Dec 5, 2007

A Beautiful Wedding and on a Budget

Here's a great article on wedding planning and wedding costs from It always helps to know what other people are doing when planning your wedding. Some Jewish wedding are significantly larger and thus may easily double the price tag.

Robyn’s $14,000 Real Wedding Budget

Today we bring you Robyn’s small town lodge wedding. She cut costs by having family members contribute services, skipping favors, and having a Sunday wedding. This way Robyn was able to pull together a lovely, warm affair for 70 guests for under $15,000.

Date: September 2, 2007
City: small town 70 miles north of Seattle, WA
Budget: ~$14,000
# of Guests: 70


Ceremony/Reception Site: $1795. Our venue was a private lodge on 70 acres, with beautifully manicured gardens and a large pond in the center of the property. The ceremony and reception both took place outdoors. Included in the price were all tables and chairs as well as 3 separate rooms for getting ready and a gourmet kitchen used by our caterers. Because we chose to get married on a Sunday (the Sunday of Labor Day weekend), the regular fee for the venue was reduced by $200.


Caterer/Food/Drink (per person if available): $5850 or ~$78/person (this number takes into account feeding our DJ, photographer, and day-of coordinator as well as all 70 guests and the bride and groom). Ravishing Radish did our catering and they were wonderful. Catering was one of the expenses we didn’t want to skimp on. For $5200 the food total included tray-passed hors d’oeuvres, an 8 item buffet, pre-set tables, coffee, all linens, plateware, silverware, glassware, delivery fees for rentals, and floral arrangements for the buffet tables. We provided beer, wine, champagne, water, and iced tea for a total of an additional $650.



Service Charge/Gratuities: The above food total includes 18% gratuity and all service charges for 1 event manager, 2 servers, 1 kitchen staff, and 1 bartender. The above is also inclusive of all sales tax.

Bridal Gown & Alterations: I purchased my dress at for around $450. It is by BCBG. The gown did not require any alterations. I thought I might eventually regret my decision to buy such a simple, inexpensive dress, but I didn’t. It is totally me and I still had the opportunity to dress it up by adding fun accessories like a poofy pink sash and animal print heels.


Bridal Accessories (Veil, Undergarments, Shoes, Jewelry): I purchased a pink silk sash from Saeyoung Vu in New York during their February sale for $45. My Kate Spade shoes were purchased from for $120. I wore diamond earrings given to me by my parents for a birthday. My bracelet was $25 at Macy’s. I made a Grecian-inspired headband using a plain silver faux-leather headband from Old Navy for $4 and an elaborate trim costing around $20 for 18 inches. My veil was ordered at a heavy discount online for $20.

Groom’s Attire: After trying on countless suits from Hickey Freeman to Hugo Boss, we ended up going with the best-fitting suit, which also happened to be the most reasonably priced! My husband’s suit was $280 from H&M. His shirt, shoes, and tie came to around $150.

Stationery/Postage: $477. Includes DIY STD and thank you card materials, invitations, and postage (for STDs, invites, and thank you cards). Fifty invitations were custom designed by mmmPaper of Seattle for around $250.


Photography: $1800. Our photographer, Ron Wurzer Photography, despite working as a photojournalist for many years, is relatively new to wedding photography. His prices are very reasonable, but you’d never know it looking at his work. The $1800 included 6 hours of shooting, a CD of all images, and 150 4×6 prints (a custom package). Ron ended up being our favorite vendor not only because of his brilliant and beautiful work but also for his laid-back, friendly personality that put everyone at ease.

Videography: n/a. I regret not hiring a videographer. We should have at least asked a friend with a camera to set up a tripod and film the ceremony.

Ceremony/Reception Music: $710, which included a $60 tip. Our DJ, Emerald Forest Productions, is local to the area in which we got married. His services included 6 hours of music plus set-up and break-down, extra speakers for the outdoor ceremony which took place in a different location than the reception, a wireless microphone, and his entire music library. We chose this company because they didn’t charge us a travel fee and were familiar with our venue. He did a great job band kept the dance floor packed.


Flowers: $400 (wholesale price). My mother offered to pay for our flowers but I’m including it in our total. This covered enough flowers for 11 centerpieces, cake flowers, 2 bridesmaids bouquets, my bouquet, 2 sprays for the chuppah, 2 very large accent pieces for the greeting table and cake table, 10+ corsages, 10+ bouts, and flower petals for our flowergirl. My Aunt is a florist and she offered to both use her wholesale license to purchase the flowers and to do all of our arrangements as a wedding gift. I couldn’t have been happier with her creations. We’re still receiving compliments on our flowers!

Cake: $300. My husband is a food blog fan. He worked up the courage to ask a local pastry chef if she would do our cakes and she agreed. We had a very simply decorated white lemon cake with buttercream frosting that served 50+ and a chocolate/rosemary/honey groom’s cake that served another 30+. Both were heavenly and I can’t believe we convinced a very experienced up-and-coming pastry chef to make our cakes!


Officiant: $0. We asked my husband’s uncle, a very charismatic, funny and intelligent guy to officiate. We signed him up for online ordination with the Universal Life Church. He did a fantastic job and made everyone laugh, while making us feel totally comfortable. He’s since been asked to officiate another wedding!

Coordinator: $400, which included a $100 tip. I lucked out on this one. A former knottie advertised her desire to build a portfolio in wedding planning by taking on local clients for a nominal fee. She did an amazing job and it was the best decision we made! I wish her the best of success with her new business!

Hair/Makeup: $50 for new makeup. Otherwise, my hair and makeup were both DIY thanks to my bridesmaids!

Wedding Party Gifts: ~$400. We purchased gifts for our bridesmaids, groomsmen, both sets of parents, our ceremony readers, all individual family members involved in any aspect of the planning day-of (~6 people), our flowergirl (and her brother!). We didn’t purchase gifts for each other.


Transportation: $200, which included a tip. This was for transportation home in a private town car after the wedding (~70 miles).

Misc: $250 for manis and pedis for me and my 2 bridesmaids (this included a 15% tip). ~$350 for all ceremony and reception decorations, including wallpaper for DIY placemats and napkin rings, glass votives and candles, centerpiece vases, string lights, materials for DIY chuppah, paper materials for DIY escort cards, DIY programs, and DIY table #s, shepherds hooks, floating pond lights, and DIY guestbook table materials.



Thanks for sharing Robyn!

As you can see they certainly cut a lot of corners, that you may not be able to do. However, they also spent a reasonable amount on the catering together with the venue. If you have your wedding at a wedding hall this cost may be significantly lower. Also, the price for the photography above does not include a keepsake album which the couple will treasure for the rest of their lives together. Album can cost anywhere between $800 to $3000. Many couples also get albums for their families and even friends. GraphiStudio makes nice albums. Robyn with her CD with images that she received from the photographer can purchase an album herself at alater date.
As you can see for yourself good planning and attention to detail goes a long way.

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