Potential Wedding Budget

Okay, I have an issue.  It’s not a “huge” issue but it’s an issue.  We decided to plan this wedding like we are paying for it ourselves because that’s our goal.  We don’t want to go into debt and any help, while nice, shouldn’t be needed or planned on in order to make it work, right? I might be one of the most unromantic people on the face of the earth (seriously, for Valentine’s Day, after the nifty steak dinner my guy made for me, I watched a bunch of scary movies while he played his battlefield 3 game.  I believe that we spent $25 on each other or we donated it to our wedding fund….) so to me, I want to celebrate our marriage with as little fuss as I can get away with short of eloping.  I actually want the chapel and the wedding cake.  He wants the honeymoon and the chapel.  So obviously, we’re doing all those things.

The issue comes into play when we have the wants and needs balanced up (along with my best guesstimates) and look at that total compared with what our projected savings are.  We’re only about $1k short and I haven’t even added in some things!  We do have money saved every single paycheck and after a date in September (a show he wants to go to), we’re cutting back our dates to add in more money to this fund.  I do have the budget planned out but haven’t included tax refunds or bonuses.


So let’s break it down shall we?


He needs a suit and needed shoes.  I needed a dress and shoes.  Not to mention I still need a dress for after the fact but I’ll be buying that with my personal money as I don’t NEED it, really I just don’t want to be in the wedding dress for all that long. He does have a suit that could possibly work.  He had it high school and it is just a little too tight now but with Insanity, he might be able to wear it again.  We may just have to get it altered and dry cleaned.  His shoes we bought for him are going to double as work shoes as well so it was a good buy. We will already have to make alterations to my dress and dry clean it but the dry cleaning estimate is for both outfits. (And as I’ve never had anything dry cleaned I could be WAY off base)


Obviously we need a license to get married and I’ve already picked out our chapel.  Okay, future mil showed it to me but I fell in love.  With that money, I’ve got the highest package which consists of: dressing room for me, toasting ceremony, video, photos (40), 1 hour time (it shouldn’t take longer), and a memory book.   Plus, $50 is already down.

The reception will most likely be held at a park and in order to reserve a pavilion, I’ll have to spend that $310.  But with the food and heat, we’ll need it.  And it’s still a lot cheaper to reserve the park rather than any other place we can hold it.  Originally I thought my back yard but that won’t work—it’s not big enough and I’ll be moving somewhere.   I will get half of that back though.

The food itself? Well, we’ve gone back and forth on getting it catered, supplying it ourselves a la bbq style or getting sandwich platters. The estimated is the catering price for a chicken restaurant for 100 people (I think).   And I probably won’t really need that right?

The cake? Well, that was my splurge.  As noted, I already have $50 down on it and $25 will be coming back.


I’ve never had my hair professionally colored and the last time it was styled was for junior year prom.  I’m allowed to splurge right? And this might actually come out of my personal money—I haven’t decided  yet.  Same for the mani/pedi—it’s something I really want but not necessary so it might come out of personal money.


Invitations are getting done by my supervisor for cost of materials.  It could be higher or lower-I’m not entirely sure. And flowers, well, I’m trying for simple and really don’t want to spend a ton on it.  Hydrangeas for my bouquet and we’ll see after that-I know the bridesmaids need them as well.


He needs a wedding band but that should only be about $50 or so.  We’ve priced them out so I’m fairly comfortable with that estimate.  As for me, I’ve estimated the $200 but I don’t know if I’m going to have one.  I have my engagement ring and am good with that so I’m leaning towards no other ring.


$4000 is the absolute limit for everything.  We thought about Jamaica but it will be in rainy season.  Hawaii was a tad out of our range so we’ve kind of kicking around Las Vegas.   This would include flights, hotel stay, food and spending money. Cheaper is better but we want to have fun.

Other things not in the budget but wanted:

Gifts for bridesmaids/groomsmen:  I have no idea what to get anyone yet.

Breakfast: No rehearsal dinner so we’ve been thinking about him taking the guys out (groomsmen, siblings and both our dads, plus my nephews) and me taking out the girls (bridesmaids, mil, dad’s and brother’s girlfriends) for a nice breakfast before the getting ready has to start. Or we could just take everyone out to dinner the night before together.

Mass transport of guests/wedding party: The chapel we chose is in the middle of nowhere and is hard to find.  Either we want everyone to meet at central location and leave together or we’ve been thinking about doing limos out there and back.  Right now it is probably not in the cards but that means I’ll worry about this for a while.

