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Real Wedding Budgets of Michigan Brides

Three Michigan brides dish on every single wedding expense.

Photo: Amanda Williams Photography

It sounds easy -- 10 percent to flowers, 50 percent to catering -- but let's be real: There's no way you can plan each purchase down to the last cent! Here's what three Michigan brides spent on their weddings and which pros they used to stick to their budgets.

Molly Skupin & David Barrett

May 22 | Plymouth | 130 guests

Their Budget: $33,729

Their Breakdown

ceremony site $875. "It was beautiful -- worth the expense." Matthaei Botanical Gardens, Ann Arbor, (734) 647-7808

reception site $19,518 including catering for 130 guests and a chocolate fountain. The Inn at St. John's, Plymouth, (734) 414-0600

photography $1,175 for one shooter for all day coverage. Amanda Williams Photography, Allen Park, (313) 228-0898

videography $1,500 for one shooter. Castle Video Productions, Brighton, (810) 522-1173

wedding consultant $1,750. "We live out of state, so we needed someone to meet with vendors." TwoFoot Creative, Ann Arbor, (734) 709-6656

ceremony officiant $325. "She didn't charge the $75 rehearsal fee because our consultant ran it." Rev. Christine Drewry, Brighton, (810) 360-6110

wedding gown $1,200, including alterations. Maggie Sottero, Chez Lilli, Houma, LA, (985) 868-3874

hair/makeup $65 (she came to Molly)/$55. Rhiannon McCarty, Pinckney, (734) 891-2123/ Jamie Clemons, Detroit, (734) 837-7144

veil $25. "The veil I found online looked just like the $220 one at the store!" ValuVeil.com

hair accessories $10 for clips. Claires.com

shoes $50. "I found a 10 percent off coupon on Ebates.com." Liz Rene Couture, ShoeBuy.com

wedding rings $1,150 for her platinum band and his titanium one. Raymond's Jewelry Creations, Kenner, LA, (504) 443-2440/Ramsey's Jewelers, Metairie, LA, (504) 885-4653

bridal party gifts $250 for totes, lip glosses, and pearl bracelets. OldNavy.com/Sephora.com

groom's formalwear $0 with the wedding party tuxedo rentals. MensWearhouse.com

stationery $1,064 for invites and a seating chart/$50 for programs. Gourmet Invitations, Macomb, (586) 201-3120/Vistaprint.com

flowers $2,107. "We used inexpensive flowers like roses and mums to stay within budget." MPE Event Productions, Livonia, (734) 427-3900

rental equipment $800 for chair covers, sashes, a cake table, and head table linens. "We saved by using our hall's linens on other tables." MPE Event Productions, Livonia, (734) 427-3900

music $225 for a ceremony keyboard player (cheaper than an ensemble!)/$1,050 for a DJ for unlimited hours (no overtime charges!) and lighting to spruce up the dance floor at the reception. Panache Entertainment, Troy, (248) 246-2152/Marc LaRochelle, Night and Day Productions, Macomb, (800) 732-5756

wedding cake $485. "We had a small display cake and a sheet cake in the back. The bigger sheet cake didn't need decorations, so we saved." Cakes by Stephanie, Monroe, (734) 240-2253

hotel room $0 -- free at their site. The Inn at St. John's, Plymouth, (734) 414-0600

Katie Sunquest & Jake Barber

May 16 | Warren | 265 guests

Their Budget: $22,500

ceremony site $200 for a ceremony and rehearsal. First Baptist Church of Royal Oak, (248) 543-7454

ceremony accessories $175 for candles and silk pomanders for the pews.

reception site and catering $11,480 -- about $43 per person for a standard bar and a buffet. The Royalty House, Warren, (586) 264-8400

photography $1,500 for two shooters, all day coverage, and a disc of digital photos. Kreativ Imaging, Warren, (586) 675-7457

videography $1,295 for two shooters. Elite Entertainment, Warren, (586) 415-4800

wedding consultant $750. Simplicity Day of Event Coordination, Ferndale, (248) 840-5274

ceremony officiant $200. First Baptist Church of Royal Oak, Royal Oak, (248) 543-7454

wedding gown $590. DaVinci, Always & Forever Bridal & Formal, Shelby Township, (586) 254-7811

alterations $30 (really!). Marjana's Tailor and Cleaners, Madison Heights, (248) 589-0306

hair/makeup $30/$55. Michelle Wetzel, Tralise Salon, Shelby Township, (586) 254-5510/Deux Adore, St. Clair Shores, (586) 709-7997

