Hi all thrifters. I am from New Jesey and cannot afford a $3000 wedding. My fiancee and I want a reception indoors, with a DJ, and dinner food (not brunch), but are looking to spend between $1000 to $1,500. I have made requests for help before but I was not specific, so many people, whose ideas were all great, suggested brunch and outdoors. I am sorry for not being specific in what I was looking for, but I appreciate dearly all the suggestions. Thank you. Now that I given people a clearer picture to what I desire, can someone help me? Thanks!
First off, where are you getting married? If you're marrying in a church, most churches have fellowship halls where your reception can be held at no cost. You can also ask your local American Legion or any civic organization to allow you to use their facilities.
You can keep your dinner simple by serving pasta, garlic bread, and a veggie. You can purchase paper goods at a wholesale warehouse very cheaply.
You can keep your decorations simple, again you can purchase paper tablecloths at wholesale warehouses. Check with your local bakeries to get prices for your cake, the more elaborate the more expensive. Also, try your local Walmart, they do beautiful wedding cakes.
For table decor, you could just use a tablecloth, sprinkle the middle with confetti and set a votive candle in a votive cup. You'll get sparkle and shine doing that. You can get votive cups for .44 cent at Walmart. Most dollar stores have cheap candles.
If you have flower arrangements for your wedding, move those to your reception place. If you're using champagne glasses buy those at a dollar type store for a dollar each and tie ribbon around the feet.
You can have an excellent reception on that amount of money.
How much you will spend definitely is impacted by how many people you will have, and how long the reception will last.
DJ's charge by the hour, with a minimum for a certain number of hours.
Get a small wedding cake done fancy somewhere-prices vary widely from store to store. Then get an extra sheet cake to have enough to feed everyone.
Use the church hall or local civic group for the reception. Alcohol is a huge expense, so you may want to do without, or just have a champagne toast, or a cash bar.
You might ask around about a caterer, some newly-in-business caterers might charge less than more established businesses. A pasta entree, maybe a pasta primavera, with or without chicken, would be reasonable, festive and could accommodate both vegetarians and meat-lovers alike. If you have crafty friends, get them involved in the decorating!
I would first shop around for a reception site. An alternative is city owened halls. I found an oceanfront city owned hall for $265! Check with the community center to see if there are any available where you live.
Also check whole sale catologs like oriental trading company and craft stores like Michael's for great decorations and cheap party items. You can even order personalized napkins out of OTC.
To save on beverages I had a beer and wine bar. If you purchase wine from Sams or Walmart you can even return the unopened bottles. Check first in your area though.
If you want a more elegant effect considered a wine tasting. Pick 10-15 wines (or less) and have a tasting event. Serve appropriate cheeses and desserts with the wine at different intervals during the evening.
If you buy a case (12 bottles) most wine areas will usually give you a 10% discount. This way you can save on a big dinner, have a great conversation starter and learn something at the same time!
I had a really elegant indoor evening wedding for about 55 people on New Years Eve. I cut corners where I could and the guests all thought it was at least a 5,000 dollar wedding and it was nowhere near that. We spent the bulk of the money on the venue and the meal and the music. We went very simple on flowers, pictures, no champagne toast, no limo. All that saved at least 1500 and was not missed by the guests. Decide what you can do without and spend the rest on what you really want.