My Wedding Budget and Plans: Part 1 – Dress and Photos


We have a wedding budget of less $20,000 for a couple hundred people, which isn’t an easy task to do. We definitely want to stay on budget, and I do think that a budget of less than $20,000 is possible. And, I would prefer us to stay somewhere around $10,000 to $15,000…

We need to stick to our wedding budget checklist in order for this to happen. Having a wedding on a budget is very possible so don’t let anyone tell you other wise.

We’ll be paying for our wedding completely ourselves, so paying a super large amount just for one day doesn’t appeal to us. I’d rather put money towards other things, but I still want an awesome day! Here is Part 1 of my wedding budget checklist:

Wedding Dress for my wedding on a budget.

The first part of my wedding budget checklist is the wedding dress, of course!

I finally have started planning some things, and let me tell you, it is hard to plan for something when it is so far away. I did make an appointment for wedding dress shopping for the last Saturday in June, and I’m really looking forward to that.

It’s a really cute bridal shop in the historic part of town, and they said that their dresses usually average around $800 to $1,500. If I can find a dress in that range, I will be extremely happy. I really don’t want to spend more than that on a dress that I only wear once. BUT, I also don’t want to go cheap and buy something that I don’t like, only because it is cheap.

I know what kind of dress that I want, but I don’t know if it’s possible. I want a sweetheart neckline with a low back, and some sparkle. Not sure if I want a mermaid style, a-line or anything else yet.

My tip would be to call and see what their average dress costs at the shop. Obviously if the average dress there cost over $5,000 and your budget is less than $1,000, you probably don’t even want to step a foot in that bridal shop because you will most likely go over your budget by falling in love with something too expensive.

Attending bridal shows also helps. I’ve been to a couple, and you get so many coupons for making an appointment to try on dresses. While I didn’t actually ever follow through with my appointment (I cancelled right after the bridal show for all of them), they do offer anywhere from $50 to 15% off at the places that I made appointments with.

Also, read reviews! I read reviews on a lot of bridal shops. One that I had my heart set on, had the worst reviews that I have ever read in my entire life.

Some of the numerous reviews? They cut out all the tags and brand labels from their dresses. They don’t tell you the price until after you say “yes to the dress,” and they don’t tell you the brand name until AFTER you buy.

They do this so that you are committed and cannot look around at other stores, and they are then able to charge much more than other places because you don’t know what you are looking at. I would say this would just be a couple unlucky customers, but this place has over 100 bad reviews that are all similar, and only a couple of good reviews (which sound like they are from the owners). Save time and money in this instance. I also read some reviews where the owner yelled at the brides for asking for the label tag. UGH sounds like a horrible experience.

There are of course many, many other ways to save on your wedding dress so that you can have your dream wedding on a budget:

  1. Buy used. There are so many websites out there that offer a used wedding dress marketplace. I’ve been browsing these just to look at dresses and see real pictures of girls wearing dresses. I don’t see myself ever buying one, and that is only because I am very indecisive and already know that I will try on many, many dresses before I like one.

  2. Wear a family hand-me-down and alter it! This is a great option. You can keep the dress in the family and it’ll be very sentimental.

  3. Buy a basic dress and have it altered. My friend bought a very pretty dress for around $500 and did all sorts of things to alter it. She switched it to a sweetheart neckline, added buttons going down the back, and did more, all for under $150 I believe. It looks awesome, and very expensive! Much more expensive than you would guess.

  4. Look for sample sales. Every now and then, stores will have sample sales and sell their dresses for super cheap. You might be able to find your dream dress for much, much cheaper. Also, some stores have a “returned dress” rack. Some might think that this is “bad luck” but I personally don’t believe that. Usually these dresses are heavily discounted.

Have you done any of these? Tell us all! I’m sure other readers would love to hear about it.

Photographer for my wedding on a budget.

We have already paid for our photographer, and she is my DREAM photographer. I love her style and I am so happy that I was able to get such a good deal with her.

Photography is one thing that I do not want to skimp on at all, and it is something that I researched like crazy. I always hear about how some brides thought that they didn’t care about photography, so they went cheap. Then after they get their photos back, they are extremely sad about going cheap with what could be the main way to remember your wedding.

I’ve been searching for the perfect photographer for quite some time, and after some very extreme unprofessionalism and rudeness from my original “dream” photographer (I have been wanting to use this lady for YEARS now), I decided to just take her out of the running.

Then, all of a sudden I found another dream photographer with a very similar style. This girl was HALF the price of the other. I was about to book her, but I wanted to keep looking at her photos that she had taken in the past to make sure. Then the very next day she announced that she would give $500 off to anyone who booked that day. Well, you can guess what happened next. I BOOKED IMMEDIATELY. $2,000 for an awesome photographer is definitely a deal/steal.

I have numerous tips for photographer shopping:

  1. Ask around. See who your friends or family like. Maybe you can get a recommendation for a photographer and have an idea for what everything could potentially cost.

  2. Determine what type of style you like. This will help you cut out a lot of photographers if you know what style you are going for.

  3. See if you can get a lower price for fewer services. If you’re having a short wedding, and only want a couple of hours photographed, see if your dream photographer could possibly lower their price.

Also, you can risk it and wait for an awesome sale like I did. A lot of photographers will offer some sort of discount, you just have to follow them on Facebook, Twitter, etc. in order to see what they are offering. We booked our photographer over a year ahead of time, so we were able to wait for any deals that came up.

How much was your wedding dress? How much did you spend on photography?

What was your total wedding cost? What was your original wedding budget?

#Budget #Wedding

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