Notice no decorations? I don’t have to decorate church and couldn’t think what I’d decorate at the park.  But I’m thinking of bubbles for children or a football/Frisbee.

Reception photos: I kind of want this but I just might not worry about it.  Not everyone will be able to go to the wedding (it’s very limited seating) so that’s the reasoning behind wanting it but I might just stick with grabbing a digital camera and snapping like crazy.

Any thoughts or ideas? Did I leave anything out?


34 Comments on “Potential Wedding Budget”

  1. mycanuckbuck says:

    That seems pretty good. You’re a girl after my own heart – I broke down all my wedding stuff. You can definitely do Vegas (and have a great time!) for less than 4 grand if you need to cut money from somewhere. For cheap decorations (if you do end up wanting any), go dollar store, borrow, or reuse anything from the ceremony.

    • bogofdebt says:

      I don’t think I’ll want to do the decorations at the ceremony but if I do, I am going to the dollar store-lots of good stuff to be found there 🙂 And we aren’t booking the honeymoon yet as they don’t have their specials/packages out 😦 As soon as they do I’ll put a more realistic number in there but I didn’t want to drastically underestimate it you know?

  2. So weird! My fiancée and I sat down on Thursday and made our own wedding budget. I think you’ve remembered everything, and you’ve also reminded me of a few things I’ve forgotten. One thing I noticed you’ve forgotten is party favours, but that’s optional so I wouldn’t worry about it.

  3. Vegas would be awesome! You will have SO MUCH FUN!!!!!
    Maybe not so much romance though but you could make it romantic if you tried! =)

    • bogofdebt says:

      Thanks 🙂 And we mostly want to go to shows and do a little gambiling. We’re not huge gamblers so that’s a good thing. But I remember having a lot of fun when I want before I was 21 (and with my baby face, it wasn’t worth trying to lie about my age all that much).

  4. The food estimate seems low for 100 people. We eloped, but then had a belated reception/housewarming for about 30 guests at our house, and the catering was the biggest expense. $600 for a mix of steak, seafood, and chicken meals for 30 people. I know the steak and seafood increased the average price over just chicken, but thought it’d be worth double checking especially since you don’t have drinks listed as a budget item. Even soda for 100 people adds up, not to mention if you’re having wine or champagne as well.

    • bogofdebt says:

      Yeah I kind of forgot about people needing drinks 😉 But I have a notion to supplement this with our food budget as we won’t need as much (we get paid a day before the wedding and will than be leaving a day later for a week) that time period. I need to start calling around to the other places that we were going to talk with (the sandwich idea would be coming from a local grocery store but has yummy Boar’s Head Cheese/Bread/Meat) to get a better estimate. Thanks for the reminder!

  5. queenlbee says:

    I don’t think party favors are that important. My BFF had a “candy bar” at her wedding and people got to put whatever candy they wanted in paper bags. Cheap and FUN!

  6. Definitely need to factor in drinks here – at our wedding, we spent $900 on beer, wine, and non-alcoholic drinks to serve 75 people. If you’re serving alcohol, you might need to get a license which takes time and costs money. For food, especially if you are having a fairly relaxed reception in a park, I would consider making it a potluck. Ours worked out wonderfully and we saved a ton of money by doing it. Here was our wedding budget at the end of the day:

    • bogofdebt says:

      I’ve thought about doing it potluck style but I’m unsure if the people I’m asking to attend will actually bring anything–not out of malice but out of most of them live a hour or so away and others are kind of flakey. I’ve asked around and the people who know the other people kind of laughed when I suggested potluck style. Not a good sign.
      I don’t think I’m going to be serving a lot of a alcohol to people-partly because it would be in a park. We may have a few things of beer but mainly I’m going with soda/water/tea/koolaide type things.

      • earthandmoney says:

        Not serving alcohol will definitely bring down the drink costs. For the potluck, if you have a lot of out of town guests, that may be an issue. We only had a limited number of people coming in from out of town, but even those who did brought something. There are lots of foods that can be served at room temperature and don’t need to be refrigerated (i.e. breads, salads, etc.). We definitely had some people scoff at our potluck idea but we did it anyways 😀

      • bogofdebt says:

        If I was doing this with mostly in town guests, I’d do that but most of them live out of town (if not states away).

