My Dream Wedding for Under $6000

February 24, 2016

Yes, you read that title correctly. The wedding that you’ve seen snapshots of here on my blog only cost us around $6000! My dad gave me a $5000 wedding budget, but I know we went over just a little bit and I also wanted to account for some of the ‘donated gifts’ that were give that helped us tremendously. So, I’m assuming the entire thing probably cost around $6000. And this wasn’t the kind of wedding where we only had 50-100 guests. We filled every one of our 300 chairs at both the wedding and reception. It was 100% my Dream Wedding!

So how did we do it? By doing everything ourselves, of course. And it was 100% totally worth the hard work. In fact, it made it even more special knowing that my family and friends worked so hard just to make our day great. More photos from the wedding herehere, and here.

Since it worked so beautifully for us, I wanted to share our success with you. Below are 10 things we did to save money and tips to help you save as well.

  1. Have the right attitude. A wedding is an extremely important ceremony that signifies the beginning of the rest of your life as a couple. But if you truly love each other, you’re going to have FOREVER to celebrate that love. Remember that your wedding day is just another day. Don’t put too much pressure on it and I promise it will turn out better than you’ve imagined. Don’t spend your life savings on your wedding, because as soon as you leave your honeymoon, real life starts, and real life needs your savings much more than your wedding guests need to enjoy your life savings. That being said, go into planning with the idea that not everything will be perfect (it’s a fact, this is real life) but you’re the only one who WOULD notice and you’re going to be too busy that day to care. Don’t get bogged down in the details. No one is going to remember if you had personalized name cards or gold foil invitations. What they will remember is the smile on your face when you walk down the aisle and the nervous look that the groom gets right before you do. One of my biggest flaws is my need to control everything, but I began wedding planning with the intention of allowing other people to take control of certain areas of the wedding and I am SOOOOO glad I did. Those people were able to complete the tasks even better that I could’ve EVER done! IMG_7416_blog
  2. Use a FREE venue. This tip is probably geared more toward those of you who want an outdoor wedding. When I first started looking at venue’s, I was BLOWN away at the cost. My entire wedding budget would have been consumed by the venue alone (and they didn’t include chairs). So my mom and I began to think out of the box. We called several friends that we knew owned at least a small bit of property and MANY of them agreed to let us use their homes/backyards for the wedding. In fact, we even entertained the idea of get married in the front yard of my parents home. Eventually, my grandparents gave me the idea of using my late great-grandfathers home. He lived on several acres with a pond, a barn, and several gorgeous oak trees. But the place hardly looked worthy of a wedding, which leads me to my next tip.
  3. Be ready to put in the work. Like I said, the house was NOT in the best condition and the outside was even worse. But it had potential. So for several weekends, my Pawpaw, dad, and the rest of my family worked to make the place look perfect. We dug up bushes, we cut branches, we swept the roof (yes… we did), we picked up sticks, we poisoned weeds and insects, and we rewired the electrical to have lights outside thanks to a family friend (Mr. Tracey, you are the best). The week before we SCRUBBED the house top to bottom. We borrowed tables from our church but we rented 300 chairs and we set them up ourselves the day before. The centerpieces were made several weeks before and my grandmother made the bridesmaids outfits. We tried out best to spread everything out as best we could as not to let it pile up on us, and I think we succeeded as best as we could. 12273574_10101739179462714_1700891888517386072_o
  4. Decide what is important to you. Before you spend a dime, write out all of things that you HAVE to have at your wedding. Then rank those things from most important to least important. Mine went like this: 1. Be able to invite EVERYONE 2. My dress 3. White chairs 4. Good food (a mashed potato bar) 5. Live music. So we started with #1 which lead us to the free venue. We knew that if I wanted to get married at a beautiful chapel or plantation, in order to stay within budget, I would only be able to invite a small amount of people. This wasn’t going to work for me because Keith and I have such a great support system and didn’t want to exclude anyone. I allotted $1000 for my dress but only ended up spending $600. My mom remade the dress to be what I wanted and I spent the extra money on a pair of coveted Dee Keller heels to wear during the ceremony. We got the white chairs from a rental place for a discounted price because I was willing to rent the “festival chairs” in white that weren’t as pretty and were kind of bent up. The rental lady scoffed at the dirty white chairs and sent us the beautiful chairs you see in my pictures for the same price as the ugly ones. The food was wonderful, just like I knew it would be, but I didn’t get the live music like I wanted. And guess what? It was totally okay! Decide what you must have and then go from there. You’ll be happy that you didn’t spend your time and money on things that were lower on your list of importance.
