No fantastic debt-reduction stats to share this week, but that’s because money has been going towards an impending wedding. Our date is finally set, and precisely six months from now – so not very far away at all!

Both my fiancée and I are determined to keep costs down for our 115-ish person big day, but we also don’t want to cut corners. We value our want to be debt-free very highly, but we also value the importance of spending the necessary money on a modest but nice wedding.

So now, on to the costs. Let’s start with the basics. We need a venue, food and drink, the necessary seating and decorations to resemble something sorta nice, a DJ and potentially a dance floor, wedding cake, photographer, maybe some flowers, the wedding dress, and other things I’m surely forgetting. Could we do without a lot of these? Yes. Will we be having more than one wedding in our lifetimes? I surely hope not.

The only big requirement from the bride’s side is that she wants an outdoor wedding. So on to the venue selection. The venue we originally planned to have our wedding at is very strange. They don’t book on a rolling calendar, meaning it’s nearly impossible to get the date you want unless you book the second that they begin taking reservations for the next year. And it’s all done online via email, which proved to be a huge pain in the butt. The cost for that place? $2,500+ (I don’t have their current rates).

Anyways, our second favorite venue option was a nice venue on 100+ acres of farm land with beautiful outdoor grounds and many options for outdoor weddings. They even had campgrounds on site and cabins and plenty of neat touches here and there. But the starting price? $7500. And that doesn’t include food and drink. No way.

On to the next location, which happens to be equidistant from both of our home towns. I called the place one morning, expecting to die from sticker shock because all wedding photos online of the place are beautiful, and was surprised to find out that it costs only $1600 to rent the whole place out – all day long – in the summer! Sweet deal. So we booked it (choosing from one of the two only available Saturdays left in 2015).

So right now our guaranteed costs are $1600. We expect to spend about $3000 on catered food and an open bar, and about $400 on some rental items, bringing the grand total to $5000. Everything past that point are nice-to-haves. My uncle DJs, so I’m hoping to get a great deal on that side of things, we know a handful of really great photographers just starting their careers, and we know some really great wedding cake bakers/decorators.

My fiancée’s parents spent something like $2000 on their wedding, and I’m sure there are stories of people spending WAY less. But we’re both college graduates with stable careers and we’re able to cash flow the wedding while continuing to hammer down on our debts. No issue, right?

Anyways, it’s still a bit early at this point, so I’ll give another update after we secure costs on our other expenses. Wish us luck! And leave a note in the comments on any great ways to save money related to weddings! Just remember that our goal isn’t to cut every single corner out there, and we’ve already picked our venue. If we can afford it and pay cash for it, for goodness sake that’s what we’re going to do.

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5 thoughts on “A Cost-Effective Wedding: Part 1

  1. Congrats! I can vouch for using the “talented photographer who is just starting out”. We did that for my daughter’s senior pictures and they were great! Now, four years later we couldn’t begin to pay what she charges for portraits – she has “made it” and is very much in demand.

  2. Congrats on the pending wedding:) I agree that it is one event that shouldn’t be skimmed on, though just by being conscious of your budget, you will be able to manage it better. For the photographer, we had a professional photographer that we hired, and a cousin who is into photography but hasn’t done any paid gig yet. After the wedding, some of the best moments caught on camera was from our cousin (and for free!)

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