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Don't Want a Big Wedding


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Old 27th July 2018, 10:02 AM   #1
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Don't Want a Big Wedding

So my parents wanted to spend 6k on a wedding. At the venue my fiance and I had our first date. Lovely venue and all but screw that.

I just don't place any importance on an expensive wedding. I have good but few friends and it will be mostly family my mother wants to invite (which I welcome, good to see them all they are all nice people).

I already have two very nice dresses I intend to wear; I do not even want to spend money on a "wedding dress" to be honest. I would rather invest in getting my hair and make up done! Both dresses are cream with a few patterns.

Has anyone (especially fellow Australian's) decided on a lower key wedding, just in someones back yard, with paid catering plus alcohol plus a celebrant as the only expenses?

I am have always known I would never wear a veil, get walked down any isle or have a standard, regular wedding. All we care about is that we get married when the time is right, and it is an uplifting and happy event.

Any cost estimates and ideas as to how to plan this? We have family that live in some very nice houses, should we think about asking them? My cousin did just that....prob saved them thousands, despite both having good jobs! Even if money was no object, I feel it would be such a waste of my parents hard earned money when spending thousands would not even add any joy to the event for us.

I would love to hear about people with similar mindsets, and hear about the costs associated.

Thanks.
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Old 27th July 2018, 10:37 AM   #2
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So my parents wanted to spend 6k on a wedding. At the venue my fiance and I had our first date. Lovely venue and all but screw that.

I just don't place any importance on an expensive wedding. I have good but few friends and it will be mostly family my mother wants to invite (which I welcome, good to see them all they are all nice people).
6k really isn't an expensive wedding.

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I already have two very nice dresses I intend to wear; I do not even want to spend money on a "wedding dress" to be honest. I would rather invest in getting my hair and make up done! Both dresses are cream with a few patterns.
It's your wedding, so you should wear what you want and spend on what is important to you. If it's makeup and hair over dress, than that's your choice!

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Has anyone (especially fellow Australian's) decided on a lower key wedding, just in someones back yard, with paid catering plus alcohol plus a celebrant as the only expenses?
You can do this for cheaper than 6k, but it very much depends on what kind of wedding you want to have. What are you envisioning?

How many people? (The cost of everything will stem from this because it drives how much food, drink, etc. you need to buy.)

Will you hire people to help serve food and drinks and to clean up or plan to do it all yourself? If you've never hosted a reasonably sized party, you might be surprised how much of a hassle it is to put out the food, put it away, make sure food/drinks are refilled, clear tables, make sure utensils are available, keep ice buckets filled, make sure your guests are happy, etc. You may not want to deal with that on your wedding day.

What will you do for seating? Do you need to rent or buy extra tables and chairs? What will you do if it rains? Do you need to rent a tent of some kind?

You'll probably want some decor, even if very minimal, like flowers/centerpieces or tablecloths, so don't forget about that cost.

What kind of drinks do you want to serve? Just water, soft drinks, coffee, beer, wine, or do you want to serve mixed drinks as well? Will you buy it all and bring it in? Will you hire someone to bartend or let people fend for themselves?

What kind of food do you want to serve? Just basic sandwiches/sides or something nicer? Do you want a wedding cake? Don't forget about plates, napkins, cups, etc.

Do you want music? Is playing a radio or playlist sufficient or do you want a DJ or live music?

Doing it yourself means you (or someone you pay) will need to set up, clean up, etc. Do you want to have to do this on your wedding day? At a venue, you don't have to worry about any of this.

You can do this in a very simple, cheap way, but it depends what you want.

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We have family that live in some very nice houses, should we think about asking them?
Do you know them well? I personally wouldn't dream of asking another person to essentially host my wedding at their house for free.
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Old 27th July 2018, 11:17 AM   #3
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This is an international board. You live in Australia so from the US I can't give you prices.

Weddings are very personal. Where I live they are expensive & $6k would be cheap. Heck I tried on a bridal gown that cost that much. Of course I didn't buy it; had I realized the price I would not have even put it on. I tell you that to give you perspective.

There are several wedding boards out there. I'll PM you with the names / cites because I know doing so on here will get flagged.

I backed into the budget for my wedding.

Guest list is always the biggie; the more people the more $$$. So first figure out how many people you will have. Then call some caterers & do NOT mention the word wedding. Just say party. Many people jack up the price by 25% or more for a wedding. I have thrown parties were the cost per person for catered food was as little as $12 but $19-20 is more the norm. So for 50 people at $20 per head you need $1,000 for food. Round up by 25% for tax & tip (7% & 18% here) to $1250. You may be able to DIY some stuff but as the bride don't over extend yourself & think you or your mom can get this done.

Now you have to give them something to drink. CW says assume each guest will have 5-6 drinks. You get 5-6 drinks from a bottle of wine & 20-22 drinks from a 750 ml bottle of whiskey. Figure you need about 300 "drinks" but I would budget at least 1 bottle of water per person. If yours is a non-drinking crowd vs heavy drinkers you can round up or down. You need to know your crowd to know what to buy in terms of wine / champagne / beer / hard liqueur / soda etc. plus you have to buy mixers. A case of wine gets you 60 drinks (12 bottles x 5 drinks). Are you going to let people serve themselves or will you hire a bartender? Generally you need 1 bartender for every 50 guests.

Will you get wedding insurance? Who will supply the tables & chairs, the glasses, the plates & cutlery? Even if you are having a buffet, it's a good idea to get at least one server. You want somebody to clean & restock. On your day you don't want to be the one refiling the buffet table in your nice dress.

Do you want a DJ? A band? a harpist? Don't go without any music but your I-pod or Alexa works.

