to get it bleached at the dry cleaners. So there we go, a perfect wedding dress for $70. After searching for the dress online, I found that the gem of a dress I bought was worth $1,500. I got a steal.
As I said before, I have three kids. My nieces are very close to me as well so I wanted to include them too. I purchased two dresses that had the same design at a second hand store. It took a while to find them but who could beat the price. The dresses were $7 a piece and having them bleached out and dyed the color I wanted them, a tiny $25 at the dry cleaners.
I found a second hand suit as well, it was $65. I spent another $20 to get it fitted, and boom all of the wardrobes were taken care of. My budget then sat at $636 left to spend.
My fiance and I decided that it was our special day, we only wanted close friends and family to come. We agreed that there would be 75 people at our wedding. It sounds like a lot on a small budget, but we made it work.
For my invitations, RSVP cards, and place cards I went to Walmart and bought blank cards. I bought two packs that contained invitations and RSVP cards, and another two packs for the RSVP cards. The Invitation packages cost $12.50 each and the place cards cost $10 a pack. This left my budget at $591. I mailed out invitations, postage paid by my fiance’s grandma, so it was no cost to me.
When we began talking about food, we decided that we wanted real food. I mean the type of food people actually eat not that prissy food that most people serve at weddings. I have been to many weddings where I just smiled and pretended to enjoy the food, mine was not going to be that way. We decided on pulled pork, mashed potatoes and gravy, and salad, or fried chicken, mashed potatoes, and green beans. When we printed the RSVP cards, we made sure to add the two selections to the card so that we knew how much of everything to buy. We spent about $150 in food for the wedding. That left our budget at $441.
We needed to keep the hot food hot and the cold food cold, so we borrowed Sterno pans and ice pans from a family member who had purchased them for her wedding. We did have to buy new Sterno candles and ice so we spent about $25 on that.
A friend of my fiance, was the typical preachers son, but his dad really liked us so he went ahead and agreed to preform the wedding ceremony for free, as a favor for his son.
The fire hall in our town, keeps wedding decorations on hand, we did not want to have our wedding at the fire hall since it was dull and dingy, so I asked a friend who was a volunteer if we could borrow the decorations from them. After running it by the chief of the fire department, we had decorations at no cost to us.
We rented a local building with great parking and a beautiful interior for a small fee of $50. Tables, chairs, table cloths, napkins, plates, cake plates, and silverware from the building were included in the rent. All I had to do was to wash them and put them away when we were finished. I used my neighbor’s truck to move the decorations from the fire hall, two blocks down to the building I wanted to use.
For music, I spent about $75 on I tunes to download songs that everyone would love to have played at the reception. This left very little to plan and a budget of $291 to do it.
When I was a kid, my grandmother always made the cakes for weddings, birthday parties and family get togethers. I helped her for 10 years so I had learned well. I still had her pans and her recipes so I was confident I could do it. I purchased the ingredients I needed to make the cake for $90. This left me with a budget of $201.
After we had all the plans set and we were sure we could pull this off on our budget, we went down and paid for the marriage license. In Maryland, a marriage license is $50. This brought my budget down to $151.
I scheduled for my parents to babysit for the first two days after the wedding so that we had time to celebrate. I say babysit, my parents say spoil.
So all in all, I came in $151 under budget with the wedding. Everyone was happy, guests were amazed when we told them how much it cost us to pull everything together. The best advice when planning a wedding is to employ friends and family to help whenever you can and borrow things you will not ever use again after your special day.