Archive for the 'wedding' Category

Wedding Season: Our $2,000 Wedding Budget

Sunday, April 8th, 2007

Spring seems to sprout more weddings than flowers at times. Since many people are busy planning their weddings and possibly stressing over the price tag, I wanted to highlight the wedding budget report I posted last year. Take a look at our detailed wedding budget. I recently added a few pictures and more details (in the comment section) in response to the emails I’ve received.

I’m happy to discuss ways that we prioritized and compromised to fit our wedding dreams into our budget. I’m so happy that we decided up front that saving for a house and paying off debt was more important than over the top spending for just one day. In fact.

Our Wedding Budget – In Detail

Wednesday, July 12th, 2006

Wedding Summary: We wanted a nice, relaxed outdoor wedding that shared our style and preferences with our friends and family. We agreed, early on, that we would spend $2,000 on a wedding for 75 people. We invited more than a 100 and we got a little more than 75 in person. We did everything ourselves — the invites, the decorations, the dress, the food (oh my), the shelters, etc.

Wedding Location: I sent “cold-call” letters to several farms in the area to see if they would be willing to host a wedding on their property. All we wanted was a plot of grass and a nice setting, nothing else was required of the land owners. Two people responded and we went with the second couple because they were so sweet and the place was amazing. The wedding was held at a fruit orchard, on the top of a hill, at the highest point in the county. It was beautiful. The owners did provide me a room to dress in their beautiful house and also mowed the grass in the field we used.

Wedding Materials: We borrowed three 20×20 shade structures from friends [photos below] — this saved us over $600 because we didn’t have to rent a tent and have it delivered and setup. We borrowed 12 tables from friends, rented 80 chairs, rented two porta-johns — one had a sink and was a total waste of money (it was my mom’s urging that made me get it). We bought bowls and serving utensils from Costco and bought all the plates, napkins, handi wipes, etc. that were used.

Wedding Decorations: I made table cloths out of butcher paper that the daughter and I decorated with stamps and hand written quotes. We bought 12 glass one-liter carafes for the iced teas and I decorated them with handmade labels and rafita ribbon. We bought a small helium tank and tied balloons to the shelter tie down straps. For favors – we bought mason jelly jars (canning jars) and glued a ribbon around the top and added a star made from polymer clay [photos below].

Wedding toys: We bought kites, frisbees, and other games for the kids to play with. Most went unused. We brought some of our board games and card games – Apples to Apples was very popular. The partner brought his juggling gear and it was used extensively by many people.

Food: This cost a lot more than I expected but it was yummy. Everything was made of fresh produce, except the chicken and pasta, and that meant a lot of veggies. I bought boxes of produce! Almost everything was from local farms and the Dutch farmers market. It was great to see all of the fruit and veggies around the house as we were cooking. We used Costco for the purchase of chicken and just a few other things. We also bought several pies from the local farmers market. However, I must say that if you are going to make all the food for your wedding – you need more than just one or two helpers. It was madness getting it all done — but we pulled it off anyways and got great compliments on it.

Clothing: I made my dress as a work of art. Pieces of fabric were arranged to give a nature scene on the dress and it needed lots of small cuts of fabric [photos below]. The partner bought his outfit at Mens Warehouse and it looked great. The daughter’s dress was made by my mother and looked beautiful.

Invitations; We made several test invitations and I really went overboard on buying stuff for them. This was the first thing we spent money on and was purchased before establishing a budget. We decided to exclude the invitations from the budget calculations, though I will include them now for a total amount and eliminate them upon final examination.

And now, for the money:

$300.00 – Location Rental
$200.00 – PortaJohn Rental
$176.00 – Chair Rental and Pick Up

$275.00 – Officiant Gratuity
$55.00 – Marriage License

$221.37 – Groom’s Attire
$234.20 – Bride’s Attire*

$287.00 – Invitations
$623.22 – Food
$150.00 – Supplies

$39.61 – Decorations
$63.55 – Favors
$73.00 – Pampering
$176.42 – Last Minute Purchases – supplies mostly
-$120.00 – unused items returned

$2754.37 TOTAL

This total exceeds the $2000 budget considerably, until we recognize that we did agree to exclude the invitations and dress from this total.

So, in our agreed upon budget – we spent $2233.17 just 233.17 over budget. Not bad for as beautiful of a wedding as it was.

Now, though I don’t know how “appropriate” it is to mention, we received many gifts of money, and they totaled more than our in-budget spending. I was floored, and a little embarrassed, by the amount given in gifts because I’ve never given money gifts like we have received. So, I suppose that in all, the wedding broke even, even though all of the financial gifts will be going right to savings or toward the house.

If anyone plans to do their own wedding, like we did, I’ve got all sorts of advice. Especially considering the food. I’m happy to share them with anyone willing to listen. And, as a conclusion, I’m so happy that it is all over and that it was a beautiful day.

Photos [added 04/08/07]:
Wedding Location Wedding Decoration and Favor Wedding Dress

As I mentioned, the shelters were borrowed; someone brought the balloons with them and they were a nice summer touch. The carafes for the iced tea were the sole decoration I really wanted, I’m so glad the partner convinced me to buy them. The little mason jar on the left were the glasses and they also served as the wedding favors. This is the best pictures of my dress that I’ve found so far. My mom also made herself a new outfit for the wedding and it looks fabulous in that picture.

