Our Simple (and Inexpensive) Wedding

Today, Crunchy Con ran a piece about simple weddings coming back en vogue, and asked people to share about their wedding if they somehow managed to avoid the extravagant $25,000+ affairs that seem to be the "norm" in the east coast.

Well, we avoided that kind of crazy price by a long shot (I think our total wedding costs may have totaled something like $2000)... so I decided to share about it here. Sadly, I don't have access to most of our wedding pictures (they're back in storage in the States)-- but I've taken some semi-fuzzy digital shots of the prints that we have here. I'll bold our money-saving ideas... I'm sure you can find more elsewhere, but this is how we pulled off an inexpensive wedding that was beautiful, intimate, and that we still look back on with delight.

For invitations, I waited to find a good deal and we chose simple, classic invitations from a company that was offering much less expensive rates. We bought some silver-inked pens and some friends and I took an afternoon to address the envelopes ourselves. We limited the amount of invitations we purchased, and nearly all the invitations were sent to people we really hoped would come-- not every Tom, Dick, and Harry we and our parents ever knew. The invitations were sent in a normal rectangular-shaped envelope, so that it did not require additional stamps.

I went into Microsoft Word & designed the wedding program myself, and had it printed on a custom-sized parchment-style paper at the local printshop. Little details like this could have really added up, but by doing them ourselves, we saved a lot of money in ways that really weren't noticeable, and in the long run, don't matter a hill of beans.

We got married in our college chapel... a quaint building with ethereal light drifting in the opague windows. In that chapel, I'd worshipped, poured my heart out before the Lord, repented of sins big and small, shared words of encouragement, and led fellow students in songs of praise. Because we were students, we made a deposit and received it back in full, so the location cost us nothing.

Like every bride, I scoured the bridal magazines and saw dresses that were gorgeous, but found one in a magazine photo that was right up my alley. Of course, as they always are, it would have cost thousands of dollars. But at a friendly neighborhood David's Bridal, I found an almost identical dress for a few hundred dollars. The bridesmaids dresses were on sale at David's. I've since heard from friends who got even better deals at David's by being more open to anything and hitting the sales racks there.

For all the typically expensive stuff, we found some friends who had hobbies in the areas of our need... we knew a young married guy who had connections in the flower business & knew where to get large amounts of flowers for much less money, so we hired him to do all our flowers-- all white daisies (my favorite). I bought glass fishbowl-like glassware (and probably some ribbon too) at a Hobby Lobby sort of store for a fraction of what it would have cost from a florist, and that friend did all the arranging.

For the rehearsal dinner, we used a dietetics major who was beginning a catering business, and it was delicious-- she worked with us to custom-make the menu and Doug's mom made a favorite family recipe for the dessert. As gifts for the bridal party, I kept my eye out for good deals and bought matching jewelry for the bridesmaids, and we ordered a set of fun-colored swiss army knives off of eBay for the groomsmen.

One of our friends was a campus photographer with a great eye, so we asked him if he'd be willing to do our wedding. He'd never shot a wedding before, so I made a list for him, in order (to go along with the service order), of the basic photos I wanted. I starred the ones that were most important for me, so that if he had to miss a shot, it wouldn't be one that was super-important for us to have, and he came to the rehearsal dinner to practice and get a feel for where he'd stand, where the light would be, etc. He did formal color pictures for all the normal shots, and informal, more artistic black-and-white shots for all the post-wedding & reception shots. He developed a set of prints and handed the film over to us. He did an excellent job, and for payment, my husband painted a Ruth/Boaz themed painting (the "where you go, I will go" passage was a centerpiece of our wedding vows) and traded him the painting for his photography services.

If I had it to do over again, I probably would not have paid the money for a video of our wedding. However, a close friend that sang in our wedding died suddenly only a few years later, and so I'm thankful that I have the video for that one reason. But the cost of the video (perhaps a hundred dollars? can't remember...), compared to the few times we've ever watched it, probably was not worth it.

There was a place on campus with a wall of windows that looked out over the nearby river... we opted to have our reception there, and again, it cost (if anything) very little.

