How are people having "great weddings" for under 5K?

Is this simply a matter of location? Because I cannot, for the life of me figure out how to make my wedding reception cost less then 7 grand - but we are having it 90 minutes north of New York City. We researched literally every venue location in the area and couldnt find anything cheaper. We even cut our guest list down to 75.

Now, I know that everyone is going to suggest a park or a backyard...but this requires rentals. Tables/tents/silverware/porta potties etc. We did the math on all of this and found that it would cost nearly the same if not more, unless we cooked our own food (which won't really work being that we'll be kind of busy that day).

Am I missing something? Is everyone who's having an affordable wedding having a "pot luck" (which, by the way, is not something we're willing to even consider). I'm being completely serious here, I would love to save money if it's possible.

Thank you!

17 Answers

  • 1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    I really think it's a matter of location. I'm in a smaller town in NW Ohio and my budget is $5000 for 200-250 guests. (265 actually will be invited, but my future hubby and his mom think that close to 45-50 of those people won't be able to make it just because they're older/busy/VERY far away.) There are a few things my budget DOESN'T include, though. My dress, accessories, and shoes are being covered by my mom. She never got her dream wedding dress, and wanted to make sure I do. Also, my future hubby is covering beer/booze/soda/mixers for the reception, the rehearsal dinner, and of course, the honeymoon.

    My reception hall is $475 (it's a hall owned by the local park district, that's why it's so cheap. also it's JUST the hall- no catering or any other options included). It does include tables and chairs, so I don't have to worry about that. I could have gotten a place that had everything included (food, beer, booze, etc), but honestly, by the time I'd have gotten food and even just beer for my guests at that place, I'd have been over budget. And that didn't include the amount of money for the church/organist, no decorations, guest book, unity candle, or anything. And to tell you the truth, I like the hall I've got better. It's newer, decorated more in my fiance and I's tastes (we are, what you could say, "country bumpkins" redneck/camo themed wedding or anything, but the hall is out in the country in almost the middle of nowhere, and that fits us totally), and just totally perfect for us. Also, it's not as ritzy as the other place.

    We're doing the food ourselves (well, we're "hiring" friends to do it, but you know what I mean...). Caterers in our area are a MAX of $15 a head, with the avg price being about $8. BUT, we don't care for the caterers around here (their food tastes like cardboard) and are therefore hitting GFS and having a friend roast a hog (something ALOT of our guests enjoy, and practically expect coming from us). By the time all's said and done, I'll have food for an estimated 250 guests for less than $4 a head. And that's including what we're paying our friends to set it up.

    Max for a photographer in my area is $1800 (not sure what all that includes, though- never checked him out) but mine is going to be $1200 and I get alot of "stuff" plus GREAT coverage. There's going to be 2 photogs there for the ceremony and reception. One does the more posed shots, while the other one does the detail shots. One is male, one is female, so I will be letting the girl in the room while I'm getting dressed, so she can get those types of shots. There's also another girl (for just the posed portraits before and after the ceremony) to make sure necklaces are straight, bra straps aren't showing, guys' pockets aren't inside out, etc....

    Honestly, you're probably looking at the prices I've given you for my vendors and thinking, "I'm ready to move to Ohio." lol. OK, maybe I really do agree with you and think it's all in where you're located. My town is about an hour south of Toledo, OH, and to tell you the truth, I seriously doubt that I'd even get these prices in Toledo (which is NOWHERE near as big as I'm sorry I don't have many tips for you. I'm doing my invitations myself on the computer, along with my Save The Date magnets, programs, and thank you cards. I totally lucked out on my cake baker. She's one of those ladies who does it out of her home (no like that), and doesn't do it very often unless it's for a friend or a friend of a friend. I happen to be a friend of a friend, so I lucked out and am getting a baker who will do a castle cake (yes, I'm having a Cinderella theme) for just $1.25 a slice. (Good luck finding that ANYWHERE in NY state!! lol.) As far as my flowers, both my fiance and I have BAD allergies, as do most of our families, so we're going with silks. It actually works out for me better...I LOVE peace roses and was able to find silk versions that look amazingly real. Florists in my area don't even know WHAT a peace rose is, much less carry them!

