If you looked at the number in the title and thought “umm I do not have $15,000 to spend on my wedding”, don’t worry we got you! Go read our first budget blog “Wedding Budget $5,000 or less!” and be encouraged. For those of you who feel like you can’t do it on your $15,000 budget we understand that anxiety, and we got you too.
Like we mentioned before, the average wedding costs have increased dramatically over the years. In DFW, the average cost is $28,000, some might even argue the average is actually a bit higher. But before you hyperventilate, remind yourself that your wedding is not about keeping up with the joneses aka the average wedding costs. It is about commitment, love, and celebration, and we would like to assure you that a whole lot of celebrating can happen with $15,000.
Make Your List
Use the following list as a guide to choose the top three priority items, these are things you do not want to compromise on. Then rate the rest of the categories with 1 being most important to you and 11 being least important *Hint there should be 11 left after you have chosen your top three. Once they are rated cut from the list the item that is least important to you.
The number of guests can greatly increase or decrease your wedding day cost, because more people means more tables, chairs, linens, centerpieces, etc.. Add to that the food and alcohol, that will be higher or lower depending on your guest list and you get the picture.
So how do you prioritize a guest list? Start with categorizing your guests. If it helps think in these three categories: wanted, needed, invited. The wanted guests are obviously those most important to you, like the wedding party and those you couldn’t imagine your wedding without. The needed guests are those that need to be there such as important extended family, your mother-in-law’s best friend, you know those types. The invited guests are the extras, and this is the category you would start cutting from if the list needed to get smaller. Make sense?
Most people already have resources and connections and they just don’t realize it! Do some recon work and check to see who you know. Don’t forget to ask around on both sides of the family. Generally, when a couple is newly engaged they still have a lot to learn about each other’s family. You don’t want to find out after your drop $2,000 that Uncle Rico is a DJ.
Depending on how your prioritized the list we gave you, $15,000 should allow for a lot more room where the venue is concerned. But if you are looking for tips and tricks on this, we have listed quite a few in this blog. Don’t forget there are a ton of free or all inclusive venue options.
Also we must add that this size budget makes a destination wedding super possible- just sayin! For those of you that love beach vibes - $15,000 is enough to make it happen. Destination weddings usually include everything from the hotel rooms, food, and photographer, to the alcohol and flowers. And your closest friends and family will be willing to pay to get themselves there.
DIY is hot right now! Companies like Alice’s Table or Chalk Couture can even turn your wedding florals and decor into an event for you. Invite your bridesmaids over for wine or beer flights and florals and get the job done yourself. In fact, Chalk Couture will be offering live demonstrations on site at our next show, July 20th. Looking for the easier, no fuss solution order Baby’s Breath. This stuff is super inexpensive, versatile, hearty, and it works for so many different wedding styles.
Food and Drinks
This is one of the categories with the most options regarding this budget! There are so many non-conventional ways to make this happen at your wedding. We know by now it’s likely you have seen the non-traditional wedding cake options on Pinterest, the donut tower, the tiers of Nothing Bundt Cakes, and even stacks of pancakes. The same options are out there regarding food we have seen everything from taco bars to cheese boards at the reception.
Besides trying to serve your guests a full course sit down meal, the next most expensive thing will be alcohol. But again with this size budget you have options. One of those is to keep the alcohol options to beer and wine only, this will save money for sure. After that, another thing to consider is the compromise of a cash bar. This allows you to still offer guests the option of special beverages but saves your money for other priorities.
In our first budget blog, we mentioned skipping the tradition of invitations and signing up for a wedding email and website can save you a ton of money. But with this budget you can totally afford invites if you want them. There are so many DIY options you can find that allow you to print quality invites at home! You can even hire graphic designers on sites like Etsy who will customize your invite and send you the pdf for printing at home or somewhere like Kinko’s or Office Depot.
This category truly is one of the hardest places to talk about getting a deal. We know everyone dreams of the dress, but remember you are likely going to wear it once. We strongly encourage you to look into online sites that offer gorgeous gently used designer gowns, as well as dress rental sites. One of the sites that we love is Tradesy.com. Or check out one of our local vendors, “Blush.Love.Bride” - a discount wedding boutique. After all, the part no one talks about is what to do with your dress after the wedding… if you think it may end up at Goodwill you really don’t need a big budget for it. You can still look amazing in your rental or consignment dress and save $500 extra dollars that will go towards a photographer that can capture video of you in it.
This one really depends on whether you put it in your top three priorities or not. If it is a priority, we suggest looking for a photographer and videographer duo that work together as a package deal, rather than booking these separately.
Let me guess, you know exactly what we are going to say by now! We know we keep repeating this, but with this budget size you MUST hire a wedding planner. There are so many blogs you can read that express our thoughts on this like here and even here. We cannot stress enough that wedding planners can get you insider discounts and even negotiate with new vendors on your behalf, along with keeping you organized and spending within your means.
When booking your honeymoon, sign up for last minute travel deals from your nearest airport from websites like Travelzoo.com, and they will send you the top travel deals from your area each week! Are you adventurous? Check out Groupon.We can actually say that we have had a great experience with Groupon travel. Oh and have you looked into the cruise lines? We also highly recommend that experience- go read THIS.
Sample budgets below…
Budget 1: A Venue Focus
$5000 venue (Includes venue décor)
$3500 cake, drinks, and heavy hors d’oeuvres
$1000 wedding coordinator
$500 flowers (bouquets and boutonnieres only)
$400 Bride-only hair and make-up
Budget 2: A Photographer/Videographer Focus
$3000 Venue with PA System
$4700 Food, Alcohol and Cake
$1000 wedding coordinator
$1000 Flowers and decor
$200 DIY invites
Friend for Hair and Make-up
Friend runs the Iphone playlist with PA system
Budget 3: A Decoration/Floral Focus
Host your wedding at the property of a friend or family member
$5000 rent tables, chairs, linens, and tent
$5000 Flowers and lights
$1500 cake, drinks, fruit, cheese, veggies
$1000 String Quartet or DJ
$200 Bride Hair and Make-up
Budget 4: A Food & Beverage Focus (150 people or less)
$4000 plated meal
$4000 Venue (Daytime or Non-peak day) all-inclusive
$3000 Photographer/Videographer duo
$1500 Beer and Wine only
$350 Custom designed Invites printed at Office Depot
$250 Bride Hair and Make-up