Ugh, wedding budgets. We pulled our wedding budget out of thin air—mostly, our parents each offered an amount of support they were comfortable with, and we did some figuring and figured out how much we were comfortable adding to that, and settled at about $15,000. We aimed to stay near that number, but weren’t glued to it, so we knew we had some wiggle room. We also knew that we could get more wedding for that price than usual, since we were getting married in January in the Midwest—not exactly high season. We set a mission statement: a formal Catholic wedding, jam packed with loves ones, sharing a ridiculous amount of joy. Thanks to some serious negotiating on McGlovin’s part, some deal watching on my part, and more than a few times of talking ourselves down (no, seriously, we did not need a $200 cake topper) we not only came in on budget, but we even had a little left over!
- Number of Guests: ~ 110
- Location: Columbus, Ohio
- Date: January 5, 2013
- Type: Cathedral wedding, semi-formal urban evening reception with family-style dinner
- Dress, Wendy’s Bridal $885
- Alterations, Zip Alterations $150
- I believe this included bringing the dress in and adding some darts, and steaming the entire thing and my veil”¦as well as some much needed moral support and kind advice in a stressful time.
- Shoes, DSW $30
- Veil, megsveils on Etsy $50 (this was actually two veils, a blusher and a cathedral-length veil)
- Jewelry, $50
- Tux, Mens Wearhouse: free since everyone else got theirs there
- Tie clip and cuff links, $20
Wedding Party Gifts $265
- Tie clips and cuff links, $100
- Ladies’ gifts, $90 (Anthro mugs and sparkly Target earrings)
- Parents, $75 (double frame with invitation and promise of a wedding print)
Makeup, Makeup Artistry by Meg $160
This included my makeup application, with airbrushed makeup and false eyelashes. It seems like a lot of money, yes, but my makeup was amazing; it lasted all day and looks great in the photos, and I would gladly shell it out again.
Hair, Wedding Hair of Ohio $460
This included a trial run, and day-of hair for me, my five bridesmaids, and my mom. They came to my house and did a mix of updos and loose curls on a group of ladies with A LOT of hair.
Photographer, Barefeet Studios $1,950
This included two shooters for 10 hours, plus our engagement session and the rights to all of our photos. I’ll definitely discuss them more in my reviews, but Lauren and Andy went so incredibly above and beyond what was called for—we had so many conversations, and met with them at least a half a dozen times before the wedding, and I’m certain they were at our wedding for at least 12 hours. The rate we paid was incredibly low compared to the service we received, and maybe it was because they’d only officially shot one wedding when we booked them. I’m sure their rates have gone up, but only in the most deserving capacity.
Paper Products, $200
We did our invitations through VistaPrint, using Groupons, so the Groupon prices are included here and account for the save the dates, invitations, RSVP cards, and enclosures. We also bought card stock to mount the invites, different envelopes, and so. much. postage.
Church, St. Joseph Cathedral $650
This is the parishioners’ rate, and included the use of the church for the rehearsal and the wedding, the cantor, the priest, and the organist. The going rate is above $1,000, I believe. I have a lot to say about our wedding at this church, so please check the reviews if you’re interested!
Flowers, Sam’s Club $550
This included two bridal bouquets, six bridesmaids’ bouquets, eight boutonnieres, six corsages, two boxes of rose petals, one toss bouquet, and two sets of clippers. I combined the two bridal bouquets into one glorious one, and I’m not sure what anyone did with the rose petals or extra corsages. We didn’t use flowers for any decoration, so this was a great deal for us.
Rings, Andrews Jewelers $890
This included my white gold band with tiny diamonds going about halfway around ($500) and McGlovin’s rather wide tungsten band.
Photo Permit, Ohio Statehouse $40
Winter in Columbus results in not many choices regarding where to take formal photos. The Statehouse is gorgeous and proved to be a great location, but the official policy required that we pay for a permit to take photos there. Um, no”¦no one ever asked for our permit. I guess better safe than sorry?
