Friday, January 6, 2012

Wedding Expenses, Reviewed

When Matt and I got engaged, we knew we had to get married cheap.  


Originally, I wanted a small (30-ish) person wedding up in Santa Barbara, in a small chapel, then dinner at a nice café.  But Matt wanted a larger church wedding, so after much wrangling and compromising, we decided on a large wedding with a dessert reception.  However, about 3 weeks before the wedding, we realized only about 100 people were coming, and we could afford to serve food other than desserts.  So we did more finangling.  And we spent about $3500 on the wedding. 


Here are some tips for having a very inexpensive wedding.  Now these aren’t for everyone.  Not everyone wants or can do all this.  Not everyone is thrifty.  And we have a lot of friends that helped a lot.  It’s worth a shot.  It’s only a wedding, after all.  ;)


  1. We had the church for free.  Not everyone has this option, but I do know that smaller churches tend to cost very little. 
  2. The photographer was $35 (gas money).  We got a very very brand new photographer off Craigslist.  What work she had done was great, and we took a major chance.  But so far, the pictures look great.  Any problems were purely the lighting, which couldn’t be helped.  Our church is super dark.  We also plan on doing a Trash the Dress session in about a year with both of us, so we’ll get our artsy pictures then.
  3. We paid $0 for our engagement photos.  Again, we used a budding photographer.  True, only about 10 or so were good.  But we have a few to display.   The problem is that I’m plus sized.  Taking pictures on the ground while I’m up high = MAJOR DOUBLE CHIN!  Not so great.
  4. The dress was $241 ( plus $60 for taking it in.  (I did my own bustle – time consuming, but worth it).  Now, the dress fit great when I got it.  But I had to get it taken in (hence the $60), but then the week of the wedding, I LOST MORE WEIGHT.  Meaning the dress didn’t fit well on the day of the wedding.  Oh well.  It’s only a dress.
  5. Made my own veil (about $35, since bought trim and two types of combs).
  6. Made all the decorations – about $1000.  Honestly, I made more than I needed.  And we got like 80 yards of tulle for $20 off Craigslist. 
  7. Used sheets from the thrift store as tablecloths.  (About $30, plus we borrowed some from friends.)
  8. Used vases from my aunts and my grandmother.
  9. Bought my jewelry for about $15 at the fashion district.  Also, borrowed some from a friend.
  10. Bought my shoes as DSW for about $20.
  11. Bought the food for the wedding (vegetarian – less expensive than meat) and made it via help from family – about $400 for:
    1. Punch
    2. Lemonade
    3. Iced Tea
    4. Cucumber sandwiches
    5. Radish sandwiches
    6. Fruits and veggies
    7. Cookies
    8. Cupcakes
    9. Ambrosia
  12. Used paper plates and plastic cups (About $40)
  13. My aunt Ruth made the cake.
  14. Got the flowers in downtown LA for about $90, and then a friend designed them.  They were beautiful.  Definitely worth it!!


Stuff I shouldn’t have done that cost me money


  1. Made my own petticoat – which I ended up not using, and borrowed a friend’s (more poofy).  But the one I made was about $60.  Not worth it – I recommend buying one from China or ebay.  Less expensive.
  2. Bought STD’s – and forgot to mail them out.  About $15 lost – not that much!
  3. Made the boutonnières from ribbon, and they hated them.  So we used leftover flowers for traditional boutonnières.  Lost about $25. 


So in the end, we didn’t lose very much money, and we saved a lot of money by DIY, using inexpensive things, and getting replica jewelry and a dress.  And guess what – we are married!


Pictures are coming within the next week.  Yay!





  1. And the wedding was was the bride. Your dress was lovely. It's so fun doing your own wedding rather than spending a fortune and not having as many fun memories to show for it.

  2. It was wonderful. :) And I have a good blog post coming up next week showcasing the fantastic cake!!!