How do you throw a Really nice sized wedding on less than 8,000 Dollars?

April 19th, 2010

I am getting married In a little place called The Tri Cities In Washington. We want A church wedding and A nice sized reception with dancing and Booze and food as well … We have the church all squared away for around 100 dollars How do you suppose I pull Off the rest and still have a Expensive looking wedding that is in reality a cheap wedding…
Please help I only have 5 months to plan!!!!!
I have yet to purchase anything including the Dress..

29 Responses to “How do you throw a Really nice sized wedding on less than 8,000 Dollars?”

  1. lily says:

    Don’t spend a lot of money on detail and the dress!!!!! A black and white wedding always looks elegant. Make sure the food is good, the music is not too loud (pick a good DJ) Personally I think booze is a waste of money.. but that is just me.

  2. guzznos says:

    Use ur backyard

  3. mrs_garcia_99 says:

    Go with a mexican food buffett, you can feed so many people for hardly any money, go to Michaels crafts for some really nice invitations that you print off yourself. Look into getting your flowers (boquet and centerpieces) at the local grocery store (you will be pleasantly suprised). Buy disposable DIGITAL cameras for your guest to use, this will cut down on the amount of photos you have to buy from your photographer, dont be afraid to get your wedding cake from the grocery store also, you can customize the look without spending a fortune!

  4. Little Parasite says:

    You might want to try getting your dress on eBay or at Goodwill (I got a beautiful dress at Goodwill for $15!!) Those dresses can cost you an arm and a leg brand new. Try and get the alcohol at a store like Sams or Cosco. Use fake flowers. Look around for sales. It can most certainly be done.

  5. DaBossMan13 says:

    Hawaii!!! it’s a wedding and honeymoon at the same time…. do you really want everyone to be there? just throw a party when you come back.

  6. james i says:

    i dont know about the dress. the rest is easy, do most everything your self. food for 100 ppl should be about $500-$700. have a pay bar. your cake $150. decor $300.
    if you want a cheap but good honey moon e-mail me. $300 for about 1 week in fla, or bahamas.

  7. Frinn says:

    Money and things don’t make a wedding Nice. It’s the people and the love surrounding the couple.
    Find a place that is comfortable and serves decent food. If there are any bridal shows in your area, do that (you can get discounts). Buy your dress off the rack, and don’t do tuxs (have then wear suits).
    Don’t focus so much on the *stuff*, but instead on the people. Nobody ever remembers what they ate or how good it was at a wedding…they only remember the fun!

  8. tiuliucci says:

    $8,000 including booze? That is unlikely.

    My wife and I spent almost $10,000 without a full dinner or booze.

    We did not have to pay a penny for the church and held the reception on the church property without a DJ or dancing.

    Expenses went as follows:

    Food (appetizers): $3,000
    Photographer: $1,800
    Limo: $200
    Dress: $300
    Invitations: $500
    Cake: $400

    Those are the low budget expenses that I can remember. There were a few more.

    Take care,

  9. cme4ins says:

    My daughter got married last July and we had a budget of $5000 we only went over by $500. We shopped different florists, we had a caterer whom we shopped for and tested the food. We rented the country club ballroom and decorated it with bouquets of balloons, candles on all the tables. it was beautiful. We ordered invitations off the internet printed the programs ourselves. It was beautiful and very expensive looking but within budget. David’s Bridal has wedding dresses very inexpensive but the accessories are expensive but you can find acc. cheaper elsewhere. We put more money into the reception. We had wine and beer (2 kegs) and approx 100-150 people and the beer was gone quick.

  10. hunnyhun921 says:

    Destination wedding!!!

  11. Jenny says:

    The key to budgeting is understanding what your money goes to a wedding.

    Download the worksheet at the link below, and go to page 5. This shows you how to calculate the approximate amount that you can spend on each item within your budget.

    As an FYI, I bought my wedding dress at Jessica McClintock and only paid about $220 for it.

  12. just_another_dummy says:

    Make most of the flower and food yourself. I had a small church wedding including the dress for $300. That was in 1984. We made the flowers and everything. It look just as classy as the high price weddings did. I got my dress at a wholesale store for $50. Brand name too.

  13. wild_orchid_tx36 says:

    Talk to wedding consultants in your area. Find out what suppliers they use. Then go to and use their ideas. My daughter got married 2 yrs ago. We had 100 people at the wedding. We used a local Mexican Resturant to cater a buffet (700.00) Their orginial price included a dessert as part of the price – since we had the wedding cake, we bargined down to the 700.00. She used silk flowers to create the bouquets and table centerpieces.
    Had a great DJ instead of a band. The wedding was awesome and she spent less than $6000.00.
    Good luck and best wishes.

