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Need Ideas For Keeping a Wedding UNDER $10G!

Old 01-14-07, 10:05 AM
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Need Ideas For Keeping a Wedding UNDER $10G!

Hey everyone. For this special day, although we'd like for it to be nice, we are both in saving mode since we are about to close on a new town house.

If anyone has ideas they've tried or know of deals or anything at all that might help keep the cost of a wedding down, I would be very eager to hear them. The wedding will probably take place in the NY metro area, looking at under 150ppl (probably 100ish), some time around mid to late August 2007. We'd like a unique, not your standard cookie cutter wedding.

Additionally, if you happen to know of deals on honeymoon packages, please share that as well.
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Old 01-14-07, 10:40 AM
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Interesting thread. This is going to be long, but hopefully it might help you or someone out there. I know my wife and I stayed below that amount 4 years ago. We had just bought a house and were in the same type of situation. I think the biggest hit on the wallet is the reception. Everyone is so quick to have the biggest and most expensive party, but it's a waste of money. Thinking back, a lot of things just fell into place for us.

First, big wedding or small wedding? It helped that my wifes family lives a 1000 miles away, so only her immediate family (and maybe a couple other families) could come. So that helped determine a small-ish to medium style wedding was in order. I didn't want to have a crapload of people there compared to her side. We went with 3 groomsmen & 3 bridesmaids to match the size of the wedding. We could easily chosen 5 & 5 but kept it to a minimum. I think we had about the same number you did, 100-150 people.

Second monetary-wise, booze. That probably helped us the most. We don't drink and her side of the family doesn't either. So it was a pretty easy decision. We had a cash bar. This will save a ton of money. Mention you have free booze and those people you invited out of obligation will come out of the woodwork and drink you dry.

First, planning-wise, you just have to shop around for reception halls and such. Obviously private clubs will be more. Price also depends on time of year and day/night of the week. I believe we got married on a Friday night which saved a lot of dough vs. a Saturday afternoon. It was like a ridiculous amount. We knew a guy who knew a guy who let us do it at a private club despite us not being members. Ask family and friends for contacts.

Photographer & Videographer? We knew a photographer that worked with us on price and such which was nice. Even gave us the negs at no charge. Do you really need a professional video of your wedding? Will you watch it down the line? We had a family friend just use a personal video camera, on the off chance that we actually watch the thing down the road.

DJ or band? DJ is going to be a lot cheaper. Which is geared more towards your family? Are they the kind of people that just want to have fun and dance around to the electric slide or YMCA? Or are they classy folk that want something nicer? Again, we knew a DJ which helped.

We also have a friend that is a baker so we got a break on the cake(s) as well.

Dress? Despite having a "budget" wedding, I told my wife we didn't have to skimp here as it is her big day. She shopped around and found a clearance dress for about $300. That was her decision. It's not like it was used or anything, just an older style or something. She looked fabulous regardless.

Limo? Is it really necessary? That is a few hundred unnecessary dollars. We borrowed a friend of the family's Jaguar so it was just me and her. The bridesmaids & groomsmen went with their families in their own cars. Which isn't bad since there were only 3 of each of them.

It basically ALL comes down to planning and research. Fortunately my wife was very good at this. It also helped that we had a year to plan. Research and nab the reception place first and foremost though. Again, a lot of this was specific to us and having the baker, photographer and DJ be people we knew helped. Just ask around, you never know what kind of "deal" you might find from friend-of-friend type acquaintences. If you can get 1-2 of these through contacts it should save a bit.

As for a honeymoon, that is even more specific to the couple in question. Some may frown upon this, but my wife and I had a ball at Disney World for a week. Even went to check out Kennedy Space Center & Cocoa Beach for a day.
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Old 01-14-07, 12:02 PM
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Elope!
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Old 01-14-07, 12:27 PM
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I'm recently engaged, and we think we can get the wedding done for around $5,000. I'll mention that we definitely have a different situation than most - we have a nearly 7 year old son (together). We've lived together all these years, but have never spent the money to make things "official". Already owning a house, etc, we already have plenty of bills to pay that we don't want to go wild. We want a nice, memorable day for close family and friends.

Our plan is to have the wedding/reception on a boat on a local lake. The price is actually very reasonable. We haven't made arrangements, but we can rent a boat that holds 60 people for a wedding for less than $1000. They also have food/liquor packages available which are very reasonable, so we will get married on the water, and have the dinner/reception right there was well.

