Originally Answered: Cheap wedding & reception ideas?
I too am on a tight budget, and we're hoping to keep the entire cost of the wedding under $2000.
If you're willing to take things into your own hands, you can save literally THOUSANDS of dollars.
Here's a few things we're doing...
My dress and my daughters flower girl dress were both bought used. My dress is a designer Maggie Sottero gown, and I payed only $350. My daughters dress was only $50.
The ring bearer pillow and flower girl basket will be made by me.
The invitations were bought as a kit (100 for $25). We designed them ourselves, and printed them ourselves.
Tulle and other decorations are being provided by a friend who just got out of the wedding planning business. She's letting us use them free of charge. We'll also be buying some inexpensive white christmas lights to wrap with the tulle. Votive candles and candle plates will be bought super cheap from the dollar store.
We're having the ceremony/reception at my parents house in the country. 130 acres of forest surround us, with a 4.5 acre limestone quarry/lake in the backyard. Perfect setting for an outdoor ceremony and dinner! The reception will be held inside a large building on the property, perfect for a dance. My mom will be brining in pretty trees and plants cultivated from around the property. I'll also be finding some pretty japanese lanterns to hang inside.
My parents took care of renting the outdoor tent for us, which I believe was around $200.
Flowers are free. Our wedding is in July, which just happens to be the month my favorite flower (Tigerlily) is in bloom. My mom has a garden full of these, so we'll be making our own centerpieces and bouquets with these.
My brother is a professional photographer and is doing our wedding as a gift.
My maid of honor is buying her own dress in our wedding colors. She can pick any style she'd like, as long is it's brown. She LOVES this, because she can get something she loves, and can wear again! She's the only bridesmaid.
For food we're doing a buffet sytle dinner. Prime Rib done on a rotessorie, baked potatoes, and tons of side dishes. The whole family will be together, so the women will have a salad-making bonanza. Everthing (including appitizers) will be bought from Costco.
For guest favors we're doing a candy bar.
We were going to hire a DJ for 4 or 5 hours, but it was going to cost an upwards of $800! So, instead we're renting all our own equipment (amp, mics, speakers, etc) and hooking it up to our pre-mixed iPod (full of hundreds of songs especially for the wedding dance). This is going to cost a mere $100 for the WEEK. We'll be appointing a family member to man the iPod for specific song selections during certain times of the day.
Chairs, linens and tables are being given to us for the day by my mothers church.
Basically...use your resources, and your own hands to do some work, and you can cut costs at every corner! If you know a photographer personally, ask them to shoot your wedding for a good discount. Talk to your church, or a family members church to see if you can cheaply rent out linens, tables, chairs, etc. Most churches totally love doing that kind of thing!
Good luck, be creative, and have FUN!
We're planning on making our own small cake for the cutting, and buying a large sheet cake for after dinner. If you're asking a baker to do your actual wedding cake, DON'T tell them it's for a wedding! A lot of places will automatically charge more if they know it's for a wedding!