  14. spagirl23188 says:

    I say tap into your friends and see what they can do to help you like my friend owns a dj business and one of my other friends is a photographer. I am emailing invitations and I got my dress at David’s bridal for only $600 and that is with the veil and the blusher and a slip!! So it can be done you just have to do some searching and for the reception I am buying the decorations online….

  15. Mr. Diamond007 says:

    Put 3,000 in your pocket.. pretend all that is left is all you have to work with,.. I did it for 2700 easy (everything), you have twice that, with 3 grand in your pocket (just in case) and you can’t forget all the nice presents and $ that will be given and the Bridal Dance” selling “Shots” make sure your “guest list is “favorable($)” you will do fine. Unless you go around “bragging about how much you got to spend”…Dig? If you always “don’t look rich, and ask for help to vendors,etc. who’s who, keep a pad and pen, (that looks poorer too) then after you get it all in place, you can change this and alter that to suite your taste.going “hog wild” in the beginning, is sure to be a “nightmare!!!!!” what if you get a divorce in the first year bud? woops! There goes the last of the “big spenders” honey! and you are still in debt for a wedding, credit cards maxed out, paying for rings, “You’re Good!!!” 3,000 in your pocket,(just in case)………………….then start to plan…..

  16. lovely_kelly2004 says:

    I am in that same spot, I swore I wouldn’t spend anymore than 8 I am up to 12. It’s okay, first breathe!!!! Keep your guest count low, that is key. I am paying $75 a plate with 100 guests, you do the math. It’s hard to keep the plates cheap, I went buffet it was a little cheaper, but then you start adding in things so I found if I keep the amount of people we invite down then I could afford to feed them. It’s hard not to invite people so you will have to stick to your guns and lay down the law. It’s your purse paying for it. See if you can lower the plate cost by have a friday night wedding, or cutting out some meat choices. Cutting out the alcohol always helps but I can understand why you want it. See if you can do beer and wine only, make people pay for mixers and see if that cuts down on your cost. Unless you live somewhere warm an outside wedding would be cheaper. If you know someone with a nice yard that would cut costs. I focused on the food and music first and foremost. I didn’t worry myself over the flowers, centerpieces and decorations. I went cheaper with the dress, I went to Davids Bridal. All weddings look expensive, don’t worry about that. Good Luck

  17. christnp says:

    You didn’t say how many people you need to feed on 8,000 dollars.

    I have been to weddings that did buffet instead of individual meal preparations. That’s a big money saver. Be sure that someone takes charge and invites each table to go to the buffet, that way you avoid the unpleasantness of waiting on long lines.

    I also attended a wedding that did family style table service. Staff brought several large dishes to each table and people served themselves, just like a family meal. Much less expensive, with simple family fare.

    I don’t think you can expect to do open bar on a low budget, but you could provide a certain amount of beer and wine, and have a cash bar for everything else. As the night progresses it becomes all cash bar.

    You could also consider doing a daytime wedding that serves lunch with afternoon dancing.

  18. Paula D says:

    I did all the decorating myself. I made the bouquets and centerpieces. My wedding was beautiful! I used white )any other color) netting, tiny tea lights the length of the netting, tied lavendar ribbon tightly around the intire netting (including lights) then tied the ribbon in a bow. I did this at each end also. I then hung on the front of the bride and grooms table, the full length. It was awesome. I did the same at the entrance door and had the netting all the way to the floor. There instead of ribbon I used lavendar bows. You can even add a flower to the inside of the bow. I put silver, white and lavendar balloons at the top corner of the doorway. For the centerpieces I bought clear glass bowls (it helps if you can find things at garage sales left over from other weddings). I filled it with water and had lavendar floating candles. I decorated the glass bowls with glimmering silver and lavendar ribbon. I surrounded the table just around the bowls with lavendar rose petals. It was cheap yet so beautiful. I purchased more white, silver and lavendar balloons (small ones) and had them scattered over the floor. It gave it a cloud affect. As I walked into the reception the balloons would flow out of our way, leaving a path behind us. For the bouquets I went to Meijer (super store) and purchased frosted bunces of flowers that were silver, white and lavendar (at 75% off I might add!) I made them all in one afternoon, plus the one I threw. For the larger centerpieces for our wedding table I purchased these vases that looked like silver buckets but thinner and taller. I used the same bunches of flowers in those and tied the glimmer ribbon around them. This was the prettiest wedding I had ever seen. The colors were amazing together. I probably spent MAYBE 300.00 to decorate our reception room. We were married in the room also because he was a very old, beautiful building with an 8 foot wide fireplace. No one had to drive anywhere else and they could sit at the tables while we were married. Everyone loved the idea and I wouldn’t change a thing. Except the groom of course because he ended up leaving me for a woman who looked like a man 6 months later. BUT that is another story! ha ha. The only thing that cost a bit more was the catering. It was around 1200.00 for about 100 people, but a buffett would be cheaper. My dress was 60% off. It was the very first one I tried on. Simple, but elegant. I had compliments on my wedding for months. I even enjoyed doing it all myself. There was a great satisfaction when I was done. As for invitations. Do them on the computer. Go to Hobby Lobby and pick up the tissue paper, etc. Much cheaper and you can decorate them to match the decor! For the booze…I had wine and beer, but the hard liquor was up to the guest to buy. Everyone was fine with it. Hope this helps. If you have any questions feel free to contact me.

