img_1712

 

If you read any wedding magazine you will think your dream wedding will be impossible.  That’s because the average wedding can run upwards of $25,000.00!!!  Seeing this has you questioning how you can your dream become a reality.  I know for certain I couldn’t afford a $25,000.00 wedding nor did I want a wedding that expensive.

To have your dream wedding you have to make smart choices.  I was married in March 2015, in what I consider my dream wedding.  We had great food, music, and the most delicious cake EVER!!!  We had all that for $7,116.00. And we paid cash!!

I’m proof that you don’t need to go into debt to get married. You also don’t need to spend an exuberant amount or stress your family out to do so.  Think about all the things you could do with $25,000:

  • Down payment for a house
  • Pay off student loans
  • Take your dream honeymoon (post to come on how we took our dream honeymoon for less than a $1000.)
  • Start your business.

So how did I get married for less than $10,000?  One of the best decisions we made was to hire a professional wedding coordinator.  We (and when I say us, I mean my lovely sister) searched the internet and found two coordinators.  We met with both to determine which would fit best in our budget.  While I loved the second coordinator, I knew the decor would be limited.  I knewt it would be nice but it wouldn’t be as lush as I wanted.  We ended up going with the first coordinator and she did not disappoint.  Between the coordinator and my sister, I didn’t have to really do anything.  Her contract was all inclusive (food, cake, real flower, décor, and clean up).  All I had to do is pick the colors and taste the food and cake.  Don’t misunderstand, I did see the design my sister was coming up with but I trusted her enough to create something that would be beautiful.  Let’s get started.

Budget: The most important rule is to set and stick to a budget. Too many couples skip this step and end up spending and excessive and unnecessary amount of money because they did not create a budget.  We decided on $7,000.  My parents did give a little over $1000.00 which I used towards alterations, his ring, wedding party, gifts etc.  So I should say my husband and I paid $6000 from our pockets.

Location is Key: Traditional wedding venues can be ridiculously expensive.  Choosing the right location is the key to your budget.  Before you start dreaming about that country club remember that a small budget can only go so far.  If you have small budget, don’t go and look at places you know you can’t afford. You are setting yourself up for disappointment. Look at less expensive options and consider the bones of the room.  The wedding venue I initially wanted was a little over $1000.   I wanted it for the scenery but hated the carpet.  I never wanted to get married at our church because our sanctuary is so big it swallows everything up.    My sister suggested we get married and have our reception in our fellowship hall.  I was skeptical at first but she promised she would transform the place. She did not disappoint.img_3594

Price: $400.00.

The Dress:  I had dreams of a modest, sleek, and simple dress with three quarter sleeves.  I wanted something that didn’t need “fixing.”  I quickly realized that would be costly.  Once I put that dream to the side my sister and I began the hunt for the perfect and budget friendly dress.  My budget was $800 and not a penny more.  After being unimpressed with dresses at the first shop we headed to David’s Bridal.  While there we stumbled upon a pink Vera Wang dress. Although I would have to make it modest, I loved the dress.  Of course it wasn’t in my budget.  My fathered offered to help me pay for the dress but I couldn’t stomach paying over $1000.00 for a dress I would only spend a few hours in. I loved it so much I was considering having an online vendor make a replica of it but was too nervous to move forward.  It just so happens that my co-worker got married one year prior. She asked me if I wanted to try on her dress. I had nothing to lose and accepted her offer.  The rest was history! I only had to pay for alterations and fabric to get a modest piece added to the dress.

img_3430

 

Price:  $150.00

Shoes:  I found the cutest shoes at DSW. Thankfully they were on clearance because I only wore them while I was getting ready.  I ended up walking down the aisle in pink flats.

Price: $11.00

img_3418

Ready for the Camera:  Most wedding magazines tell you not to skimp on your photographer. While I agree somewhat, I didn’t have $3000 to spend.  Thankfully we have a good in-house photographer at church who took some nice and artistic shots.  If you can’t afford an expensive photographer, look for a photographer who is looking to build their portfolio.  You still need to look at their work but it’s a great place to start.  Also consider photography major.  You’d be surprised at the quality of pictures they can offer.

Price: $500 (she offered me a discount because I referred a friend who got married 2 weeks prior).

Bon Appétit:  Although my food was included in the price , we still got to pick the menu. My coordinator sent us to several caterers.  We selected a scrumptious menu of pork tenderloin, chicken marsala, green beans, salad, rice (white and brown), and black beans (long story).  Our appetizers were basic fruit and veggies (another long story). Our cake was made by one of the best pastry chefs in Tampa.  He was featured on food network and in numerous magazines.  We chose red velvet, carrot cake, and almond Crème Brule stuffed with fresh strawberries. Look for caterers that offer all in one packages. This can prove to be cheaper versus choosing an a la carte menu.

img_3616

Accentuate the positive:  I never thought I would have so many flowers at my wedding.  I don’t have to have flowers like everyone else and I thought it would be too costly but I got fresh roses and hydrangeas for my centerpieces.  She decorated the venue with beautiful candelabras’ (which I knew I couldn’t afford), beautiful pewter table clothes, sashes,  chiavari chars and pink sashes for my chairs.  My sister had the creative freedom to do what she does best.  She designed the perfect layout for the ceremony and reception.  The tables were filled with personalized napkin holders, charges, and more. Most importantly I had low lights to bring a soft and romantic glow into the reception area.  It was more than I could have ever dreamed.

img_1708

Coordinator, décor, catering, servers, clean up, and flowers: $6000.00. I took care of my sister later.  She did it as a gift to me but I wanted to let her know her hard work didn’t go unnoticed.

Ring around the Rosie:  I honestly don’t know how much my husband paid for my ring because he paid for it before we set a budget.  I know he’s modest so I’m comfortable with knowing he was mindful of his budget as well as my taste.  With that said, I knew he wouldn’t care about a diamond crusted band. His favorite color is blue so I wanted to incorporate that into his band.  I found a Tungsten ring with his favorite shade of blue.  Be smart about ring choices and only look at rings in your budget.  You aren’t shopping for show and tell; you are shopping for something meaningful.

Price: $25.00 (found it on clearance).img_3828

Stationary:  It’s great to have multi-talented people in your life. I had personalized invitations, programs, monogram, etc gifted by my lovely sister.

Music:  We gave my husband’s friend a play list and he placed some nice mellow music in the background.

Price: Free.

Bridal Party Gifts:  Thankfully my husband and his friends are very simple.  They wanted colorful socks.  But me on the other hand, I wanted my girls to be taken care of.  I wanted to include our colors in their gifts.  I found gray overnight bags on sale at Joanne Fabrics.  I also found shirts there for a good deal. My sister personalized the bags and shirts with their names.  My maid of honor purchased products from Bath and Body Works to stuff them with.

Price: $30.00

img_1734Honeymoon:  We didn’t include this in our budget because I knew I could find a great last minute deal. Stay tuned next when I show you how we had a dream honeymoon for less than $1000!

Total Cost of Wedding: $7,116.00. We did go a little over but it was worth it. We were able to pull off this elegant wedding because we kept the guest list small. I wanted to invite 50 people but he told me I was being unrealistic.   We had 90 people on our guest list and received a little over 60 RSVP’s. We did not allow last minute RSVP’s to keep the price set. No exceptions! You don’t have to have $25000 to have a lavish wedding. You just have think outside the box and most importantly stick to a budget!

My $7000 Luxury Wedding was seen first on Hobbies and Cents.

Rho'Nesha