Wedding Budget Help!!!?

by DIY wedding planner on August 28, 2012

My fiance and I are planning a wedding for Nov. 20, 2010 and have a max. budget of $10,000 but if we can keep it under that it would be great.
We have a few things that we are not willing to budge on
-evening wedding and the date
-our guest list, we have narrowed it now as much as possible.
We have a family member who is a photographer who is doing the photographs as our wedding gift and my aunt used to run a wedding cake business so she is doing out wedding cake and all we have to pay is $75 for the topper and to help with some of the ingredients cost.

My question is what is a good way to keep costs low with other aspects such as:
Favors- we want to give favors
Food- we don’t really want to ask people to bring food, he thinks it is tacky
Invitations- I really want them to be nice like traditional wedding invitations, I have heard about the DIY kits but don’t know much about them.
Center pieces
How many people should I have per table
Sit down dinner or buffet

Please any advice is helpful and apprecited, would love to hear your wedding stories and how you planned a wedding with a budget.

{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

jrabkin1 August 28, 2012 at 10:16 am

When we got married, we made the choice to not skimp on the quality of the stuff at the wedding. (Food, gifts, flowers.) So our choice was to cut back on the number of guests. But bottom line – that’s your choice. Quality versus guests.

We solved the “guest” problem by having a party three weeks after the wedding that was potluck. (It was more fun than the reception. The reception was WORK!)


NikPik August 28, 2012 at 10:48 am

To keep costs down I would make your own favors, invitiations(you can get nice tradtional ones and then uses your home printer to print the information on them) and center pieces. Be creative and shop on a budget. You can have a caterer take care of the food. There are some good caterers that aren’t that expensive. My mom uses a company that charges $11 a person and its all buffet style. So if you have say 100 guests you are only spending $1100 on food. There are lots of ways to cut cost.


I'm just sayin... August 28, 2012 at 11:13 am

Favors: This is really an unecessary expense, no one will notice if you don’t have favors. I recommend edible favors, though, because people fill their junk drawers with wedding matchbooks etc. You could just bake cookies and put them in little bags with a little “Thank you” tag to save cash.

Food: You have to find a caterer then. Where I live, you’re looking at $12-$30 per person for catering

Invitations: DIY kits are sold at JoAnn Fabrics, Michaels, Target, Meijer, etc etc. They include paper for the invite, RSVP, reception/multipurpose and envelopes. Sometimes they include bows too. You can usually get 30-40 invites for around $40. You use the software included to put what you want on on the paper and then you print them yourself. You have to be careful because the nice paper in these sometimes is too think for your printer at home! You might have to go to Kinkos to have them printed (= more money, but might balance out in printer ink!).
Also, don’t forget postage! Around $1/invite (you have to include postage for the RSVP too) depending on how thick they are. Take one invitation with all the inserts and envelopes to the post office to get the postage price.

Center pieces: You can buy bulk flowers online (google “Bulk Flowers”) and make your own floral centerpieces and bouquets! But, you’ll have to commit the last two days before the wedding to putting these together.
You can buy silk flowers and make your own.
Or you can stay away from flowers all together! They’re expensive, I suggest going with tiered pillar candles. The more candles you use in place of flowers, the cheaper the wedding. DIY centerpieces can be found at craft stores also — Michaels has these really cute candle lantern centerpieces!

How many people should I have per table: Depends on the size of the table. 6 foot round tables can have 8-10 people. You can find this online too.

Sit down dinner or buffet: Buffets tend to be more expensive because they have to provide more food. Plus, you’ll have to fight with them to let you take the left overs home!
Sit down is definitely more formal, but a lot of guests like the freedom the buffet gives to try different things and get more of something that they liked. Plus, some caterers aren’t very generous with the portions for sit-down dinners… you should ask your caterer to show you a picture of the portions given at a previous wedding.

The key to budget weddings usually is to find a venue which lets you bring in your own food and drink. Then you can either provide your own (which you said you don’t want) or pick ANY caterer instead of a venue preferred caterer.