We found a comparably inexpensive local baker who did a beautiful basketweave buttercream tiered cake, and ordered from her, with fresh daisies and an antique Wilton cake topper I'd bought off eBay as decorations. She was most excited about doing the groom's cake-- a chocolate sheet cake frosted with the image of a Rothko painting on top. My husband, Doug, was a painting major, and Rothko was his favorite artist at that time. :)

For food & decor, we hired a family friend with an on-the-side catering business. She made all the reception foods, worked with the floral guy for decorations, and arranged for all the linens, etc. It was simple, as we had an afternoon wedding, with a good assortment of finger foods, desserts, and drink options. For music, we asked a close friend who played classical guitar (Thanks again, John & Julie!) to play whatever he wanted. It was beautiful accompaniment for a low-key and enjoyable reception.

Not everyone has friends in every area necessary for pulling off a wedding, and I understand that... but really, local colleges and young businesspeople are really great resources for doing a wedding, if you're willing to work with them and help them to succeed. Asking around in your "circle" for different people who may have connections with florists, the desire to do catering jobs, or with special skills (like web design, photography, or musical abilities) can really save a bundle of money. Doing as much yourself as possible will save money, and can be done without stress if you plan well. We cut corners on almost everything, but the wedding was absolutely enjoyable and suited us perfectly.

My hope is that this post will encourage young women who may read it to be freed from feeling the burden of pulling off some "perfect" event, and instead opt for something that will be enjoyable and suit your personality without breaking the bank.

Our best memories from the day are seeing each other, visiting with the people we love, and receiving spoken and prayed blessings from our family & friends. And of course, the most important thing of all was that we marked the beginning our lives together before God and others as man and wife. The rest is just details.


Kim said...

Have you ever pulled the video out and showed it to Maranatha? I have always wished that they had video when our parents were getting married! I think that as your children get older, especially your girl/girls, you might have more opportunities for use. :)

You were a gorgeous bride, friend! :)

Also, just a buyer beware on David's - just know their policies before hand. They can be great to work with, but one of my friends pre-ordered her bridesmaid's dresses when she first got engaged, then in the midst of her engagement (which was long) they changed their policies without calling to tell her (it used to be that one person could pay and they would hold your order until closer to the wedding; now it is that all people have to pay - no order holding). So two months before the wedding we were nearly shopping for new bridesmaid dresses, because hey, they had ALSO discontinued the style of dress. Luckily, they had just enough left to supply her wedding needs.

I am hoping if I ever get married that my dresses will be homemade.

Ruth MacC said...

This is a brilliant post!

I got married over six years ago and all I had to buy was my shoes and my underwear! Almost 200 guests turned up. It was great.

Somebody put £400 in an envelope (we dont know who) and I bought a beautiful NEW wedding dress out of it, also we were able to hire two suit out of the same money.

A church family made up and decorated the church centre with flowers and also recorded the whole thing on dvd for us.

Somebody else took photos.

Another church family bought me the most bautiful wedding flowers and the flowers for groom, best man and brides maid.

Friends bought our wedding rings.

Somebody valited the car for us.

Somebody printed all the invites and table placements for us.

Another friend played the organ and baked us the most amazing 3 tier wedding cake!

The church hired out all the extra delph/glasses/tables needed for the day.

Family and mostly church members supplied all the food for the meal on the day. (this was a big well organized event and they did so well)

God even supplied two homeymoons for us but we put one off til the following year!

I bet there are many stories like these out there.

Looking forwards to coming back and hearing more.

God bless,

Rachel Le said...

That sounds a whole lot like my wedding- I think we spent around $2000 too :) Pretty much everyone who came said our wedding was the best they'd ever been to- probably because it was simple, relaxed, and focused on what's important.

On the Eastern Journey said...

I love that you got married in Berry Chapel. It is so beautiful and such a perfect size.

Polly said...

Neat post. I love simple weddings and love the idea of the home wedding, too. My grandmother and grandfather, who married in the early 40s, married in a small church nearby and then had their reception in the rambling white farmhouse of home (just down the lane from me). So pretty!

My wedding was a bigger affair, though still not crazy-expensive (not like the acquaintance whose flowers alone cost $40,000--can you imagine??), and I loved it--and the one word of advice I have to couples no matter one's budget is never to go into debt for one's wedding! We didn't, though I know some people who did. Not a good idea.

A few of the nicest weddings I've attended have involved flowers picked from the wild that morning, a bride wearing a tie-dyed dress (! for real!), very simple food, a relaxed venue....etc. And a wedding/reception at home is always just lovely.