The entire wedding was paid for in cash — nothing purchased on credit — we refuse to start our lives together going further into debt.

wedding costs check in

Monday, June 26th, 2006

I’ve added up everything I’ve spent on the wedding so far — $952.47. We agreed to spend $2,000, but I am pretty sure that we excluded the price of invitations and maybe even my dress.

The invitations have cost — $250.
This included a lot of prototyping and some generous purchases because of my fascination with crafting supplies. I know that we are excluding this from the wedding budget.

The dress has cost — $234.20
I’m pretty surprised about this being so high. It really is all the little things adding up. I’ve bought a lot of fabric that I won’t need due to the style of my dress. This also doesn’t include the money my mom spent on the dress. Due to the many uses I’ll have for the left over fabrics, this is also excluded from the wedding budget total. It is really just an elaborate costume that I’ve wanted to make for years — the wedding was just a good excuse to finally make it.

The two other big ticket items are the rental of chairs ($176) and the food ($170). I’m happy with the rental fee because we were originally looking at renting a tent which would have placed our rental fee closer to $1000. Being able to borrow shelters from friends is saving us a lot. The food is obviously going to be a high line item than what is listed right now. However, I had to pull out cash today to get the marriage license (despite being told on the phone that they take credit) and will apply the leftover cash to the food purchase since most farmers markets don’t take credit.

So, eliminating the dress and invitations from the budget, I’m at $468.27. Not bad.

Other costs that have been paid by the partner:
$300 site rental
$160 portajon rental — ouch!
$275 officiant gratuity — wow!
$200 groom’s attire

This was very informative to help me keep and eye on the ball. It looks like we just might meet the $2,000 limit pretty close (excluding invitations and dress) and hopefully stay within a few hundred dollars of it. I will be spending most of the remaining funds from the budget, since the partner has mostly be in charge of pre-established purchases and I’m actually hitting up the stores for the things we need. Having $500 of wiggle room, plus the $170 I’ve not actually spent on food yet, and it looks like we’re good to go. Yay!

trimming costs on wedding rings

Thursday, June 22nd, 2006

My honey is a metal worker, loves to make parts and bits from raw chunks of metal. Mostly it works out to new tool bits or something that the store either doesn’t have or he just doesn’t want to go and buy. We agreed pretty early that he’d make the wedding rings on the lathe. Last night he made a test ring and it turned out great.

To buy materials for the rings, he bought three nutes. Two were of a pretty high density metal and one was made of titanium. The plan was to have titanium wedding rings. We were talking about the precision needed to get two rings out of one nut and the risk of messing it up and not being able to do it. I laughed and asked why he didn’t just buy two titanium bolts. The response? “This nut cost fourteen dollar.” I love it. I responded that we could be buying premade rings and be paying $1400 or something ridiculous. I think with the other two nuts, the total cost for all three was about $34 or so. And I do understand that when you’re just buying a few nuts, that does sound ridiculous. However, when you’re making wedding rings, it feels a bit silly to worry about buying two high priced nuts.

Oh yeah, for clarity sake, I love the rings and the fact that we’ll have two wedding rings for $14 ($34 when you include the test materials). This is not so much about frugality, we’d spend more if either of us had an interest in “traditional” rings, but about getting what we want and seeing how it doesn’t have to cost a lot.

wedding mind control – spend, spend, spend

Tuesday, June 20th, 2006

This “simple” wedding seems to be trying to take on a life of it’s own — without my permission. Our invitations listed an invitation for to a “summer picnic celebration” because that was the primary goal with a wedding secondary. As we’re reaching the final two weeks of preparations — and honestly some of the only preparations — the wedding seems to be attempting to take center stage.

The reason I didn’t want a wedding focused day is because I’m not fond of all the traditional ceremonial and custom activities that happen at weddings. I didn’t want this to be one of those days. Yet, suddenly I was trying to come up with wedding decorations, wedding favors (gack — I really dislike useless trinkets that just bring clutter to people’s lives), and fancy flower arrangements. What happened to my summer picnic?

So, I’ve kicked myself and am moving back to the basics. Of course, this is after spending a bit on wedding decoration supplies. Honestly, though, many of the decoration supplies I purchased were long desired items for later crafting that I justified irresponsibly. Oh well, spilt milk. So, back to basics:

For the ceremony, we need a Joe Shmoe, something to wear (maybe I’ll actually finish my dress), rings (if chris finishes making them), and a few words to say.

For the picnic, we need basic food stuffs, somewhere for people to sit, tables to set food and plates on, and some casual entertainment for the kids.

What we don’t need: petty favors just because some people will expect them, elaborate table decorations (the orchard setting should be enough), food to excess, excess games and activities beyond what we already own, extensive shelter decorations (maybe just enough to add some visual softness).

I’m going to get better at making sure we bring what we already own and don’t spend money on extras just because we’re worried that we’re not doing enough for people. I want to constantly remind myself that this is an outdoor picnic, not some ridiculous gala affair and that it is my gift to make the food and the space inviting but not over the top.

The food palate is also getting a slight overhaul. I had some things in mind that sounded simple and affordable at the time, but it looks like I’ll need to switch to something 1. easier for us to make and 2. a little more cost effective. Our $2,000 cap on the wedding budget is getting a little too close for comfort and I want to be sure that I don’t try to outdo myself in terms of money, stress, effort, and time.

Darn weddings and their tendency to make people go over board just for a single day of their life. Yes, it is a very special day but what I want is time with friends and family, not time and money spent on things that are superficial and useless beyond that day.