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The Beau-coup Wedding Blog

Eric’s Blog Episode 7: We can do this for under $6,000!

April 28th by Eric

$6000. That was our initial wedding budget. For everything.

We did the math. We balanced our books. We turned over the piggy bank. We thought that by doing the wedding in Faye’s backyard, this would be more than enough to cover our costs.


What is hilarious to me is that when we first set out on our wedding planning adventure, this sounded like a lot of money.

We would get together with our families and friends and slap the whole darned thing together ourselves.

We would buy food in bulk for 130 people, set up some grills, chop up some fresh toppings, create a couple of easy-to-assemble hors d’oeuvres, buy a few cases of wine and beer, whip up a signature cocktail, borrow a bunch of tables and chairs from the neighborhood (or even build them – Faye’s father builds houses for a living, how hard could throwing together 16 tables be?) and that it would all just come together naturally.

We got exhausted just talking about it all.

According to Wedding Report Inc (a wedding statistics and market research company for the wedding industry) the average cost of a wedding in 2008 was $21,814.

There is a reason for this.

When you are planning a backyard wedding, there are many things to consider that you might never have even thought of, especially if your name is Eric.

Pretty: If you are going to be in a backyard exchanging vows, it’s gotta look nice. That means we needed to hire excavators, gardeners, plant flowers, buy urns, and paint all the sides of the house facing the yard.

Weather: We need a contingency plan in case the not-so-rare event of a July New England downpour occurs. Which means renting a tent. A really, really big tent –
costing most of our budget and turning Faye’s quaint backyard into scene from a Cirque Du Soleil show.

Cirque Du Soleil Tent

Bathrooms: Faye’s parents’ home was built in the 1800’s. If 130 people used their two bathrooms it would be like…um, I’d rather not come up with one of my metaphors for this one. We need to rent port-a-potties.

Very brief but necessary Port-a-potty rant: I hate them. I despise them. They are worse than trying to eat a salad after having my mouth numbed by novocaine.


Parking: Where do 130 people park in a small residential neighborhood?

Stress: How would we all survive the insanity of cutting and chopping and shopping for days on end before the wedding and still be lovely and collected on our big day?

In sum, all of a sudden we found ourselves needing the following: a caterer, a tent, port-a-potties, gardeners, landscapers, tables, chairs, and dishes. Just to start.

$6000? Hah!

Our budget is rising faster than the United States’ deficit.

And, if you can arbitrarily raise a budget whenever you go above it, is it still a budget?


Go back to episodes guide to view upcoming episodes.


4 Responses to Eric’s Blog Episode 7: We can do this for under $6,000!

  1. DernierCri.

    My fiance and I began our journey in the same place as yourselves. $10,000 seemed like plenty to get married at my future in laws bed and breakfast. More than double our budget later and still no idea how we are going to pay for it all, we are maxed out and stressed to the nines. I hate port-o-potties as well and opted for the luxury restroom trailers, which go for about $2000. Rentals were another $7000. Food was $6000. And, well, you get the idea. You have been there. If I had to do it all over again or advise anyone thinking this is a great idea — simply put — don’t do it. You will spend double. But one way or another everything works out. Best of luck and congratulations. Let me know if you find out about a hidden discount loophole ;-)

  2. karen

    LOL. I guess you and Faye never watched Father of the Bride, huh? But if you think about, you only do this once so make it worth it.

  3. Eric Ritchey

    My wife and I totally did our wedding for $5k. All of our friends say that it was the best wedding they ever went to and it looked like it was way over 10k. Oxnard, CA (location) in the summer, plus Heritage Square (venue), plus Stone Fire (food), plus my amazing wife of nearly 4 years now who spent so many hours putting our invitations together made for an amazingly beautiful wedding.. I haven’t been to one since that has done as good a job as we did (I’m not biased at all either… ;c) ).

  4. Surrey Wedding Photographer

    Ok here is something I’m a fan of being a member of the SWPP in the UK. One of their members, a cancer patient, has organised http://www.photographers4charity.co.uk

    The idea being that the organisation gives wedding couples free wedding photography in return for donations to cancer research. The organisation has rounded up wedding photographers from every part of the UK who will give their servcies for free for one day. Couples are encouraged to sign up to the scheme and a regional officer selects, possibly at random, the lucky recipients. All the couples have to do then is get money for Cancer Research.