I shared our budget mantra with the hive way back in September. The idea that we’d spend money as it came in worked for us, but I have been so curious to see just how much we ended up spending on our shindig. I chose not to monitor as we went, but kept receipts so I could tally the total after we had fully enjoyed the party we threw. We set our goal pretty loosely, under $10,000. Here’s how our (lack of a) budget broke down.
$1,000 (plus a $500 deposit, of which we got 100% back)
The inside, set up for the reception
The outside, set up for the ceremony
The venue included full use of the kitchen, the tables and chairs, and any small appliances available (coffee pot, warmers, etc.). We were left to provide plates, linens, silverware, etc. When we booked the venue we were happy that we got a blank slate to work with, even though it was extra work. We did get to set up Friday and take down Sunday, so really the cost covered three days of use!
Photography: Zak Fleming Photography
Our photographer, rockin’ a pink fleece in the middle of the snowstorm!
We were so thankful to get him on such short notice…and on top of that he gave us a phenomenal deal and worked with our super-minimal budget. It included the full day of shooting, plus the additional day of shooting family pictures. Trust me when I say we are grateful!
Officiant Mark gives a thumbs up…we give a thumbs up for a special (and free) officiant!
We were fortunate to have Mark, someone very close to us, officiate our wedding, keeping the cost at zero. Dinners with Mark now have an extra special meaning!
Food: Serious Texas BBQ
Deciding to have Serious Texas BBQ for our dinner could not have been a better choice! This included our meat selections, sides, and sauces. Serious Texas provided the bulk of our food, along with sweet tea. However they technically aren’t a catering company so we purchased separately the baked potato bar toppings (cheese, sour cream, and butter), sodas, bottled water, coffee and creamer, etc.
Rehearsal Dinner: Domino’s Pizza
That’s a whole lotta pizza! / Personal picture
We absorbed the cost of the rehearsal dinner, and for that price we were happy to! This included 20 varieties of pizza; my mom made some appetizers and we did tap the Tecate keg that night. It was hosted at my parents’ rental house so there was no extra fee for renting a space.
“Linens”: City Market & PartyAtLewis.com
Paper linens, to be exact. We provided all the “linens,” plates, silverware, cups, and napkins (since the venue didn’t provide them and we didn’t use an actual catering company for food). Now, our wedding was on the casual side, so plastic plates and silverware and paper napkins were A-OK with us. If you are looking for an alternative to the normal wedding food-ware, here’s how ours broke down.
- Tablecloths: 12 packages (2 per package, so total of 24) of linen-like tablecloths from City Market; they were rectangular and fit our tables perfectly, $48.78
- Dinner Plates: 9 packages (20 per package) of fancy square plastic plates from City Market, $37.71
- Dessert Plates: 200 from PartyAtLewis.com, $23.13
- Dinner Napkins: 250 from PartyAtLewis, $12.87
- Cocktail Napkins: 500 from PartyAtLewis, $13.14
- Mixed silverware: 180 from City Market, $23.94
- Dessert Forks: 2 packages from City Market, $9.85
- Cups: I failed to mark down the quantity of each type (oops), so this covers small plastic cups for wine, normal keg-sized cups, and foam cups for coffee, $32.63
PartyAtLewis.com was great because they had the perfect shade of navy blue to match our wedding colors. Of course I had to dress up our plastic-ware somehow, and so I wrapped a set of plastic-ware in one of the dinner napkins and tied it with leftover twine from our invitations, 180 of them. I felt better having plastic-ware once they were a little cuter! This category also includes the burlap runners my mom created from 20 yards of burlap, for $51.29.
This is clearly later in the night…the sign is knocked off and there are plenty of empty bottles but full cups atop the bar!
We provided our own alcohol and made it an open bar. (This prevented us from having to do a liquor license.) We had three kegs: Tecate, Durango Wheat, and Ska Pinstripe. We purchased 24 bottles of sweet white wine and 36 bottles of sweet red wine, both Oak Leaf from Walmart ($2.77 per bottle!). Mr. Honey made the cocktail, which included rum and pineapple juice with a splash of grenadine or Midori. At the last minute we bought $60 worth of Two Buck Chuck from Traders Joe’s. Our bartender was a girlfriend of a friend who refused to be paid, until I finally slipped her a measly $40 and obviously all of the tips from the evening (which I think was around $60). To this day we are still drinking bottles of wine that was leftover!
The original cost was five hours of spin time for $600, but we tacked on an extra hour for $50. They did the pre-ceremony music, ceremony music, and the dance party. They rocked the house and it was so fun to have DJs that I’ve known for so long!
Mrs. Honey’s Look
This included my wedding dress and alteration, including the bustle, my cardigan, all my accessories, the specific makeup I purchased, and getting my hair done. Obviously my dress was the bulk of this cost.
Mr. Honey’s Look
We got Mr. Honey’s pants, vest, and shirt all from Kohl’s on a buy-one-get-one-free special (we got all the guys’ suits this way), so it saved us a ton of money! For all three pieces, which he got to keep, it was right at $100. His skate shoes were $20, his tie was $10, and he did have to have his shirt altered at the last minute for $25 (wish my alterations were that cheap!).