  5. Print your own invitations and ditch the RSVP/Reception Card. I happen to be pretty savvy with Photoshop and other design software, so I was able to design my own invitations. But you can find tons of wedding invitation templates online (etsy is a great place) where you can just fill in the names and date and time and you have a beautiful invitation. Don’t think that you have to get them custom designed from minted in order for them to be beautiful. Also, I used catprint.com to print my invites. It was extremely affordable and they came out GORGEOUS! You can order a sample pack of paper so that you can pick your favorite. You can also print a sample, which I did as well! But you know those pretty little bundles of invitations, rsvp card, reception card, and map that you see on pinterest? That is going to cost you, big time. Skip those cards and print that information on the back of your invite and have your guests RSVP by email or phone. Better yet, they make tons of apps nowadays to take care of all that junk. Go the digital route and save yourself the money. No one remembers what your invitation looks like. I also ditched the save the dates. Keith and I were only engaged for 6 months and I figured sending yet ANOTHER announcement was a bit of overkill. We didn’t even require people to RSVP and guess what, everyone still came! IMG_7218
  6. Use silk flowers. I know, I know. I’m a lifestyle blogger and I’m telling you to skip the fresh flowers. But seriously, fresh flowers can be really expensive and you almost always HAVE to use a florist. They aren’t really something you can do yourself in most cases, because you would have to do it they day before and who has time for that? Everyone thought that my flowers were real and a friend (Mrs. Chandra) arranged them. She had weeks to do it and was able to change things if I needed her to because they could be done so far in advance. It is also something you can do yourself. Mrs. Chandra happens to be an expert, but if you had time for trial and error and a little tutorial searching, I’m sure you could figure it out as well.
  7. Hit up your local goodwill. Go easy on the centerpieces. I thought I needed magnificent, elaborate centerpieces, but it turned out that simple was better and I never even saw a centerpiece the whole time I was there. Also, No one complained that my centerpieces were simple and made up of random vases and candlesticks that we found at goodwill (true story). Don’t bust your budget on something that you won’t even remember. Goodwill is great for old books, vases, and knick knacks that will make your centerpieces unique and fun! I even used old wood spools to hold our Instagram hashtag sign. 12304040_10101739178240164_8978938094598575310_o
  8. Ask for help. This might be the best tip ever. Almost everything that I loved about my wedding was actually done by other people who volunteered. I asked a lot of people for favors or for help and they willingly stepped up. You are probably a lot like me and you have lots of people who love you who want to be a part of your day if you will just give them the opportunity. We asked people to serve food, men to pick up chairs, ladies to cut the cakes, people to direct traffic. On the day of, all of those people showed up early ready to do whatever needed to be done. Trust me, people love to be needed and you WILL need help. Just ask. My mom and I just gave them a little direction and they each performed their tasks with skill and the outcomes were beautiful. Use the people around you. I LOVE to be called to help people set up for weddings. It makes me feel as though I am a valued member of their friend circle. And people need to be valued.
  9. Ditch the favors and the alcohol (if you dare). Wedding favors puzzle me. I invited you, fed you, entertained you and you want me to give you something too? I figured people would come to see me on the happiest day of my life. So I ditched the favors and no one has complained yet. As far as alcohol goes, there is no way I would have been able to stay within my wedding budget if we would have had alcohol. Keith and I aren’t big drinkers anyway (though I enjoy a glass or four of red wine as much as the next girl) and our parents and grandparents do not drink at all. So out of respect to them, we kept our wedding dry (minus a few smugglers… you know who you are, Shaw Family). And trust me, there was still much fun to be had. I know this is a no-go for a lot of you, but if you’re still trying to decide, think really hard about it. This day is about you and if you don’t need it, you’re guest will live, trust me. Plus, it saves you the risk of having to deal with any shenanigans.
  10. Remember that this day is about You & Your Spouse. You aren’t going to notice the imperfections, I promise. My wedding was a whirlwind of happy and it wasn’t until I was on the boat to Mexico that I realized we forgot to put out my large scale framed bridal portrait. And guess what, no one noticed (not even me) and the wedding was still wonderful. Concentrate on spending time with your new husband and saying thank you to all of your friends and family. Those are the memories that you will cherish most of all, or at least the ones you should.