After the 4 hours (or we may opt for more - not decided yet), everyone gets off the boat, and we're done. Not sure if anything similar is available in your area, but here's the type of thing I'm talking about: http://www.paradisechartercruises.com/
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Old 01-14-07, 12:34 PM
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I'm in the process of planning a Oct. '07 wedding. Alot of what Michael Corvin posts is good info.

Luckily, my fiancee's parents are picking up the bulk of the tab. We are doing an open bar, but that is only b/c we can afford it and we have family that are heavy drinkers. So far, it looks like the booze will cost nearly as much as food. So, that is one place that you can definitely skimp on.

Here's another tip. Don't get married on a Saturday or Sunday. Alot of places have significantly reduced rates for off peak days. Thursdays or Fridays usually cost less than weekend days.
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Old 01-14-07, 03:20 PM
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How to have a wedding under 10G? Don't buy all the useless shit that the wedding industry convinces women that they need at their wedding. It's one fucking day. The day after the wedding you won't be any "more" married than the couple that got married at a courthouse.

I hate the wedding industry if you can't tell.

Go on a nice honeymoon though. That's what you'll remember 25 years from now. Not what was printed on you quilted napkins.
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Old 01-14-07, 03:26 PM
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My wife and I were trying to keep it under $5K when we were married in October 2005, but I think we came in somewhere around $7K. I agree with the Friday recommendation for cost purposes and scheduling purposes, as a "workday" ceremony may discourage the "fringe" guests. We invited over 300 people and had maybe 175 show up. Here's how we cut costs:

- Used a family friend who is a professional photographer.

- Passed on a professional videographer. We have watched the 20 minute videotape from a cousin exactly once.

- Provided our own wine because the deals at a number of local stores/chains (including Trader Joe's and Cost Plus World Market) allowed us to pick up seven cases under $200 total. We have some heavy drinkers on both sides of the family, but we still ended up with a full case left over.

- Designed and printed our own invitations and programs. I was working at a print shop at the time, and the invitations were the owner's gift to us. We were only out the cost of stamps (and the time it took to assemble them by hand).

- Finger foods/sandwiches only. The wedding was in the late evening, which gave most people enough time to eat dinner beforehand.

- Used the same place (an old converted mission church) for the ceremony and reception, so we didn't need a limo or anything like that.

- No tuxedo rentals since everyone in my party owned a black suit. I bought all of them ties that matched the bridesmaid dresses (which were modified prom dresses on clearance for $40). My wife found her dress in Mexico City for $150.

We went to Puerto Rico for our honeymoon, although we didn't do any sort of package deal. My wife's employer gave us airline tickets for our wedding present, and I just scoured TripAdvisor.com for hotel recommendations and corresponded with a couple of Puerto Rican forum members about places to go and things to see. Rates were lower because it was during the tail end of hurricane season. We spent time on both the main island and Vieques, and I would recommend the latter in a heartbeat...gorgeous isolated beaches only accessible by 4x4. We went to four different beaches in three days and were the only people there every time but one. Wandering too far off the beaten path could put you in the middle of a mine field, however. (No joke.)

Last edited by printerati; 01-14-07 at 03:30 PM.
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Old 01-14-07, 05:12 PM
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Originally Posted by TheMadMonk
Elope!
I'll second that. The Mrs. and I flew out to Vegas and got hitched by an Elvis Impersonator. We even flew the mom's out and got an air/hotel package deal from America West. The whole shebang was about a grand.

Remember, it's supposed to be about the marriage, NOT the wedding. If your gal has a reasonable head on her shoulders, she'll recognize that the money you save on the process of getting hitched can be used for more tangible, useful purposes - like new furniture for that new townhouse.
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Old 01-14-07, 08:08 PM
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TLC used to have this great show on called For Better or For Worse where there was a team of friends/family, a professional wedding planner to the stars, one week and $5K. Besides being an interesting show to watch the family/friends fight...the wedding planner showed the team all kinds of cost-saving tricks (day of the wedding, off-the-beaten-path locations, flower help, liquor help, cake help, etc.).

You might want to try and find info on the show or clips online - there was a lot of helpful info. One thing I do remember vividly, flowers are typically one of the most expensive (if not the most expensive) components of the wedding and they showed how if you bought at a flower market and did those yourself, you could save a ton.

