Dec 6, 2023 - Weddings

Carolina Wedding Confessionals: How this couple kept their 45-guest wedding under $10K

Alejandra and Edwin matched on Bumble in November 2019 while both living in Dallas. 

In October 2023, the couple tied the knot in Mooresville, their current home, at the popular farm and rock quarry, Carrigan Farms — for less than $10,000. 

Why it matters: Weddings are already expensive. Fall is notoriously one of the pricier seasons to tie the knot.  

  • Alejandra and Edwin managed to keep their wedding budget-friendly with a combination of DIY decor and locally-owned vendors for their big day, from the photographer to the DJ.

By the numbers: The average cost of a wedding in the U.S. in 2023 is around $29,000, according to the wedding planning website Zola. 

  • Weddings in the Carolinas are roughly on par with the national figures, with North Carolina at $28,170 and South Carolina at $28,456.

Here’s a look at the cost breakdown of Alejandra and Edwin’s wedding for 45 guests.

Of note: Alejandra’s responses have been edited for clarity and brevity. Cost breakdowns are rounded to the nearest dollar. 

Venue: $6,176

We had an outdoor wedding at The Quarry at Carrigan Farms in Mooresville. We purchased an all-inclusive wedding package that came with catering and alcohol.

  • Because food and drinks were included in the venue price, we got unlimited beer and wine, plus light bites during a cocktail hour, and dinner for all guests (we fed our vendors, too).
  • We saved by having a weekday wedding and keeping it under 50 guests.
  • Our marriage license was $75 (included in total cost).
Alejandra and Edwin’s wedding day at The Quarry. Photo: Grace Belk/ Gracie B. Photography

Dress: $0

My mom gifted me my dress, but it was under $500.

Wedding coordinators: $813

We worked with Bee and Butterfly Weddings out of Morganton for our day-of coordinators.

  • They made sure everything ran smoothly, and we rented a few decorations from them.

DJ: $925

Our DJ was Jeff Taylor from Soulful Sounds out of Charlotte.

  • He kept everybody moving, which was a highlight for us.
  • Editor’s note: Soulful Sounds posted a recap of Alejandra and Edwin’s reception on Instagram — check out the super cute video.

Wedding cake and dessert: $54

  • My mom also gifted us our wedding cake from CynTucci’s bakery in Mooresville. The cake, plus some cupcakes from the bakery, was around $250.
  • We only paid around $50 for the other dessert — four dozen donuts from Down for Donuts, also in Mooresville. We filled a donut wall with it for our guests.

Decor: $488

We DIY’d a lot of our decorations, and everything else we rented from our day-of coordinators, like the donut wall and seating chart.

  • Editor’s note: Alejandra sent us a cost breakdown of all the decorations. She kept it budget-friendly by purchasing most from sites like Amazon, Temu and even Facebook Marketplace.
Photos: Grace Belk/ Gracie B. Photography

Flowers: $150

We only paid for my bouquet, which came from Flowers of Charlotte.

Alejandra and Edwin (featuring Alejandra’s $150 bouquet). Photo: Grace Belk/ Gracie B. Photography

Lodging: $500

We rented an Airbnb for my parents.

Photography: $530

Grace Belk of Gracie B. Photography, who’s based in Charlotte, took all of our wedding photos.

  • The price was for two hours of photography.
  • Of note: All images in this article were taken by Gracie.

Overall wedding cost: $9,961

Looking back, would you have splurged on anything or budgeted differently?

It was difficult to not be influenced by social media. There’s so much you see on TikTok where you wanna be like “Take my money!”

  • I’d add having a day-of coordinator was definitely worth it for us.

What advice do you have for couples looking to get married on a budget?

A perfect wedding or not, at the end of the day, you’re going to be marrying the love of your life. Take it all in, and enjoy it. 

Calling all Carolina newlyweds! Want to be interviewed for our wedding budget series? Fill out this survey to be considered.

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