Overall, I guess my message here is to stop coveting that $100,000 wedding on pinterest and make your wedding right for you with the right budget, the right people, and the right man. Everything else will fall into place. If you’re truly in love then your goal is just to BE married, the wedding is just a ceremony and a celebration to mark that transitions. With 3 months of marriage under our belts and more and more expenses showing up every day, Keith and I are confident in our decision to spend only the necessary and save the rest for our future. The wedding was just a day. It was a great day, but everyday since has great as long as Keith is by my side. And I intend to keep him right there.

If you have any more questions about my wedding, please comment below or email me at kassy@kassyondesign.com

 

And be sure to follow me on Pinterest to see more!

 

 

 

50 Comments

  • Reply Megan February 24, 2016 at 4:56 pm

    It’s nice to hear that someone else had the same thought as me in regards to wedding favors. I said the EXACT same thing you did! I also know that whenever I receive favors at weddings they usually end up lost of in the trash which makes me feel bad for wasting money.

    • Reply Kassy S. Randazzo February 24, 2016 at 6:02 pm

      The memories made are worth much more than any favor!

    • Reply Kate Frome February 5, 2017 at 8:54 am

      I agree 100%, and what my brother did was to donate to a charity that was close to both of their hearts.

    • Reply Dana July 11, 2017 at 7:33 pm

      Hahaha same as far as wedding favors (birthday favors etc) how and when did that become a thing?!?

  • Reply Chandra February 24, 2016 at 5:01 pm

    Great blog Kas!!! So much good advice and such a wonderful perspective 🙂

    • Reply Kassy S. Randazzo February 24, 2016 at 6:03 pm

      You’re are a VERY BIG part of making my dream come to life! I can never thank you enough!

  • Reply Ruby March 31, 2016 at 12:45 pm

    Found your blog randomly and let me tell you this blog post was awesome and really helped!

    • Reply Kassy S. Randazzo March 31, 2016 at 8:54 pm

      Thanks, Ruby! So glad you found me!

  • Reply Autumn March 31, 2016 at 3:10 pm

    What did you do for food? Our food budget is almost as much as your whole wedding budget?!?!?!

    • Reply Kassy S. Randazzo March 31, 2016 at 10:43 pm

      Autumn, We did smoked brisket, jambalaya, and a mashed potato bar (with a shrimp sauce and mushroom sauce)! It was a HIT! Everyone loved the food. We did it buffet style and just served until we ran out. There was plenty to go around!

      • Reply Jessica Cook January 27, 2017 at 8:12 am

        Did you make the food yourself or did you order it from somewhere local?

        • Reply Kassy S. Randazzo January 27, 2017 at 8:44 am

          We made it ourselves. We chose things that would serve a lot of people of the least amount of money!

  • Reply Priscilla Arceo April 19, 2016 at 10:45 pm

    What did you do for a photographer? Getting a photographer can be so expensive!

    • Reply Jessica Cook January 27, 2017 at 8:11 am

      I was wondering this too! A friend of mine suggested hitting up local art schools to see if any photography students would be willing to do it. I haven’t tried it out yet but I *think* that might be what I do for my wedding.

  • Reply Vickie June 7, 2016 at 7:04 pm

    Throughly enjoyed your advice! My daughter is recently engaged. ….so happy for them both! !! And completely understand about VENUE SHOCK! I am a teacher (limited $$)… her father passed away 2 years ago. …..I want this day to be sooo special for her. ….just don’t know what we can afford… 1st thought was a VRBO property and make a weekend of it….out of town guests would have a place to stay and a nice property for the wedding. ….unfortunately as soon as you state a wedding the price is 4 times the price. ….and venueso sooooo expensive! ….Still working on it!

