On December 8, I officially proposed to the woman that makes my heart sing. She said yes, just as she had every day since we met. I chose this date, because it marked our one year anniversary, and a year seems like a reliable time period to experience all the holidays, seasons and moods.
Even though we, and seemingly everyone around us, knew without a single doubt we’d found each other and knew we were going to spend our lives loving, enjoying and laughing with each other, the year mark seemed fitting for a proposal.
After the high of our engagement, we began discussing when and how we’d want to be married. My bonus dad is a judge, so naturally, he is our choice to perform the ceremony. We knew we wanted our loved ones to be there and that we didn’t have a large savings pile for this event.
We looked at the calendar and chose a numerologically pleasing date for me, and her favorite number of 3 and went with March 3, 2019. Let the planning begin!
We started by scoping out venue options. We looked at parks, renting houses that are event-friendly, and other traditional wedding venues. They were all ridiculously priced, for what we were prepared for. $3000 just for the venue, for a few hours? No, thank you. With some resourcefulness and help of our favorite tool, the Internet, Tosca found a gorgeous renovated barn about an hour from our home, on VRBO.com. We booked it knowing the refundable-cancelation option if needed, and scheduled time to meet with the owner to see it, and fell in love as soon as we arrived.
Now that the venue was set, we needed to fill the rest of our requirements, which is more simplistic than all the wedding lists we’d found online. The big items:
- Venue – booked on VRBO.com for around 1/10 of the cost of other venues we looked at.
- Her dress – purchased on Etsy and Amazon, then tailored locally to include a bit more poof. Under $200 total, including tailoring.
- Invitations: although not the most traditional route, we created an event on Facebook to invite and manage the details of the big day, since it’s free and 95% of our guests are active Facebook users. This saved us a few hundred dollars when you take into account postage and invitation printing costs.
- My suit – Custom made, 3 piece purchased for $324 on Hockerty.com.
- Food for 50 (enough for 60-70) – catered by Chipotle, $701, including taxes and delivery. This saved us about $23/person compared to the standard $35/plate chicken breast and two sides options. Food trucks start at $1800 and one we found was $2500. Holy moly.
- All the decorative and usable stuff: glasses, plates, yard games, tables & linens, chairs, etc: rented from a local business for a minuscule fraction of the cost to purchase.
- Music: I’m an Amazon Prime member, so made an 8-hour playlist on Amazon Prime Music for free. The cheapest DJ we found was $1800. No, thank you, I’m fine.
- Honeymoon: We booked a cute, quiet place on AirBnB in Fredericksburg, Texas.
- Flowers: We are ordering/purchasing ours from our local Whole Foods, and anticipating $200-300 total. We will make our own boutonnières, corsages and the like from those, as well as decorate the tables and space. Most florists we’ve checked start at $2000. Whoa, buddy.
- Other ancillary stuff: drinks, snacks, etc: we are guesstimating around $300-400.
- Photographer: We were originally planning to allow guests to take our camera and snap photos throughout the day as they wished. As our luck would have it, a friend of a friend is wanting to add weddings to her portfolio, and asked if she could photograph our wedding for free, in exchange for using our photos for her business. Of course, we said yes!
- Cake: being made by a family friend that is a college student, and amazing artist & baker: $100.
In total, we’re coming in under $3000 to host a wedding for around 60 loved ones. With average wedding costs ranging from $10,000 – $25,000, I think we’re doing amazingly well with spending intelligently and intentionally for our big day! Thankfully, we do have the added benefit of my mom, aunt, cousin and family friends that are contributing their time and resources from other parties and events they have planned in the past.
We’re not going all out, but we don’t feel like we are skimping on anything either.
If you’re wedding plannng, or have been putting it off due to the typical astronomical costs, I hope something in this list helped you break it down into not-so-scary pieces and shows how achievable it actually can be, with a little resourcefulness and mindful planning!