Budget Savvy Brides: $10K and Under

any budget savvy brides in the SF Bay area?

Hi all,


I'm glad to have found this board!


Well, I'm starting to realize that the SF Bay Area is not a budget-friendly wedding.  We're having our wedding in Palo Alto and lemme tell ya, I was getting "sticker shock" left, right & center from all the high prices!


I've been able to be budget-friendly with a few things:


1. photographer -- found him through a friend. he's been doing photography for a while, mainly just models & landscapes but wants to go into the wedding photography industry, which he told me is most photographer's bread-and-butter.  So, since we're his guinea pigs he and his friend (also another photog looking to break into the biz) did our five hour e-pic shoot all over SF for free!  The only thing we spent on is getting prints and I got those as Snapfish.  Most photographers whose work I liked based on their online portfolio started at $3,800.


2. wedding dress -- ordered it through Milly Bridal which is in China.  Most gowns are made in China anyway.  They have an excellent rep and a bunch of us brides have gotten together online to share our experiences here.  The best thing is that you can custom design your Dream Dress -- change the bodice shape, add more lace, different fabric, whatever you want!  I'll probably save close to $800 since the dress I'm having made and really love is over $1,500


3. having our reception at a hotel -- sounds counterintuitive but I think we saved a lot by having it at the Sheraton Palo Alto.  No room rental fee & they're providing us with everything we need set-up wise plus the centerpieces (floating bowls with candles, votives & candles) and I managed to the event manager to throw in chair cover & sashes too.  I was at first planning to go the DIY route by having our reception at a park or museum but we'd have to get rent everything ourselves


4. florist -- I just met with a wonderful florist a few days ago who said she can do the flowers for our wedding for $450!  Granted, it won't be the over-the-top extravagant arrangements but what she had in mind sounded wonderful! I'm not much of a flowers person anyway and my fiancé thinks that flowers are a "throwaway cost" (he's right!)  She'll be using orchids &  a few other flowers (lisianthus, hydrangeas, etc) for everything.  She's do flowers for the bride, our 7 bridesmaids, 10 groomsmen, groom and 3 parents and 2 altar arrangements!  I'll post some photos on my profile as soon as I get the final price quote from her


So that's it.... are there any other NoCal brides out there who has any tips about how to be budget savvy in our very expensive part of the world?


 

Posted on January 14, 2010 at 9:48 am
PigglyWiggly
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PigglyWiggly

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uhleesuh
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08/18/2012
uhleesuh

uhleesuh

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uhleesuh

I know exactly what you mean! I'm also a Bay Area Bride trying to have a wedding on a budget! When I find some good deals on anything I'll keep you in Mind and let you know! =]


LOVE YOUR EPICS if i haven't told you that already! hehe You got quite a deal on that one! I am using a friend of a friend as well!! We are actually asking a whole lot of our friends who have a love for photography to take pictures of us. I'm sure we'll end up loving all of them.


Also, Craigslist is a great place to find services at a great price. I found a photographer and videography package for 1500 (basic package) on craigslist. if you want to check him out his website is sunsetproduction.net


also, if you don't already know... RSVP POSTCARDS! saves on postage and that extra envelope! if you order them from zazzle.com to create your own it pretty cheap! for 50 its $35.00. I'm actually going to be using one of our epics for our rsvp postcard. I'll see how they turn out...


That's all I have for now! Happy planning! 

Posted on January 28, 2010 at 7:42 pm
tomileen
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09/18/2011
tomileen

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tomileen

Hi,


I am in South San Francisco, getting married in September in Brisbane. Its really difficult to plan a wedding on a budget.


Bought the dress, reserved the church & reception place. I want to do the invitations myself but i am struggling that the quality will not be the same. Looking for caters but they are way too pricey.


I am getting stressed out...


 

Posted on February 3, 2010 at 4:09 pm
PigglyWiggly
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07/10/2010
PigglyWiggly

PigglyWiggly

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PigglyWiggly

Hi tomileen,


first of all - breathe!! :-)  you seem to be doing great & tackled the big things: dress, church & reception.


DIY invitations for me personally wasn't worth it -- for the hassle, stress & time I know I'll have to pour into it.  You can get nice invitations on www.theamericanwedding.com  for something like $80 for 100 invitations. 


why do you have to get a caterer? won't your reception venue provide food or is it a hall?


when I first started planning the wedding, we looked at more unique reception venues like a winery or garden etc etc  But these venues are what I called DIY since you have to go out and rent everything and get it catered.  In the end, there was no cost savings and was actually more expensive.  We ended up with a hotel that gave us a great deal on the food & it includes some of the reception decoration.


have you tried calling restaurants to see if they can provide food?  i've been to a wedding years ago and they actually got their food from a local restaurant and seems to be cost effective.


good luck!

Posted on February 3, 2010 at 8:54 pm
tomileen
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tomileen

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tomileen

Hi,


Thanks you so much for all your ideas. I think im going to do that. I really love my reception venue. I think im going to end up having my reception at a hotel... which is not what i wanted to begin with. Ill keep you posted.

Posted on February 4, 2010 at 4:24 pm
mandyone
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06/19/2010
mandyone

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mandyone

Sounds like you got a good price on your wedding photographer!


We're really happy about the price of this guy Chris Noble Wedding Photographer We're hiring him for less than $2000!


He's new to Santa Cruz (he's European) and is willing to do extras for quite a reasonable rate :-)


We were especailly glad he was free for our date! (we did leave it rather late!!)

Posted on March 6, 2010 at 3:37 am
tiffanysmiranda
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07/24/2010
tiffanysmiranda

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tiffanysmiranda

I'm getting married in SF and wow I am trying to cut where I can and lots of DIY. So far I've been lucky and able to get things under budget


DJ- Friend reccommended so he's charging 1/2 price


Venue- Great price for SF but still about $70+pp


Flowers-DIY roses


Cake-Bakery outside of city $3.50 a slice My awesome Mom paid for


Photographer- still looking :(


Centerpieces-DIY


Invitations- DIY Fstepdaughter designing and then I will take them to get printed.


Dress- My awesome mom paid for


Everything else still working on

Posted on March 19, 2010 at 9:55 am
CaWeddingPlanner
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CaWeddingPlanner

Like you stated, sometimes hotels or similar venues are a better rate than having it in your backyard and paying for rentals, portable restrooms, and such.


Also, since the SF area is so expensive, you may have to look at other nearby cities for vendors that may be a better price.  Consider Friday night, Saturday daytime or Sunday daytime for weddings, as venues may be a little less expensive.  Taking a handful of people off of the guestlist is always helpful---taking 8 people off is one less table which means one less linen, one less centerpiece, etc.  Also, taking some people off of the guestlist (like the friend that you haven't seen or talked to in 10 years) is always better to save money than to not use the photographer, planner or bakery that you have always wanted.


 


Good luck!

Posted on August 29, 2010 at 2:40 pm
frugalYETchic
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06/05/2010
frugalYETchic

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frugalYETchic

I'm one!!


 


- My photographer was only $494 for 8 hours!


- Cake was $560 from Neldams Bakery (now closed)


- Got my dress from OnceWed.com $580...and that was for a MAGGIE SOTTERO!!


- Reception hall: $775


- Ceremony: $375


- Flowers: Fiftyflowers.com $340


I bought a bulk package of red roses and calla lillies...A florist that lived next door to my sister did my bouquet..My girls and I tackled the corsages and bouts. the night before our wedding!


 


 


PM me for any info :)


 


 

Posted on September 2, 2010 at 11:28 am

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