Weddings Under Budget
So, you’ve found the love of your life and are ready to get married. However, you don’t want to break the bank in the process. Here is how Tanya and Ryan kept costs low and put on a wedding ceremony everyone enjoyed.
Tanya: My daughter recently got married. Her high school sweetheart was entering the Navy and they wanted to get married before he left for basic training, which forced us to throw a wedding together quickly and on a $5,000 budget. We did go a little over, but not by much.
Ryan: My wife and I had a small wedding ceremony with just our immediate family members and had our reception a few days later. We only had about 45 people at our reception with a budget of $1,000, which we finished under.
Dress, Hair, Make-Up
Tanya: We had a budget before shopping and luckily we were at David’s Bridal when they were having a sale. My daughter tried on three dresses and fell in love with one immediately; it was painless. Her color guard coach was a hairdresser and offered to do the bridal groups’ hair and makeup as her wedding gift. We rented the men’s tuxedos.
Ryan: We wanted to go casual for the ceremony and reception, so my wife didn’t have an actual wedding dress. Instead, she went with a blouse and skirt from a local department store.
Tanya: The local college had a facility available for events containing a kitchen and large function room, and three small rooms upstairs for the bridal and groom parties. It had a limit of 125 people, which helped us keep the guest list down. The cost to rent it was minimal with a returnable deposit. We planned to have the ceremony, then for everyone to go outside for photographs while we swapped over the ceremony chairs and set up the tables for the reception. My youngest daughter is an accomplished, classically trained singer and sang to entertain the guests before the wedding. The DJ then played the music to bring the bride in and for the reception.
Ryan: We had our event at St. Mary’s Parish Hall in Rockledge, which was available through an acquaintance who dealt with reservations at the hall. It was a great venue for what we wanted to do and it had a kitchen available. The area was split into two sections, though we only used the second part for people to get food at the buffet tables. The guests’ tables were framed around the dance floor.
Tanya: I built the centerpieces by purchasing tall glass tubular vases, placed little blue lights in the bottom, then clear glass pebbles over the lights. I filled them with water and then had some floating candles on the top. The cost was minimal and I enjoyed every minute of making them.
Ryan: We actually did the same thing.
Tanya: Once everyone knew that I intended to keep the wedding on a budget, family members started to volunteer to help. It was a great way to let everyone feel involved and bring the two families together. The mother of the groom made the flower arrangements and they came out awesome.
Ryan: We didn’t have flowers, as my wife isn’t a fan of them, so we were able to pass on them.
Tanya: is is the only item I didn’t skimp on. Weddings are just one day, but the memories are forever. I looked at a few photographers and went with a mid-price package after checking out each photographer’s work. I am also a graphic designer so I made a deal that he would do minimal editing to the photos, and I would do the rest.
Ryan: Our friend, Jim, who is a photographer, did ours at a discounted rate. They looked great — if anything, they made me look better than I actually do!
Tanya: We made our own finger food buffet by getting food from a wholesale food supplier. We placed everything
on a table, using book stacks to give different heights, covered with a tablecloth. We purchased large glass drink dispensers that had colorful refreshing drinks in them (no alcohol, as this was in Utah; this also kept costs down).
Ryan: Our friend Mike, who has many years in the restaurant industry, cooked the dinner, which was chicken parmesan on bow-tie pasta with salad and breadsticks. The food was delicious and is still talked about by some of my friends to this day. My wife knew a bartender and we paid her, plus tips, to run the open bar, full of drinks friends brought to our “Stock the Bar” party we had months prior.
Tanya: It was the only bump in the road. I was going to make it myself as I am a pretty accomplished cake decorator, but an aunt wanted to help. So I agreed to let her create a cake. The cake didn’t stand up to the southern Utah heat and began to slide immediately, but it has provided many funny memories since and tasted delicious.
Ryan: For the cake, our friend Allie, who has done cakes for many ceremonies and organizations, created an amazing red velvet cake with cream cheese frosting. She also made cake pops, with icing in the colors of my wife’s favorite school, Florida State, and mine, Florida.