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Planning Your Wedding for Budgeting Brides

Updated on January 20, 2014
Our Wedding Party, Carrie Sue Photography
Our Wedding Party, Carrie Sue Photography
July 13, 2013
July 13, 2013
Venue Marriott
Venue Marriott
Wedding Cake, Included at the Marriott
Wedding Cake, Included at the Marriott

What Is Important & How We Did It

What is Important

Before you spend any money on your wedding sit down with your future spouse. Talk about your wedding budget, set a number and stick to it.

After you come up with your overall budget amount, make a list of where you want to spend the most money and the least about of money. Know that unexpected costs always come up, so leave a little wiggle room.

Our list looked like this

  1. Reception
  2. Rings
  3. Honeymoon
  4. Photography
  5. Wedding Dress
  6. Ceremony
  7. Wedding Party
  8. Flowers
  9. Wedding Favors

How We Did It

We chose to have our reception at a hotel, which saved us a great deal of money in the long run. We only paid per plate. Within that cost many things were included.

Included in Hotel Cost

  • Pre-reception appetizers, cocktails, tables, chairs, linens, candles
  • Reception dinner, open-bar, wedding cake, wine service at dinner
  • Champagne toast
  • Tables, chairs, linens, chair covers, chair sashes
  • Dance floor
  • Red up-lighting around perimeter of the room
  • Center pieces for each table (candles, mirrored tile, hurricane vase with candle)
  • Hotel room for bride and groom, Hotel for both of our parents
  • Conference room for pre-wedding activities (getting ready, etc.)
  • Wedding planner

Some people do not prefer hotel weddings, because many hotel weddings look similar. However, for me the Marriott hotel was meaningful. My Dad traveled every week for work when I was growing up; every year my Dad used Marriott hotel points and frequent flyer miles to take our family on a vacation together. We have many family memories in Marriott hotels and it felt fitting to make it the venue for my wedding day :).

If we would have purchased everything above separately, we would have doubled our cost. Many venues include SOME of the items above. However, I did not find any that include ALL that Marriott did.

It was also much easier to budget having all of the above items in one price. By keeping our guest list small, we were able to stay within our budget. We invited 150 guests, and 100 guests RSVP-ed "yes".

Cut the Guest List

This is the one of the hardest parts of planning a wedding. You will get a lot of pressure from family, friends and acquaintances to add more guests to the list.

We avoided the guilt, by creating "rules" that guests had to fit in order to make the guest list. Then, if someone complained about the list, we told them the rules and mostly everyone understood. And those who didn't understand, we did not feel any guilt about.


  1. Have we spent a great deal of time with this person within the last year?
  2. Do we want this person to be a part of our lives, for the rest of our lives?

Centerpieces, Included at the Marriott
Centerpieces, Included at the Marriott

Wedding Favors

We decided that we did not want to spend a lot of money on wedding favors. We knew we didn't have money in the budget to get everyone something extravagant. We also didn't want to get guests something they were going to throw away the moment they got home.

For awhile, we had decided that we were not going to have wedding favors at all. Usually a year later, guests don't even remember what the wedding favor was.

However, as we continued our wedding plans we incorporated a theme to our wedding. We both attended Indiana University, so we planned our wedding around all things "IU". (Go Hoosiers!)

I am a kindergarten teacher and a mom of one of my students made us delicious and gorgeous IU sugar cookies with an IU in the frosting. She made and gave us the cookies as her gift to us. It was very generous and the perfect addition to our table decor.

Rose Petals
Rose Petals
Table at Pre-reception
Table at Pre-reception
Bridal Bouquet
Bridal Bouquet


Flowers was also at the bottom of the list. Flowers die, fact. We didn't want to spend a great deal of money on something that was going to be brown by the end of the night.

Therefore, we didn't have flower centerpieces. We put 10 rose petals in the center of each table on top of the mirror tile that the hotel provided us.

For my bridal bouquet we stayed simple with 12 red roses without greenery and for the bridesmaids we chose 6 white roses.

Don't spend money on something just because it's a "typical" wedding cost. We didn't want to spend money on table center pieces so we didn't. It's your wedding so there is no need to spend money on things you don't care about.

Our Flower Order
Our Flower Order

Invitations and RSVP

We chose not to have traditional RSVP cards. This saved us money on RSVP cards and postage.

We used for our guest to RSVP online. They also have a seating chart component that helped up to easily seat our guests. I would highly recommend for online RSVPs it made our lives much more organized.

Wedding Party

Another way to save money is by keeping your wedding party small. We did not follow this rule. We decided having everyone close to us in our wedding party was important. We wanted to share the whole day with our family and closest friends. We had 2 maids of honor, 2 best men, 5 bridesmaids, 5 groomsmen and 2 ushers. For a small wedding, we had a gigantic wedding party. It wasn't "typical" but it was us.

However, maybe your wedding party doesn't make the top of the list and this is place that you can gave money. Keep in mind that you need to buy all of your party a gift.

Family & Friends Support

When people offer to help you, take them up on it. We had a great deal of help from our family and our friends.


Our honeymoon made the top of the budget list. It was expensive but we wanted to begin our married life with an adventure. We went to St. Thomas in the US Virgin Islands and we stayed at the Frenchmen's Reef Marriott.

If you are trying to save money you can save your honeymoon for a later date.


Please feel free to leave your questions and comments below.

© 2014 Miss Megan


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    • Miss-Megan profile image

      Miss Megan 4 years ago from Indianapolis, IN

      Emilybee, congratulations to you too!! I'm glad you were able to find ways to save money. :)

    • emilybee profile image

      emilybee 4 years ago

      I got married 3 months after you :) Great list on ways to save money. We skipped a tropical honeymoon to save $ but hope to go someday. Flowers we cheaped out on too... I made most of our centerpieces. Congrats!