A few weeks ago I wrote about how I managed to save so much money on my wedding. I DIYed a lot, called in many favours, and was thankfully able to have a wonderful, beautiful, and fun wedding on a tiny budget. I didn’t cover everything in the last post, so here are the rest of the details on how I managed to get married for under $4,500.
Reception – Food, Alcohol, Etc.
The food for the reception was a little bit complicated, and I definitely understand why people just go ahead and pay for catering. Not us though, we were here to save money! Nothing a little organization couldn’t solve. The meal consisted of: 10 salads, each contributed by one of my or my husband’s aunts. The meat portion of the meal was gifted to us and was barbequed boneless skinless chicken breasts. Two family friends agreed to man the grills and my sister and her husband (who is a chef) made the marinade for the chicken. Not going to lie: the chicken was amazing. We also had rolls from the local bakery and baked potatoes.
Dessert was strawberry short cake. My husband and I aren’t really fans of cake but we adore strawberry shortcake. His step mother baked the biscuits while my own mother diced about a million strawberries. Here is where the only snafu of the whole wedding occurred: The whipping cream, which was being cooled in an electric cooler, accidentally got switched onto heating. So…the whipped cream was not so much whipped and more warm and soft. It still tasted good and we got my sister’s husband (the chef) to sign off on the fact that it wouldn’t kill anyone who ate it.
Finally, instead of an open bar, we provided 60 bottles of home brewed white and red wine (for about 140 people) and an entire 30 gallon tub of sangria (it was a hit!).
Total Cost to Us: $363.42
As you may have noticed, my wedding was a huge group effort by a large family. Without them, I couldn’t have had a hope of pulling all of this off. So, for the four days leading up to the wedding, when everyone was going above and beyond the call of duty, my husband and I made sure to keep everyone well supplied with snacks, beer, pizza and basically whatever they needed. We spent about $500 feeding and watering our small army of awesome volunteers, which I would definitely consider a worthwhile expense.
Other random expenses included our wedding rings which we ordered off Etsy, travel insurance for our trip to Cuba, and thank you cards. We also did online invitations, which I wrote about, here.
Total Cost to Us: $840
Now, in case you haven’t read my previous post, here’s the break down of our wedding costs:
- Venue: $330
- Attire: $1640
- Licenses, Officiant, Certificates, Ceremony: $530
- Reception – Decor, etc: $750
- Reception – Food, Alcohol, etc: $363
- Miscellaneous: $840
Which brings us to a grand total of: $4,453
Not bad for a wedding with almost 150 people in attendance!
When we first got engaged back in February 2012, I was just thinking about starting a blog to chronicle my debt repayment journey. I still had tens of thousands of dollars in debt, and the idea of trying to pay for a wedding while also paying off debt definitely stressed me out. This was a huge reason for trying to have the most cost effective wedding possible. I knew that I wanted the classic big gathering with a lot of family and friends, the challenge was to be able to do that without having to put my dream of debt freedom on hold.
I really enjoyed my wedding and I feel like my budget fit my needs and my style perfectly. It was a ton of work, but the savings were totally worth it. If I hadn’t been able to save so much on my wedding, I would be a lot farther away from debt freedom than I am right now. I was able to have my cake – er, strawberry short cake and eat it too.
Was your wedding expensive? If you aren’t married, do you see yourself having a big wedding or a small gathering? I want to know!