Brenda said...

My mom sewed my sister's wedding dress but I wanted a lot of beads and baubles and I would have driven my mother to her grave so daddy said I could buy one if I found one for under $300. I thought that was RIDICULOUS but I found one easily off the clearance rack for $250. A lady from our church who altered at Foley's for years, altered it for me.

We were pretty inexpensive every way around but the other thing I loved was our rehearsal dinner. My mother in law picked up bar-b-que from a local place and had the dinner at her home. It was LOVELY. And so us. We would have never wanted a fancy dinner. :)

Jess said...

I don't have the video here either, but one day I'll pull it out for her, and you're right-- she'll probably love it. Another reason to be thankful for it.

Okay, I changed my mind. I'm glad we did the video. :)

Catherine R. said...

Ours actually cost around $2000 also. Maybe that's a good figure for people who want to have a budget wedding?

Anyway, honestly I don't feel like the wedding fit my personality just because of how incredibly cheap it was. Also, the church it was held at (the one where I got saved in NE Portland) had lots of tacky posters and paintings by a local artist of what looked like Tupac Shakur album covers (they wouldn't allow us to temporarily remove them), so all that awesomeness is in the photos, which by the way turned out very bad. Mike's friend did them for free.

But my hair looked incredible which made me happy. My dress was a white prom dress on sale for $40 from a cheap Asian mall store. The jewelry was from Forever 21.

Even though it was cheap and low-maintenance it was still stressful to plan. I can't even imagine one of those insane $25 G weddings. I think another problem with those weddings besides the debt, financial burden and sheer waste is that they unnesecarily prolong the engagement, something that Christians should think soberly about in regards to purity.

Frankly, I hate the word "fiance" too and it seems even more silly when people have been fiances for 5 years because they can't "afford" a wedding, sometimes even though they have kids together and whatnot.

I think a cheap wedding is an excercise in self-discipline. It was for me and especially in this environment of peer pressure to have a lavish wedding as if it's an entitelment. I am glad I found a good man to marry and that's all that counts when it comes down to it! I sort of wish I had an awesome wedding but sometimes life doesn't have that in store and there are truly more important things.

Hey, when Mike and I have been married for 25 years it will be a much better gift to give our children than 2 parents who divorced but have slick photos of their perfect elaborate wedding.

Ruth MacC said...

I agree with Catherine when she said......

( I am glad I found a good man to marry and that's all that counts when it comes down to it!)

That, and honouring God is what it is all about!

Kristi said...

I just recently got back from my sister's wedding in Kentucky. Because no one in the bride's family lived in the area, we needed to worry about hotels and location. My sister is a pretty casual person and she and her future husband found a Christian campground to rent. It has two dorm rooms and a old home turned into a hotel for the bridal party. I don't know how much the reservation cost them, but I don't believe it was too expensive, considering it gave us accommodations for the very large group of people that would need to travel to attend the wedding, but it also had a large kitchen with it along with extensive grounds. The wedding was held in an outdoor amphitheater right next to a river with small waterfall on the property.

We had a "picnic style" reception with lawn games and blankets to sit on or picnic benches. For food, they served fried chicken, pasta salad, fruit salad and lots of sweet tea. The cake was a homemade "strawberries and shortcake" version. The cake that was cut into was very small and layered with cake, real whipped cream and cut strawberries, but for everyone else, we had an "assemble yourself" style, where we chose the cake (plain sheet cakes), ice cream, strawberries, and whipped cream.

My sister found her dress online at Nordstrom's as well as the bridesmaid dresses. Her dress was under $200 and our dresses were $100. We wore our own jewelry (anything simple and silver) and my sister purchased white sandals for us to wear (the bride chose to go barefoot). The groom's father officiated the ceremony and my mom took the pictures (which she does very well)

At the end of the day, it was a really beautiful celebration of the joining together of Phil and Katie and not about the "wedding ceremony". It felt like a big fun family reunion and though it was completely informal, I will always remember it!!!

Jerilyn said...

We would have done our wedding completely different had we been believers... but it was still frugal. My parents offered to pay for it so there were some things my mother insisted upon, so I agreed. Otherwise, had we been paying (well we didn't/don't have any money so we probably just would have had immediate family), I probably wouldn't have gotten a wedding dress or bought a photography package.

