This is part of our ongoing series, Real Wedding Budgets, bringing you actual numbers from actual couples, along with an idea of what you can get for your money. See more Real Wedding Budgets here.
Want to make this series run longer? Submit your real wedding budget (anonymously) here.
Before you read, a note on vendors: We don’t provide vendor information because you never know what kind of discounts they may have given, or if their prices have changed since this wedding. And also because if the couple didn’t love them, we don’t want to be putting a bad review out there. That’s what Yelp and Wedding Wire are for.
However, there is one exception – photography. Because we want you to get a good idea of what the couple was able to do with their budget, we include photos when possible, and credit the photographers. So word of advice – if you like these photos, please do go check out the photographer’s website (linked at the end of the post), and then ask for their current rates. Do not expect that you will necessarily get the same package and pricing you see here.
$5,000: 110 Guests on a Saturday Evening in Austin, Texas in Autumn
|Photography/Video (including albums, prints, etc.)||$ 1,000|
|Food/Beverage (catering, alcohol, and cake)||$ 1,745|
|Entertainment (Band, DJ, Ceremony Musicians)||$ 0|
|Attire (including shoes, jewelry, etc.)||$ 717|
|Marriage License||$ 71|
|Wedding Planner/Day-of-Coordinator||$ 0|
|Invitations, Save-the-Dates, Programs||$ 303|
|Hair & Makeup||$ 0|
|Rehearsal Dinner||$ 0|
|Gifts & Favors||$ 100|
What They Got For the Money
Ceremony & Reception Venue ($0)
The groom’s parents hosted the wedding in their backyard, and even fixed it up before the wedding.
Hiring an up-and-coming photographer got them a “crazy good deal” since she was building her portfolio at the time. They had 6 hours of coverage, an engagement session, and high-res files with printing rights.
A friend of the couple took video at the wedding.
The couple scored a good deal from a local restaurant that was just beginning to venture into catering. They served a buffet of Italian food (chicken, focaccia bread, pasta, salad, and fruit). The restaurant provided “nicer-than-Chinet” disposable dishes and included delivery at no extra charge ($1,020). The couple purchased their own alcohol ($400) – A friend of the family is a wine distributor, which enabled them to purchase it at cost; they also had two kegs of good beer, one of which was given to them for free.
They purchased cupcakes from an up-and-coming vegan bakery.
The bride made organza flowers which she hung from ribbons to create a backdrop for their ceremony. Centerpieces were mini pumpkins and gourds with tea light candles. They did not care for flowers, so they didn’t have any.
Music was played on an iPod.
The bride purchased her ceremony dress from Unique Vintage ($160) and her reception dress ($120, used) from a bride selling it in the Offbeat Bride Tribe forum; both required alterations ($157). Jewelry ($66) from Etsy; shoes ($54), makeup ($100). The groom purchased a new shirt and tie ($60) to wear with clothes he already owned.
Thin silver band ($20) for the bride and thick titanium band ($45) for the groom were purchased on Etsy.
Marriage License ($71)
A friend of the couple officiated the ceremony, which was written by the bride.
Wedding Planner/Coordinator ($0)
The bride’s mother, a graphic designer, created their invitations; printing cost was waived since the shop they chose got behind; they paid for the paper ($70). The couple used Vistaprint for postcard save-the-dates ($29). Postage ($170) and envelopes ($34) are included.
Hair and Makeup ($0)
The bride did her own hair and makeup with assistance from her sister.
The bridesmaids received necklaces purchased on Etsy; the groomsmen were given custom bottle openers.
Rehearsal Dinner ($0)
The rehearsal dinner was held in the same backyard as the wedding, and the groom’s father made a big pot of gumbo to serve. Cost of the dinner was covered by the groom’s parents.
What was your biggest financial splurge? Why did you choose it? Was it worth it?
Photography. In hindsight, it wasn’t actually very much money for what we received, but at the time it was 1/5 of our budget so it felt like a ton. It was totally worth it though.
Was there anything you regret spending your money on or anything you wish you’d spent lesson?
Just a few stupid things, like decorations that didn’t get put up in the end…
What was the best thing you spent your money on?