This article is part of a short (and sweet) wedding series. To start from the beginning, read Part One: How to get married for $239.
Last day I covered our wedding costs for the flowers, invitations, venue, guests and of course my second-hand wedding dress. Find out our total costs and final wedding tab right here.
6. Cut the cake.
Flour, sugar, eggs, and icing are cheap to buy. But as soon as you mix the lot together and call it a ‘Wedding Cake’ you’re on the hook for hundreds of bucks. I priced a few wedding cakes only to be shocked that bakeries charge a staggering $5, $15, and more per slice! Depending on your caterer or venue, you may have to pay a cutting fee to serve the dessert too.
Personally, I’m not a wedding cake person. I’ve never dreamed of sugary tiers of frosting with marzipan topping my wedding day. No, never, nope.
I wanted cupcakes.
Big tasty chocolate cupcakes topped with teal icing. Now that’s fun. I ordered the gluten-free variety since I can’t eat wheat, so even these mini cakes were a tad bit on the expensive side.
Total cost for cupcakes: $30
Bottom Line: Cut the costly wedding cake and choose another dessert option to save huge marital money. Mini cakes, dessert bars, fruit, and other treats can be purchased (or made) for hundreds less.
7. Food and booze.
Our marriage meal was a potluck lunch. We contributed salads, a fruit platter, and a cheese platter all bought at Costco. We dined on organic salmon caught fresh by the family men. ‘The Boss’ (that’s my father-in-law) insisted on supplying the wine, and he wouldn’t tell me the cost. He only would say that “We didn’t drink enough.”
The amazing Kate (that’s my sister-in-law) put together the delicious menu and brought a few homemade salads and side dishes.
Our total cost for lunch: $45.83
We had a lot of leftovers, for days.
Bottom Line: Opt for a tasty lunch over a hearty dinner to save big wedding dollars. Getting the whole family to pitch in for a potluck meal could save you hundreds (perhaps thousands) on food and liquor alone.
8. Your friends, the photographers.
I asked Kate about her wedding pictures. She doesn’t have any. Her mind blowing comment on the whole wedding photography issue is: “You only need one photo.”
So I asked my friends to earn their dinners. Reread this cost-cutting request from my Facebook wedding invitation.
Everyone MUST bring a camera though. We don’t have a photographer. I’d take photos but I’ll probably be busy, getting married or something.
My friends took amazing photos. I’m beyond thrilled.
Bottom Line: Lend out your camera gear and ask everyone to snap a few photos. They won’t be professional quality, but you’ll see yourself through the eyes of your family and friends.
9. Don’t get odd over the loose ends.
The odds and ends happen to everyone. Hair, makeup, vases, ribbon, gratuities, and tax all cost money, but don’t always fit into a tidy budget category since these purchases can appear sporadically. Do yourself a favour and keep all your receipts.
- Flower Vases: 3 X $5.99 (dollar store)
- Teal Ribbon: $7.69 (Costco)
- Shoe Polish: $6.95
- Music: $0 — Guests brought personal playlists on their iPods.
- Hair and Makeup: $0 — I did this myself.
Total Cost: $32.61
Bottom Line: Arrange your own flowers in dollar store vases, apply your own makeup, do your own hair, and ask your friends to create special music playlists to really keep your wedding day on budget.
10. Setup and Take Down.
Setting tables, arranging flowers, and packing the party up yourself could save you big moolah too. My friend Derek thought it was funny when the bride (that’s me) and groom (that’s Carl) hauled tables around the ranch. Our guests carried their chairs back into the kitchen too.
This is how it’s done on the farm, people.
Bottom Line: Do the work yourself and bank those precious bucks.
Wedding Budget Total
Carl and I got hitched for less. Here’s where the money went:
- Marriage Licence: $100
- Commissioner: $139
- Wedding Invitations: $0
- Venue — Farm: $0
- Flowers: $51.96
- Wedding Photographer: $0
- Wedding Attire: $191.72
- Hair and Makeup: $0
- Lunch: $45.83
- Liquor: $0 (Thanks to ‘The Boss’)
- Dessert: $30
- Odds and Ends: $32.61
Wedding Total: $591.12
Tip: Download my Free Wedding Budget Planner Spreadsheet to keep a close eye on your wedding costs.
Considering it only costs $239 to get married (in British Columbia), I guess we went $352.12 over our wedding budget.