I also support the elope theory - worked for me. I never wanted a big wedding (what a waste of $ IMHO). I had a bat mitzvah, don't need another big a** party in a room filled with people I barely know
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Old 01-14-07, 09:39 PM
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[QUOTE=Michael Corvin] Do you really need a professional video of your wedding? Will you watch it down the line? We had a family friend just use a personal video camera, on the off chance that we actually watch the thing down the road.


A good photographer should be considered before a videographer when there is a tight budget, but there are options.

I am a professional in this field. Let me give you some advice here. Please, if you get a friend or a family member, get someone who is half-way decent at videotaping! There's no wonder why you'll watch it once if all they do is walk around with the camera and it looks like an earthquake!

For the ceremony, if you can find someone who records decent, don't stop there. Find somebody with another camera. Have that camera in the back (or better, balcony) shoot towards the front on a tripod but just let it run the whole time without zooming or stopping (unmanned "safety" camera). That camera should be zoomed out ("wide shot") the whole time. Have someone (owner of camera) turn it on when the moms light the unity candles or the start of the ceremony. Have the one person who is shooting (also from a tripod!) record from the front of the church looking to the back during the walkdown. as soon as after dad lifts the veil, go to the back of the church near the aisle where your empty tripod is without stopping recording. Quitly place the camera on the tripod and move into the aisle. The cameraman should zoom in and out (not often!) and pan slowly and smoothly, even if he/she is missing something and it takes 10 seconds to move the camera to the subject. If you have two cameras going the whole ceremony with one guaranteed to not shake and look good the whole time, your wedding can be edited together years later if you wanted it.

If your family or friend videographer is going to videotape the reception, I also have some tips. Tell your DJ or caterer or whoever is going to emcee the event to make sure he/she tells your videographer before important events are going to happen (entrance into room, boquet throw, cake cutting, garter, etc. ) Also ask the caterer if they dim the lights at all, to not dim them very much. Chances are the videographer's camera light isn't very powerful and will also drain the battery faster. Third, tell the videographer to get out there! It's OK for the videographer to go out onto the dance floor during the bride and groom's first dance, to be near the bride and groom during the cake cutting, and to be in the middle of the dance floor while people dance around him/her. If the dancefloor is very crowded, grab a tripod and go to an elevated area and pan around dance floor slowly, zooming in and out slowly. If he/she wants to record all the guests during dinner, start recording zoomed into one person at the table and zoom out slowly to see the rest of the table and hold the camera steady for five seconds, then repeat the next table. Don't just pan around the room for five minutes! NO INTERVIEWS unless the videographer has a microphone that plugs into the camera!

Sorry if this is TMI. But it could turn an average joe with a camcorder into a decent wedding videographer.

Finally, since a big portion of the work that goes into a professional wedding video is editing, you could look around for videographers that only charge for videotaping an un-edited wedding. Many of those prices are half of what an edited wedding costs.
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Old 01-14-07, 10:01 PM
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Originally Posted by kaisha no saru
One thing I do remember vividly, flowers are typically one of the most expensive (if not the most expensive) components of the wedding and they showed how if you bought at a flower market and did those yourself, you could save a ton.
Our plan is to buy flowers via Costco.
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Old 01-15-07, 08:57 AM
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The wife and I got married in Naples (FL) 6 years ago for under $5K...We got real creative. For example, we found a guy who just moved to this country starting his own pasty buisness and got a cake for next to nothing, and I still havent had a better cake. Now his business is huge and we could never afford him now. He asked if it we would pass out cards and he only charged us $100. Also, we got married on Xmas eve, and we got married on the pier, so the pier was already decorated with flowers and lights as well as all the nearby boats so that saved as well. Just try to tap whatever resources or hookups you have. This is the time to call in "favors". I just couldnt see spending alot for one day, and lucky my wife was the same way.
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Old 01-15-07, 09:26 AM
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A couple of these may be repeats, but here's some advice:

1. Skip the professional videographer. We had a friend videotape ours, and for the amount of times you go back and watch your wedding (We've watched ours once or twice over the past 9 years), an amateur videographer is fine.

2. Photographer - There are a lot of high-quality photographers who just work out of their homes, and not a studio. When you go to a studio, you get the studio price. Talk to friends. We went with a professional photographer who worked out of her home. She had one of the best portfolios we had seen (blew away some of the professional "studio" photographers). We have a great photo album and also got to keep our entire proof booklet.

3. Cake - Check out prices at a local bakery. Bakeries make delicious wedding cakes, and the prices are typically cheaper than professional-type wedding cake makers.

