In our most recent episode of Chris & Cali Plan A Wedding, we start to tackle our wedding budget. The research had us questioning whether or not the $10,000 wedding is a myth. We asked viewers to chime in on whether or not it was possible. Much to our surprise, couples from all over the country—from New Jersey to Arizona—shared how they were able to come in at or under that elusive $10,000.
Vanessa was one of the first to comment, letting us know that not only did she plan a wedding for less than $10,000, she did it for $6,000. We asked her and her husband, Landon, for the low down on how to throw a wedding on a budget—and look good doing it.
You planned a wedding for $10k! Here I was thinking it was a myth. How’d you do it?
We were able to pull ours off for $6,000! First thing we decided: We did not want to do a ceremony. Landon and I got married in a courthouse with his best friend and my sister as our witnesses. That eliminated a huge cost. (Landon actually went to work that night, and I went to Postinos to celebrate with my girlfriends while he had IN-N-OUT with his squad mates!) We knew we would have a celebration at a later date, and like our personalities, we wanted something laid back.
What are the top three things you did to cut costs?
1. Venue. We used my mother in laws house/backyard. We saved here big! My mother in law recently renovated her large backyard. This space provided more than enough room for our guests. We greeted our guests in the foyer, there was a pathway to the gift table, which lead guests to the backyard. With our celebration ending at 10pm, we invited everyone to come after party at local dive bar called Champions (if you’re from AZ you know the place).
Marriage, for us has nothing to do with the type of wedding you have.
2. Food and alcohol. By word of mouth, we came into contact with an authentic, small family owned taco stand. The meal provided was street style tacos with sides. Unlimited amount per guest. The cost was $5 a guest. Rather than getting a large fancy wedding cake, we chose multiple cakes at AJ’s grocery store.
We also rented a Gelato Cart from a favorite local spot. For alcohol – we purchased liquor and wine from Costco, and had two kegs of beer. A family friend of ours works in the restaurant industry and referred one of their employees to bartend the event. We gave her $100 for the night and provided a tip jar.
3. Entertainment. For music, we opted to rent several speakers and use playlist from an iPod rather than a DJ. We weren’t interested in a “dance floor vibe” and preferred the lower volume social atmosphere while still providing upbeat energy.
How do you recommend brides- and grooms-to-be go about finding the right vendors and staff?
Referrals. Word of mouth is everything. Take experience from others to help provide you with as much information as possible. When we planned ours, we spoke to other married couples and asked them. “What would you do differently?” This really helped us on deciding what is important and what could be eliminated. For example, we were referred to a couple of high school girls who handled clean up. At $10 an hour, they bussed tables, refilled waters, and passed out cake.
Did you have to make any compromises?
Honestly, no I don’t think we did. We both knew the financial implications of a high priced wedding. With that being said, we knew we didn’t want to place a burden of debt on our new marriage. We knew that one day had absolutely no influence to a long lasting marriage. We’ve witnessed small, destination, and expensive weddings end in divorce. Marriage, for us has nothing to do with the type of wedding you have.
Where’d you find your dress?
I got it at Macy’s on sale $80! I looked EVERYWHERE. I tried on the overpriced dresses at David’s Bridal and the expensive boutique dresses. I spent countless hours online. We’ve all been subject to online purchases being a complete fail, but this dress was perfect! While your traditional wedding stores might offer specialty dresses, don’t forget about your every day store fronts (online included). My husband was able to get his wardrobe for less than $100.
If you had to do it all over again, what would you do differently?
We wish we would have done scenic wedding photography. While we were more than happy with our actual celebration photos, we did not head out to a destination and take photos of just us. As your memory will hold on as long as it can, and the night will be a blur, photographs will last the test of time.