We had ours at night so we didn't have a sit down dinner at our wedding to save money. We did invite children though some do that to reduce the number of guests, I don't like excluding children though.

I ordered flowers online in bulk and simply but them in vases and tied a few together for a bouquet. I did get a price quote on the bouquet from a florist which was $80. I did mine, 3 others and all of the bouts for that or less.

Most of the expense comes from doing the traditions. Maybe we also should ask ourselves why we are doing it certain ways- because it's always been done that way? That's what people expect? etc.

Thanks for the post!

Karen (KayKay) said...

Sounds like such a lovely wedding. Simple weddings are my favorite.

Shannon said...

We were married 9 years ago July 2 and did a cheap wedding, too, but it turned out really nice! I was really worried about the money through the whole thing, but God was so good to me - a friend called and asked if she could cater our reception as her gift to us - she did it professionally; another friend asked me if she could make our cake because she was starting a side business and needed the practice - it was gorgeous!; my mother, bless her heart, sewed two suits for my bridesmaids out of "the most awful-to-work-with fabric EVER" in her words - and 9 years later, we STILL get compliments about how nice and classy my bridesmaids looked!; a friend was getting married 2 months after me and had been offered a time-share in the mountains to use for her honeymoon, but her fiance didn't want it, so she offered it to us - $40 was all it cost, and we could have stayed for as long as we wanted - without that, we wouldn't have had a honeymoon; we designed and printed our own invitations (and wedding programs) on our church's laser printer and mailed them out in envelopes that my office was going to throw away because they came in "the wrong color"; my brother let us empty his greenhouses (he had a nursery) of any/everything that was blooming, and those were what we decorated the church with (it was a Sunday wedding, so he was closed for business that day). It goes on and on. I think the only thing we paid for was the rental on the tuxes (not much); my dress/shoes/veil/underthings/jewelry all totalled about $600, and my mom did the alterations; and we paid about $200 for the reception site. Friends of my parents were going to do all the decorating of the reception site - they bought all the decorations, etc - but had car trouble and couldn't make it. They sent all the decorations with someone else, and the morning of the wedding about 10 of my friends came to my rescue and dressed up the reception site. It wasn't fancy (it was a state park enclosed pavilion) but people had such a nice time walking around the lake and on the park paths, kids had a playground to play on right by the building - it was perfect.

My personal flowers were the only thing that really didn't make me happy that day - we had hired a family member to make all the special flowers and she charged us about $300 for the flowers and labor - but when we got to the church, we discovered she had only used about half of the $150 worth of flowers we had purchased. I looked at all the expensive leftover flowers, said, THIS iS all you used?!, and then thought, I'm walking down the aisle, I don't have time to get upset about this, and just turned and went on my way. Everything else about the day was absolutely wonderful. And we did have some friends make a video of it, and my little girls LOVE LOVE LOVE to watch it.

I was someone who could have EASILY had a billion dollar wedding, if the money had been unlimited - but I don't think I'd have been any happier with my wedding than I was with the one I had. And since my "cheap" wedding was so nice looking, I get asked all the time to do it for other couples getting married in our church!

Julia said...

What a sweet post!

I love the idea of simple weddings, and the groom's cake with a Rothko painting is very, very cool.

I love your blog and your excellent theology!God Bless.

Ticia said...

We spent $50 yep that was it! We planned it in a week. We chose a chapel-hence the $50 bucks .
My Mom bought my dress- A white prom dress. We picked up the phone and did an open invitation to family.
I guess we both just felt our marriage was more important than the wedding.
Still it was fun and memorable! We have been happily married for 15 years now.

Tara Barthel said...

Great post as always, Jess!

We, too, had a simple wedding and I encourage Christians to be prayerful and wise about what's important to them and what is just giving in to social norms/Fear of Man.

A few simple things that I still smile over from our wedding:

- My bridesmaids could wear ANY SHOE THEY WANTED. (Having been in weddings that cost me $300+ in dyed-shoes to match dresses neither of which I would never wear again--EVER, I said "wear what you'd like.")

- All of the men (including my husband) wore SUITS. Again, we had literally spent HUNDREDS of dollars for tux rentals for my husband to be in weddings ... and we were negative poor (in debt) grad students! It was like a move from the 50's ... my husband even wore the TIE that his father wore in THEIR (1959) wedding. I loved it.