  19. alavishaffaire says:

    As far as the dress try consignment shops, clearance racks in small bridal shops etc, keep the flowers simple and to keep teh rpice down use what is in season and don’t be afraid to negotiate with vendors.

    Consider having your wedding and reception in the same location. If you are using a church, check on the availability of its fellowship hall or other meeting facilities. Many of the hotels in the Tri-Cities can accommodate both a wedding and its reception. You will want to find out what facilities the church offers for heating and serving your food and what its alcohol policy is as this could be a deal-breaker. Many hotels have rules about outside caterers, so make sure you find out all the details before signing any agreements.

    You can have great music without a DJ. If you want a glitzy light show and huge speakers, that’s one thing, but if you are just looking for good music that won’t burst your guests eardrums, try raiding your CD collection and those of your friends and family members. A groomsman would be a good candidate to run the stereo system and many now need little attention, as many CDs can be pre-programmed at one time.

    Have a private reception. Invite who ever you like to the wedding, but plan a private reception at a separate location (maybe even a different day), where close friends and family can help you celebrate. You can plan anything from a barbecue to a seven-course meal. Feeding 20 people is much more affordable than feeding 200 and you can relax and enjoy yourself in the smaller setting. Remember, bigger is not always better.

    Instead of a traditional banquet hall, consider a community center or church hall for your reception. These places normally can be rented for a relatively small amount and are of an adequate size to host most receptions.

    Have a cash bar instead of an open bar. Not only will this save you a bit of money, It will also dissuade your guests from overindulging. Some hotels and banquet halls will also work with you to set a number or time limit on free drinks and then begin charging for alcohol.

    Instead of dinner, have a cocktail or dessert reception. If a four-hour reception sounds a bit much to you, consider offering desserts or cocktails and cake only. This will encourage guests not to stick around too long and speed you on your way to your honeymoon. You can still offer a variety of great foods with a wonderful presentation.

    Don’t drive up catering costs by having seafood and beef tenderloin entrées. If you must have these selections, serve them for an appetizer. Chicken costs have also skyrocketed in the last year. Be sure to carefully review your choices with the caterer to find the most cost-effective option that suits your reception.

    Ask your reception site about guaranteed numbers. You might still have to pay for 150 guests even though 120 showed up. Many places will charge you for the extra person if 151 guests show up, but won’t refund any money if fewer guests than planned are present. Make sure you know the rules up front, so that you don’t have an unpleasant surprise waiting on the return from your honeymoon.

    Reserve your banquet hall early so they put a cap on the price per person. Many halls will be willing to cut you a deal if they have plenty of time to do the planning ton their end. They will be less inclined to offer special pricing with only a month or two in which to plan.

  20. Gracielacey says:

    1. get your dress as soon as possible
    2. reserve your reception are as soon as possible (these will be your two biggest expenses)
    3. Once you have your venue, figure out if you need to rent chairs, tables, any food warmers, etc. and go to a party rental and reserve it – you can pay as you go.
    3A. Try for 250 roses for $199 -they are great.
    4. Have the grooms men and bridesmaid pay for thier own wedding attire, this is common practice anyways…and get the tux’s rented asap so you know how much they are going to cost.
    5.Once you know your reception venue, either make or order your wedding invitations -they are between $50-$200.
    6. Decide on food. I would suggest a buffet that everyone can make something for. We had lasagna’s in food warmers and salad, etc.
    7.Booze: If there is a bar in the venue, then you can buy the “Two Buck Chuck” wine by the case from Trader Joes, and hire a bartender (a friend of a friend) to pour wine. Get a keg of beer, pop, iced tea, coffee..keep it simple. We had 200 people at our wedding and used three cases of wine, two reds and one white. And one keg of Coors and One Pony Keg of Sierra Nevada -we had a partay!
    8. Buy decorations – dollar store candles, try for wedding favors and decorations too.
    9. Ask a family member/friend who is good with a camera to take your wedding photos, and develop the pics yourself.
    10. Make a playlist in Itunes on a laptop and rent a small PA system and just have the music that way…you can start out the music slower in the beginning and ramp it up as the night goes on.
    We did our whole wedding for around $6000 and we had a TON of decorations, flowers, food, etc.

    I’ve got lots of ideas and pics if you need help! Email me. .

  21. jones68178 says:

    if it were me i’d make my own favors and centerpieces. i’d find a place that allows you to bring your own food. then i’d let my family and friends cook what i want for the menu. if you plan right for something like this you can make a menu for 300 people for about $2000.