If it's an outdoor wedding, spring for the ten. If you get it, you will have a nice sunny day. If you don't it will pour. Around here, the tent will cost you about $750 for set up & take down.

Do you want centerpieces? Will you have escort cards? How much do you want to spend on invitations? Don't forget about postage including on the RSVP cards.

Do get a photographer. That is the one thing IMO that you can't skimp on. You want those memories.

Don't forget about the costs of the officiant, the licenses etc

So take all those things. Add up the estimated costs; round up because there is always something you forgot & viola you have your budget.

I was very frugal & brought my wedding in 22% under budget so it can be done. For instance I budgeted $100 for a veil (my dad wanted it) but found one for $12. I bought my invites from an online store & printed my own address labels. Don't listen to the people who say you have to hand write the invites or worse, pay somebody to do calligraphy. Pfssshhhtttt If you aren't coming to my wedding because I typed your address on the invite I don't want you in my life.

Happy planning. I hope it's everything you want.
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Old 27th July 2018, 12:55 PM   #4
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Aren't you in Sydney? Unless you're literally inviting only 10 people, you're unlikely to go below $6k even with your plans for using a relative's house. Plus the etiquette of asking such a huge favour is that you MUST do all the cleanup (so unless you're going to be hiring a cleaner, you'll be cleaning right through your wedding night), and you must get them a gift in return.

If your parents' offer requires you to go with a venue, you are probably right to turn it down, because $6k will barely crack the venue hire fee, and then there will be additional catering and alcohol costs. Bear in mind that many venues don't allow BYO and will require you purchase their alcohol, at elevated prices.
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Old 27th July 2018, 3:41 PM   #5
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We're getting married at home. The cost is the marriage license, the marriage commissioner's fee, two gifts and dinner for two friends to witness. We can't be bothered with a bouquet or boutonierre and only dressing up enough to pass muster at the restaurant. Dinner will cost more than the ceremony, as it should be since we have no interest in supporting the commercialization of our love.
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Old 27th July 2018, 6:57 PM   #6
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Six thousand is a very conservative wedding. I couldn't begin to guess real costs without knowing how many guests you intend to invite.

Rather than using someone else's house, why not look at hiring the local sailing/surf club hall and bring your own caterers and staff?
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Old 27th July 2018, 9:40 PM   #7
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Six thousand is a very conservative wedding. I couldn't begin to guess real costs without knowing how many guests you intend to invite.

Rather than using someone else's house, why not look at hiring the local sailing/surf club hall and bring your own caterers and staff?
Because I don't personally want to spend thousands on a one day event.
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Old 27th July 2018, 9:41 PM   #8
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We're getting married at home. The cost is the marriage license, the marriage commissioner's fee, two gifts and dinner for two friends to witness. We can't be bothered with a bouquet or boutonierre and only dressing up enough to pass muster at the restaurant. Dinner will cost more than the ceremony, as it should be since we have no interest in supporting the commercialization of our love.
This is what I want to do. Only at my parents flat as my house is way too small.

20 guests tops could fit which is all I want.
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Old 27th July 2018, 9:45 PM   #9
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This is what I want to do. Only at my parents flat as my house is way too small.

20 guests tops could fit which is all I want.
Maybe talk to your parents about it. They might be relieved to have a smaller financial burden.
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Old 28th July 2018, 1:59 AM   #10
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Married at the court house with a Justice of the Peace close to 30 years ago. Prime rib and seafood buffet for 35 with drinks at a local restaurant $2500.

Ten years later, catered, canopied celebration in the yard, about 75 people, open bar $10 000. (20 years ago)

Old time Canada chiming in.
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Old 28th July 2018, 9:07 AM   #11
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This is what I want to do. Only at my parents flat as my house is way too small.

20 guests tops could fit which is all I want.

If that's what you want to do, that's what you should do.
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Old 28th July 2018, 10:13 AM   #12
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This is what I want to do. Only at my parents flat as my house is way too small.

20 guests tops could fit which is all I want.

If it's only 20 or so people, you may be able to get a private room someplace. It doesn't have to be a wedding venue. I know some pizza places & diners that have rooms which fit 50-75 people or less & they don't charge the way hotels & wedding venues do.

Another option that is growing in popularity is an Airbnb; then the wedding party just stays at the house that night.
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Old 29th July 2018, 8:57 AM   #13
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Make lists of what does and doesn't matter to you. Whatever isn't on the "matters" list can be handled by the cheapest possible option or thrown out altogether.

If you want just 20 people, I would focus on however you want them to remember the event, whether it's a big boisterous party or an intimate dinner with good wine and great conversation. Do what you can to make it happen and don't listen to people who tell you that you MUST do X and Y.

As others have said, $6k is not a lot of money (most private event spaces in our area charged $5-10k for the space alone). If you don't want venue fees to eat up your budget, look into nonprofit organizations. You may be able to save a lot by hosting it at a church's reception area or a community center.
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Old 29th July 2018, 9:01 AM   #14
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As others have said, $6k is not a lot of money (most private event spaces in our area charged $5-10k for the space alone). If you don't want venue fees to eat up your budget, look into nonprofit organizations. You may be able to save a lot by hosting it at a church's reception area or a community center.
Exactly. Church's & halls can be very cheap. I can name about 5 places off the top of my head, some with outside spaces, that cost less than $500 to rent.
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Old 29th July 2018, 9:08 AM   #15
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Exactly. Church's & halls can be very cheap. I can name about 5 places off the top of my head, some with outside spaces, that cost less than $500 to rent.
The trick is to book as early as possible, because the cheapest places also attract the most interest. The monastery by us rents out a gorgeous space for $300-500 depending on the season, but their calendar is booked almost two full years in advance!
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