What did you spend on your or your daughter's wedding?


We just gave our daughter a beautiful wedding for less than $2000. I am wondering if anyone has any stories they would like to share.
We had a beautiful gown ($150), flowers (daisies), and canopy tent for the reception ($350) that we decorated ourselves with twinkly lights and tiki torches and silk flower arrangements that we made. We hired a violinist and a mezzo-soprano (both friends of the family so gave us a huge discount - $75). Everything at Hobby Lobby was half-off during August for bridal stuff so we got the album, cake-cutters, etc. for 50% off. The photographer was the groom’s aunt, so no fee there.
Anybody else do virtually the same or even better?


We just had our daughter’s wedding last month. We spent less than $2000 and she had a gorgeous wedding outdoors.
We kept tight hold of every penny yet were able to give her the wedding she wanted. Her dress was $150 and had been marked down from $800. Her flowers were white and yellow daisies. We had a canopy tent ($350) for the reception that we decorated ourselves with twinkly lights, tiki torches (it was sunset), and silk flower arrangements that we made ourselves. My cousin baked both cakes for $100 - they were beautiful. The music was provided by a violinist and a mezzo-soprano who are friends of the family - $75. Hobby Lobby had a bridal sale in August of everything 50% off in the bridal department so we got all the cake-cutters, album, etc. for half off. The groom’s aunt is a photographer, so that was free except buying the actual pictures.
Just curious about other people’s stories of saving big on a wedding (REALLY hard to do when it is your daughter, let me tell you…you want everything to be perfect!).
Let me hear your stories.


I can’t beat you on the wedding, but I got my wedding dress (never worn) at Goodwill for $35!! It was gorgeous with a train and everything. Of course that was about 14 years ago.


Our DD’s wedding five years ago cost about $7000. She got a great deal on her dress through a private seller. We had the wedding in the parish church where we were both in the music department, so that didn’t cost anything. The organist didn’t charge us. Neither did the singers. We had the reception in the very beautiful parish hall of another church, which was quite inexpensive, as was the caterer they recommended.

The most expensive item was the photographer. We wanted great pictures, both color and b&w. They were gorgeous. We also paid full price for the DJ - he was great, too.

The best part was the flowers. I learned to arrange flowers from the ladies at the church where I sing, joining the flower guild as soon as DD got engaged. I bought buckets and buckets of roses from the wholsaler - so many that my whole front porch was covered with buckets of roses - for about $250. We got some other fall-colored flowers for the altar as well. I made the bridesmaids’ bouquets of mixed bright colors of roses with a little purple statice and the bride’s of mixed pastels with a little lavender freesia. They were gorgeous. I had to order the corsages and boutonnieres, though. They were just too labor intensive.

The table decorations at the reception were great, too. I got big, triple wick candles in fall colors and fragrances from Wal-Mart, and candle rings on sale from JoAnn’s. The reception was all done in sugared fruit from the upcoming Christmas decorations. I made real sugared fruit to decorate the cake, which was bought from a bakery in a nearby city - the most delicious cake I ever tasted, and reasonably priced.

The whole wedding was gorgeous. The marriage lasted 4 years. I must admit, I was happier at the breakup than at the wedding, but that’s a whole “nother” story!



Well, me and my wife of 30 years did better, but then, counting inflation, probably not.

We had a Church wedding, reception following in my parents dining room, with all the guests bringing pot luck. A cousin played the church organ, and another cousin took all 30 photos (which 30 years later is plenty, believe me). Picked flowers from the garden.

It’s crazy how much most people spend these days. Maybe they hope that spending more will lead to a successful marriage.

Most girls going to senior prom spend more getting their hair done than we spent on our entire wedding. Incredible.


**Ours was around 1500! :smiley: That’s including all dresses, tuxes, shoes, church rental, flowers, organist and photographer. We didn’t have a reception though…so maybe we “don’t count” :wink: :stuck_out_tongue: :smiley: **


My wedding cost about $500 in 1972. I don’t know what it was about 50 but my dress was 50 my cake was 50 my flowers were 50 and my pictures were 100. I borrowed my veil. My wedding gift to my husband was 200. The reception was held in the back yard and my parents had prepared the food.

I don’t know what my daughters wedding cost as she paid for it our wedding gift to her were her pictures for five hundred. She was married in 1995.


We spent around $9-10K on my wedding in 1996. There were a few things we splurged on that we could have gone without. I absolutely fell in love with my dress in a magazine and it was $1200. By the time we paid for alterations and the veil, it was a lot. :o We also splurged on a really good photographer, something I have never, ever regretted because I have absolutely beautiful pics of that day. They truly are priceless. We also splurged on a live music group to play for the ceremony.

