My parents and Mr. Lemur's parents have graciously offered to help us, and we're choosing to spend only the money that we were given. We could spend our own money over that—but it would mean things like less money towards student loan repayment and taking out a car loan instead of paying cash for the car I just bought. I'm not saying this is what everyone should do, but as a graduate student it was the best option for us! And I'm here to tell you that if that's what you're looking to do (I know there's some of you out there!), it's totally possible.
I want to do a pre-wedding budget post to let you know our general categories. After this all goes down I'll post again and let you know the specifics! A few things: My engagement ring, our wedding bands, and our honeymoon are not included in this budget. We are paying for those ourselves, as well as gifts. The rehearsal dinner is also not included, as Mr. Lemur's parents are covering that. Anything else? Uhh, hopefully I didn't forget it! If you see something you're not sure about, just ask.
I mentioned before that we're using the caterer from our venue, who is completely reasonable. She charges per item, so a menu of six to eight items for around 120 people is totally in our price range. We're having coffee, tea, juice, sweet tea, and water, but not serving alcohol—which keeps the price down. The cakes are also included in this total price. We're doing five simple round cakes with frosting in shades of the wedding colors. I'm so excited to see how this turns out!
In the beginning we set a max of $1000 for the wedding venue. This is possible! However, our original venues that fell into this category were all booked. This is mostly due to our short engagement. My advice: If you want to save money on the venue, book early so you can pick and choose! We were really limited, although I do love our venue.
Image via Pleasant Ridge Camp & Retreat Center
This includes our engagement pictures session at $100 and a full day of wedding coverage at $700. We decided to book and up-and-coming young photographer with just a few weddings under her belt. Her original price was $1000, but we negotiated travel and lodging expense (not included), plus we're doing a separate couples session with her later in the summer (also not included) instead of taking extensive couples photos on the day of the wedding.
Image via Niki Marie Photography
Bridal Outfit: $250
Ok, at this point you might be like wait what? This girl is crazy. Hold on, I promise this is possible! I got the J. Crew Sophia for $150 online new with tags. This is a $425 dress normally—so already inexpensive but I managed to get a great deal. Check around online—my veil was $10 on eBay, in perfect condition. I haven't gotten shoes or a necklace yet, so those still need to fit into this category.
Paper Items: $200
This includes the mini Moo cards, 150 envelopes, ribbon, heart hole punch, and 150 invitations printed in color. It also includes 120 crossword puzzle programs and I Spys printed in black & white and color, respectively. I'll do a complete breakdown in my final post, but I will say we managed to do all of this with money left over—we got a great deal on printing.
The bulk of this is spent on books—which I don't feel bad about because we can have these for a long time. We did get a great deal on the ones we bought and are borrowing some so we can have more than we were willing to pay for. This is also $20 for tissue paper to make flowers and poms to hang throughout the venue and $30 to buy small Scrabble letters and make larger Scrabble letters. We're borrowing some glass from family and friends and tablecloths are included with the venue, but I still need to narrow down what else I need in this category!
This includes anything we haven't bought or taken care of yet. There's a lot of little things that add up! We also have to include the marriage license fee, makeup, and who knows what else...
This was the total I set from the very beginning, so I'm really glad to see that with less than three months to go we're still on target to hit it. I don't anticipate anything pushing us over this, but you never know!
Anyone have any other tips? Any other brides out there planning a low-budget wedding? Anything I forgot? (I sure hope not.)