    • Reply Kassy S. Randazzo June 7, 2016 at 8:57 pm

      Sending all of my prayers and luck your way! I hope that you find a wonderful place. Just remind your daughter (and yourself, because I know mom’s feel responsible for their daughter’s happiness) that as long as the man standing at the end of the aisle is the right man, it doesn’t matter where the aisle is. The only thing that matters is where the aisle is headed! Congrats to you and your daughter and good luck!

  • Reply Ashlynn September 4, 2016 at 10:51 pm

    Just curious as I’m helping a friend and she’s considering an outdoor wedding, on what seems to be a very similar property as yours, what was your rain backup? Thanks 🙂

    • Reply Kassy S. Randazzo September 4, 2016 at 11:35 pm

      Ashlynn, The property we used was actually right next door to a church that my uncle pastor’s at. So we reserved the church on standby just in case.

  • Reply Fiona September 12, 2016 at 8:58 am

    Thank you so much for this blog! I am a keen pinner and with my mom having passed away and no “female” input other than what my sister and I have seen in pinterest, wedding magazines and girlie gossip, I have genuinely started freaking out about do’s and don’ts! The venue needs to be special to me, I’m not a fan of generic hotels and would love something simple and “us” like. You’ve put everything I feel and want into words and I really appreciate it!

    • Reply Kassy S. Randazzo September 13, 2016 at 10:20 am

      Fiona, So glad I could help! Congrats on your special day! I wish you all the best!

  • Reply Leslie September 28, 2016 at 1:16 pm

    Would really love some advice and opinions from other readers! Having an extreme DIY BUDGET boho moroccan themed wedding in an industrial brewery catered by a taco truck that all my family and friends will be flying in town for (what a mouthful) I really dont want to pay to rent dinnerware but will need plates for the cake and nacho bar. I have been seriosuly considering fancy white and gold plastic plates and utensils. Will I regret this? Let me also mention this is a brewery not a restaurant which might make clean up on real dishes hard. Also should I hire a few waitstaff for clean up?

    • Reply Dana July 11, 2017 at 7:37 pm

      Ive heard a lot of people say that buying is cheaper plus u can either re use or sell it after to make back some money. Plastic is fine!

  • Reply Kelsey September 30, 2016 at 6:14 pm

    I’m currently planning a wedding on a budget and I’m glad I stumbled across this pin on Pinterest! Your pictures look A LOT like what we have planned so far. I know you said you used silk flowers but does that include the arrangement on the arbor? If so, I’m really impressed and curious where you purchased your silk flowers from! Everything looked gorgeous!!

    • Reply Kassy S. Randazzo October 1, 2016 at 9:03 am

      Yes! All the flowers except the baby’s breath are silk. Even the arrangement on the arbor. And where did we get them… you’ll be super impressed! Hobby Lobby on 1/2 off flowers day! I was picky about which stems we bought since some look more real than others, but they all turned out beautifully. Thanks for reading!

  • Reply Miranda Burnap October 29, 2016 at 12:01 pm

    I love this!! My fiancé and I are trying our hand at a DIY wedding. We’ve opted for a dry wedding and Im nervous about feedback from families but this validated my opinion on the matter 🙂 Thank you! Great tips! Puts things like centerpieces in perspective 🙂

  • Reply Allissa Randazzo January 7, 2017 at 7:09 pm

    Absolutely loved your article … not worth going into debt for a one day celebration when you’re just beginning your life together! This will be so helpful planning my wedding and couldn’t help but notice we have the same last name! So rare! (Although my days as a Randazzo are numbered now ) 😉

    • Reply Kassy S. Randazzo January 8, 2017 at 11:52 am

      I love my new last name! It’s so much fun! I hope you’re new last name has as much pizzazz as Randazzo! Congrats on your wedding and I wish you all the happiness!