Everything else, we went cheap. I had my bouquet made by a florist, but we had several dozen roses ordered for the morning of the wedding. We made up bows ahead of time, and my maid of honor and bridesmaids made their own little bouquets the morning of the wedding. They turned out really, really nice.

We also rented a modest hall, my family decorated it nicely with tulle (sp) and white christmas lights. We had an awesome caterer who had really good prices. It was under $10 a person. We bought all of our liquor in bulk, and the caterer provided a bartender for a little extra.

We skipped the limo, the ice sculptures, the honeymoon, the fancy rings, the church covered in flowers, the fancy centerpieces replaced by simple floating candles, etc, etc, .

We also had a great DJ, cost a bit, but it turned out to be a really fun reception.


$150–priest (we wanted to give him at least as much as the organist)


$50–Olive Garden Gift Card to cantor who was a family friend and volunteered to do it for free

$75–Flowers (had a morning wedding and split flower costs with the bride whose wedding was in the evening). Bought “raw” roses and made my own bridesmaid’s bouquets, boutinieres (sp?), Mary bouquet, etc.

$15–Pew bows (did them myself) and other little decorations/programs that I also did myself

$600–Photographer/Photos (75 total)

$500–Total reception cost. We had a lunch reception at a nice buffet restaurant. They provided decorations, but we also made a few extra “pew bows” to decorate the wall sconces, etc.

$30–Invitations and mailing costs (did our own at home, printed the Magnificat on the backs ;))

$250–Dress and veil (including alterations and tax)

So I guess counting on other little expenses I may have forgotten (wedding license cost, for one :D), we probably had our wedding with about 30 guests for around $2000. My official budget was $4000, but anything left over got to go to stocking our new house with all the daily household things we needed and to pay for the moving truck and a few extra pieces of furniture. I was plenty motivated to try save as much money as possible! :wink:


Don’t have a daughter yet :wink: but here’s what we’re saving on. Probably total will come to around $10k (Cdn)

-Having brunch food for dinner- we always wanted this because we are breakfast freaks, so just a happy coincidence that it is cheaper too! NOT having an open or subsidized bar- wine will be on the tables but otherwise guests will have to pay. Some say this is rude but sorry, booze is way too expensive!

  • FH is making the flowers- when we were dating he would make me flowers of coloured duct tape, so we always joked that the wedding flowers would be duct tape. So all you need is pink and green duct tape!

  • Dress- I’ll admit I splurged on this. Dress was originally $1100 but 50% off bought as is (still needs some alterations but a family friend is doing them, shouldn’t be too much)

  • Jewelry- borrowing my sister’s pearls

-Wedding bands- about $250 for both mine and FH’s, simple gold ones

  • DJ and photog- we are paying quite a bit for these but are getting a good discount since I am the 3rd or 4th person in my family to use their services. Plus it is worth it IMO to make sure we have a good party and great pics

  • Not having all that extra stuff, limo, big rehearsal dinner at a restaurant, European/Caribbean honeymoon, etc etc

  • Nuptial mass at my home church, with the church’s organist

  • Homemade invitations- some of the stuff is a but pricey but it will still be cheaper than having them done professionally

I love weddings! :heaven:


I’m gonna make notes, otherwise if I have a brood of girls I’ll have no retirement fund!


We paid for it ourselves, and spent between $11,000 and $12,000 in 2003.

This is what I think I remember (very rough estimates, here :smiley: ):

*]$6000 - Reception for 125; which included site, food, drinks, cake, ice sculpture, limo, decorations, centerpieces, tables, chairs, linens, china, flatware, tax, gratuity
*]$1300 - Dress; including slip, alterations, tax
*]$1100 - Photographer; included 12 hours of photography, negatives, album, over 400 prints
*]$600 - DJ
*]$500 - Wedding rings ($250 each)
*]$400 - Flowers; included all bridal party/parents’ flowers, altar arrangements, cake flowers
*]$300 - Papal Blessing; included Blessing and professional framing
*]$300 - Bridesmaids’ dresses for girls who couldn’t pay for their own dresses/bolero jackets; Bridal Party gifts
*]$200 - Stationery; included invitations, thank you cards, programs, postage
*]$150 - Church musicians
*]$100 - Cake topper (yeah, I splurged, but it looks exactly like us :o )
*]$100 - NFP classes & Marriage prep test
*]$75 - Marriage license, with extra copy
*]$70 - Bridal Accessories; included shoes, veil, garters, earrings
*]Free Stuff - Groom’s tux (rent 4 tuxes, get the groom’s free); Hair & makeup (Mom and all her friends are hairstylists :dancing: ); Save-the-date cards (courtesy of a bridesmaid)
*]Church Donation, which shall remain a mystery for y’all

I think that was mostly it. We took our honeymoon on our one year anniversary, so I don’t consider that part of our wedding expenses.

