Weddings on a Budget: An All Day Affair

Planning a wedding a month out is no easy feat, but planning a budget wedding a month out would ruffle the tulle of even the most laid back bride. Michelle and Jim planned a beautiful wedding – an all day affair for 150 people and I was stunned to find out how quickly and wonderfully they pulled everything together. From DIY decorations to Michelle’s gorgeous dress purchased off eBay, this sweet couple brings new meaning to the words big wedding tiny budget.

Real Weddings on a Budget

 Real WeddingsReal Weddings Backyard Illinois

Weddings on a Budget:

Michelle & Jim

Lockport & Orland Park, Illinois

June 22, 2013


What was your budget?

We originally said no more than $8,000 but it ended up being $9,000

Venue: The Public Landing Restaurant for the ceremony and brunch; My (bride’s) parent’s backyard for the reception. $2,900 included the ceremony space, linen rental, food and drinks for 80 – we got really lucky with planning the wedding only one month out and the restaurant already had two other weddings booked that evening in the upstairs banquet rooms. As long as we had the ceremony at 11, stayed in the restaurant and were out by 3, they waived the ceremony fee of $775 as well as let us pay a $250 deposit instead of their standard $1,500 for weddings.

Officiant: $175 Pam at Rev for Whatev

Dress and accessories: $270 used off of eBay, $200 for alterations; $30 for bustier from cheeky lingerie. $10 for flip flops from JC Penny.

Hair and makeup: $115 Rachel Delestowcicz

Grooms Apparel: $16 pants from Marshals, $25 for tie and $15 shirt from JC Penny, $38 vest from Macy’s.

Catering: $1,600 for 150 people at the reception from Spring Forest2

Beverages: $1,240 from Kenwood Liquor

Tent: $375

Photography: $500 plus electrical barter for two hours – the groom did electrical work for one of the photographers. Gorgeous photos from F/Stop Poetry

Flowers: $500 for bridal bouquet, six corsages, five boutonnieres and twelve table arrangements by Sara Strache, a friend of a co-worker who teaches floral design at a high school.

Decorations: $240 for mason jars, glitter, lace, ribbon, spray paint, wooden hearts, artificial flowers from Hobby Lobby, Michaels, Joanns, Dollar Tree; My aunt painted rocks, signs and pinwheels and a friend painted quotes on canvases.

Music: $300 for DJ at the reception for five hours

Wedding Cake: $99 for 186 Cupcakes from Jewel

Total Spent: Around $9,000 for 150 people for two meals and an all day event.

What was your biggest splurge?
My engagement ring, it’s what I will have for a lifetime and to me it is the symbol of us being together forever. I was actually able to design it myself! Rare Earth Jewelry Design – Crest Hill

What was your favorite detail?
I loved how the mason jars we decorated turned out with the flowers. There were sherbet snapdragons in pink, yellow and orange, pale pink and cream cottage roses, pale pink peonies, cream dahlias and ranunculus in cream, yellow, orange and pink.

What areas did you save the most money in?
I got so many great deals on photography, flowers, venue, dress, and more! Definitely ask around and use friends and friends of friends in the business. Also if you book last minute there can be some great deals to be had!

What was your one A-HA moment or piece of advice you would give to brides still in the planning process?
Don’t plan your wedding so far out, only having one month to plan was a secret Godsend. I probably would have spent more money and had longer to stress.