I want to post my budget here because it's important to see that you can have a cheap Wedding (and not because all your friends are wedding vendors). At several points during the wedding planning, I went over the budget and SLASHED THE SHIT OUT OF IT! I did not want to spend a fortune on this motherfucker, so I didn't.
Shit I did:
Photography : I just could not justify paying for something I could do myself. All of the photography you see was created by me. I used a tripod and set that shit up on my own...OR I set the settings, composed everything, and had someone else push the button. I know not everyone can afford to do their own photography, but most of you probably can. However, I didn't want twelve thousand photos either. It's a preference thing, honestly. (free)
DJ : Set up my computer with a good playlist and didn't let anyone touch that shit. Shout out to Noah for bringing us a speaker. (free)
Bridesmaids : Bought their dresses and flowers and jewelry. Mostly kept the dresses under $20ea. except for one. Firing two bridesmaids upped the cost a bit. ($125)
Invitations : E-mailed those suckas!!! (free)
Flowers : Traded some housekeeping for flowers made out of recycled plastic bottles. Shout out to smART studio akron (free)
Some menu items : Made a SMORGASBORD of delicious vegan, veggie, and gluten free items for my guests! ($100)
Soda and beverages : Arranged for 96 bottles from NORKA Soda at their distributor price of $1 each. Bought sweet tea and lemonade from the grocery store for non-soda drinking guests. FORGOT to pick up non-sugar drinks. Received $20 from one bridesmaid to offset cost. (One bridesmaid made the necklaces, so didn't ask for $$ from her, one bridesmaid never paid up and I didn't want to track that shit down.) Thanks to Kendra for helping with beverages! ($100)
Pizza : We decided on Emidio's pizza in North Hill in Akron. Bought two sheet pizzas and three extra large pizzas which were all delivered to the venue. Total includes tip! ($120)
Dessert : I decided to order from Anne's Pastry for the desserts I didn't make. Donuts and cookies! ($40)
Tattoo : I place this under "wedding clothes" because I really, really, really wanted the tattoo to fill in some empty space for photos. It looked awesome. (Jesse Strother is the best!) I was always going to get this tattoo as a reward for completing college stuff, so I'm going to put 50% of it on the total wedding bill. ($350)
Hair : A good friend of mine did my pretty, pretty hair. I paid him $50, but he gave it back. (Now, if only I could find that envelope!) (free)
Rings : It took a lot of searching but we finally found a custom jeweler in Ohio who made us our beautiful rings. It was important to me to use conflict-free materials for our rings, which is hard to do when looking for claddaghs. Lots of jewelers don't make them and a handful of jewelers make them at a very high cost. Luckily for us, I saw Kristin Ellis at a craft show and she was equal to the task. We're so happy with our rings! ($500)
Shit Adam did:
Officiant : Adam had a friend who is VERY good. I think Adam thought he'd do it for free, but I insisted that EVERYONE gets paid. He does actually have a regular going rate, but he was cool with our budget. (I would've paid him his full rate, if necessary. I'm not trying to nickel and dime people who helped my wedding happen.) However, we wrote the ceremony from an old ceremony Adam likes and some readings I like. ($100)
License Because legal. ($50)
Venue : I'll say it again as I've ALWAYS said it; GET MARRIED IN A PARK! NO, you can't have booze (which will double your budget anyway) but also, no decorations needed and shit is cheap! We could've been there from 10a-10p if we had wanted. We chose the Ledges Shelter in the Cuyahoga Valley National Park! ($110)
Wedding Dress : I just happened to spot my in the window of Atomic Bombshells when I was in Omaha. Adam paid for it because I hadn't anticipated finding a dress while in Omaha. I mean, I wasn't even shopping!!! ($130)
Custom suit : Adam always wanted a bespoke suit and we found a great place in Akron that made his for a super great price. We cannot say enough good things about Cindy and Justus at Savile Lane in Akron. They respected our budget and gave Adam a beautiful suit!!! ($800)
Other Shit :
Utensils and table cloths : It was important to me not to create trash, if possible. Mom and I collected vintage sheets for tablecloths at the wedding, plates from the thrift store, and bought silverware instead of using plastic. We did have to hit up the dollar store for plastic cups and bowls, which we donated to Goodwill after the wedding (as well as returning unused plates and utensils). We bought some paper plates because we thought we wouldn't have enough plates, but we did have enough in the end. We did buy paper napkins. I still feel good about not producing a ton of trash. We filled one garbage can and that's it. ($120)
We received help along the way. We received some cash from family members that really made this all come together in the end. Without the help, we might've had to cut other things. Most especially, the cash came right as I was having my tattoo done and we were super broke. Without that help, I wouldn't have been able to have the tattoo which I think brought my entire vision together. Thank you to those family members who gave us cash! (We also used the cash to buy cat food, which meant mom didn't have to float us for the cat food and therefore, we weren't in debt to her at the time of the wedding.)
Wedding Grand Total : 2645.00
When you consider the average cost of weddings, our wedding was super cheap. But some people might think $2600.00 is too much for a party, and I wouldn't be able to argue with them very much. Adam and I really wanted to look nice, so our clothing definitely put us over the top. If my bridesmaids had bought their own shit and if my plan to make my dress worked out and if I didn't want a tattoo and if Adam had worn something he already owned (which would've looked very nice), we could've cut our wedding budget almost in half. $1600.00 for a wedding is really, really, really cheap...but we splurged where we wanted and I am really fucking happy to have thrown a wedding for well under $5000.00 and even under $3000.00. We can use the money we would've spent on our wedding doing something even more fun than a party, like traveling to Europe!!!
Most of the stuff that people spend money on for a wedding is just unnecessary. And trust me when I tell you that all the gifts and presents and centerpieces and flowers end up in the trash. I can't see spending money on garbage. The park gave us a beautiful backdrop, not that I ever would've paid for centerpieces anyway. If I could've justified spending money on live music, I might have, but I really liked that I put it together myself. Some halls are pretty damn ugly and I appreciate the light shows djs provide, but an old stone shelter in a park had enough beauty on its own. Wedding dresses are ridiculously overpriced, and I suggest checking out prom sites and quinceañera site for less expensive white dresses. Food is almost always overprice too when you consider that Chipotle (my first choice until I decided to keep slashing the budget) and Boston Market as well as other food chains will cater anything, including a wedding.
The bottom line is : weddings cost a ton because we allow them too, and I just wasn't interested in that.