Wow, looking back at all that, I’m glad I had 2 years to plan the wedding and was able to pay for it in full during the engagement… That was crazy. :whacky:


Six years ago, I spent about $500 Canadian.

We only had about 20 people, including ourselves. I wore my mother’s dress and our reception was a barbeque in our back yard. We didn’t have a lot of money, so we had the wedding we could afford. We loved our simple wedding, and what few relatives were there still tell us how nice it was.

I have a hard time understanding couples who are willing to spend tens of thousands of dollars, even going into debt, to have extravagant weddings. Wouldn’t it be better to save that money for their married life together?

Just my two cents.



Ai Yi, Yi! We’re probably going to drop a ton of cash for my daughter’s wedding in June.

Our whole family is theatrical. My older daughter is a professional stage manager for a large company and also does choreography for musicals, along with lots of other freelance theater and television work. I’ve written screenplays and plays and novels, and for many years, produced Nutcracker on Ice (I wrote the script) in my city. My younger daughter (the bride-to-be) loves to sing opera and oratorio, and she currently directs Nutcracker on Ice in her city, which attracts an audience of several thousand. And my husband is a member of synchronized skating team, and he also sings and plays guitar.

There’s just no way our family could do a wedding on a shoestring! It just wouldn’t be fittin’! We have no concept of how to do things “small.” We’re the “Cecil B Demille” or "Andrew Lloyd Webber types–everything is on a massive scale with us! Even our ice skating is huge–we’re all into synchronized skating, which involves a team of 16 skaters all on the ice at the same time!

It’s going to be a morning wedding held outside at a “wedding canyon,” and the reception will be held in an historic log cabin lodge in a state park. No band, but my daughter and her stage friends will be running the reception, so it will be fun and probably interesting.

Here’s the website, for anyone who’s interested (sign their guestbook):


My husband and I spent around $3000 on our wedding in 1979. We paid for almost all of it ourselves, in cash. No reception–the biggest part of the bill was the professional photography. We were only 21 years old. Sigh. Memories.


::LOUD LONG SIGH:: My daughter eloped in a civil ceremony after well, you know. We had planned to spend up to $5,000. However, because a little one was on the way, she knew that $2500 of that would go to her first child. That money has since been used for the child’s Catholic education.

So the family could meet her then husband, we had pizza,drinks and salad at a very centrally located restaurant that specializes in pizza. We had it the day after Thanksgiving because everybody was tired of big meals. Because not all of the family is practicing Catholic, and to keep the peace (presents were being brought, and everybody knew how hubby and I felt- they were all trying so hard to be nice to this guy!), I made a small wedding cake which the restaurant staff served. The whole thing ran us about $300 with the wedding cake, gas to get to Chicago, sweatshirts labeled “Bride” and “Groom”. The restaurant items, and a generous tip. This was in 1998. It was about 35 people.

We used the rest of the money to ship her stuff to her apartment on the east coast, and was supposed to go toward a car. We were never sure it did, and it’s too late now to worry about it.

My husband and I had a nice lunch reception off the menu at an Italian restaurant popular in the southwestern suburbs. With the liquor bill, tip, church offering, special gift for the priest who wouldn’t take money, clothes- the whole thing back in the late 80s came to about $400. It was about 15 people, but it was “whatever”. You wanted steak, you got steak. You wanted a Bombay martini, you got Bombay.

The fanciest wedding I’ve been to in recent years was “Tony n’ Tina’s Wedding” when Frankie Avalon played her godfather. :wink:


My husband and I spent $3800 on our wedding. The most expensive items, in order, were the photography, the food, and my dress. The photographers were friends of ours and they gave us a discount, but still…photography is expensive and definitely not the place to skimp on. The pictures are beautiful and I love to pull out our wedding album every now and then to look at them again.

We invited 45 people and had a brunch reception at a nice restaurant. We did not do table decorations (which horrified my MIL). We had a custom-designed cake which reflected our love of the outdoors (and again horrified my MIL).

I couldn’t find a dress I liked, so I located a costume designer in another state, sent her the pattern and material and she made a beautiful victorian style gown for me. The total for the dress, including very nice fabric, which I ordered from a discount fabric store, was $600.

I bought flowers for my bouquet from a grocery store the night before the wedding and made my own boquet. We didn’t tell my MIL about that. Poor woman seemed to be stressed enough already.

The only thing my mother asked of me was to please wear a veil, so I did.

I bought blank invitations and printed them myself.

It was a wonderful wedding and we wouldn’t have changed a thing.


I love this thread!

In 2000 we paid around $4500.

The reception location was the most expensive at $1500. That was just the location, nothing included except tables, chairs, linens and clean-up. But we were married Dec. 28, so it was still all decorated for christmas.