  7. AmazonV says:

    1) purchase flowers online and have everyone arrange them themselves – get fat ribbon at craft store, each person gets some flowers, wraps stems in ribbon = bouquet

    2) buy disposable camera and give them out and have everyone take photos at reception? and lots of folks have digis so email everyone after asking for copies?

    3) keep an eye on vegas packages on travel sites may need to go a few days after wedding but will be worth it! also sign up for hotel reward clubs now online to get emails about deals

    4) if you think people would help cook a wholesale club for bbq stuff might work – but getting platters might work better

    5) decorations are silly

    6) bubbles! and or other dollar store entertainment = awesome

    7) i suggest dinner not breakfast, give yourself as much time as possible the morning of “in case”

    • AmazonV says:

      oh vegas
      has lots of animals! and pools! and other free or cheap things- check all the hotel websites etc there are dolphins, tigers, flamingos, tons of shows! I spent 9 days in vegas for….2k? maybe 3

    • bogofdebt says:

      We are definitely going to be arranging oursleves and I was thinking about the camera idea. (Great minds obviously think alike) And I’m leaning toward the platter idea–I don’t want to have to depend on anyone else wanting/being okay with cooking and I’m not sure if we’re going to be able to cook what with people we haven’t seen in a while being there.

  8. I think Vegas is a great idea — you could stay at the Venetian and pretend you’re in Italy. 🙂

  9. Looks like a bunch for the honeymoon! That’s a great place to be a little on the high side!!

  10. seedebtrun says:

    honestly, your costs are very/very low… which is a great thing.. we did our wedding very frugally as well (10 years ago).. Keeping it under 5k without the honeymoon is a serious accomplishment..

    but do take the honeymoon.. that is the best part! going to the caribbean?


    • bogofdebt says:

      Jamaica or Vegas are the leading contenders right now. And I don’t want to spend a lot of money on all the fuss–the honeymoon and cake were the important parts.

  11. IdaBaker says:

    When my daughter recently got married, she and her new husband waited for over 2 months to take their honeymoon so they would both have vacation time. Plus, they spent the time bike riding for a week on a nationally known bike trail, stayed at local bed and breakfast, and had a marvelous time.

    Each wedding expense is all a matter of taste. 🙂

  12. Girl, you’re budget puts mine to shame! I think you’re being smart though spending the money where it matters: the honeymoon. That’s what my parents have always told me, make sure to spend the money on your honeymoon not the wedding (they never had a honeymoon). Personally I would suggest getting a photographer only because you will cherish those photos forever. Maybe check out some photography schools and see if one of their top students would do it for cheap? Photographers can be super expensive (we’re paying close to $2000 for ours) but again I know it’s an investment because we’ll get to show our kids these photos one day, and my parents never really had any photos of their wedding and they definitely regret it.

    • bogofdebt says:

      I’m going to have a lot of the family pictures done at the wedding professionaly by the couple who run the place so I’m happy with that. I’m just not sure about the reception–part of me kind of wants it and the other part is stressed about the money lol. Basically it’s going to come down to how much things will cost and if I have leftover money.

  13. momtog says:

    Photography is definitely not a place you want to skimp. There is a huge difference in the quality of a photos taken by a professional and photos taken by Uncle Bob. Disposables and cellphone pics are not going to give you the quality necessary to make a good print.

    • bogofdebt says:

      That’s the part that is pulling at me–I want the good quality ones but as I’m getting them at the wedding itself, am unsure if I want to go ahead and do the reception.

  14. […] Potential Wedding Budget by Bog of Debt […]

  15. Weddings can be so time consuming and costly… I watched my siblings do it all. I’m glad Mrs.CBB was not into the big wedding theme as I wasn’t either. We opted for a quiet ceremony followed by a nice dinner and road trip all for under $1000.00. This included flowers, dress, photos, dinner, cake, gifts for everyone, minister, licence.. and I’m sure other things… lol. I don’t envy you planning a wedding but I’m sure you will come out on top and it will be lovely. Cheers Mr.CBB

    • bogofdebt says:

      Thank you 🙂 And I’ve been finding out (as most people hear weddings and want to share their stories which I really don’t mind at all) how much people have spent on theirs or are going to be spending. I’m fairly cheap I guess (I don’t think so but I guess it’s because it’s my money) but a lot are saying they had a lot of help either from parents or loans. I couldn’t imagine taking out a loan for my wedding…

  16. […] Of Debt does something daring and posts her Potential Wedding Budget. […]

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