  • Reply Anne January 13, 2017 at 2:05 pm

    Wonderful!!!! What did you guys end up doing for music? dancing etc? 🙂

    • Reply Kassy S. Randazzo January 17, 2017 at 9:07 am

      Anne,
      I made a playlist and we played it at the reception. Not much dancing happened. I didn’t expect it to! I originally wanted a live band, but I knew it wasn’t in the budget.

  • Reply Amy January 18, 2017 at 7:21 pm

    Thank you for the tips! I had an emotional breakdown when I started researching venues and saw that pretty much anything with the word “wedding” added to it is 500% more expensive than what it would originally be. I would rather not spend a bunch of money on one big party and save it for something like a house down payment or for an emergency (like the loss of a job or something) but also feel that I need to at least make it worthwhile for out of town guests. Unfortunately, finding the “type” of venue that I was looking for is difficult in the area that I live in and the ones that I found were all extremely pricey. What’s funny is that I wasn’t even looking for a beach wedding or a glamorous hotel.. just a simple barn with nature surrounding it!! I even had to cut out all of the wineries because they required you to purchase a certain amount of wine… I’m in the same position you are.. my fiancé and I quit drinking about a year ago and neither of our immediate families drink.. however.. several in my extended family have to have beer or wine with everything and several of his friends have already made comments about how boring this wedding will be with no alcohol.. I don’t want people to be bored out of their minds so I was considering having a small amount of beer and wine but I still don’t know in terms of the extra costs, headaches and most of all, my worry about his friends starting problems (they have a history)… I know people probably won’t dance if there isn’t alcohol so I’m not quite sure what to do for entertainment.. I’m also having trouble finding affordable catering that isn’t the “restaurant down the street” catering.. I haven’t even started looking for photographers, florists, all of that.. so thank you for putting my mind at ease knowing that I can still make this work! (part of me wants to just give up and go to the courthouse)

    • Reply Kassy S. Randazzo January 18, 2017 at 7:34 pm

      Amy, I totally understand. Just remember that this day is about you and your (future) husband. Don’t let anyone bully you into anything. They can suck it up as far as I’m concerned! Do what makes you happy and what makes you comfortable financially. We had several family members/friends smuggle in their own flasks. I told them it was totally fine as long as they didn’t make a big deal out of it. We didn’t have much dancing but that is ok because by the time we left, I was exhausted anyway! Good luck, congratulations, and take a deep breath. This is supposed to be fun, don’t let other people ruin it for you!

  • Reply Angela January 25, 2017 at 4:48 pm

    We had an amazing wedding that friends and both families are still raving about many years later on a $10,000 budget, but we paid for everything entirely ourselves. We even paid for our attendants’ tuxes, dresses, hair, and makeup. $100,000 weddings are ridiculous. The wedding is one day, the marriage is for life.

  • Reply Irene DeLeon January 26, 2017 at 9:33 am

    We married in July 20 2015 our wedding was under $6000.00 we only 200 guests (only 100 show up)despite huge relatives count our Catholic Church charge us less $200 includes music (im active parishioner ) our brothers/wifes our son daughter her husband our aunts/uncles co workers paid the music cakes dresses made by our aunts. We paid the church. Food (Millers BBQ) reception (Glazers) my rosy colored $298 ( was $1000) bridal dress. My husband bought his suit each parent agree to pay to pay our flower girls dresss made by our aunt n little escorts wore white shirts black pants decorations were simple but we r grateful. We thank our priest n our families friends n GOD. Keep it simple but get beautiful results

  • Reply Dani January 27, 2017 at 10:49 pm

    So happy I came across your blog, you made so many good points -especially about the favors. Thanks for the great advice and read!

  • Reply Shelby frank-davis January 28, 2017 at 9:34 pm

    Do you have any sort of budget breakdown from your big day?? Xoxo

  • Reply Victoria February 7, 2017 at 7:26 pm

    Hi! Thank you so much for the blog post! How long did it take you to plan your wedding from engagement to the wedding day?

  • Reply Megan Rae March 9, 2017 at 9:58 pm

    I’m curious, too, about what you did for a photographer? They are expensive! I’m planning a small budget, DIY wedding for September.

  • Reply Cece May 28, 2017 at 5:00 am

    Hi I’m also wondering about the photographer? I’m having a dyi wedding and well that’s the most stressful part for me. Hope a little advise would calm my mind.

