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My 3500.00 Wedding

My 3500.00 Wedding! A No Frills Blog Post To Show You How I Did It.

Hey everyone. My name is Paige and I'm a wedding planner in the 4 states area. As a wedding planner/event manager, I know that wedding planning doesn't have to break the bank. I once had a client who mentioned she wanted to have a wedding on a 3000.00 budget. I was skeptical at first but, I couldn't believe how easy it actually was so it prompted me to do the same for my own wedding. 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, 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.

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.
The first tip starts with booking the venue. The best venue will have a ton of free perks included. The free perks are also known as amenities. Don't be fooled by the venues who claim they are all inclusive. 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.


  • For the cake, I followed their instructions in one of their wedding workshops for the cake. The cake and cupcakes cost 100.00. 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. Stretch your cake budget by learning how to properly cut a wedding cake.


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


  • Bouquet Rental 25.00


  • 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 our 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 and my wedding website 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 served beer, wine and we even created a signature cocktail from the wine which was a hit. We didn't serve hard alcohol. Best of all, I didn't have to worry about guests getting overly intoxicated and getting behind the wheel. I considered an "after party" at the club. I'm starting to see quite a few "after parties". This is where you can pull out that cute white mini dress and don't forget the veil! Alcohol 200.00


  • For the food, we followed the trend and went with heavy appetizers which included, meatballs, cocktail smokies, a queso fountain and salsa bar 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 and soda pop and bottled water cost 400.00


  • 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 bought coffee from Sam's Club 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!


  • Paper products for 100 guests were 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


  • Montage. A Montage is a collection of pictures edited together to make a video that was shown on the wall for guests to view during the reception. I did this on an iPhone. The pictures were childhood pictures of Fiance and I and guests loved it! 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.


  • Tips and gratuities and other ways to thank your vendors. You traditionally only tip the workers who work for the business. If the worker is the business owner, then, no you don't tip. Tipping ettiquette has become obscene in America and it's grossly taken advantage of. Ultimately you decide if the business owner needs another tip on top of his package price. I paid zero tips since I did not have any service workers. I sent everyone an amazing thank you email. It's poor poor poor etiquette to not thank everyone from, the venue to your clean-up company. Keep it classy!

The Math

The Math: (I rounded everything up to make figuring the math easier.)



Venue 1200.00 This depends on the day of the week, time of the year, etc


Provided by venue

Guestbook 10.00


My dress, plus cute earrings as a special gift to myself to remember my amazing day 100.00

Fiance's attire 25.00



A mimosa bar for wedding day morning 15.00. Ask the venue for their "to die for" 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 were plenty for my wedding crew plus there were still doughnuts leftover. 30.00

Reception Food 400

Alcohol 200 (1 pony keg, 5 boxed wines: 3 white, 1 red and 1 rose)

Cake and cupcakes 100

Coffee Bar 50.00

Paper products 50

Rentals such as the coffee maker, cheese fountain and chafing dishes and 2 tablecloths 100.00


DJ 500.00

Projector for video montage during cocktail hour and dinner 50

2 Selfie Walls 0

Printable wedding bingo MC'd by DJ 0

Shoe Game MC'd by DJ



Bouquet Rental 25.00

Real flower petals for my ceremony 10.00

Floral centerpieces for food tables came from venue's decor room


Photographer 600.00



Bridesmaids and groomsmen gifts 50

Thank you emails to venue, DJ and photographer 0

Thank you emails to my wedding party 0

Total, drumroll please...


Remember, I rounded everything up and if you look closely, you'll see a couple of ways that you could save even more money.

It really all starts with the best venue.

As a wedding planner/event manager, I can't express enough to keep it simple. As long as there are nibbles, drink and lots of entertainment, your guests will be happy. 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? Not much! It was pretty perfect. But...that's just me personally.


Here is a bulleted list of tips that I think really helped me create a perfect wedding.

  • Obviously. booking the best venue with the best package is what made everything so effortless.

  • For extra drama, I took advantage of all of the Grand Entrances. The Belvedere is great about showing you how it's done.

  • We practiced simple dance steps for our first dance instead of just swaying back and forth.

  • For the dancing portion of the reception,the photographer was allowed to get a few candid shots of guests on the dance floor (he needed the extra light) but, after that it was time to dim the chandeliers so we could really get the party started.

So if you're wondering what my wedding looked like, you can find pictures on the venue's website.
Can you guess my event from one of the other events?

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