The Big Bad Budget Post- Sword Edition

I want to start this post with a collective groan (ullllhhh) because it’s all about wedding budgets and money. I’m going to share our real figures as accurately as possible, aside from rounding up or down to keep things easier. (I hate math.)

Obviously, some of you might be like, “HOLY SH&T MRS. SWORD, you spent that much on one day?!?!?” And some of you might be like, “Wow, that’s barely anything. My entire budget is two or three times that.”

But hopefully most of you have less extreme reactions to our budget and can find something that relates to your own wedding. Everyone’s situation is unique to them, and we all know there are two major things that affect the cost of a wedding: location and budget. That being said, here is the Sword nitty-gritty.

Mr. Sword and I got married in Bloomington, MN in the County of Hennepin (much to the dismay of many of our friends who wanted an excuse to take a trip to Scotland). I went to this Cost of Wedding website for more information on the average budget for someone getting married in this area.

Average Cost of Wedding in Hennepin County, MN: Between $20,732 and $34,553, with most couples not spending over 10,000 dollars.

The Sword’s Wedding Budget Goal: $25,000

Total Cost of A Highland Fairy Tale: $28,267

For a grand total of $3,267.00 over budget, we’ll take it! :)

Who Contributed: 1/3 Mrs. Sword’s parents, 1/3 Mr. Sword’s parents, 1/3 the Swords themselves. It was a group effort!

The Budget Breakdown:

Rehearsal Dinner at Cowboy Jack’s: $1,500 (this includes burgers and a drink for about 70 people and Mr. Sword’s tres leches groom’s cake)

Bridal Attire (including alterations, jewelry, and shoes): $1,300

Groom’s Attire (including custom-made kilt from Scotland and accessories): $2,000


YES, we spent more on Mr. Sword than me! Love it.

6 yards extra fabric of family named tartan that is really one-of-a-kind and was used multiple times: $645.00


personal photo

Flowers: $550 (five bouquets and four corsages)


Centerpieces: $285 (this is just what we spent, Mom Sword spent more finishing them up)


Venue and Catering: $11,000 (this includes three sections of the ballroom and all that comes with them, one hour open bar, plated dinner for all guests, beer, wine, signature drinks, soda, late night snack, draping behind sweetheart table, purple uplighting, and the cake)


Atrium rental fee for ceremony: $500


Officiant: $275

Marriage License: $40 (MN charges $115 unless you show proof of premarital counseling, which lowers it to $40)

Bagpiper: $250


Photography: $2,160 (after a discount for finding her through a blog)

Videography: $2,300 (for four separately edited films—trailer, full video, ceremony, and Best Man Speech)

Ceilidh Band: $550 (for one hour of playing)


DJ (including glow sticks, extra lighting, and lapel mic rental): $1,040

Wedding band hers: $600 (white gold)

Wedding band his: $210 (tungsten)

Hair and Makeup: $200 (for a trial and the day of, which was super discounted…I love my girl!)

Hair Extensions: $170 (have worn them a total of four times so far and plan on wearing them again in the future, so worth it!)


personal photo

Gifts for bridal party and family: approx. $1,000 (which sounds scary, but that is split between 20 people which equals roughly around $50 a person, seems reasonable to me)

Shortbread favors for guests: $115

Invitations and STD’s: $642


Sorry for the blurs!

Storybook Guestbook: $90


Crafting supplies, OOTG bags, stamps, and other misc: $500 (most of which was spent at JoAnn)

diy-collagepersonal photos

Tips for vendors: $370

Accommodations: $260 (for two nights, one before wedding, and one after, wedding night was complimentary)

Sword escort card display: Gifted by Mom Sword


Pre-wedding Mani/Pedi: Gifted by BM L Dawg

Not Included Costs: Honeymoon and engagement ring. We feel those two items are separate from our wedding budget.

What We Skipped:

Transportation: One stop shop wedding meant we didn’t need to transport guests at all. The hotel had a shuttle that ran people to and from the airport as well as the Mall of America. When we went off-site for photos, we had family and friends drive us.

Chair Covers: Ah, yea, didn’t miss ”˜em.

Photo Booth: A good wedding trend, but one I had no desire to indulge in. Our dance party reception was a hit without it.

All photos by Crystal Liepa Photography unless otherwise noted.

Phew! Hope this post was informative and interesting at the same time. Tomorrow I’m going to share my vendor reviews and then it’s time for The Swords to say goodbye. :(


Mrs. Sword

Wedding Date:
March 2013
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  1. Member
    Mrs. Blue Whale 633 posts, Busy bee @ 7:05 am

    How many guests did you have? I can’t remember…

  2. Member
    almost-mrsp 2056 posts, Buzzing bee @ 7:23 am

    Wow, you guys got some great deals. I am especially impressed that your ceremony space was $500, and on your flower/centerpiece deals! Thanks for sharing your breakdown.

  3. Member
    Mrs. Sword 1022 posts, Bumble bee @ 7:29 am

    @Mrs. Blue Whale: Crap, I knew I forgot to include something! 124.

    @Almost Mrs.P:Oh yea, the flowers were such a deal and I wonder if we got a deal on the ceremony space since we were having our reception there as well, not sure!

  4. Member
    bridesmomma 427 posts, Helper bee @ 9:03 am

    You had a beautiful wedding! The costs incurred seemed very, very reasonable-especially the venue & catering!

  5. Member
    Mrs. Waterfall 1311 posts, Bumble bee @ 12:28 pm

    I always love seeing budget breakdown posts, thanks!

  6. Member
    Mrs. Airplane 386 posts, Helper bee @ 1:24 pm

    Budget breakdowns are my fav — thanks for sharing!

  7. Member
    thebestisyettocome 57 posts, Worker bee @ 6:50 pm

    I join the “i love budget breakdown” club. And…really? sword recaps are almost done?! I miss them already.

  8. Member
    Mrs. Wallaby 2813 posts, Sugar bee @ 4:23 am

    I love love reading budget breakdowns, I don’t know why but it’s always so interesting!!

  9. Member
    Mrs. Sword 1022 posts, Bumble bee @ 2:16 pm

    @bridesmomma: Oh thank you, yea it was very reasonable!

    @Mrs. Waterfall: @Miss Airplane: Whoo-hoo, glad you guys liked it! :)

    @thebestisyettocome: awww thank you!

    @Mrs. Wallaby: I agree, so fascinating to see everyone’s budget!

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