Wedding Under 20K

After more than 6 months, I finally have the final cost of our wedding. In total, we spent $17,582.65. I was surprised in a good way when I saw the result. I’m almost certain that we spent more than $20K since we didn’t set aside a budget.

Wait, we don’t have a budget?

Yes, this is odd, especially since I blog about personal finance. I had my doubts too in the beginning, but I know us well enough. Frugality is ingrained for both of us as an individual. We (mostly he) don’t obsessed at looking at every line items. As an accountant, I like looking at this. My husband was also surprised when I told him about the total.

Instead of setting a budget, we set our priorities. There were 3 things on top of my list, location, food and number of guests. For him, he want to have an open bar and he wants it to be “nice”. So really – open bar is part of the list.

We ended up with 104 guests. Half of our guests are from out of state. We stayed in the city as I wished and had a gorgeous water view, the food was delicious and libations were served generously.

Wedding Venue and Reception = $10,838.26

This is the biggest expense of the wedding. We got married during the summer and everything in the city with water view is ridiculously expensive. We prefer to have a wedding on a Saturday but the only availability of this place is Sunday. It ended up being a wise decision. We didn’t just save on the cost, we were also lucky with the weather.

We got married on a retired ferry that is permanently dock on a lake overlooking the city skyline. The ceremony took place on the bow of the boat and the reception was inside. The place was so nice that we didn’t have to do a lot for decor. We need to use the catering and I also opted to order the cake through the same company. The food and the cake were delicious. The food were generous. We didn’t want to skim on this. For the cake, I ordered a two tier cake and a sheet cake to save. I DIY my own cake topper instead of ordering through them.

Photography = $2,541.97

This is the next line item. I’m pretty happy with the result, although I wished that I research more. I could probably get this to less than $2K. Included here is a “gift” of either an engagement photo shoot or an anniversary photo shoot. We chose the anniversary photo shoot. For our engagement photos, I purchased a groupon deal for $35 which includes 3 digital copies of the photos. It was funny how the photographer was trying to sell the rest of the photos that she took. I almost bought a couple because I feel bad. My husband, the ever practical one was firm and chose 3. Men, I knew I married the right one! I also printed my own photos through mpix. It cost an additional $54 that were included on this. I received an album from my in-laws for Christmas and used it instead of ordering a wedding album.

Wardrobe = $1,155.79

This includes my wedding dress, tux rental for the groom (including shoes), ties we purchased for the groomsmen and products I used to paint my shoe. Majority of this is my wedding gown. I purchased a wedding gown on e-bay for $75. It was sample gown and I even had it altered which cost another $200. After the alteration, I didn’t really like it. I ended up purchasing a used one from preowned wedding dress. It cost $435 including shipping. The dress came on a wedding gown box from a professional dry cleaner. It fit like a glove. I wish that I was more careful with this purchase right away. Anyway, the gown is back on preowned wedding dress. I’m hoping that another bride can use it and can benefit from the savings. I’m a fan wearing a used wedding gown. It’s ridiculous that a dress this nice stays in a closet.

DJ = $800

One of my bridesmaids knows a DJ, who coincidentally is a godfather of my god daughter. His rate was $700 for the full ceremony and reception. We added another $100 for the tip. He is awesome and kept the party going.

Alcohol = $657.64

We were lucky that the place allowed us to bring our own alcohol. We paid for the bartending as part of the catering and purchased the non alcoholic drinks. We got our wine from Trader Joe’s, beer from Costco, sprits from Bevmo and champagne from Wine World. We purchased a LOT. We probably need another party just to get rid of the excess spirits and beer. The wine were a hit. I got an Italian white, a Spanish Red and a Riesling. We still have some left over alcohol 6 months later and going.

Misc = $1,588.99

The rest are below. Flowers, and invitations are DIY. The guestbook is a puzzle that I ordered online using our engagement photos. I paid for my brother’s flight as he was out of town.

MiscBrother's flight580.2Flew my brother out
Hair and makeupHair and makeup351.96
FlowersFlowers313.43These are flowers from Costco and Trader Joes
Ceremony and menu73.43
Thank you cards26.87
Save the dates16.71
DecorCake toper4.06
Guest book45.75
RingsRings69.28These are from Amazon. I used an old gift card so it's low
licenseLicense93 copies of the marriage certificate


Cost that we didn’t pay

Our parents helped us entertain our guest from out of town. We had people over our home for Friday. My parents cooked the food. His parents hosted a rehearsal dinner that Saturday and provided the goody bags for our guest.

Overall, I wouldn’t change a single thing. I’m really glad that I had a wedding. Everyone enjoyed it. The out of town guest love the city. It really felt that 2 families became 1 during the day. It was a wonderful and joyous occasion.

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