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The 10K Wedding


If you're the kind of bride who is all about the vows and not so keen on a big price tag, there are ways in which to have a beautiful and meaningful wedding without going broke. The key is to plan way ahead so that you have time to shop around for the best prices, and set the dollar amount you are willing to spend and stick to it.


Make a Budget


A great way to stick to a budget is to hire a wedding planner. Although this may cost you a little extra money, a wedding coordinator will work within your set budget and put together a wedding based on your preferences. Experienced, professional wedding coordinators can charge $75.00 per hour, plus 20% of your total expenses, but can get you great discounts by buying wholesale through their many contacts.




Being flexible on the date and time of your wedding can also help to alleviate costs. Of course, Saturdays in June will go for top dollar at most function halls, so why not consider having your wedding celebration during the off-season on an off-day? Winter weekday weddings cost way less than Saturday summer weddings.


If you are having a short, intimate ceremony, you may consider making it at a time later in the evening, say 8 PM, when only hors oeuvres and cocktails would be appropriate. This would save you the cost of the meal, which will be your biggest expense.


The Dress


Here’s where lead time really pays off! Allow plenty of time to shop for your wedding gown. Keep a look out for “sample” sales (dresses that were on display and are now available to purchase) as well as off-season sales. For example, a wedding dress to be worn in December should go on sale in early spring, and summer wedding dresses most likely are cheaper in winter. We shopped on and found a gorgeous, lacy, strapless standard-sized wedding gown for only $295.00!


Another dress option is to rent or purchase a “gently worn” dress. There are lots of consignment shops that feature wedding gowns that were worn once, cleaned, and put up for sale. And if you are going to wear someone else’s dress, why not be sentimental and try on your mother’s or grandmother’s dress?


The Guest List

A good rule of thumb to follow is, when it comes to family and friends, invite the people in your life you really care about and those with whom you have had contact in the last few years. A family friend whom you haven’t seen since you were four years old need not make the list, and to let a cousin invite the girl he’s been dating for a month would just be a waste of money.

The Invitations


You can find great invitations for half the cost on many discounted websites. We searched the Internet and found 100 elegant, “affordable” invitations on for $90.00 plus tax. And rather than spend money on stamps for the RSVP cards, you may want to include your email so that people can respond electronically. In our case, that is a savings of $42.00.


The Flowers


The easiest way to stay under budget when choosing flowers is to stay in season. You can get suggestions from your local florist or buy them yourself at the wholesale flower market. But since flowers are very fragile, make sure do your homework. Ask around so that you choose a reputable and reliable shop. We found that the average cost of your wedding bouquet packages (for everyone in the wedding party) to be $700.00.


The Reception Decor


There are many ways to save money without looking cheap at your reception. The easiest way may be to have your ceremony and reception under the same roof and, in most cases, the only cost you will incur will be the price of the food (no room charge). That will save you a bundle on car and limousine rentals.


When it comes to decorations and centerpieces you can make your own using simple baskets, dry flowers, candles, bowls or picture frames. You can also get lots of ideas and even discounted products by googling “discount wedding supplies.” And keep in mind if you plan your wedding around a holiday, chances are the venue may be decorated already! offers Triple Candle Floating centerpieces for $15.95 each and Pot of (Silk) Roses centerpieces for $23.95. Our choice for centerpieces are floral rose topiaries, plus loose petals (for 10 tables) from, which will total $418.00.


The Banquet


Keeping the list of people down to a manageable number is where you’ll save the most money because dinner prices are based on a per person basis. There are complete wedding packages (which include everything from flowers to food) that run around $100 - $125 per person, and then there are just banquets which can run from $25.95 up to $50.00, depending on your choice of entree.

And who says you have to have a five course meal at a wedding? Soup and/or salad before the main course is plenty. By choosing the chicken over the filet mignon, or the steak over the lobster will save you even more money. As for liquor, limit an “open bar” to an hour or choose a cash bar all night. Anthony’s in Malden, Massachusetts offered us a scrumptious buffet-style meal for $35.00 per person, plus tax (as opposed to choosing their sit down dinner for $50.00 per person).  Based on our model, we can expect to spend $3,675 plus gratuity.

The Cake


The best way to make your cake pay for itself is to use it for dessert! After cutting the cake, have it served to your guests with coffee instead of adding an additional dessert item to your menu. Most wedding cakes are priced on a per slice per basis, ranging from $1.50 per slice, to $5.00 and $10.00 per slice. We settled on one for $525.00.


Remarkably, there are also places where you can rent a Styrofoam case to use as a show piece and then have your guests served a less costly, square sheet cake. Apparently, a real cake is made and set behind the fake cake so the bride and groom can still partake in the cake cutting ritual. According to, you can rent a “fake” cake for as little as $150.00!




Having pictures to look back on is important but doesn’t have to cost you a mint. Get recommendations from friends before hiring a photographer and choose one that will work with you. Ask him to limit his photos to the most important moments of the reception, like the first dance, toast, cake cutting (whatever you choose), and agree that you will only pay for the shots you authorized him to take. We found prices for a professional photographer can begin at $50 per hour (plus prints) and that wedding packages range from $650 for 4-hour photography, $950 for 6 hours, to $5,000 for the works!  


Is there a relative or friend who takes great pictures? That would be a great gift to the bride and groom. Also, look into photography schools in the area and ask to see a portfolio from a student who is ready to graduate.


The Honeymoon


To save money on the honeymoon, consider choosing a destination close to home and with reasonable costs. Add travel gift certificates to your wedding registry if you have one. That way your friends and relatives can contribute as their gift to you. We found a trip to beautiful Punta Cana, Mexico through TNT Travel for an all-inclusive price of $1700.00 for two!



Wedding Budget/Model

Dress (without alterations)


Reception Dinner

$3,675.00 (plus gratuity)



Wedding Flowers









$1,700.00 (plus tax and fees)






Photos by Rawtography


Last Updated: April 9, 2015 at 11:21 pm
Tags: Budget
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