This is part 2 of my frugal wedding budget review. In August, I wrote about how to plan a frugal wedding. Last time I wrote about my own wedding budget. We discussed costs for dress, tux, photo, video, invitations, programs, decorations, and flowers. If you missed part 1, be sure to check that out. Here is where we left off!
To recap, our entire wedding budget (excluding rings and honeymoon) was around $3,000. This is 10-15% of the national average. This was possible because of:
- Blessings from friends and families
- Shopping around
- Setting priorities
Manicure, Pedicure, hair and makeup…I was expecting to spend around $200. One of my shower gifts was a gift card to a local nail salon, so I only had to pay the difference of $30. My God-mother did my makeup, and my stylist (who was more excited than I was…ok…not really)…blessed me with a free hairdo.
With a handful of out of town guests, I didn’t want the pressure of trying to host everyone in at home. So I opted to get a suite for the night before the wedding. It gave me an opportunity to hang with friends and a meeting place for the bridal party on our wedding day. I choose the Drury Inn and Suites because of its proximity to the church, free breakfast & internet and military discount.
This was a tough one! I wanted a limo. I almost convinced myself I needed a limo. But when it came to the justification, I couldn’t justify nearly $600 for 5 hours….of which only 15 min (at best) would actually be spent in the limo. The reception was immediately following the service and was less than 2 minutes away.
In spite of this logic, I was still wrestling with the limo in my head. Then, Anthony came up with a brilliant alternative. For 1/3 of the price, we could rent a full-size or premium vehicle and have it for the entire week. This made perfect sense because we were driving to our honeymoon destination.
With my desire for a limo diminishing, I researched the top rental companies and found a great deal on a 10-day rental from Budget. I couldn’t tell the difference between a Budget rental and one from Avis or Enterprise….can you?
The reception is typically the majority of a wedding budget. An alcohol free reception greatly decreases the cost off the bat. We decided to host the reception in a community center that holds 250 people. The rental fee was $300 for the entire day. However, that does not include set up or tear down. After going back and forth…we decided it would be worth the extra $150 to have them setup and teardown. We didn’t want the hassle or recruiting volunteers or losing our security deposit if it was not cleaned properly.
Food & Cake
Before creating our guest list, we decided that we were not going to do an “adult only” reception. Sure it would have saved money. But as financial guru Suze Orman says…people first, then money, then things. We have both served our church in youth ministries and therefore the youth have a special place in our heart. It would be out of our character to exclude them from our special day.
We briefly entertained the thought of hiring a caterer. However, Anthony comes from a big family who rallied and prepared all of our food. We met, created a menu and got it done. They donated many of the ingredients and did all the cooking. Except for the head and VIP tables, the food was served buffet style.
The cake was another “shop around” item. Some places were reasonable but had high delivery and set up rates. Others didn’t taste good at all. We found a local bakery that is in close vicinity to the reception site. At first, we order the smallest cake which feeds 120. We upgraded to the next level when the RSVPs started to roll in.
We could have saved even more on the cake by getting a smaller wedding display cake and a sheet cake. I let people talk me out of this. However, I think the final price was reasonable.
Cost: $250 (cake) and $200 (partial payment for food) = $450
Other Misc Fees
- In St. Clair county, this is $32.
- Attendees gifts: $100 (The men got canes, the ladies got jewelry)
- Site & Officiate fees – We got married at my church by my pastor so there is no set fee, however we felt compelled to give a love offering.
Overall, we spent close to $3,000 for a guest list of 164 people. We took 3 months to plan which may have helped or hindered our budget. On the one hand, I believe a longer planning period would have lead to more expensive elaborate ideas. Consequently, having time to research may have led to deals and sales.
Our costs significantly lower than the average, but let me be clear…this is not because I’m such a savvi shopper or frugal finder. While I actively sought out reasonable prices, the majority of our savings came from the blessings poured out by our friends and family.
What about you? Are you planning a frugal wedding or have you in the past? Share your tips and stories in the comments below!