Towards the end, there were just so many wedding expenses and I was spending so much time planning just one day. I am happy that we planned an ahmaaaaazzzziinnnngg wedding, but I'm glad that I can just think about the memories now 🙂
Right before the wedding, I had some expensive wedding regret. I know that we are technically below the average amount that is spent on a wedding (the average is around $26,000), but I still thought I would be way below where we were.
Don't get me wrong though, we LOVED our wedding. It was the best day ever for us, and many people told us we had the best wedding that they had ever attended. That's a win for me! The day did go by extremely fast though, I wish I had more time for it.
Oh yeah, I'm still waiting on the professional pictures, so there will probably still be a few more wedding posts to come. I can't wait until I get those! I will be doing a full review on the different vendors we used, products that we loved, how we DIYed the wedding flowers, expenses we wish we would have skipped, and more. If you have anything that you would like me to cover in the future, please let me know.
Today's post will be just about our BUDGET!
Back in January of 2013, we created a budget of something around $10,000 to $15,000 for our wedding. The very top limit that we set for ourselves was $20,000. We knew that we didn't want to get up to that amount since we had to pay for every expense of our wedding, and that's a lot of money.
I didn't want to drown in wedding expenses, and I also wanted to spend amount that wouldn't be ridiculous to share with you guys. I am a PF blogger and I didn't want to be ashamed!
First, how much did we receive from bartering? – $7,000
We received around $7,000 in product and services for our wedding from bartering (yes, I know about IRS and bartering). I reached out to many wedding service businesses in the St. Louis area and many product-related businesses around the United States about arranging a barter.
I wasn't pushy. I sent out a simple email to various businesses. It was easy and I figured that the only thing that could happen would be that a person would say “no.”
Rejection didn't bother me. Plenty of people said no and plenty of people said yes.
For the most part, my services mainly revolved around helping businesses start a blog, helping them with grow their current blog, or teaching them about social media. It was easy for me since I am blogging all the time and I'm always on social media.
Wedding rentals – $2,400
We budgeted a higher amount originally for our wedding rentals, but I found different ways to save a little bit of money, and we also shifted money in different directions.
For example, we built a “wedding barn” on the property, which meant that we didn't need as big of a tent as we originally budgeted for.
We rented 375 chairs, around 30 tables for guests, food, gifts, etc., linens for everything, a 20×40 tent to go next to the wedding barn, a dance floor, and a few other things.
We had our wedding on Wes's family's property. We donated $1,000 to go towards a wedding barn that the family has been wanting since we were going to have our wedding there. It was sort of like our venue fee for letting us use the land.
We also spent a lot of time on the property before the wedding (a few times a week), and Wes and his uncle built the barn.
They did a great job! My job in the whole thing was to supply them with water so that they could continue working 🙂
I did pick up a shovel and help them dig holes for the logs every now and then though!
Food – $2,500
We got a great deal on the food at our wedding because the owner of the place coincidentally was related to Wes.
We also bought a ton of bakery items that ended up costing almost $500. We had pies, multiple wedding cakes, cannolis, brownies, cookies, macarons, and more. Oh yeah, we had a candy table as well!
Before you think “Oh your food was so cheap!” Keep in mind that you need to factor in the cost of rentals, alcohol, the barn, bathrooms, and everything else because all of that is normally included in the price per person at a wedding venue. Outdoor weddings are expensive because everything is paid for separately and you have to cover pretty much everything.
Drinks – $2,000
In the beginning, our idea was to supply our own alcohol and hire a bartender to just serve the drinks. However, we found it really hard to do that, and I really just didn't want to think about the bar during my wedding (such as if the drinks got warm, the bartender sucked, we ran out of drinks, or something else).
Instead, I searched around and found an awesome company who just bartends at private events like weddings. They supplied all the alcohol, cups, ice, bartending table, and more.
They handled everything and it was very affordable.
Wedding attire – $3,600
My wedding dress was around $1,615. I bought my dress from a place called White Traditions Bridal in the St. Louis area. It was an awesome and super cute place. If you are from the STL area, I definitely recommend that you shop for your dress from here.
Alterations were $140 for a bustle, bra inserted, and having it taken in just half an inch. It was supposed to be $160 but I had a small change that ended up lowering the price.
My shoes were $50 and can be worn again.
My jewelry was $75 for a necklace and earrings.
My veil was $40. Bought it off of Etsy and I loved it.
Hair and makeup are a little expensive at $1,100. I paid for my bridesmaids hair and makeup as a part of their gift.
For Wes, we went to Men’s Wearhouse and we had enough groomsmen so that he could get his for free. We also put money towards each of their tuxes as a gift from us so that the rental fee wasn’t so high for them. Then, we also paid for two tuxes for two of his men as well to help them out.
Photography – $3,800
I found an awesome photographer and her fee was around $2,000.
We also paid for engagement photos which were around $400.
Then we also had a photo booth and the fee for that was around $1,400. The photo booth pictures were a HIT. Check out some of the pictures here.
Paper – $1,300
We had save the dates, invitations, RSVPs, and wedding programs to pay for. Sad thing is that we completely forgot to have the wedding programs handed out because of the bad weather (everything was flying everywhere!). So, now we have a ton of wedding programs still in the original plastic packaging haha.
We haven't bought our thank you cards yet, but that is on our to-do list for this week.
Miscellaneous – $5,630
We had a lot of other expenses too. These included:
- We had a DJ. – $800
- I bought robes for myself and my bridesmaids for when we are getting ready. These were also gifts for them and many of them have said that they have been wearing them a lot, which is great. – $150
- Bug spray since everything was outdoors – $30
- Lighting for the whole property so that people don’t trip – $200
- Decor for centerpieces – $300
- We wholesaled flowers and DIYed them – $700
- Day of Wedding Coordinator – $850
- Bathrooms – $800. We needed outdoor bathrooms as well (these were wedding ones that could flush and had a sink. There were also candles and flowers in them) because you never want over 200 people using one septic system.
- Rehearsal Dinner – $400
- Other gifts for our bridal party – $500.
- Champagne flutes – $50
- Garter – $25
- We used a family member as our officiant and gave him a $100 gift.
- Sparklers and lanterns for guests – $200
- Guest book – Free. My friend made an awesome one. Thanks Adrienne!
- Canvas pictures of us for our guest book table – $200
- Hanger for my wedding dress that says “Mrs. Gardner” – $25
- Custom wedding cake topper and serving set– $300
Altogether, everything totaled $22,230, before bartering.
So, after the $7,000 in barters, our total wedding cost was $15,230.
How much was your wedding?
Was there anything you regretted paying for or wished you spent money on?
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