Do-It-Yourself! Whatever you can!

Think outside the box. When you mention wedding, the price goes up. Find decorations that are meant for other things, and use them for the wedding.

Look around online —,, etc. Get a membership (it’s free!) and get on your local message board for vendor recommendations and other advice. There’s a lot of girls on there on a budget and they include how they saved money in their bio.

Obviously I don’t know where you live, and wedding costs vary greatly by region, but with cake and photography taken care of I think you’ll be just fine coming in under $10,000. Cakes around here run $1.10-$3.00 per serving, photography between $1200-$4000. So that’s a lot!

Good luck, sorry this was so long!


iloveweddings August 28, 2012 at 12:05 pm


Make it candy. The cheapest AND most liked. But really, favors are totally optional. If you insist on purchasing favors…they will run about $2/each even for something very small….so times that by 100? and you have just spent $200 on something that people might just (a) leave it on the table or (b) take it home and throw it in a drawer.

Candy in a mesh bag is always a good idea. Something like this:

Good idea NOT to do a potluck. Idea: Do you know of a good restaurant that does catering? Many do. Check that out. OR….just use Google and look around your area for catering companies. You have lots of time.

This is a huge savings. Yes, get one of the DIY kits. If you can type, you can do your own invites! You can use Word or Publisher. They come with an example of wording. OR…look up wording using Google. There are literally tons of examples of wording. Anyway, the kits are available at places like Walmart, Target, Office Max, Hobby Lobby (and others). There are all sorts of designs to choose from. You get 50 invites/50 envelopes and 50 Reception or RSVP cards and envelopes. The kits sell for anywhere from $20-$30. A HUGE cost savings.

One example:|Wedding_Invitation_Kit_Ivory/Brown/Green_Flowers_50ct&ci_src=14110944&ci_sku=B001GRS7GU&ref=tgt_adv_XSG10001

How many people per table? This depends on how many guests you are having and how the room is set up. Normally there are 8 per table (either the long banquet tables OR the round tables.)

Sit down dinner or buffet? Again, this depends on what the venue offers or what the caterer offers. Usually, a buffet is cheaper. Price out from the caterer the different prices (sit down vs. buffet) so then you and your fiance can decide.

This is another easy way to save some money. Don’t get too caught up in this. Something as simply as a hurricane glass vase on a mirror with some rose petals sprinkled around it is very stunning:

This is one idea that I think is very nice and VERY inexpensive:

There are many, many different centerpieces that you can go with:
~ a round bowl with floating candles;
~ a small potted plant;
~ stack up your favors as a centerpiece:

Depending on the “season” some people go with a bowl of fruit:

Look on Martha Stewart Weddings website. She has tons of ideas for centerpieces both floral and non-floral.

I hope this helps!


Cranberry August 28, 2012 at 12:43 pm

Favors – my sister gave away copies of their wedding pic, with a sweet note on it, as favors. She said it’s good because guests would keep it in their photo albums as remembrance, plus it’s inexpensive too.

Food – fresh fruits and vegies, on skewers or as salad. If you have a backyard full of these, that would be great!

Invitations – get a wedding website. This way, you’ll have to send only 1 page of invitation to each guest. Put all the other info on the website instead, so you don’t have to spend on paper and printing on maps, menu, bridal party, etc.

Sit down dinner or buffet – at the hotel where I want to have my reception, sit down dinner package is cheaper than the buffet package. But if you want to save as much as possible and self cater your wedding, buffet would be great, as you won’t need to get waiters to serve the tables.


Rexcraft August 28, 2012 at 1:30 pm

We have some great professionally printed Wedding Invitations at affordable prices (lower than a DIY kit). As low as $49.95 for a quantity of 100 invitations. Same thing with favors, decor, gifts, thank-you notes, etc…
Take a look at our site & I’m sure you will find everything that will fit in your price range!

It’s also helpful to sign up to receive our emails. We will send free tips, advice and have exclusive offers for email viewers! You won’t want to miss out!


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