The Money Subject

Mrs. Wallaby does this so much better than me, but let’s talk about money. I’ve alluded to the fact that we’re throwing a pretty low-budget wedding. (There’s got to be a better way of saying that.) I’m gonna try to be pretty open here, even though yeah…it’s a little awkward.

My parents and Mr. Lemur’s parents have graciously offered to help us, and we’re choosing to spend only the money that we were given. We could spend our own money on top of that—but it would mean things like less money toward student loan repayment and taking out a car loan instead of paying cash for the car I just bought. I’m not saying this is what everyone should do, but as a graduate student it was the best option for us! And I’m here to tell you that if that’s what you’re looking to do (I know there are some of you out there!), it’s totally possible.

I want to do a pre-wedding budget post to let you know our general categories. After this all goes down I’ll post again and let you know the specifics! A few things: My engagement ring, our wedding bands, and our honeymoon are not included in this budget. We are paying for those ourselves, as well as gifts. The rehearsal dinner is also not included, as Mr. Lemur’s parents are covering that. Anything else? Uh, hopefully I didn’t forget it! If you see something you’re not sure about, just ask.

Catering: $2,000

I mentioned before that we’re using the caterer from our venue, who is completely reasonable. She charges per item, so a menu of six to eight items for around 120 people is totally in our price range. We’re having coffee, tea, juice, sweet tea, and water, but not serving alcohol—which keeps the price down. The cakes are also included in this total price. We’re doing five simple round cakes with frosting in shades of the wedding colors. I’m so excited to see how this turns out!

Venue: $1,250

In the beginning we set a max of $1,000 for the wedding venue. This is possible! However, our original venues that fell into this category were all booked. This is mostly due to our short engagement. My advice: If you want to save money on the venue, book early so you can pick and choose! We were really limited, although I do love our venue.


Image via Pleasant Ridge Camp & Retreat Center

Photography: $800

This includes our engagement pictures session at $100 and a full day of wedding coverage at $700. We decided to book an up-and-coming young photographer with just a few weddings under her belt. Her original price was $1,000, but we negotiated travel and lodging expense (not included); plus we’re doing a separate couple’s session with her later in the summer (also not included) instead of taking extensive couples photos on the day of the wedding.


Image via Niki Marie Photography

Bridal Outfit: $250

OK, at this point you might be like, wait what? This girl is crazy. Hold on, I promise this is possible! I got the J.Crew Sophia for $150 online new with tags. This is a $425 dress normally—so already inexpensive but I managed to get a great deal. Check around online—my veil was $10 on eBay, in perfect condition. I haven’t gotten shoes or a necklace yet, so those still need to fit into this category.

Paper Items: $200

This includes the Moo mini-cards, 150 envelopes, ribbon, heart hole punch, and 150 invitations printed in color. It also includes 120 crossword puzzle programs and I Spys printed in black & white and color, respectively. I’ll do a complete breakdown in my final post, but I will say we managed to do all of this with money left over—we got a great deal on printing.

Decorations: $200

The bulk of this is spent on books—which I don’t feel bad about because we can have these for a long time. We did get a great deal on the ones we bought and are borrowing some so we can have more than we were willing to pay for. This is also $20 for tissue paper to make flowers and poms to hang throughout the venue, and $30 to buy small Scrabble letters and make larger Scrabble letters. We’re borrowing some glass from family and friends, and tablecloths are included with the venue, but I still need to narrow down what else I need in this category!

Miscellaneous: $300

This includes anything we haven’t bought or taken care of yet. There’s a lot of little things that add up! We also have to include the marriage-license fee, makeup, and who knows what else…

Total: $5,000

This was the total I set from the very beginning, so I’m really glad to see that with less than three months to go we’re still on target to hit it. I don’t anticipate anything pushing us over this, but you never know!

Anyone have any other tips? Any other brides out there planning low-budget weddings? Anything I forgot? (I sure hope not.)


Mrs. Lemur

Greenville, South Carolina
Wedding Date:
May 2013
Gallery of the Day
Wedding-Planning Lessons I've Learned So Far
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  1. mslemur Bee
    mslemur 616 posts, Busy bee @ 3:53 pm

    @Shortbread: Congrats on paying cash! That’s huge. And whatever you end on paying, just be happy with it. Rock that wedding! You saved and you deserve it 🙂

    @kjeandavis: It goes both ways! I’m so excited to see your comments too 🙂 I love seeing the recaps with $20,000+ weddings cause I think they’re gorgeous, but sometimes it’s nice to see/hear about another lower budget wedding!