- I could list all of the things that friends and church members did as gifts of love (programs, decorations, food prep and service, music) ... even my wedding dress and the linen suitcoats and skirts for the bridesmaids were handmade by my mother in law ($40 for the material for my dress and $10/each for my bridesmaids) ...

But the bottomline is we LEFT MARRIED and the GOSPEL was shared! (That second point was particularly important to us because most of my family members are not Believers.)

Now THAT'S a "successful" wedding! :)

Thanks again for the sweet memories and WISE COUNSEL. We appreciate you, Jess.

Tara B.

Laura said...

We did alot of the same stuff at our wedding. A mother friend played flute for our ceremony(Ave Maria for the wedding march). We purchased a small plain cake and decorated it with edible flowers(alstromeria), under stemware inverted, with the blossoms inside--beautiful!!
We had the ceremony outside, which makes a perfect backdrop! All the green is pretty.
My dress and the bridesmaids dresses were sewn by a seamstress and each dress was about $75. Mine was about $200--we bought all the fabric ourselves, and zippers and liner and thread etc...
I made necklaces for my girls out of smooth white stones I had gathered at the beach where we (my husband and I) met. I nail polished them and wrapped with copper wire(thin) and looped ribbons through that matched their dress colors, and sewed them to little screw necklace clasps. I also polished up extras to let the girls choose some other stones that were other colors--some of them were beautiful!!
We prepared the food ourselves, and had simple fare--fruit, lunchmeat/cheese, rolls, baked beans and corn on the cob.
Had no video, had no limo, just didn't need it...
Focus on the marriage and less on the ceremony, and twenty years from now, instead of a broken marriage and all the nicky-nacks, you'll have what truly counts!

Jess said...

Our wedding sounds very similar to yours. We also had a lot of friends of the family (or friends of friends who were recommended to us) do various things for much cheaper (or free). I do wish we had had someone videotape it--we've been married almost five years, and my memory of specific moments/emotions/etc. is starting to fade. I'd love to experience it again.

The Three 22nds said...

We did ours very inexpensively and we got lots of comments about how fun it was and how relaxing. I wanted to get married at "high noon" so we did and then had a lunch reception.

Not serving alcohol helps!

My amazing mother made my wedding dress and all the bridesmaid dresses (my dress was covered with beads and sequins, and my grandfather who died just months later even sewed a few of them on!)

My husband bought a new suit, but all the groomsmen just wore black pants, white shirts ties and suspenders.

It was amazingly affordable and we don't regret the way we did things AT ALL!

Thanks for the post!

Claire said...

I haven't met many people that did a frugal wedding! When we were getting married (almost 20 years ago) all our friends spent thousands. I think ours cost about $3,000.00, and most of that was our own money. My dress cost $80 (purchased at a Gunne Sax outlet), we had a beautiful cake, but no food; just cake and punch at our church. I think our biggest expense was our flowers, which were absolutely gorgeous.

The photos were free, taken by a friend of my dad's. That's my one regret; he was not a studio photographer, and our pictures are pretty lackluster. I've never even put them in an album.

The church wasn't free, even though we attended there, and I think that was a bigger expense, too.

My parents paid off my student loan (about 10K), which is part of the reason I decided on a very inexpensive wedding.

I never really did understand spending extravagantly for a one-day shindig.

Ashley L. @ Missionary Moms said...

Great idea for a post!

For our cake we just used cake tiers (you can rent them for cheap or buy them), and got beautiful cakes from a grocery store. With the tiers you can use normal cake that is less expensive (wedding cake has to be very dense in order to be stacked) and it still looks beautiful.

I also made my own center pieces from things I got on clearance at a craft store. They were little clear bowls (like fish bowls), floating candles, and broken colored glass. Some of them also had fresh cranberries floating in them which was beautiful and perfect for our Christmas wedding.

J. STory said...

My husband and I just celebrated our 14th anniversary. Whoo! Hooo! I think we spent a total of $2000 on our whole wedding and that included the photographer. We were married in our pastor’s home, some neighbors decorated with flowers from their garden, all the guests pitched in and brought a dish to pass for the after wedding dinner party picnic. I wore a white dress, but it was pretty simple - purchased from a local department store. I think I spent more on my shoes than I spent on the dress. We still hear comments from people who attended the wedding that it was one of their favorites and stands out in their memory as simple and yet elegant. I wouldn’t have done anything different. We are already encouraging our five daughters that a pot luck is the way to go. What fun!

