Wedding on a Budget: Part II

In a previous blog post awhile back, I had written about how I was having a budget wedding. Well, it finally happened! I came in under budget but not by much. My budget was $5,000. I had wanted to originally make all of the food myself but nobody else thought that was a good idea. Looking back on the day, I now realize that that would have been a complete disaster. I hardly had time to get myself to the church, much less food to feed over 100 people!

Below is a chart of the different categories and what I ended up spending in each category:

Note that this does not include bridesmaid/groomsmen gifts or my engagement ring/wedding bands.

Wedding Costs
Category Cost % of Budget
Food $1,161 23.2%
Dress $891 17.8%
Photographer $450 9.0%
Tuxedos $424 8.5%
Flowers $275 5.5%
Venue $275 5.5%
Hair/Makeup $208 4.2%
Cake $200 4.0%
Other $193 3.9%
Stationary $174 3.5%
Decorations $42 0.8%
Total $4,295 85.9%
Remaining $705 14.1%


As with all weddings, food was the largest expense taking about 23% of the budget. To keep the costs down I decided to do appetizers instead of a full meal. I got a local catering company, who is also a florist, to do the food and she did a great job! It came out to be about $10/person for 5 different appetizers.


The alterations of my dress were about the same as the price of the dress. I’ve gotten many compliments of how great the dress was and how well it fit me so I guess the extra cost was worth it. If you ever watch “Say Yes to the Dress” you will know that spending $891 on the dress + alterations is very inexpensive. Still, my analytical self had to break down the cost per hour of wearing the dress which came out to $222 an hour.



I was very happy with the photographer and the pictures I have seen so far. As I mentioned in my previous post, instead of getting the usual “wedding package” which can be thousands of dollars, I negotiated with her and asked if I could just have an hourly rate instead which I thought was pretty reasonable for the quality of her photos.



The tuxedo expense went to pay for Mike’s and my dad’s tuxedo as well as $25 toward the 4 groomsmen’s tuxedos. I had never seen Mike in a tux before so it was worth the extra cost to have pictures of him being the most dressed up he’s ever been.


I was originally planning on making my own bouquet and flower arrangements but I had put it off so long I just decided to get a florist to do it. For the bridesmaid bouquets I bought pre-made bouquets from Michael’s craft store for $6 each. For my bouquet, centerpieces, and sanctuary arrangements I told the florist to make whatever looked nice. So, my first time seeing my bouquet or any of the other flowers was on the wedding day. The bouquet turned out better than I ever could have imagined. It looked like something from a wedding magazine!


The ceremony and reception were both held in a church so the only venue costs were donations to the church, organist, and pastor.

Hair and Makeup:

This is something I definitely splurged on but since it is a once in a lifetime day I figured it was worth it. Two days before the wedding I got a spray tan so that I wouldn’t blend in with my dress. The day before the wedding I got a trial run of my hair and makeup and then got pretty much the same hair and makeup again the next day. The hair and makeup went the same way as the flowers. I just told the people at the salon to do whatever looked good and everything exceeded my expectations!



The cake was the most delicious cake I had ever had. I got a local person who makes cakes as a side job to do it and she did such a great job. The entire cake was devoured except for the top piece that we kept to have on our 1st anniversary.

Mikey & Virginia's Wedding-97

Other, Stationary, Decorations

Since these three categories are so small I’ll just lump them together. “Other” was mainly random things I needed and I think also that plates, cups, and silverware were in this category. “Stationary” I got from vistaprint and dollar tree which are the two cheapest places to get invitations and thank you notes. “Decorations” were the least expensive category because my grandmother and her church friend decided that they wanted to do all of the decorating for the reception. My aunt and mom decorated the pews in the sanctuary. The reception decorations were great. I was a little worried at first because I would have no idea what it looked like until the wedding day but I had no need to be worried because they turned out perfect!


As you can see from my $4,300 wedding, a cheap but nice wedding is possible. The average cost of a wedding is now $35,000! I cannot imagine spending even close to that much on a few hours. The only thing that matters is that you are getting married which lasts a lifetime. All of the small details that nobody will remember don’t matter.

We didn’t buy a fancy cake cutting knife with a heart on it that would be thrown into a box never to be seen again. I just dug around in the church kitchen drawers and found something suitable.

We didn’t rent a fancy limo or a driver to drive us to the wedding. I drove myself to the church and then our “grand” exit was very impromptu. We had completely forgotten about an exit so one of the church women had brought bubbles and I got my uncle to drive around front and be waiting in his car while Mike and I ran through the bubbles. We had a drive around the block and then came right back into the church to help round up all our stuff and finish cleaning up.

After a year of being stressed about what I was going to do for the wedding and never really getting any planning done, I am so happy that everything turned out so perfectly. It couldn’t have been done without all the help I received from family and friends!


2 thoughts on “Wedding on a Budget: Part II

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