    @bea: That’s hard, but one encouragement can be that you’ll have a future together to take trips! I always tell Mr. Lemur that yes, we’re having a simple honeymoon now but hey we can make up for it in anniversaries in the future 🙂

  2. Member
    brooklyn55 743 posts, Busy bee @ 4:59 pm

    Our wedding is low budget for our area and number of guests. However, we have gotten REALLY lucky because my mom’s long time friend is a florist, my aunt is great friends with a photographer and a lady just started a bakery in town and is trying to build her clientele and gave us an excellent price. I fell in love with an decent price gown at David’s Bridal (550… not 150 but CHEAP compared to many gowns on here) and am doing a lot of other inexpensive things (my jewelry is real pearls my grandfather gave to my grandmother on their wedding day– he has since passed.. we had a party store go out of business and everything was 50-75% off.. got steals on small stuff like ribbon, garter, program kits etc). Our total budget is around 10K. This does not include rings (1000), honeymoon (2000) or rehearsal (1500) or gifts ($400). My fiance and I paid for rings and all but 500 of honeymoon and the gifts. Our parents paid for rehearsal and $500 towards our honeymoon (they also paid for little stuff along the way which added up.. Like 200 worth of postage for invites but I included this in overall budget). Our breakdown is Venue/Catering (includes all linens, chairs, setup/breakdown, waiters, bartenders)- $6,100. Photography- $600 (they normally charge $1200 jut for wedding.. they charged this and threw in our engagement session free). Cake- $300, Bride Attire (This includes not only my dress, alterations, shoes, veil, jewelry for the wedding but also rehearsal)-$1000, Groom Attire- $250, Favors- $200, Hotel rooms for Wedding Party (2 rooms 1 for bridesmaids, 1 for groomsmen)- $250, Florist- $500,DJ- $300, Harpist- $200, Invitations/Programs- $300. Misc- 300. Although this comes out to be over budget, we are not. My parents gave me a check for $8000 and my grandmother one for $2000 and I still have about $1000 left over. The reason being is my in-laws ended up giving us money for postage, my grandma bought a bunch of the MISC stuff.. so techically our budget increased by about 1,000 due to them giving.

  3. Member
    brooklyn55 743 posts, Busy bee @ 5:01 pm

    I am forgetting alcohol.. I have NO idea the cost on that.. We are limiting it though to beer and wine and only 2 drinks each guest on us… A big chunk of our guests wont even drink.. so i doubt its over 300.

  4. Member
    Lisushi 114 posts, Blushing bee @ 9:00 pm

    How is the catering budget only $2000 for 120 people?! That’s just crazy talk! =). What are you offering?

  5. mslemur Bee
    mslemur 616 posts, Busy bee @ 6:20 am

    @Brooklyn55: That’s so awesome to have family and friends who are so willing to help with both time and money! And great job staying on budget. Great deal on your photography too 🙂 it can get so expensive!

    @Lisushi: It’s a brunch, which really really helps! It’s about $10-$12 per person. She charges by item so depending on how many items we have (6-8) the price changes. She’s pretty flexible on what counts as an item though! We haven’t set our for sure menu yet but we have talked a lot about what we want to offer and had a tasting and it’s within our budget… I wrote a post about it somewhere 😉

  6. Member
    msjess204 18 posts, Newbee @ 10:23 am

    This post makes me so happy! As someone who is desperately trying to have a more economical wedding, seeing all of this makes me feel like I can breathe easier! Thank you SO much for sharing!

  7. mslemur Bee
    mslemur 616 posts, Busy bee @ 4:35 pm

    @MsJess204: Awh you’re welcome and thank you for your sweet words! I love hearing your guys’ encouragement 🙂

  8. Member
    bunny8 105 posts, Blushing bee @ 10:06 am

    Good job with the budget.

    I didn’t see a line item for flowers. How are you handling those?

    Also – no band at the reception?

  9. Member
    jordyanna 476 posts, Helper bee @ 9:41 pm

    This is such an inspiring post! Just proves you can have the wedding you want without having to spend what you would on a house! I can’t wait to see how everything turns out!

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