How I kept my wedding and honeymoon under $10k (and how you can too!)

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Catchy title right? It's not clickbait.

I've been really transparent with my own wedding planning, so I really wanted to share the real numbers and how I kept my own wedding under the $10,000 budget I gave myself.

Let's start of with the numbers. The total cost of my wedding was $9,323.30!

Here's the breakdown: 

Wedding photographer: $3,500
Venue Rental (for 3 hours): $300
Catering (including gratuity and outside dessert fee): $1,211.60
11 Pies (was buy 10, get one free): $176
10 Benches for Ceremony: $360
Officiant: Friend did it for free.
Ceremony site: Free (friend’s backyard)
Groom’s Tux: $150
Wedding Dress: $80
Dress Alteration: $185
Flowers (bouquets, boutonnieres, corsages and including delivery): $694.30
DJ (for three hours): $275
Whirlpool suite for two nights: $655.48
Hotel for wedding night: $217.41
Wedding favors (donating to two of our favorite charities) $200
8 cards with wedding favor info: $37.44
8 frames for wedding favor cards: $8.48
Three dress hangers with names: $36.81
Invitations: $206.80
Bride + Groom chair signs: $19.74
Makeup bag: $22.70
Vintage stamps: $15.75
Card Box: $20
Guestbook Frame: $8
Wood Flowers: $96.43
Photo frames for bouquet: $7.40
Photo holders for tables: $17
Photos for reception: $40
Marriage License: $23
Centerpiece boxes: $66.70
Ring box: $55.50
Bridesmaids necklaces: $28
Bridal Flats: $20
Bride’s wedding band: $11
Sharpies for guestbook: $5.49
Bra: $18
Shapewear: $25
MOG gift: $24.95
FOG gift: $55
Groom’s gift: $73.24
MOB gift: $30
FOB gift: $15
Groomsmen gifts: $68.98
Bridesmaids gifts: $27
Groom’s band: $35
Officiant gifts (for everything she did for us): $200

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Any food/spending we did on our honeymoon was out of the money we received at our wedding (and we did have some left over that went into our bank account when we got home) 

HOW DID YOU DO THIS??? 

I've always been really good at budgeting and finding coupons/sales (THANKS MOM!) so a lot of this came naturally to me. I've listed a mixture of the process I took as well as some tips and ideas on how to save money.

  • Set a budget. This by far is the first thing you should do (besides setting your date!) set a budget and get an idea of how much you want to allot to each vendor. I knew that I could spend 10k on the wedding and I didn't want to go over that.
  • Made a rough draft of the guest list. This is pretty important, I sat down with Jesse and had him write down the people he might want to invite to the wedding. This gave me an idea of how big of a venue we were going to need and also an estimate on food costs.
  • Booked our reception venue. I did a ton of research looking for a venue, I searched The Knot and Google for venues. I knew I didn't want something crazy expensive or that big, since we were looking at 100 or less guests. Basing what I know from weddings I've photographed I'm really only there 3-4 hours and after that either the wedding dies down or the guests are pretty drunk (which isn't always a bad thing just not the wedding I want) The venue I found would rent out hourly, which worked perfect for me since I didn't want a long reception.  ALSO, we saved with our venue since they did their own catering and offered a small deal with a specific food package. We also saved money by not having an open bar, since the reception was short guests bought 1-2 drinks on their own, and no one complained.
  • Booked our photographer. I already had an idea of who I wanted to book, but that doesn't mean I didn't do research and look around. I knew photography was going to be a big part of my budget so I was okay with spending up to 4k. I contacted a few different photographers from their websites, asked for full galleries and really got a feel of who they were. I wanted someone who would capture our day and make it something special.
  • Found our ceremony site (and officiant!) I know, I'm lucky that one of my best friends owns a beautiful farm and that she offered to officiate out wedding (her boyfriend also made our unity volcano!) But there are alternatives for a ceremony that really don't cost a ton, you can usually get a permit to use a local park/beach and getting ordained is pretty cheap online!
  • Picked a smaller bridal party. Since we planned on having a small wedding it was just fitting to have a small bridal party, we only wanted the people that meant the most up there with us. Also, it does save money with bridal party gifts and flowers.
  • Renting vs buying tuxes and bridesmaids dresses. I didn't want to put anyone in our wedding party in the situation that they had to buy their formals. I found online rental shops for both the tuxes and dresses that was super easy to use and inexpensive.
  • Found a Florist who was not full service. This was a big one for me and probably one of the hardest ones to find. I did a lot of researched and emails a ton of different florists but there weren't many that wanted to work with what I was looking for. I didn't want to spend 3k+ in flowers, I wanted the basics just bouquets and boutonnieres. We didn't need anything for our ceremony or reception because neither space really called for it and I wanted to save money somewhere and this was definitely it.
  • Shopping Black Friday/Cyber Monday/Clearance sales and deals. Like I said, I'm all about finding the best deals so most of the necessary small things were bought this way. I bought my dress on clearance, invitations were bought with a coupon code, the card box and guest book frame were Black Friday sales and my ring box was a Cyber Monday sale. It's really about just watching prices and seeing where you can get a coupon code and the best deal.
  • Booked hotels through online deals. Again, I did research for the hotels I booked. I wanted a nice hotel as close to our reception as possible for our guests and for us and I wanted something special for our honeymoon. I booked our wedding night hotel through the hotels website, I have a membership through them and that was the best deal I could find. The other hotel I booked through a third party website that gave the best deal I could find with everything I was looking for.
  • Etsy and Amazon. I LOVE Etsy, and I REALLY LOVE Amazon, so it's really a no-brainer that I used them for my wedding. I did buy my makeup bag, hangers and the vintage stamps from Etsy, which were all so perfect. Amazon recently released a wedding specific area that you can get a lot of the same items that are on Etsy with your Prime shipping (and if you use your Amazon store card, 5% back or financing) so items like my shoes, chair signs and most of our gifts came from Amazon.

This is just what I did for my wedding, every wedding is different and not everyone has the same priorities as I do. Make your wedding your own, and create some amazing memories to start of your married life together.