    Like I said before, sorry I couldn't give you more tips, but hope that I was able to confirm your suspicions about location having more to do with it than everyone thinks. (Trust me, guys, IT DOES!!!) Congrats, and happy planning!!

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  • boat
    Lv 4
    1 decade ago

    Well, depends on how extravegant you want it. You can find a church in up-state NY for either free, or very cheap. I don't know if you have a particular person in mind to perform the wedding, or if any preacher will suffice. Most preachers won't ask for much for a wedding (probably nothing if you are a member of the church). This is of course in up-state NY. By that I mean the small towns and such. After that you could "hire" friends, or even small time catering services to do the catering. Of course, something like that would probably involve fold-up chairs and tables, so not so fancy. I don't really know what your exact requirements are, but under 5k could be done with some sacrifices. If you're not willing to make all those sacrifices (which is COMPLETELY understadable, it is YOUR WEDDING), then you will have to pay for it. Sorry I couldn't be more help.

    P.S. A small church will easily accomodate 75 people, both sitting and lavatory wise, that is if you have the reception there, or close by. Also, any church will have a piano player that will be willing to play for a small fee, (or for free) unless you want a full band.

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  • Our wedding for 500 people cost $6500. Some things are really expensive, such as alcohol, catering, a live band, the venue etc. We left out all those things, which I think helped the most. We had just a piano player, the wedding was outside in a friend's backyard, and a friend did the meal for a discounted price. We had no outside vendors, because friends offered their talents for discounted prices. All of my friends have had great weddings for less than 10k, and all of them have had at least 200 people in attendance. We did have to rent tables, chairs, porta potty etc, but we got them down to pretty cheap. It can definitely be done. I know one friend had her wedding for about $2600. It was beautiful. Where there's a will, there's a way. :) Good luck!

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  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    It's all relative.

    In the Tri-State area, it's INCREDIBLY difficult to have a wedding for under $5K unless it's in your backyard with very few people and it's pot luck--something which won't really be considered if you're from NY.

    Oftentimes, those having $5K weddings aren't from the same area and are from areas where cost of living is significantly less than NY's (or even CA and most of the coastal areas). So, I wouldn't even try to compare costs in that way.

    Don't worry though--you're doing great. Being from NY, I know how high the prices can get when planning a wedding so what you're spending so far is phenomenal and way below what the norm would be for the NY, NJ and CT area.

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  • Mine cost 2, was a simple very immediate family wedding for two 50 somethings having a second go at marriage.....we got married inside a beautiful gazebo on the grounds of town hall by the town judge, then had a simple home reception at my sisters ( we supplied the food & drink). We had a cold buffet style luncheon-I made all the salads, ordered all the platters & fixings from a local deli/bakery, bought the beverages, crunchies and dips, my one daughter who learned cake decorating in my bakery made the cake. We sat, laughed, ate , talked and had a nice laid back evening...started the reception at 2 pm & it didn't break up til well after midnight...

    We had a total of 20 people.

    I am counting the judge's fee, the marriage license fee, my

    new outfit and the wedding rings in the total along with what my husband paid for a two night stay at a local hotel (we spent the rest of our honeymoon week at my former house just doing and going wherever we wanted to including spending a day in NYC.)...and all the food & beverages we had at the reception.

    I lived in the lower Hudson River Valley, Orange county, NY at the time.

    It can be concentrate on the food & the kind of evening you & your guests will have and less so on a 'look'.