  22. RedSoxRock!!! says:

    Well Congrats!!!
    Its def possible!! Unforunately for me i fell in love with a hall and had to use there caterer so theres no room for bargaining!! Howeever ill start you here,
    shop around with caterers buffets usually cheapier tell them you have 2,500 or whatever the amt is you want for food and see what they can do for you! Buy the alcohol at a discount liquor store or online and maybe go to a local bar see if you can get the bartender to do your wedding for like 100.00 because she will get tips as well! Do candle centerpieces (dollar store), hershey kisses (buy them in bulk at costcos sams bjs)in tulle for the favors! Now make a post on craigslist on what you have to spend on the dj i did 500.00 make sure you ask for references etc so you know your getting quality! Also you can do the same for your photographer, college kids who need the expierence may do it for cheap or you can get one for two hours for the bridal party pics etc and then put disposables on the tables (ebay has the cameradepot or efavormart for good price)! As for your invitations you can choose one of these invites request a sample its free bring it to micheals hobby lobby ac moore and ask an associate to help you make this invitation i did this and instead of 150.00 i made them with response cards for 40.00!! As for cakes i would suggest your local grocery store i have had friends do this and the cake was delicious!! Table cloths you can rent or wait till after xmas they will go on clearance at places like kohls target etc.. flowers also your local grocery store can do for cheap and they are nice or you canmake them with silk!! Good Luck
    Happy Planning

  23. fizzystuff says:

    If you find a nice reception place, put the bulk of your money there and the food & drink, and music. That way, you wont need “decorations” which arent necessary. Minimal favors, minimal flowers, easy & elegant centrepieces.

  24. fivecrazypups says:

    I have been planning my Oct. 27th wedding since this past July. My budget was originally $5,000, but luckily I was able to get another $1,000.

    I am having my wedding at the Holiday Inn (both ceremony and reception).

    The catering is being done by the Holiday Inn as well. Originally it was almost $40 per person. What we did is looked through the menu and instead of all the hors d’oeuvres (I think they had 5 different kinds included with that price), we cut it down to a cheese and bread tray and fresh fruit. We also changed it to just domestic cheese (no international). That saved us a lot of money. We are down to $22.95 per person now. We are also doing a cash bar, which saves the alcohol cost considerably.

    The Holiday Inn provides the linens and centerpieces. My friend happens to be a baker and is baking our wedding cake free of charge.

    Interview different DJ’s. The prices range considerably. Find one that you mesh well with and is within your budget…you may be able to talk them down a bit too if you explain your budget. The same goes with photography. Our photographer is $1019, which includes all images on cds and copyright release, 50 4×6 photos, and an 11×14 collage, and also an engagement session. The nice thing about having the copyright release, is you can take the pictures anywhere to have printed out for much cheaper than what the photographer would charge.

    I highly suggest David’s Bridal for dresses. If you tell the saleslady your budget and what you have to spend on a dress, they will do their best to keep within that budget. Make an appointment, so they can really pay attention to YOU.

    I hope you have a wonderful wedding!

  25. classystyle03 says:

    As a bride to be, my wedding is costing less than $10,000. My suggestion is to look at renting a gown, go to David’s Bridal during a $99 sale. If you are having a theme, get ideas from
    Also, there may be florist were you live that rent centerpieces and flowers. I don’t want fresh flowers (besides, fresh flowers are expensive). Walmart has nice invitations that you may print yourself (40 invitations $17-20/per box.),viels, boquets,head pieces. For your bridal party, you may want to look at your local department store during homecoming season for cute dresses. Payless for shoes. Buffet style dinner is cheaper than sit down dinner. Alcohol is expensive. Photographers can be expensive. However, this is a once in a lifetime event. Remember it with great pictures. Best wishes in your upcoming wedding.

  26. Rossy says:

    8,000 might be tough to stick to but one thing you could do is find an elaborate bridesmaid dress and order it in white! $250 is an expensive bridesmaid dress but is a very cheap wedding dress.. i did this and no one knew! check out

    i think my dress with alterations cost $220!!!!

  27. laughter is the best medicine says:

    Get sponsors (padrinos)…
    A lot of mexican american families do this to pay for weddings and quincianeras.
    Decide what you really want to have and get that. (like do you really need a limo… and can you spend a little less on your dress.)
    Follow a budget.
    Make a lot of your own stuff. I had an aunt who is a great cook who recently remarried, so she and her daughters made the food for over 100 people.

  28. H says:

    I am in the same boat, no idea, stressing out too and I have been engaged now for only three weeks.

    You can always invite a close group of family and friends to a dinner then open the night up with dance for more people.

    Plus, have your dress made and make sure the venue you choose allows you too stock the bar.

    Good luck,

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