You all know how proud we were of having our doggy at the ceremony, so 10 bucks for that tie was a cheap price to pay for being insistent on having him there. That tie is now his and he will be wearing it for special occasions!
Our Rings: Kay Jewelers
This was a little more then we planned on spending due to the last-minute ring trade up we encountered when trying to find a band for my original engagement ring. It was worth it, though; I still stare, ogle, and drool over my set!!
Lodging: Mountain Serenity via VRBO
Image via VRBO
This included our cost of the VRBO home (since it was shared with a few other people) and Mr. Honey’s portion of the dude house from Friday night.
Flowers: City Market Floral
I ordered eight bunches of 20 stems of anemones for the bouquets, boutonnieres, and the centerpieces. This also included floral tape and corsage pins. We were lucky to have a good friend who works with flowers volunteer her time to put together all the flowers! Anemones are so popular right now and they tend to be quite expensive. I had my little heart set on them from day one but never thought it would be possible…with a little floral investigating, however, it certainly was!
Dessert: City Market Bakery
Since we did a dessert buffet with the majority of treats being baked by loved ones, I only had to purchase a single layer red velvet cake for $10.99. The other costs include our pet topper and the materials I bought to make all of the dessert stands.
We paid $8 for the permit and the rest was for parts to assemble the arch together. Fortunately we didn’t have to pay my dad for man hours. 🙂
Wedding Party Gifts
This is for the gifts for eight bridesmaids, five groomsmen, three parents, and one officiant. It does include my super-fancy packaging as well!
Paper Elements: Designed, created, and assembled by yours truly
Our simple save the dates:
And our DIY invitations:
Stone Guestbook & Mailbox
Two of my cousins making good use of the fleece throws / Personal picture
My mom picked up 28 fleece blankets the week after Christmas for huge discounts—I’m talking $1.50 or $2 per blanket! It was a nice touch and they got used during our snowy ceremony! We wrapped each blanket with twine and had them displayed in old troughs; there’s not photographic evidence of how cute it was because they got snatched up so quickly!
Wedding Decor Crafting Supplies
Showing off the spheres and jars on the tables
This section of the budget was the hardest to total up and includes only specific supplies for the wedding: like seven bundles of yarn or color-specific glitter and fabric for the flowers I made. I didn’t keep track of glue runners or glue sticks. I didn’t include items like the paper cutter or heart hole punch, mainly because Hobby Lobby does a really bad job of identifying what items are on the receipts. (Craft supply is a very general descriptor!) But also because those are things I’ve found uses for aside from wedding crafting. Admittedly, this section is probably higher when I think about just how many glue sticks I went through.
Crafts included here:
- Yarn spheres
- Glitter jars
- Pom poms
- Fabric flowers (for my garter and pins for the cardigans)
- Last-minute frames for signs at the reception
Eighty dollars seems so small for the impact the handmade decor made on our celebration!
SO, just where did we come out? The grand total for the Honey Wedding was $10,089.93!
Eighty-nine dollars over $10,000—not bad. We also came in more than 50% below the average wedding cost in Durango. Honestly, though, this was more than I thought we spent. I know I said “under $10,000,” but we were really hoping for around $8,000. Where in the heck did we spend the money?? This prompted me to itemize the categories based on amount spent; and the results were…surprising.
It would make sense that the category with the most money spent would be the highest priority, right? Usually that is photography or the venue. Well, we spent the most money on rings. RINGS! I never in a million years would have guessed that nearly 24% of our budget would be directed to our—OK, let’s be real here—my rings. The second highest category was my attire…! Seventeen percent of that $10,000 went into what I wore. So, apparently, we spent the money on me. Yowza. I have yet to tell Mr. Honey this. 😉
For some perspective: after rings and my attire came the food, venue, alcohol, DJs, then photography. Yup, you see that correctly—photography was seventh on the list (there are 20 categories on the list). Mr. Honey was in the 11th spot, dessert in the 13th, and flowers in the 15th spot. I guess I don’t really know what I expected to spend the most money on…but I definitely didn’t expect it to be rings. I spent time looking at the proposed budgets set forth by sites like The Knot, but they were thrown out the window for us. We obviously did not follow any recommendations; we created our wedding the way we wanted to.
That being said, I also think that the rings being in number one is kind of special…everything else from the day has been tossed or stored (with the few exceptions of things on display), but our rings? They are worn every single day and will be for the rest of our lives. The smallest items with the most significance and the biggest price tags.
Hello, you pretty little expensive things!
Generally speaking, we are content with the money spent on the wedding. Anytime a chunk of money is spent, it’s always shocking just where it goes…but our day was absolutely worth every penny!
*Unless otherwise stated, all photos by the talented duo of Zak Fleming Photography
Married bees, what category did you spend the most money in? Was it surprising?! Bees in planning, what category are you focusing the most money on?