veil $48. "The dress shop wanted triple for a similar style!" Bella Bridal Veils, Etsy.com

hair accessories $48 for a pearl and crystal headband. Twinkles Design, Etsy.com

shoes $59. "You couldn't even see 'em!" David's Bridal, Madison Heights, (248) 616-9400

wedding rings/jewelry $365 for Jake's band/$40 for earrings. Lavdas Jewelry, Warren, (586) 751-8275/Eliot Danori, Macys.com

bridal party gifts $300 for picture frames, jewelry, and wristlets. Coach.com/Kohls.com

groom's formalwear $0 with the six other rentals. Men's Wearhouse, Troy, (248) 616-3027

stationery $1,020 for invites and programs. So in Love Invitations, Hazel Park, (248) 941-5263

flowers $500 -- ordered wholesale. Natural Touch Florist, Lake Orion, (248) 391-1400

rental equipment $596 for chair covers, chair sashes, and table runners. Sposa Seating, Macomb Township, (586) 201-0022

music $100 for a ceremony pianist/$995 for a DJ. Min Sook Chung, Royal Oak, (248) 543-7454/ Elite Entertainment, Warren, (586) 415-4800

cupcakes $470. "Cheaper than a cake!" Callie's Home Style Cakes, New Haven, (313) 461-4191

other desserts $600 for a candy bar. Bulk Food, Dearborn, (313) 561-5011

favors $400 for Thundersticks. "They set the fun mood." MiniSportsBalls.com

transportation $654 for a limousine. Big Shot Limos, Clinton Township, (866) 246-9074

Tricia Thomas & Charles Smith

January 24 | Grand Rapids | 72 guests

Their Budget: $9,822

Their Breakdown

ceremony site, music, and ceremony officiant $0. It's free for members. Faith Reformed Church, Wyoming, (616) 532-0206

ceremony accessories $30. They kept it nice and simple with white twinkle lights.

reception site and catering $3,300 -- about $46 a head for plated, two-course meals, beer, wine, and two signature martinis. Bistro Bella Vita, Grand Rapids, (616) 222-4600

photography $1,700 for all-day and day-after coverage and all the digital images. Chad Bosma Photography, Grand Rapids, (616) 889-4506

wedding gown $350. "It was inexpensive, but I had it altered to look like a designer gown." David's Bridal, Grand Rapids, (616) 222-3966

alterations $130. The dress was still a steal! Deb Zondlak, Hudsonville, (616) 896-7767

hair/makeup $140. Aesthetica Image Group, Grand Rapids, (616) 241-6511

hair accessories $7 for rhinestone bobby pins. Icing by Claire's, Grand Rapids, (616) 942-8961

shoes $20. The bow on top of Tricia's mocha colored shoes made them wedding-ready. Xhilaration, Target, Grand Rapids, (616) 222-4889

wedding rings $1,250 for two bands: white gold with diamonds for her and tungsten for him. Rogers & Hollands, Kentwood, (616) 940-8300

bridal party gifts $260 for brooches and gift cards. Target.com/BestBuy.com/eBay.com

groom's formalwear $150. Bunny Tuxedos, Grandville, (616) 538-1760

stationery $250 for invitations, place cards, and menu cards. "I used a ‘starving artist' who only charged me for the supplies." Frogstar Productions Invitations, Wyoming, (616) 799-1153

flowers $350 for four bridesmaid bouquets and one bridal bouquet. With large orchids, they only needed a few blooms per bouquet. Mulick Floral Shop, Grand Rapids, (616) 451-8488

rental equipment $395. "The chair covers and sashes totally transformed our room." Mulick Floral Shop, Grand Rapids, (616) 451-8488

music $275 for DJs. Charles knew them, so the couple got a deal. R & S Karaoke & DJ Entertainment, Grand Rapids, (616) 677-1038

cakeS $385. "We used cakes as centerpieces. The decor and dessert were one cost." Sweet Cakes Design, Belmont, (616) 447-9094

other desserts $100 for chocolate truffles, jelly beans, and rock candy. Sweetland Candies, Grand Rapids, (616) 363-3444

favors $430 for custom wine bottles. Cascade Winery, Grand Rapids, (616) 656-4665

transportation $300 for a limo for two hours. Five Star Sedan & Limousine Service, LLC, Grand Rapids, (616) 856-1779

-- Meredith Bodgas