People keep raising their eyebrows and looking sceptically when the budget comes up, especially since *gasp* we're planning a STEAMPUNK wedding.
Eh, ignore the snarky replies. My husband and I planned a *beautiful* wedding for under $3,000. (Which is actually a little under your budget!) Because I was in graduate school at the time, I couldn't do everything myself, as I might have done otherwise, but I did a lot of it on my own, or with the help of friends and family. I did end up buying my dress, but I got a huge discount on it for renting the groomsmen/father's tuxes at the same place.
For favors, I asked my mother-in-law to make her family caramels, which she makes every year for Christmas. And my mother (who owned a gift shop at the time) bought Swiss fudge from a famous candy shop in the town where I grew up at wholesale cost. She also ordered the favor boxes from one of her suppliers for next to nothing. We sat around filling them in the hotel room the night before the wedding.
For flowers, we did our own, as I was taking a floral design course at the time. My professor was kind enough to donate the use of her classroom, all the pins/wire/tools we needed, and even donated a ton of flowers that she had left over from another project. So the day before the wedding my mom, dad, and a couple who are best friends with my parents, helped me put together 15 centerpieces, arrangements for the alter, bouquets and boutonnieres.
We got a really good deal on the venue by getting married on a Sunday (instead of Saturday which is popular here). My uncle happily served as DJ with the help of my laptop and some speakers & sound equipment rented for $60. And we had a stunning cake that I picked out of the shop window. Because she had "already designed it", she took off the standard design fee. She even worked in the extra flowers from my bouquet.
Oh, and I made the groom's cake myself on the DAY OF my wedding! It's a tradition in some parts of the US to make a cake for the groom that is more reflective of his personality. I made a cake that looked like a pint of Guinness right before going to get my hair done.
Update: Here's a link to the post I did here on Craftster about our wedding: http://www.craftster.org/forum/index.php?topic=53280.msg3464924#msg3464924
Proof positive that you don't need a ton of money to create *beautiful* results. You just need to have love in your heart while you work towards it!!!