Let’s Talk (Wedding) Numbers

I hope you’re not bored with the wedding yet, because now that the recap is over I wanted to talk about the actual planning stuff. When we were planning the wedding there weren’t a lot of couples out there who had done anything similar, so I thought a mini series on self-catering and in general DIYing your wedding would be nice.

And since I haven’t seen actual numbers out there, I thought it would also be useful to talk about how much it cost us. After tallying up all the money we spent, it came in at just under 3,800€. Keep in mind, this is for a 60+ person (the guest count was around 65 but 10 additional people came later for drinks, party and late snacks) self-catered wedding with a “free venue” and professional photography. Here’s a nice breakdown of the costs:

Diy wedding costs

As you can see, the biggest ticket items were the photography and the food + drinks. Like most weddings, I guess. Besides those two which are self-explanatory, the remaining categories include:

  • Decor. Included in here are the fourteen centerpieces, nine table runners, the LED lighting for the tents (which we bought, but we’ll be installing in our patio so maybe I shouldn’t have included that in the costs, the wine barrel for the drinks, all the “paper” decor, the envelopes for the invitations, stuff for the photo booth and other odds and ends (like the Looking Glass spray paint for the window menu and the chalkboard markers). The centerpieces alone were almost 140€ and so was the LED lighting so that explains why we spent more on this category than one might expect.
  • Plates, etc. All the plates/glasses/cups/mugs/servingware/napkins we needed to self-cater. I might have gone a little overboard with this one, but it’s hard to guess how many of each you’re going to need and I always err on the side of caution.
  • Waiters. We hired a couple of students from culinary school with waitressing experience to lend a hand, setting out the food and serving/refilling the buffet, etc. Before they left they cleared out all the tables (they left the dirty glasses and plates in boxes for us to clean the following day) so we didn’t have to actually clean that day, thank goodness.
  • Rentals. We rented tables, chairs and linens for the day. Thanks to Eva from Singular Day we got an awesome deal on these, they wanted to charge us a lot more!
  • Favors. We ordered 70 4GB key-shaped USB drives from China and loaded them with the wedding recipes. They were a hit, by the way!
  • Groom. This includes the hemming/tailoring of his pants, shoes, shirt, jacket, belt and ring.
  • Bride. The shoes, bouquet, and wedding ring. Noticeably absent from this category is the dress, which leads me to…

However, this total of 3,800€ is a bit misleading, because we received some wedding things as gifts (i.e. we didn’t pay for them so they’re not included in my tally of the cost. Some of these things I know – or can guess – how much they cost, but not many of them). What those numbers above don’t include are:

  • My dress.  This was a gift from my friend Maite and her parents, although I do know that the fabric cost around 70-80€ (they got an awesome discount!) and the seamstress charged them around 70€, as well. So it was by no means an expensive dress. Of course, that doesn’t include the hours of labor Maite and her mom put into it.
  • Hair & makeup. I did my hair and makeup at the place where I’ve cut my hair since they opened. My mom paid for this, and although I don’t know how much it cost, I do know that they refused to charge us anything for the hair & makeup trial, so thank you.
  • Most of the drinks. Our friends gave us a giant freezer trunk and most of the drinks as a wedding gift, and my parents bought the nice wine and champagne. We bought beers, not-so-nice wine for the kalimotxo (wine+Coke), juice, and some soft drinks.
  • Part of the food. Since my mom cooked all the savory food, there were a couple of things (mainly the fish, if I recall correctly) that my parents bought and paid for.

So, could we have spent less? Of course. When it comes to weddings, I think it’s almost always possible to spend less. But given the cost of weddings in our area (the price of menus are upwards of 100€ per person) and the type of wedding we wanted, it was the right decision for us. That said, if someone was looking for places to cut, I’d eliminate favors – I loved what we did but they were really not necessary. I’d also calculate better how much food and drinks we needed because we had a lot of leftovers, or what food/drink we could go without – e.g. we had an open bar with lots (and lots) of alcohol, but for some people just wine and beer could be completely fine; and some of the food choices were pricier than others, like the roastbeef. And of course professional photography is something you could do without, but for me, the photographs were really important. I think that’s the point, really – only you know what’s important to you, so everyone’s budget and costs will be different.

And since we’re on the topic of numbers… today’s my 24th birthday, and I’m off to celebrate. It’s the first time in years that isn’t raining, so I have to take advantage of that!

What do you think? Share your opinion in the comments.

11 thoughts on “Let’s Talk (Wedding) Numbers

  1. Christine @ Casa-de-Christine

    It’s great to see a break down! I converted that to Canadian and I think you did a fantastic job budgeting!! Your wedding was absolutely gorgeous and beautifully planned and you only spent about a 1/3 of what we ended up spending. Well done!! Weddings are soooo expensive!

    Happy birthday!! Enjoy your day!

    1. Ainhoa Post author

      Thanks Christine! The day is almost over here but it was great, very relaxed :) And yeah, weddings are definitely expensive!

  2. Ashley @ LibertyBelles

    I love that you talked about your budget! I always find what people value and what wasn’t quite as important in their wedding to be very informative and educational for my future wedding. Also I’m obsessed with all things wedding so I’ve been loving the recaps! Thanks for being so honest and thorough. And, of course, HAPPY BIRTHDAY!

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