Anonymous said...

Ooh...I love this topic!!

My wedding:

My dress: borrowed from the wife of a former youth pastor

Bridesmaids' and flower girl's dresses: made by a friend, totaled $35 each

We did rent tuxes for the guys, but got a deal where the groom's rental was free...

Music: We were theatre majors in college - we had musicians in abundance in our circle of friends!

Church: $150 for the whole building for the day, including the gym/multipurpose room for the reception

Decorations: some borrowed from friends; others we picked up on clearance at dollar stores, etc [yes, I attended wedding fairs and read Brides magazine, got ideas, and duplicated them for MUCH cheaper!]

Flowers: silk arrangements done by a family member.

Food: Roast beef and mashed potatoes catered by a local deli; the rest [salads, etc] made and served by church ladies

Cake: Made from scratch by a lady from our church - cost $150

Pictures: the one area where I wish we'd have spent more - done by an amateur photographer from our church and they didn't turn out the greatest. But at the end of the day, I still ended up being married and that was the whole point!

For our honeymoon, we spent a few nights in a cute hotel about 3 hours north of where we got married; then spent the rest of the week in my husband's grandma's "cabin" free of charge. I use quotes because I really don't think a house on a lake with a beach that has 5 bedrooms, three bathrooms and a sauna can really be called a CABIN, but that's what the family called it, so...

We had no choice other than to keep it frugal, but a few years later we attended one of those $30,000+ weddings and honestly? There really wasn't that much of a difference between ours [roughly $1,500] and theirs.

Hope some of these suggestions will help someone!!!

Kristin said...

We also had a "budget" wedding - one of the first things we did was figure out what our top priorities were... for me, great photos were at the top of the list, with a nice location (good for the photos and someplace that felt special) next. Karl really wanted good food, and to make sure he had a chance to eat it - he'd heard too many stories of grooms who never tasted their wedding food. Those three things were what we spent most of the budget on, and I am so happy we did. We also got great deals on all three, since they were all just starting their businesses The estate could also handle both the wedding and the reception, so we avoided two rental fees - and I loved having the ceremony outdoors in such a beautiful place and then moving immediately into the celebration part.

Other ways we saved money:

- We got married at noon, on a Thursday. AMAZING what a difference picking an "off" time like that can make, and since almost everyone was coming in from out of town and taking time off anyway, it worked great for us - a number of the guests even stayed to do some sight-seeing. It would have cost several thousand dollars more to do exactly the same thing on a Saturday.

- The wedding was fairly small - about 45 people. We invited a little over a hundred, knowing that many wouldn't be able to come in from out of town. This helped us afford catering, decorations, etc. that wouldn't have been possible with 200+ people, and keeping it small also meant we had more time to really talk with guests rather than just jumping from table to table for a few minutes.

- A dear friend made our wedding cakes as a gift to us

- I ordered flowers online and had them shipped to my house, and made simple bouquets myself. I picked up a few "filler" supplies, and a group of relatives all came over the day before the wedding and we made the corsages and boutonnieres with instructions I found online - such a fun time.

- I made the centerpieces myself too, and designed and printed the invitations and programs. Doing the programs really helped me figure out the ceremony itself, and since it was important to us both to have the gospel clearly articulated we included the full scripture readings in the printed program.

- We had our groomsmen and ushers just wear dark suits, and bought a nice black suit for my husband rather than renting a tux. He wears that same suit to work at least once a week over three years later, and has certainly gotten our money's worth from it!

- I told my bridesmaids what color dress I wanted, and let them find their own dresses. We all wore silver strappy shoes, but each picked her own style.

- We didn't want to pay for an open bar, although alcohol of some sort was certainly expected on both sides of the family. Getting married at noon helped explain the no-bar choice, and we had our caterer do a homemade sangria, along with lemonade and ice water. Those who wanted the sangria could have some, those who preferred not to didn't have to. Toasts were done with whatever people had in their glass.

Overall, we spent about $7K - more than some of you, but certainly less than the "average." I've got no regrets about where we spent the money, and it makes me smile to look at those beautiful pictures and remember how fun it all was.

Tanya said...

Looks like $2000 is the magic number. That was how much our wedding and reception cost, too.