Breaking Down the Budget

So you’ve been able to enjoy engaged life for a little – celebrated with family, gazed longingly at your ring, drank some champagne… now, let’s get down to business budget.



The #BETTERbyaTON budget will probably hover around $20,000 when everything is said and done, which is an insane amount of money for someone (me) who has made $9/hour for the majority of my adult life. Because we’re still in the early stages of planning, I’m not disclosing our entire budget. I will, however, give you a few tips that helped us cut back the budget.

  1. Venue

You’ll see this on every single “budget bride” site and it’s kind of the worst. I didn’t realize until we started planning that the venue (which I always viewed as the most important) can be the most expensive.

We knew we wanted to get married at an outside venue. While we had a few options, Lucas and I decided on a venue that took about half of the budget off the top. However, we made peace with the decision because we both got that “feeling” when we stepped on the property. The employees were accommodating, sweet, not pushy at all and honestly just wanted to help us in whatever way possible; the venue we chose (the property had four) fit us like a glove and we could both envision ourselves getting married there.

If you’re like us and feel that venue is the most important, realize that the money you spend there just goes to having a roof over your head. We sacrificed some other things (that honestly we didn’t care too much about anyways) to get our venue.

2. Decor

This goes hand-in-hand with your venue. Our entire decor budget is around $300 because we really don’t need to do anything to the space. We’re getting married in a cobblestone courtyard that comes with overhead string lights and a 100-year dove covey-turned bar. Inside the reception area, the venue supplies string lights for the rafters and support beams.

It’s good to consider a venue that “has it all,” especially if you know you’re willing to use most of your budget for the venue. Thankfully, we have a wonderful friend who creates custom calligraphy and will be using her for some simple signs. Check her shop out here!

3. Food

On a tight budget, you really have to set out your vision: How much does food really matter to you?

It’s a long day and you want to have food that you’ll look forward to eating (especially if your caterer boxes up the food, you’ll be eating the same for weeks). In addition, your guests will already be super hangry and need some nosh to get through your perfect June wedding. If you don’t have a ton of money to spend, don’t think you’ll get a 5-course meal for 100 people and be able to afford it! Realize what you have to work with and go from there. We’re lucky that my parents are paying for it so we had a little more to spend and could get an awesome amount of hors d’oeuvres, entrees, dessert, linens and flatware for a great price.

4. DJ

We’re in the middle of trying to book a DJ and it’s hard.

We really didn’t want to spend much (we got a deal for about $1000) and the easiest way to cut down costs is to do away with uplighting or hours. However, we needed them at the ceremony for microphones and music for me to walk down to. While I have grand fantasies of dancing the night away, I know a lot of it will be going around to tables and we may not even have that much time on the dance floor. However, it’s important to me to have the autonomy to pick the music and set the atmosphere. We’d rather have a laid-back reception and because we’re not having an open bar, don’t want a crazy insane drunk party.

5. Flowers

I’ve tried my hardest to cut my flower budget down as much as I can. Flowers are beautiful and I have friends that have had beautiful bouquets and arrangements and their weddings, but again, it’s not my style. When I look at a budget, that’s the first thing I cut off the list. We’re making paper bouquets and boutonnieres out of comics and Disney books to go with our “Princess/Superhero” theme. The venue really doesn’t need any extra flowers and I’ll probably just do ribbon to line the aisles, or some sprigs of lavender in mason jars. We’re really low-key on flowers. However, if you’re in CA and love floral arrangements, check this page out!

6. Alcohol

I personal just don’t like the taste of alcohol, but Lucas loves Stella Artois and various mixed drinks. Many people say you can’t have a wedding without alcohol (which I don’t know if I believe; technically, you can do anything) so make sure to budget around $1000 for the basics. We’re doing beer, wine and champagne and honestly just getting the “suggested amount” that you can find here. If you are on a shoe-string budget, maybe spring for a cash bar instead or just a flute of champagne at every setting.

Thanks for reading! Did I miss a big way to cut back your budget? How are you dividing up your spending?


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