Planning a Wedding and Reception for $1500

I'm planning a wedding for August 1, 2009 (12 weeks from now) and have limited budget ($1500). I would like to find a place to have the ceremony and reception with about 80 guests. Does anyone out there have any suggestions? I'm running myself in circles without much help. So anything you've got would be helpful.


By april from N. Hollywood, CA

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May 8, 20090 found this helpful

State parks are great. you pay per person, but they have facilities there and are always beautiful. I did my wedding on mt philo (vemont) I think it cost $140.00. There was use of a large cabin (or small hall) tables/chairs and tables outside.
Best wishes!

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May 17, 20090 found this helpful

I've been creating & performed wedding ceremonies for nearly 15 years. If you email me more details, perhaps I could offer some solid suggestions.

1. Do you want your ceremony & reception to be in different places (eg, a church & a hall) or in the same place (eg, a park or a restaurant)?

2. Do you want an outdoor or indoor (or both) event?


3. How much donation of time/ services exists around you among family & friends? For instance, someone to take photos, or to run an iPod, or to cater, etc.

3. How formal or casual are you aiming for? Formal may cost more in terms of invitations, place cards, gifts for wedding party members, & all of that. Casual might entail such cost-cutters as home-made & non-calligraphy invitations, inexpensive or no guest favors, etc.

These are just a few basics for some good feedback. My email is bsvgs AT

Good luck, Nica

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May 17, 20090 found this helpful

This tip might be a help with food, if you're in a part of the country like I am where people expect a meal at the reception. Check on catering by a local fast food operation.


I just attended a reception catered by Lee's Famous Recipe (fried chicken), to which the bride's family added some homemade side items to the sides they also had catered. The food was obviously much enjoyed!

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May 17, 20090 found this helpful

If most of your guests are family and friends, make it an informal wedding with more intimacy. You can have it at your home, your families homes, pot luck, picnic,ask your in-laws what your husband to be favs foods are and ask your guests to make their versions and give you their recipes, then you find out at the reception what your husband likes and you already have the recipes to make it. try informal at parks,vfw's, hire local high school or college for the day to help serve. I had mine in my parents back yard and inside and it was tight quarters but we all had fun and I got to know my husbands family better right away. i played games with the kids and had fun. very informal. use lots of flowers in any container buy flowers from wholesaler. farmers markets. main thing is have fun, its your day, enjoy it!

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May 19, 20090 found this helpful

The first place is where to have it. If you have a friend or relative w/a big yard, that's your best bet, because it's likely that state parks, etc. will be booked already. (But it doesn't hurt to check.) Call your local town hall and see if they have any suggestions; a smaller town park might be available.


Next is food. Your whole budget comes to under $19/person, including everything else plus food, so think of the types of places you eat on a tight budget: home, pizza place, mexican, chinese, sandwiches, burgers. If you don't want to do pot-luck, see if some of the other places will cater. For beverages (or if you do potluck, for fancy desserts, etc.) try a bulk store like Sam's or Costco.

Next is photos. See if guests w/photo talent will take them for you and/or if a high school or college student will do it cheaply for the experience. Same for video. We ended up with pretty lousy photos (this was before digital cameras) but even so, there is never a day when we say, "Gee, if only we'd spent $1000 on photos." Most people never look at their photos anyway. (Heck, you could probably show up at Wal-Mart in your wedding clothes for a cheap package.)


If your budget includes your wedding gown, try thrift stores. I bought my gown, which fit perfectly, at a consignment store for $125. Still that would be 10% of your budget.

Remember that if you pick a park, you need to make sure there are bathrooms nearby. :)

If need be, there's still a bit of time between now and August for a part-time job for you and/or your partner to increase your budget a bit---if possible.

Best wishes! Let us know what you end up selecting!

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June 2, 20090 found this helpful

Have you considered a local church? Large churches can be very expensive, but small country churches may be inexpensive or even free if you have a connection. Our church will even "rent" out our fellowship hall for $50 for receptions and showers. Since we're members, it didn't cost us anything. Our whole wedding, dress included, was under $1000. The one regret that I have, eighteen years later, is that we didn't have pictures made. I have a friend that is a talented photographer that charges $50 to take pictures and burn them to a CD.


You can then print however many copies of whichever pictures you like (even large prints!) from someplace like walmart or Target.

I wish digital photography had been perfected twenty years ago! Also, with food, if you have your wedding and reception in the middle of the afternoon away from a standard mealtime, you may be able to get by with cake, punch, fruit, nuts and mints. I live in the deep south and have been to several different styles of weddings, each of them beautiful in their own way.

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