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My 3500.00 Wedding

Updated: Dec 3, 2022

My 3500.00 Wedding!

As a wedding planner/event manager, I know that wedding planning doesn't have to break the bank. Here is a post about my personal challenge to plan my own wedding for under 4000.00. I actually came in way under budget and here's how I did it!

Yes, I even had a DJ and a Bartender. So Here's how I did it. As a wedding planner, there are a ton of tips that only a wedding planner or event manager would know. Some may say that they could never afford an event manager when in fact, a wedding planner or event manager actually saves you money. Before you book a venue, hire a wedding planner because they know how to find the deals when booking a great place for your event. Here's one of my tips and it was a pretty important decision as to how I was going to pull off my 3500.00 wedding. Let's dig in, shall we?

  • The first tip starts with booking the venue. The best venue will have a ton of amenities included. Don't be fooled by the venues who claim they are all inclusive when in fact, they don't offer any more than any other venue. A true all-inclusive service includes catering, a DJ and a photographer. The venue I chose was a DIY venue that had a very robust amenity package that I was already familiar with from working with previous clients. As no surprise to you, of course, I selected The Belvedere. They already had so much that was included, FREE. Ask the venue about their "Boutique Wedding" package.


  • Here's how I hammered down the venue price. Some venues offer a reduced rate at certain times of the year. The Belvedere offers a Pre-Spring package for an amazing price. I chose the last weekend in the month of April so that it would be a little warmer during that time of the month. I booked the venue for 1200.00! They had the tables, chairs, decor, entertainment package, plenty of room for my selfie walls, games, etc and plenty of amazing photo ops. Other venues were too small for my weddings.


  • For the cake, I followed their instructions in one of their wedding workshops for the cake. The cake and cupcakes cost 75.00. As a wedding planner I already knew not to purchase too much cake. I purchased cake for 75 percent of my guests knowing that not all will eat cake. I still had leftovers.


  • The dress was purchased from an online store by one of the shops that the venue mentioned. I'm gong to continue recommending this shop to future clients. This was a gem of an idea. Thank you to Michelle at the venue. My dress cost under 100.00. Since I was going with a Boho theme, this was a no brainer. My 2 bridesmaids purchased their own dress since this is tradition.


  • Hair and Makeup, I did myself and for extra glam, I did an updo with instructions found on Pinterest.


  • Hubbies attire was 50.00. He had the pants and so we purchased the adorable suspenders and a new shirt. Perfect! We had 2 groomsmen who purchased their own attire true to tradition.


  • A mimosa bar for wedding day morning 15.00. The venue has a "to die for" hack/recipe for mimosas.


  • Doughnuts and coffee were served after the morning rehearsal 15.00


  • Pizza for lunch from Little Caesar's Pizza so we could stay energized throughout the evening 3 large pizzas was plenty for my wedding crew plus there were still doughnuts leftover from that morning. 30.00


  • Digital Invites cost zero dinero.


  • All decor and tons of it, were free since it came with the venue package.


  • The alcohol plan went like this. We hired a bartender for 250.00 and she actually sells the drinks to guests. We had beer, wine and we even created a signature cocktail which was a hit. Best of all, with a bartender, I didn't have to worry about guests getting overly intoxicated and getting behind the wheel.


  • On the food, we strayed from tradition and went with heavy appetizers which included, meatballs, cocktail smokies, a queso fountain with assorted chips and other fun foods. Heavy appetizers kept my guests from overeating themselves into a food coma and spending the rest of the evening on their phones! Food cost 400.00


  • Paper products for 100 guests was around 50.00


  • Music/Entertainment was amazing. We hired a DJ and since our event was in April there were still plenty of DJ's available to pick from and at the best price, 500.00


  • Same with the photographer, Plenty to choose from in April but, I ended up booking a photographer that I've worked with at previous weddings. Her fee was 600.00


  • Coffee Bar- The Belvedere has a super cute cart that I used for a coffee cart. I purchased stir sticks and creamers from amazon in assorted flavors like Snickers, m&m's, Irish Cream, Chocolate, etc. The coffee bar was a hit for 50.00. I brought coffee from home and rented the large coffee maker for 15.00. I had a delegated person push the cart from table to table offering coffee. Guests loved it!


  • Montage. A Montage is a video of lots of pictures edited together to make a video that was shown on the wall for guests to view during the reception. The pictures were childhood pictures of Fiance and I. This was fun to create. The projector was purchased on Amazon for less than 50.00 and was operated through bluetooth and my phone. As you can see there are ton's of ideas to incorporate into your event for very little money.

The Math (tax is included in these amounts but, I chose to round the cost up to make figuring the math easier.) Venue 1200.00 Ask them about their "Boutique Packages". My dress and his attire plus cute earrings as a special gift to myself to remember this amazing day 150 Bridesmaids and groomsmen gifts 50 Cake and cupcakes 100 Bartender 250 Reception Food 400 Paper products 50 DJ 500 Photographer 600.00 Coffee Bar 50.00 Projector from Amazon 50.00 A mimosa bar for wedding day morning 15.00. Ask the venue for their "to die for" hack/recipe for mimosas.

Doughnuts and coffee served after the morning rehearsal 15.00

Pizza for lunch from Little Caesar's Pizza so we could stay energized throughout the evening 3 large pizzas was plenty for my wedding crew plus there were still doughnuts leftover from that morning. 30.00 Total 3460.00 As a wedding planner/event manager, this was a really fun project. I totally loved this project and can't express enough to keep it simple. Your guests don't care about all of the details as long as there are nibbles, drink and entertainment. Oh...we decided on an adults only event which I'm totally on board with. I'm loving this trend and I'm seeing more couples creating adults only guest lists. When children crash the dance floor, expect the party to end early. It's just a given. So what would I have done differently? Well, there's no way I would have chosen a full meal for the reception. I've seen too many weddings where the guests bellied up to the buffet and then didn't have the energy to get out on the dance floor. I timed the event perfectly to allow guests to eat before arriving but, still provided nibbles to graze on while enjoying beer, wine and our custom signature drinks. What I would have done differently would have to be saved for a different post. Because, I can't think of a thing that I would have changed, wink ;) As a personal challenge, I was really impressed with myself and looking back, there's very little that I would have changed. So if you're wondering what my wedding looked like, you can find pictures on the venues website. Can you guess my event from one of the other events?

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