Wedding Budget Breakdown

The grand total price of my wedding was about $3700.  I was shocked at the end of it all that we pulled it off spending less than $5K, especially because we definitely splurged in certain areas.  For those interested, here is a breakdown of where the money went:

Beauty & Health – I could have saved a LOT in this area if I knew anything about hair and make up.  As it was, I sought out a cosmetologist from outside of the Bay Area (Yolanda from PrimaDonna Makeover) because she charges less than those here in the city.  I ended up paying for her travel time, though, so I didn’t save as much as I had hoped.  Of that $539 number, $425 went to the stylist.  It looked pretty good, though, and it was all done in my home so I didn’t have to stress about running all over the place the morning of my wedding.  It was overall worth the splurge.

Cake – I got a damned good deal here.  Doing research on Yelp for budget-friendly bakers, I stumbled on From Scratch SF, a brand new business launched by Jennifer Bratko.  I discussed my budget with Jennifer, sent her a copy of my invitation and a picture of my topper and she suggested the perfect design for my cake.  It turned out absolutely beautiful and amazingly delicious, and SO worth every penny:

Photo & cake by Jennifer Bratko

Catering – Lucky for us, David is a great cook and he had a fabulous friend to help him, so food costs were low.  The menu consisted of finger foods – salmon burgers, turkey burgers, and gourmet roast beef sandwiches.  Delish!  The total above actually includes a new grill that we got on sale at OSH.  We bought all of our wine at Bevmo with reward coupons (could have saved more if I had purchased it all during their 5 cent sale but we didn’t get organized in time) and the food was purchased in bulk at Safeway and Costco.  All of our tableware and cups were compostable and went right into the bin when we were done.

Dress & Attire – I bought my dress on mega sale at the Jessica McClintock outlet here in San Francisco.  It was $93.  It was a little long but I fixed that with a pin in the side rather than dishing out money for alterations.  David’s tux rental cost more than my ensemble!  I got comfy ballet flats on sale from for $28 (using a coupon from*) and my jewelry and accessories were purchased on etsy.  Jack’s suit was borrowed.

Flowers & Decor – We saved money on flowers by ordering hydrangeas in bulk from Costco.  This ended up being a pain in the ass due to the incompetence of our local Fed Ex (the flowers sat in their warehouse mere blocks from my work for TWO DAYS) but we were lucky and it all worked out with only a few bunches that were compromised.  We put together simple arrangements using mason jars bought at the grocery store and tied with ribbon.

Our backyard was kind of a wasteland, so David ordered and laid sod down the day before the wedding.  At about $250, this was actually cheaper than renting any sort of astroturf and certainly less than renting a reception hall.  He also planted some flowers the same day and added in some mulch, and it looked very fresh!

Tables, chairs, and linens were another $265 (including delivery fee) and made things look more “official,” and I bought a tent (again – purchasing the tent was actually cheaper than renting one) for about $150.  Our paper lanterns were purchased in a variety of colors and sizes (less than $2 each) through

Invitations – Being that I am a Stampin’ Up! demonstrator, I definitely could have saved more money in this area by making my own invitations.  Instead I chose to go the lazy convenient route and get custom invitations from Ruff House Art on etsy.  I paid an extra fee of $40 for a custom design, which I’m sure others can choose to skip to save a few bucks.  I also decided not to include RSVP cards since we had a small number of guests and are close enough to everyone to take RSVPs by word of mouth/email/etc.  The cost also included matching thank you cards.

Jewelry – David’s titanium ring cost a whopping $55 at  He wanted something super lightweight and slim fitting (1.3mm thin to be exact) and I tracked down the slimmest ring I could find and then we requested that the 2mm standard size be slimmed to 1.3mm.  David is a very particular guy.  My ring was definitely pricier, but rather than spend extra on something custom, I searched high and low for something that just happened to be made for this somewhat unique setting.  Thanks Dacarli Jewelers for providing exact measurements of the ring and a nice return policy (just in case)!

Music – You won’t see this up there because we spent $0.  We used iTunes and put together our own playlist.  Between the fact that the reception was in our backyard and it was the middle of the day, we figured there wouldn’t be much dancing anyway.  Plus, the drunk people will dance anywhere and to anything!

Photography – Photography is a tricky thing to save money on – those disposable cameras usually just generate crap and professional photographers charge a whole lotta money for their services.  I think it’s worth it to pay big bucks for a photographer, but that doesn’t mean it’s practical for the budget.  I got lucky in two ways – my friend’s brother is a photography hobbiest with some sweet gear AND my friend Sarah is fantastic behind the camera.  Photography cost us next to nothing and we got beautiful, memorable shots of the day.

Site Fee – We spent $0 on this, as well.  It was a flash mob sort of ceremony on the beach that lasted all of about 30 minutes.

Obviously, all of the help from our family and friends is not included in the cost of our wedding.  That part was priceless and really the best wedding gift of all!

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One thought on “Wedding Budget Breakdown”

  1. Awesome post!! And as you already know, our budget was very similar.

    For flowers, here’s what I did: I went to my local farmer’s market the weekend before and picked out dahlias in six+ different colors. When I went back the day before the wedding, I got four buckets packed with dahlias… for $80.

    All our music was on an iPod, too. And our friends have taken the most beautiful photos — which they’ve uploaded in an online gallery. (Free and, as you say, priceless.)

    P.S. Thanks for the linkie love!

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