Frugal Wedding Advice Needed!
I have about 9 months to save for my wedding on a very, very limited income. I had several thousand dollars saved up last year, but we fell on hard times and it is now gone; a paycheck to paycheck type situation. We both work and go to school full time and we have cut our standard of living way down, cut extra expenses wherever possible, but I still don't think we will have enough in enough time.
We have a guest list of about 150 people (that's absolutely bare minimum, we have cut all we possibly can). His family is a 14 hour drive from us, and they will have quite a trip to make, so we had to warn them far in advance about the date and stick with it.
My theme is rather simple.....but lightly accented with....well....think, "summer's eve/woodland fairy/fantasy". I'm going to use nature to do most of my decorating for me, but accent it with a few things.
We are doing a semi-outdoor "cookout" type thing, possibly a pig roast, I will have to see what is cheaper. I am going to attempt to make my own cake. I have made a 3 tiered cake before and I'm very creative, so I know it's possible for me to do. I considered making the dinner entrees myself, but my mom has warned against an undertaking like that around the wedding time.
Mom and Dad have a farm with a large (maybe 50 by 100 feet of concrete floor, fully enclosed) new outbuilding that will be used as the "hall". They have said that if their finances allow they may be able to help pay for part of the alcohol and beverages, but that was all that was promised. His family will barely be able to afford the long drive here.
Grandma has collected some pretty candle lanterns for table centerpieces ( I will likely scatter a few white lilies around the surface). I have looked online and found bolts of bulk tule for a reasonable price. She is making the favors, bless her.
The invitations will have to be simple, I simply don't have hundreds to spend on them.
I found bridesmaid dresses for around $120/each, which I guess is on the low end, but I still feel bad making the bridesmaids spend even that nowadays. I guess you can rent tuxes, but probably we will just go with suits to make it more comfortable and less expensive. My dress...either I'm about to get really good at sewing or really lucky to find a deal. I have a simple style in mind (A line, off shoulder, bell sleeves) but it's hard to find. I've considered buying a basic dress and adding on but I'm not willing to spend much more than $100 on it. I can make my veil and headpiece.
There will be no limos, DJ, engagement party, bachelorette party, shower or bridal luncheon although I am going to try and get our wedding party members a little something for standing up. As of now I do not know how we will afford a photographer.
We had set up a separate savings account where every penny of overtime I received went into, but like I said, that is gone, and I have to scrape together to stay in school, both to finish my degree and not make $500/month loan payments.
I had originally budgeted about $5000 for the whole affair, but saving up half that is going to be a real feat. Everyone else says to just put the wedding off until times are better, but honestly, we really want to be married, and if we start waiting for things like that we may end up waiting years.
Does anyone have any saving tips, ideas, experiences of pulling a decent wedding on a shoestring budget like this?