    *note-if the town of Salisbury Mills next to Washingtonville is a possibility, the firehouse has a new, beautiful hall they rent out, my neice had her bridal shower there...they even have a huge commerical style kitchen that is to die for...consider renting that and having it catered, check out the local grocery stores there (Price Shopper, Shop Rite, and Hannaford for party platters from their deli, bakery, and produce departments...even their cakes are surprisingly good.....there's a Party Stop in Vails Gate and the strip mall in Washingtonville where the Stop & Shop is has a liquor store, and down the road is the wonderful Brotherhood Winery, all within 20 minutes of each other....the area is very picturesque as well....good luck.

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  • 1 decade ago

    Not casting aspersions upon what you desire, I understand that many people look forward to a big extravagant wedding, but here is a different perspective on it.

    The extravagant weddings of modern times are the result of advertising agencies manipulating people into trying to emulate 'royal weddings' so they could sell more stuff. This happened around the same time that the diamond industry manipulated people into thinking that a man 'had' to spend 3 months salary on a rock for an engagement ring. If you want pomp and pageantry for your wedding you will have to pay for it, there is no way to save money on wedding frill except for not having the frills.

    My wife and I were married in the park across the street from our house, $100 for the permit, $100 for the justice of the piece to notarize the ceremony, $100 gift for the High Priestess (which she just put into church funds), and $300 for food and drinks. Her mom baked the cake, and a friend make her dress for her.

    We had an awesome wedding with over 200 people attending on a nice sunny day, and the reception went until 5AM. First at our house, then we went on a pub crawl through all the places that we had been dating in for the past few years, then back to our house. It was a day of love, laughter and fun, and we didn't have to worry about paying off the wedding bills for years after.

    The wedding is about love and commitment, if you have that everything else is just pointless decoration.

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  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    It may be that having it at a traditional venue will simply cost more (and for your area, I think you're doing spectacularly well). You might try some off-the-wall venues, like museums, libraries, etc. They usually have a low fee to rent the place, and if you find an inexpensive caterer and rental place, it might work out to less.

    You can cut costs by having sturdy disposable plates instead of china, cutting out favors, having fewer flowers, etc, and the money does really add up when you do that. But honestly it's not going to be $2,000 worth of savings. I think for your area, $7,000 is fantastic. That's about what we're spending in Louisville, and we're getting a lot of deals because it's a winter wedding. Granted, we're having a band, caterer, great photographer, etc, but still. You're doing great. A good place for ideas (and for supportive people, unlike those here on yahoo who will be really nasty when you're just asking for advice) is Offbeat Bride Tribe. They are very helpful and very accepting, regardless of the type of wedding you're having. Good luck!

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  • Anne
    Lv 5
    1 decade ago

    Part of it is probably regional and also what kind of venue you want. I live in Texas and we got married in a baptist church and had a low key reception in the fellowship hall. The church charged us $800 total to use their facilities and let us use tables and chairs for free, only charged us $50 for linens which we got back when we laundered the linens for them.

    I know things in the NE are much more pricey. We also had an afternoon reception and catered in heavy appetizers and the church didn't allow drinking or dancing so that saved us money too. I'll be honest and say that my reception location was not that pretty. I did a few things to jazz it up, but overall it was plain and boring. But I decided that I didn't really care because my guests were coming to simply celebrate with us...if they love me they won't judge me for not spending a fortune for a pretty location. When I asked my friends what they remembered about my wedding they all said it was how happy we were and how happy they were for us. Not one of them said they remembered the faded ceiling tiles or the cheap carpet.

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  • 1 decade ago

    I can see how it can be done. Some people are just lucky. They may know someone that gets them a place for free. Or, they do something where their guests or family bring all the food. You could always use plastic ware. I've seen some plastic plates and utensils that are done in a way that they don't really look plastic. But, if you can't go about that way, I have no idea how to keep it that cheap.

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  • 4 years ago

    The alternative is to let all of the big 3 go under. Do that math. GM's newest restructure plan is at least a dozen years overdue. GM is far too large, with too many brands each selling rebadged versions of the same cars that just compete with other GM brands. That couldn't go on forever. They shouldn't have stopped at Oldsmobile back in 2001. This really has nothing to do with Obama.

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