Milwaukee Weddings on a Budget: What You’ll Get for $5K

Milwaukee Weddings on a Budget

Learn How This Bride Only Spent $5K on Her Milwaukee Wedding. Photo by Clint Wolf

We see a lot of extravagant $200K+ weddings these days. But some brides are looking to save that money for other things and plan their weddings on a budget.

This is the third in a series of articles on real wedding budgets and shows how you can have your Milwaukee wedding on a budget and still have a lot of fun.

This wedding comes in at a total cost of around $5,000, which is amazing! Our previous featured weddings were  $25,000 and $50,000.

Comparing Wedding Budgets

Remember when comparing this wedding budget to others that it’s not always apples-to-apples. For example, the honeymoon isn’t included in this bride’s total – if it was you could add an additional $4,500 on to the cost. She also doesn’t include the cost of her engagement ring in the total and created many things, like the flowers and invites, herself.

Quick Facts:

Wedding Essentials ($1,395):

  • Flowers: $81 (Mostly DIY – 7 bouquets, 6 boutonnieres, 2 live floral boutonnieres, 13 centerpieces)
  • Invitations/Postage: $144 (DIY with a free template, printed out on a home printer. Purchased envelopes online)
  • Wedding Cake: $220 (opted for a “no-frills” cake)
  • Wedding Photographer: $950
Budget Cake, Flowers and Invites

The Bride’s DIY Flowers and Invites and the No Frills Wedding Cake. Photos by Clint Wolf

Reception and Ceremony Costs ($2,668):

  • Ceremony: $230 (Rental fee of $100 + cost of entry for guests’ cars to the state park)
  • Officiant: $195
  • Reception Venue:  $325 Rental Fee
  • Food: $1,250 (Buffet with lasagna, chicken alfredo penne, green leaf salad, a fruit salad, garlic bread, and rolls plus 2 staff members)
  • Drinks: $500 (Unlimited beer and soda)
  • DJ: $0 (Used a personal iPod set up with an ordered playlist)
  • Plates/Glasses/Silverware: $168
Budget Ceremony and Reception Venues

Ceremony at Lapham Peak State Park – Top. Reception at The Preserve at Deer Creek. Photos by Clint Wolf

Attire, Jewelry and Beauty ($426):

  • Dress and Alterations: $207
  • Groom’s Suit: $110 (Purchased a suit from JCPenney)
  • Bride and Groom Wedding Bands: $64 (Doesn’t include engagement ring, just wedding bands)
  • Bride’s Hair: $25 (Vici Capilli Beauty School does the Bride’s hair for free, after a $25 trial, if 5+ bridesmaids use them)
  • Bride’s Jewelry: $20 (A necklace from Kohl’s and hair spins via eBay)
Budget Dress and Suit

The Bride’s Dress and the Groom’s Suit Were Both Inexpensive Purchases. Photo by Clint Wolf

Other Costs ($342):

  • Gifts for Attendants: $250
  • Gifts for Parents: $35
  • Wedding Favors: $27 (M&Ms in bags for each guest)
  • Estimated Other Costs: $30

Honeymoon ($4,500 – Not included in total)

  • Europe for 12 Days: $4,500 (Not included in total)

As you can see, you can do a wedding on a budget and still have a great time. If you choose to spend $5,000 or $50,000 on your wedding, just make sure you’re spending it on what’s important to you and have a ton of fun!

Special thanks to the bride and groom, Holly and Chris,  for sharing how to pull off a great wedding on a budget and to Clint Wolf for supplying the pictures!

Happy Wedding Party

The Happy Bride and Groom with their Wedding Party. Photo by Clint Wolf.



  1. Hi!
    We are also having a very small budget wedding. We were wondering if you can list more info on the DIY wedding invites. Thanks!! The wedding looks beautiful!

  2. Jamie Dobbs says:

    Hi Im looking to stay in my budget , I am not trying to pay over $800 in a photographer. I am not picky when it comes to photo’s as long as they look professional and that I have somewhat of a memory of my day ! Could you please point me in the right direction. Im also goingto the bridal show at State Fair Jan 5 2013

  3. Kudos – Our wedding was 20+ years ago, but we, too, tried to be as frugal as possible. I think the first thing to do when planning a wedding is to ask yourself what is most important to you. My husband has a degree in floriculture and has played the organ since he was 12, so he definitely wanted fresh flowers and organ music. Other things just weren’t that high on our priority list so, even though “everyone else” did them, we skipped it. We didn’t have a DJ/dance at all….but you know what? My SIL/BIL secretly put together a video of our growing up years that still touches me deeply. My sorority sisters sang to my hubby, my MIL and her sisters put together a hilarious skit, a buddy of mine played HonkyTonk music during dinner…these are the things I remember…not what I had imprinted on the napkins and what chair coverings were.
    One thing I would suggest for all…marriage is a long-term commitment, don’t skimp on the memories…photography is very high on my list of priorities.

  4. The photo at the bottom is just wonderful – love it! Your reception costs were very low – good job! Looks like a wonderful wedding! Congratulations.

  5. wow! This is my absolute favorite wedding I admire thus far. This is the only one that has truly inspired me. We too are doing a wedding for 100 people and would like to spend under $5000. Thanks for the inspiration! Anything you ‘d like to add please email me!

  6. Looking to do a similar wedding. Any idea what caterer was used for this great wedding??

  7. Brittney Griffin says:

    Where was the reception venue?????

  8. Where did you purchase your cake?