4. Hall - If you can do a Friday or Sunday, it would be cheaper than a Saturday rental. Also, buffett is the cheapest way to go for food. We went with a family-style type of serving, which was very nice, definitely worth the price upgrade.

5. Limo - If you get a limo to drive you to the church, you have to pay for it to sit outside during your ceremony. Drive yourself to the church, and only get a limo for the 2-5 hours between your ceremony and the reception.

6. Favors - Buy those little giveaway trinkets online, or better yet, make then yourself. Buy some almond candies, some netting, print out some greetings on card stock, and you're all set.

7. Music - DJ is the way to go. He can play any type of music you want to hear.

Also, if you want to make your wedding unique, look into an ice sculpture. The only cost a couple hundred bucks, but makes your wedding special! I surprised my wife with one, and she loved it!
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Old 01-15-07, 09:29 AM
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I've never understood the big wedding thing, but that's me. My first wedding was conventional but verrrry inexpensive:

dress - bought the one on the mannequin at huge discount - $100
suit - already owned - free for the sake of this tally
church - post chapel (I was military) - free
reception venue - post rec center - $50 for the day, but we had to clean it ourselves
food - potluck in lieu of gifts - free and the food was so much better than any caterer
music - DJ - buddy did it as a gift, so free
bar - 2 kegs of Loewie, 4 cases of champagne, optional OJ, sodas, augmented by byob - $500
bartender - buddy from the drill team did it in exchange for leftover bar stock - free

$650. The marriage lasted 5 years and we parted amicably.

My last wedding was dirt cheap.

dress - conventional dress she bought for this but can wear daily - $50
suit - another that I already owned - free
church - nope, City Hall - with all fees I think it was under $100
no reception, but we did have lunch after - $30

$180 and we are doing fine approaching our 4th.
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Old 01-15-07, 10:06 AM
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Originally Posted by shelland
Our plan is to buy flowers via Costco.
We did this as well. (Well, Sam's Club...no Costco in that region of Louisiana.)
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Old 01-15-07, 07:44 PM
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Originally Posted by printerati
We did this as well. (Well, Sam's Club...no Costco in that region of Louisiana.)
We actually belong to both, but she's always been much more impressed with Costco's flowers.
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Old 01-15-07, 07:52 PM
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White Castle?
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Old 01-15-07, 08:04 PM
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Thanks so much for everyone's suggestions and ideas they've tried so far. Its been very helpful (aside from the few unnecessary remarks). Please keep them coming.

Right now, we are looking into the possibility of a destination wedding (fewer guests).
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Old 01-15-07, 10:17 PM
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Old 01-15-07, 10:18 PM
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We kept our wedding (about the same size) at about 6k and it was phenomenal. Everyone had a great time. The key was that it was in a city about 45 mins from the major city where most people were. On top of that, they did EVERYTHING, from plan to execute (including food, videography, photography, reception).

I'd call some B&Bs in your area and see if they do the same. We were pleased with the result and the savings.
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Old 01-15-07, 11:32 PM
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Don't do it!

But if you feel you must, then I agree with TheMadMonk
Originally Posted by TheMadMonk
Elope!
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Old 01-16-07, 01:30 AM
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Originally Posted by jw2299
How to have a wedding under 10G? Don't buy all the useless shit that the wedding industry convinces women that they need at their wedding. It's one fucking day. The day after the wedding you won't be any "more" married than the couple that got married at a courthouse.

I hate the wedding industry if you can't tell.

Go on a nice honeymoon though. That's what you'll remember 25 years from now. Not what was printed on you quilted napkins.

I'm a woman, and I agree with you 100%!
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Old 01-16-07, 10:16 AM
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The weddings I remember most aren't the big fancy gatherings, but ones like the friend who got married under a bower of flowers in a city park where she and her husband exchanged hand written vows before their families and a small group of close friends. Put your money on what's important and meaningful, not the show. Leave that to Hollywood.
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Old 01-16-07, 12:46 PM
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Originally Posted by Michael Corvin
Second monetary-wise, booze. That probably helped us the most. We don't drink and her side of the family doesn't either. So it was a pretty easy decision. We had a cash bar. This will save a ton of money. Mention you have free booze and those people you invited out of obligation will come out of the woodwork and drink you dry.
HORRIBLE idea. Inviting people to your wedding (where they're pretty much obligated to spend money already getting there, dressing up, and getting a present) and then asking them to PAY for alcohol is a real shitty move.
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Old 01-16-07, 01:57 PM
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Originally Posted by TheMadMonk
Elope!
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