Reception Venue, Dock 580 $6,120
This included five hours of time in the two-story venue, two bartenders, appetizer stations (antipasti and bruschetta), delicious Italian meal served family style, and all of the cleanup post-reception. It also included a tasting and several meetings with our coordinator. At the reception, I think this included everything we could need: linens, Chiavari chairs, glassware for wine and beer, cake cutting and plating, and the cake stand. The only things we brought in were decorations, dessert, and booze.
Reception Décor, $200
We had about 400 candles at the reception and maybe 15 strands of tulle twinkle lights. The taller pillar candles were a gift, with the vases, and the smaller candles and glass votives were purchased from candles.com, or similar. We bought the lights after Christmas, on a discount, and tulle from JoAnn. We used lace table runners, which my mom made and gifted us, and wine bottles for table numbers. (I counted those in the alcohol section, since we also used them as table wine.) The only other décor we really used was signage and photos, which were in spray painted dollar store frames.
DJ, Encore Entertainment $550
This included five hours of DJ services, timeline creation, a few pre-wedding meetings, and playlist compilation”¦maybe some simple lighting?
Oh, booze. We collected from a variety of sources. Our wine came from a distributor (30 bottles of red, 30 bottles of white, and 12 magnums of champagne), our beer came from another distributor (10 cases), and our booze came from duty-free, since my sister lives in Niagara Falls (six bottles of Crown and six bottles of Tanqueray). We had five hours of drinking with about 110 people, and we had plenty left over. We’re still working on the wine, champagne, and liquor, over a year later.
Cake, Scrumptious Crumbs $375
This included two tastings, a three-tiered cake with basic flavors, and an anniversary cake so we wouldn’t have to save the top layer—I thought that was a nice touch!
Topper, CherryonToppers on Etsy $40
This cake topper was the perfect simple and modern topper. We had considered an elaborate topper made to look like us (with McGlovin as a firefighter, etc., for over $200), and then we went the opposite direction and were thinking about scrapping a topper altogether—and then we found this one.
Hotel, The Lofts at Crown Plaza $120
This hotel was the site of our wedding block, and our rate paid for a ridiculously luxurious corner suite with Jacuzzi tub, along with a thoughtful placement of rose petals and champagne. More in the reviews, but we got much more than what we paid for!
Things we didn’t pay for:
- Favors: My sister and sister-in-law and I made pizzelles, and used bags and labels I already owned.
- Transportation: My sister and brother-in-law kindly drove us, and it was so fun!
- Church Decoration: We got married in the 12 days of Christmas, so all the decorations were still up.
- Day-of Coordinator: We have a friend who is breaking into the wedding industry, and offered to coordinate our wedding for the experience. They did amazing, and I’m not just saying that—wait till you read our review!
- Pie Bar: I still have mixed feelings on asking people to bring dessert to our wedding, but the people that volunteered seemed happy to do it, and the pie bar was such a success! I kind of wish we would have scrapped the cake entirely!
So, we came in $270 below our budget. Let’s be honest—I’m sure that is accounted for somewhere in all of the “other” things that you buy as you go along. I’m still pretty pleased that we stayed in, or around, our budget. I think that getting married in the winter enabled us to get a much better bang for our buck—I bet if we’d had the same wedding in June, it would easily have run us $5,000 more, and we wouldn’t necessarily have had access to all of the amazing vendors that we were able to work with. I also know, though, that we saved a lot of money and headache by being thoughtful about where we were spending money, and rational about where spending was just “because it’s a wedding” and not because it really added anything to the party. (For us, one example would be decorating with flowers, which we didn’t think were necessary, and using candles instead, which added to the ambiance.) Everyone warned me that as the wedding got closer, I would start to get looser with the budget and just spend money to answer questions. They were right, but since we were a little more thoughtful up front, that didn’t really mess with our budget too much.
So that’s that. I’ll post reviews of our vendors next. If you have any questions, though, ask away! I’m an open book at this point.
- Columbus, Ohio
- Executive Assistant
- Wedding Date:
- January 2013
- Cathedral ceremony, reception in a converted hardware warehouse