THIS POST MAY CONTAIN AFFILIATE LINKS. THIS MEANS THAT, AT NO ADDITIONAL COST TO YOU, I MAY EARN A SMALL COMMISSION IF YOU CLICK THROUGH AND MAKE A PURCHASE. PLEASE READ MY FULL DISCLOSURE HERE.
How to Plan a Beautiful Wedding for Under $3500
Wayne and I got married. Yay!! ♥ When planning the wedding, we both knew that we didn’t want to pay an arm and a leg for it. What we wanted was a day to celebrate our choice to be with each other for always. For those of you who don’t know, I have two daughters. We both wanted the girls to be part of the wedding and decided to make it a Family Wedding, wherein it was much the girls day as it was ours.
So how did we do it? Here’s how.
Generally speaking, below is a list of things that you will end up wanting to or having to shell out for. We decided on a small wedding, and invited a total of 41 guests, including ourselves.
1. Marriage Licence – $150.00
2. Wedding Celebrant – $600.00
3. Invitations – $0.00
4. Venue – $0.00
5. Catering – $1,825.00
6. Drinks – $500.00
7. Wedding Dress – $20.00
8. Wedding dress alterations – $70.00
9. Groom’s Attire – $50.00
10. Maid of Honor’s Attire – $30.00
11. Bridesmaid’s Attire – $15.00
12. Flower Girl’s Attire – $15.00
13. Ring Bearer’s Attire – $0.00
14. Venue Decorations – $0.00
15. Wedding Flowers – $0.00
16. Wedding Cake – $0.00
17. Photographer – $0.00
18. Music – $0.00
19. Hair and Make-up – $20.00
20. Wedding Favors – $0.00
TOTAL COST: $3,295.00
Breakdown and Details of Costs
#1 Marriage Licence | $150.00 – Fixed Cost
#2 Wedding Celebrant| $600.00 – Our wedding celebrant was a lovely local lady, who was recommended by a friend of mine. While we have no regrets in going with her; we did later find another celebrant who charged only $380.00.
#3 Invitations | $0.00 – We decided to forgo paper invitations, and instead opted for online. I created a beautiful website via The Knot. It’s absolutely free and can be fully customized to what is important to you. In ensuring that the children felt that it was as much their day as it was ours, they were allowed to invite up to three of their closest friends each.
Related Post: 20 Clever Ways to Save Money on Your Wedding
#4 Venue | $0.00 – The venue we chose did not charge any venue fees, provided that we met the minimum guest attendance of 35 people. We had 41, so there were no issues with that at all.
#5 Catering | $1825.00 – We decided to go with the catering option of Fish or Chicken, instead of either one with Beef. Going with beef included a considerable price hike, so we kept it simple. For a 3-course meal, including dessert, the cost per adult was $50.00. Children under 12 years old were given a slightly altered menu option, and the cost per child was $25.00. We had a total of 32 adults and 9 children under 12yo.
#6 Drinks | $500.00 – We organized for a bar tab of $500 for wine, beer, and non-alcoholic beverages. Those who wanted stronger top shelf drinks had the option on buying their own drinks. But all in all, people were pretty tame and didn’t go overboard with there drinks, which is cool because Wayne and myself are pretty much social drinkers only.
#7 Wedding Dress | $20.00 – Ahhh… the controversial dress ♥ I found my dress by accident while thrift shopping a couple of months before the wedding. It was on a shop mannequin and was ten times larger than myself. I thought, hmmm! So I decided to get it and took it to a local tailor. I also decided to wear sneakers underneath – comfort first! 🙂
#8 Dress Alteration | $70.00 – As the dress was very large, the tailoring job entailed mostly taking it in. The tailor was a gorgeous woman, who was very creative and I let her shower the dress with her creativity. In the end, we struck up such a good rapport, that she decided to dry-clean my dress for me (because I didn’t know that dry-cleaning a wedding dress took months to complete!)
#9 Groom’s Attire | $50.00 – Wayne decided to rent a waistcoat, to complete his attire. Everything else he wore was already in his closet. The waistcoat cost him $40 to rent; and I bought a couple of neckties for $20 for him and the ring bearer to wear.
#10 Maid of Honor’s Attire | $30.00 – I purchased it from Ali Express. It’s incredible! There are so many options!
#11 Bridemaid’s Attire | $15.00 – I also purchased this from Ali Express. Because my bridesmaid was my 12 year old daughter, the cost was a lot less!
#12 Flower Girl’s Attire | $15.00 – I’m sure you can guess… I also purchased this from Ali Express.
#13 Ring Bearer’s Attire | $0.00 – I asked the ring bearer’s mother to just dress him how she wanted. I provided a tie which I purchased along with #9 above (Groom’s attire).
#14 Venue Decoration | $0.00 – Ah yes! We did absolutely no decorating – NONE! The venue we chose was a small, rural cafe which was located next to a horse-riding school. The more I looked at it, the more I was convinced that no decorations were necessary. On it’s own, it had a lovely farmhouse interior. I didn’t think I could have made it any better. It was the right kind of perfect for us ♥
#15 Wedding Flowers | $0.00 – At first, I was going to use artificial flowers that I imagined I would purchase from the dollar store and make myself. Instead… my beautiful neighbor volunteered to gift us with all the bouquets and boutonnieres we needed. She’s very crafty! On the morning of the wedding, she went to the crazy-early morning flower market, got some flowers and took them home to make herself. They were perfect!
#16 Wedding Cake | $0.00 – Here’s another one! Initially, Wayne and I weren’t going to go with a cake. The catering options we had included a lovely, rich chocolate torte included as a dessert. We thought that was enough. My Maid of Honor though, had a different idea in mind. She went a purchased some plain chocolate cakes, covered with white chocolate (without telling the cake shop that it was for a wedding). And then, she bought some fresh flowers from the local supermarket, and decorated the cakes with them. Perfection!
#17 Photographer | $0.00 – Wayne’s friend is a hobby photographer, and he offered to cover our wedding ceremony and reception for us. This was great!
#18 Music and DJ | $0.00 – Using a free trial of Spotify premium, I created several playlists. We then asked my Maid of Honor’s 14-year old daughter to look after the music for the night. She was awesome. I created 7 playlists and gave her a timeline to follow, so that she didn’t have to worry about figuring out what would come next. Click here to see sample timeline.
#19 Hair and Make Up | $20.00 – If I spent $20 on my wedding dress, do you think I’d pay any more than that for my hair and make up? Hahaha!! I simply bought a pretty hair accessory for $20.00 and then my Maid of Honor helped me put it on. All the make up and hair styling was done at home… in front of the bathroom mirror!
#20 Wedding Favors | $0.00 – Now people may have different views on this, of course. We decided that we weren’t going give out wedding favors. Everyone had a good time catching up, enjoying a lovely dinner and dessert – we felt like it was an unnecessary expense. In stead, we updated our wedding website, uploaded the photos and sent the link out for everyone to go over and remember the day by.
There you have it! That’s exactly how we planned a beautiful wedding for under $3500. I’ll say it again… it certainly was the right kind of perfect for us ♥