Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Budget Bride? Breaking It Down – Part Two

As promised, here’s our budget breakdown for a Southern California celebration with 80-100 guests, plus the money-saving tips I’ve picked up along the way.

Since we haven’t actually made some of these payments quite yet, the costs may be adjusted slightly higher or lower as we get closer to June. There may also be extra costs that we’re factoring in as needed, plus those that aren't exclusively wedding-related, like airfare back and forth to California. To avoid a math meltdown, I’ve rounded off some of the numbers, too. If you’re still working out your budget, I hope this info will give you some helpful hints!

Ceremony & Reception – Basic Costs
Church Fees: $650
Marriage License: $100
Reception Site & Food: $6,000
Cake: $500
Bar: $0
Couple's Transportation: $150

Total: $7,400

· While the cost for food at the reception may rise if we end up with 100 guests, instead of just 80, we got a fabulous discount by booking the wedding on a Friday.

· Since the catering is being handled onsite by the golf club, and we’re going with a Mexican buffet, the price per person is far less expensive.

· Instead of a limo, we’ll be renting a black car or van, which our best man will drive.

· As of right now, we’re planning to offer a cash bar, although we may decide to splurge on a signature sangria, which we’ll offer to guests free-of-charge and work into our budget accordingly.

· We’re saving $100 in church fees by asking one of my bridesmaids to be our cantor during the ceremony.

Photo & Video
Photography: $3,500
Videography: $1,000

Total: $4,500

· While we’re totally splurging on eight hours with an award-winning photographer, plus an album and a photomontage set to music, we were able to save big by hiring an up-and-coming videographer who is willing to give us eight hours for just $1,000. Sweet savings!

Cocktail Hour & Reception DJ: $1,200

Total: $1,200

· This price includes a great 10 percent Friday wedding discount.

Save-the-Dates: $50
Invitations & Envelopes: $80
Programs: $20
Escort Cards: $10
Thank You Notes: $50
Map/Direction/Hotel Cards: $20
Postage: $120

Total: $350

· Stationary is our most frugal area, where we’re taking the DIY route with everything but our save-the-dates, which we got on-the-cheap through Shutterfly. Family and friends have also been especially helpful in picking up California postcards for us to use as escort cards, with no added cost on our end.

Decorations & Favors
Favors: $150
Guestbook Photo Mat, Frame & Pens: $20
Wine Corks: $100
Table-Card Holders: $50
Cake Toppers: $45
Any Added Extras: $40

Total: $405

· We saved a bundle by buying standard wine corks and turning them into escort-card holders on our own. Stephen’s crafty family is also working on DIY pew bows for the ceremony, while my family is giving us custom flutes, as well as a knife and cake sever, as gifts.

Ceremony Decorations: $200
Bride's Bouquet: $100
Maid of Honor & Bridesmaids’ Bouquets: $315
Corsages: $50
Boutonnieres: $50
Reception Centerpieces & Decorations: $550
Delivery, Setup, Cleanup and Tax: $280

Total: $1,545

· Since our church already features a good amount of decoration, we’ll be sticking with just a couple ceremony floral arrangements. And instead of marking each pew with flowers, we’ll be using DIY bows.

Bride’s Attire (Including gown, alterations, headpiece, veil, shoes, lingerie, garter and jewelry): $1,100
Hair & Makeup: $500
Groom’s Tuxedo & Accessories: $0
Wedding Rings: $900

Total: $2,500

· As you can probably guess, I got an amazing deal on my gown! More to come about that soon…

· By renting the tuxes for our entire wedding party through Men’s Wearhouse, Stephen’s rental will be free. Check out their website to see whether your party is large enough for you to qualify for the deal.

Items for our wedding party, out-of-town guests and anniversary dance winners: $450

Total: $450

· To keep costs down on welcome gifts for out-of-town guests, we’re giving out See’s chocolate bars, a California classic. They’ll be wrapped with cute monogrammed stickers that one of my bridesmaids is designing.

Month-and-Day-Of Wedding Planner: $1,500
Wedding Night Hotel: $100
Dance Lessons: $200
Rehearsal Dinner: $0

Total: $1,800

· This category includes a couple splurges, including a wedding coordinator and dance lessons, but Stephen’s family has generously offered to host our rehearsal dinner.

· By staying at the hotel where we’ve reserved a block of rooms for out-of-towners, we got a great deal ourselves.

Grand Total: $20,150

In which areas are you scrimping or splurging, and what are your best money-saving tips?

(Photo Credits: Google Images)


  1. Wow, you have managed to get such great deals on everything! I think the only areas where I managed to get great deals so far were photography (using an amazing friendor who charges $75/hour plus free retouching/photoshopping), and flowers for the bridal party because we went with a small town florist. Great job so far! Can't wait to hear about your amazing deal on the dress!

  2. My budget breakdown is actually really similar to yours except our catering/booze cost is higher. We're saving by having my FMIL do our centerpieces, buying all our stationery items at Michaels and using family friends for day of coordination. Also, we got our room for our wedding night for free thanks to my mom's timeshare. Looks like you've done a great job with your budget!

  3. You are on top of your game with the details lady :) I think that sounds about right for a wedding of your size and location. It seems like every couple has areas where they really want to save and areas where they don't mind splurging :) Can't wait to hear about the dress.