    • Reply Kassy S. Randazzo May 31, 2017 at 9:49 am

      I hired a friend of a friend, but I can tell you without a doubt that this is the area that you DO NOT want to skimp on! I would say be sure to hire someone who you KNOW will do a great job!

  • Reply Lydia Thayer July 8, 2017 at 10:10 pm

    I really appreciate this because I have been torn about this exact topic. We have savings, decent jobs and are comfortable, add that to just bought our first home and spending our life savings is out of the option. I had an “ah-ha” moment the other day driving and thinking about the wedding when I realized, “who am i trying to impress.” Thats when we started discussing the back yard wedding idea. Its nice to hear someone who actually has the exact same budget as us and still loved their wedding. Thank you. If you have any suggestions, please let me know.

  • Reply Juliet August 20, 2017 at 9:06 pm

    Canva.com is a great online tool to design invitations. There are many free templates that you can customize and download as PDF files. You can print these at home or have them printed professionally. Since I don’t have a good printer at home, I’m getting mine printed but I had complete control over the design which I like. I decided that I didn’t want to spend a lot of money on invitations because it’s something that people will just throw away (there was no point in spending a fortune on future-trash) so I went with the most basic paper stock and skipped the embellishments.

  • Reply Cheryl August 21, 2017 at 8:37 pm

    One of the most expensive cost of a wedding is the food. My step daughter is on a very small budget so we decided to go with a twilight wedding. Wedding will be at 8:00, just before dusk. Fairy lights in the trees, candles, etc. With the wedding being in the evening, people will have eaten dinner before they come. For a snack she is having a pizza truck come in and serve 5 different kinds of pizza for 2 hours, a pastry table and a bonfire with s’mores. As I told her “it’s the marriage that matters, not the cost of the wedding”. She has been very excited with all the great cheap outdoor wedding ideas on Pinterest. I think it will be a fantastic evening!!

    • Reply Kassy S. Randazzo August 22, 2017 at 5:01 pm

      I LOVE the idea of a pizza truck and smores!!! Such a fun way to cut costs!

  • Reply Lina September 19, 2017 at 4:54 pm

    Love this post. Our initial budget was $6k and my friend scoffed at it remarking on how “impossible” it would be. I was instantly up for the challenge. With 2 weeks left, we’re doing less than $5k even with alcohol! I want to 2nd the party favors and doing your own invites. I also want to remark on food. Do food people love, which is almost always some kind of comfort food and affordable. An affordable wedding isn’t impossible.

    • Reply Kassy S. Randazzo September 21, 2017 at 10:18 am

      I totally agree!!! Love that we were in the same boat! It’s totally possible to have a beautiful wedding without spending your life savings.

  • Reply Jackie in KY October 18, 2017 at 7:11 pm

    Just this last weekend my daughter got married and I literally put together a $20k wedding on a $5k budget!! Guest list consisted of 225 and there were 2 barns included, DJ, professional photographer, full meal and gorgeous cake!! One tip… order fresh flowers from Samsclub.com! You won’t be disappointed and they were still cheaper than silk flowers! Think smarter not harder and you can do the same! Lots of effort and planning but it paid off and was beautiful!

  • Reply Meggy November 3, 2017 at 12:03 pm

    Hi I am planning my wedding and you inspired me. I have a guestion how many light bulbs you have outdoor?

    • Reply Kassy S. Randazzo November 7, 2017 at 9:05 am

      It’s been a while but I believe we have 12 strands of 25′ lights!

  • Reply Bailey November 16, 2017 at 10:00 pm

    Hi! I loved your post! It has given me hope of having a beautiful wedding with a small budget! I saw the pictures of your bridesmaids dresses and was wondering if you had the pattern or remembered where you got the pattern. They were so beautiful and would be a great way to save a little extra money!

    • Reply Kassy S. Randazzo November 17, 2017 at 10:58 am

      Bailey, The bridesmaids actually wore white blouses and we made the skirts. We just used a very basic skirt pattern and made the waistband wider and adjusted for the longer length!

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