Dress: $300 (at cost because I worked at a bridal shop)
DJ: Free (friend of husbands, was ok but wish we would have paid, could have been better)
Everything was on the cheap: caterer was a friend of my mom’s who’s a goumet cook who had run into hard times and was working as the cook for the rectory and needed extra money. FABULOUS
Photographer: photography student from local university
Liquer: wholesaler let us return what was unopened

I can’t remember anything else but I wish to this day we’d gone with another florist my flowers. It was awful! Other than the flowers I loved everything about the day.


We spent around $8,000 in 2003

My dress was $350 from Ebay
My ring was $500 from Ebay (an antique platinum ring with diamonds) We had the wedding band made to match for another$300 or so Husband’s wedding band $100 at Zales outlet

Flowers $1900 but got it for $300 because my mom is a florist

We had originally wanted an outdoor reception at one of the parks in Austin area, but since the parks are so popular they do a lottery intsead of first come first serve.

We spent the most on our reception and food which came to about $5,000 but it was important to us since we had tons of guests coming from out of town who had never been to Texas, to show them our appreciation by serving great food.

Photographer was around a $1000 but I believe that this is one of the more important things to spend money on.


We married in 2002 and my DH paid for everything. It ran for about $12,000 (including the honeymoon in Cancun).

I can’t really break it down because I truly don’t remember, but I do remember calculating it all and coming out with around $12,000 as a total.

I did wish for a very simple wedding, however, my DH thought that I deserved something big and so we ended up negotiating it down almost half of what it would have cost if we would have really really really splurged :smiley: It was like kind of meeting each other in the middle :wink: I loved it!

I love photography and baking, therefore, if I know someone is getting married or a sweet 15 or 16 or a baby shower, or a bridal shower I always either bake them a really nice cake or take lots of pics of the entire event and of the couple/person and I blow up a big 16X20 picture buy a really nice frame on sale and give them the picture later as a gift. They love it! One time a friend of mine paid lots of money to hire a photographer for her wedding and she ended up prefering the picture I gave to her of her DH and her, which she still has up on her wall! :stuck_out_tongue:


MAY 2003: During the easter Season [no church decorations - ie flowers etc…required!!!]

$ 100.00 Chruch [required cleaning fee]
$ 150.00 Music[organist, paid parish staff - saturday wedding…music consultation with director of music - required]
$ 100.00 Cantor [volunteer]
$ 350.00 Marriage prep - pre cana
$ 35.00 Natural famiy planning
$ 180.00 Marriage Encounter weekend
$ 500.00 Reception Hall for 150
$ 240.00 Wedding Dress - beautiful and brand new - hemmed by groom’s mom
$ 65.00 Material for bridesmaid dresses - sewn by groom’s mother
$ 450.00 Food: Menu Fried chicken, potatoe salad *, Greek Salad, Shrimp platter, cheeses etc, vegie platters and fresh fruit [diced and made by a friend while I made the potatoe salad] 150 served
$ 290.00 WIne, beer Champagne and sodas - shopped various sales for months and a distributer friend - husband and friend bartended.
Wedding Cake
$ 350.00 Misc. platters paper plates, napkins, table cloths etc
$ 150.00 for priest who told me to re-write the check to the married couple
$ 50.00 Photography - brides friend volunteered we bought the film etc.

I worked hours the week before the weeding the day before I made potatoe salad while a frien chopped and bagged vegies. The morning of the wedding I went to the reception hall, and set it up while my friend [who catered her childrens weddings - but who is a gourmet cook] made up the platters. It was beautiful…

$ 0.00 Wedding cake groom’s sister’s gift to couple
$ 0.00 Flowers for the wedding party and the reception tables - a gift by the groom’s aunt [a florist]
$ 0.00 Reception Music - Live band - Gift - Groom’s father’s band - great music fun, dancing great time! traveled 7 hours from CA to OR for reception
$ 0.00 Tuxedos - rented by groom, groomsmen etc.

TOTAL my expenditure $2,990.00.

My eldest son’s wife [they married two year previously] said of my daughter’s wedding the she had a comprable wedding for about $18,000.00 less than her parents spent [and she was breathless when she said it] Her parents refinanced ther home to pary for the wedding [and she bought her dress used for $50.00! in an attempt to keep costs down and they had a disc jockey not a live band].

The Church was beautiful, we took our chances knowing that the Easter season is a tie when the church is always beautiful. Though I was hoping for the second Sunday of Easter we had to take the third Sunday…that year it turned out that that was the same weekend the Bishop came to perform Confirmations…wonderful flowers, no cost…I highly recommend Easter Season weddings …

And $ 565.00 of the $2,990.00 [18.9%] was marriage preparation, a cost I would have gladly paid for my sons [not catholic - but I did encourage them to seek out and of course they and their fiancees did not!] and who have already divorced :frowning: for lack of the same prep in my opinion! Marriage preparation is an expense that is well worth the cost…*

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