Dani want dream wedding. Dream wedding expensive. Dani feel guilty for considering spending the money. But Dani wants guests to have fun! Dani realizes wedding is only ‘one night’ so she cuts budget and uses half for house downpayment. Now, Dani must cut guest list in half. Dani cuts dream band. Dani considers eloping (4 times a day). This makes Dani sad. Budget is now less than the average wedding in America. Dani thinks this is impossible so she asks her Instagram followers for advice. This is what they say.
Backstory. I am going to be real with y’all. I’ve always wanted to prioritize a house over a wedding. I’m a pretty logical person when it comes to finances (at least I think I am) and there are very few times in my life I ‘splurge.’ (P.S. if you are thinking, what they heck, she’s a fashion blogger. Think of clothes more as inventory/investment for a fashion blogger. You spend some to make more. Anyway, that’s a different story.)
I never desired some super extravagant MASSIVE wedding. I pictured 100-150 of my favorite people (may seem like a lot but like half are family and parent’s friends) all together under one roof, dancing their butts off to some good band, eating some decent food. I’ve been told every bride is supposed to prioritize her 3 most important things but what they don’t tell you is that your parents and fiance have opinions too… MY priorities are the band, the venue, and the photographer. My parent’s are the food, drinks, and convenience in location. Jordan’s is the frozen margarita machine…and well, that’s about it. Didn’t think a 150 person wedding in a simple venue in Dallas with a couple of flowers here and there WOULD WIPE OUT MY ENTIRE BANK ACCOUNT.
Budget. Here is the most expensive part about planning a wedding. THE CATERING. I have toured 6 venues in Dallas and every venue is about $4-8K to rent. Not bad, huh? IT’S THE CATERERS THAT GET YA! Out of the 6 venues I have looked at, every single one of them require you to use their catering company in house AND have like, $15-20K food and beverage minimums. That means for JUST the food and venue for 150 people, you are already at $20K+. Yep. Now you see the source of my stress?
Venues. I am going to show you guys what I was quoted JUST for food and alcohol + venue at some of my fav venues in Dallas. Ya know, the ones I dreamt about having my wedding at since I was 10 years old? Okay, cool. This is for 150 people…
- The Adolphus ($34K)
- Hilton Anatole ($22K)
- The Room on Main ($25K)
- Arlington Hall brunch wedding on a Saturday ($23K)
- Arlington Haul Saturday evening ($34K) **My favorite**
I will say, these are definitely nicer venues in town but this is without a photographer, videographer, wedding planner, dress, cake (which can range from $1k-$5k), band, flowers, decorations, photobooth, bridesmaids gifts, lighting, any other rentals needed. Now you see why the AVERAGE wedding in the United States easily comes out to $30K.
So I went on an Instagram story rant and asked you guys for advice. Here is what I learned. I would LOVE to hear your feedback in the comments below!
A big wedding with lots of things isn’t always apprecaited by your guests, and you probably won’t get to enjoy them either because the whole thing goes by so quickly and tends to be a blur. A lot of brides don’t even remember the reception if it is too big and they are just going around saying “hi” to people all night long.
Make a budget and STICK TO IT! Out of the 300+ messages I have received from my followers regarding their weddings, 95% of them wished they would have done something smaller and saved money for a downpayment on a house or even for their honeymoon. I’ve always wanted a 150+ person wedding so this was difficult for me to hear.
Don’t spend $ on the things you don’t care about. (Bleh, SO much easier said than done) For example, I’m sorry I don’t care about the food but I would hate for people to get there and be starving! But at the end of the day, the people that love you will be there no matter what.
Unexpected costs: asking your bridesmaids to be in your wedding and a gift for them.
I have not been quoted less than $18K to feed 150 people yet. Scary huh? Now you see why Im trying to half this guest list (which is extremely difficult and sad to do).
Don’t spend money on a huge cake. Go to Central Market and buy 8-10 $30 cakes that are different.
Buy a big pretty cake that doesn’t taste as good and serve sheet cake from the back. #Sneaky and #Genius I LOVE IT.
Close the bar during dinner to save money.
Switch locations after the ceremony to forgo an expensive cocktail hour
Be aware of sunset times to get all the pics pre and post ceremony that you want.
Only hire a photographer for prep, ceremony, portraits, and maybe the beginning of the reception. As a former wedding photographer, receptions can be so long and if not a ton of people are dancing, there’s really not that much to photograph anyways, so you’re paying for them to wait around for the sendoff. You can reduce your coverage from about 8 hours to 4 hours and still get amazing photographs but not break the bank.
Splurge on photographer and or videographer. If you are going to spend all of this money for your wedding, prioritize the budget for your photos because those are the only thing you will have (besides your husband lol) to look back at after the big day.
Choose a Sunday or Friday wedding to cut costs in half. People who love you will be there no matter what day of the week it is. On Friday and Sundays not much is competing with your time-slot so prices aren’t as inflated.
Get married on a weekday to save money.
Approach vendors with your budget and ask them if that will work.
Everything is negotiable. 🙂
PLANNING & SAYING ORGANIZED
Use Google Sheets wedding template. IT IS A LIFESAVER.
Use a day of coordinator so you don’t go crazy. Someone that is inexpensive and can coordinate timing and cues on the actual day. Check into the place you are booking, they usually have one.
Make an e-mail just for wedding stuff so it doesn’t get lost in everything else. Use it to contact vendors.
Wedding planners have great connections with vendors and could possibly help you get better deals.
Order flowers wholesale from Fiftyflowers.com and make your own bouquets. Get your bridesmaids to help and it can be a fun activity after brunch. Use a lot of greenery for the center pieces with vases and candles to save even more money. Etsy has signage and invitations for affordable prices.
Repurpose flowers from your ceremony at your reception.
No complaints in this area. I’m like 99% going with a Hayley Paige dress but have an appointment to try on Stella York dresses soon! For affordable options check out Blush my Hayley Paige or Muse by Berta.