I just got married back on March 29th. We had a church wedding with about 100 people in all.
It was pretty traditional- we did the unity candle ceremony, several Bible verses and pieces of poetry, traditional baptist vows, a rose ceremony (that's a newer thing- i got SOOOO many compliments on it- everyone loved the idea behind it!) and we closed with the breaking of the glass at the end of the ceremony to honor my Jewish heritage. It was such a pretty ceremony. (i actually have the whole thing words and all printed up if you wanna see it).
We had our reception in one of the nice rooms at the church so we weren't allowed to have alcohol. But to make up for it- i had a gourmet coffee bar instead and catering. It was soooo deliscious we had "wedding gown lattes" and soo many other thing the guests could choose from- it was great!
We didn't do a band, instead we did a dj. One of the guys Colin works with does that on the side so we got a great price. We had an organist for most of our music during the ceremony and that was nice too.
I am a lisenced florist - so i did all of the flowers for the reception and my amazing friend Regis did all the ceremony flowers (to save myself a little stress/time!) They turned out lovely.
All in all it cost a little over $12,000 for the rehersal dinner, wedding, and honeymoon - in the South, that's considered "cheap" if you can believe it- most of the weddings down here are massive with 10+ bridesmaids/etc and they spend a holy fortune
His parents gave us 10,000 and we coughed up the rest.
The biggest expenses were the photographers and videographers- but those are the things you do NOT want to skimp out on. You get what you pay for! Also- flowers are super important to me- so i paid to have mine professionally preserved by a good friend of mine in the floral industry- that's one of those things that matters a lot to me and that i will cherish for a life time- so to me- it was something i wanted to splurge on and find other ways to cut back in things that didn't matter as much to me.
I cut costs massively with me doing 1/2 the flowers - that saved a lot. I also saved money by doing an afternoon wedding vs. an evening one- after 6pm- dinner is custom so if you do an afternoon wedding you can get away with finger foods/etc and save money that way. I also saved by getting my wedding dress when the store had a huge sale.
We bought our invitations online but we printed out our RSVP cards and our Programs in similar colors to cut costs. Everyone thought they looked great and we were able to save a little $ that way!
I bought my toasting gorgeous crystal flutes at Garden Ridge for $2
(vs paying much much more for the "wedding ones" ) if you should around you can really save.
We got married at my sister's church - so the pastor gave us the member rate- and that saved us well over 1/2 the cost of the venue!
We did offer child care by a lisenced provider for the parents- they all really appreciated that and they liked being close to their kids but also being able to enjoy the ceremony and reception. That didn't cost us much to do that -but everyone seemed to really like that we offered it.
We rented the table cloths rather than buying them. We only did 6 large 90" round tables for people to sit at since it wasn't a full course sit down meal and then we lined the rest of the room's walls with chairs for everyone else to sit at and mix and mingle- that saved on the cost of table cloth rentals and also allowed more of a dance floor.
We skipped out on an isle runner because the floor of the church itself was a gorgeous green marble and was soo pretty on its own we didn't need to cover it up. We also only did one massive urn of flowers/crystals and one unity candle flower piece and that was it for the church because the church was soooo amazing with its stained glass windows and wooden arches- we didn't want to take away from its own beauty by going overboard. Using only a few pieces saved us a fortune!
Also, we went through pre maritial counseling so when we went to get our marriage lisence, instead of paying close to $100 they gave us a counseling discount and we only paid close to $30 (every little bit helps!).
I also cut money by not having a wedding planner. Since i had done quite a few weddings myself as a designer/florist - i was pretty familiar with what to expect/plan for -so that saved us panicking and money as well.
We used nice paper plates/cups rather than china to cut costs too. Also, we used our own Escape as our "Getaway" car vs. renting a limo to save $.
Also if you avoid doing a wedding during a peak season like Summer (especially June!) then you will save a lot of $ right there!!! Getting married in the off season will save a lot of $!