A tight budget doesn’t mean you have to cancel your dream wedding. It is possible to throw a wedding on a budget. You just have to plan carefully, prioritize, and stick to your budget. I promise you, it can be done! I threw one myself and I’ve been to plenty more. You really can plan your dream wedding on a tight budget!
Eight years ago today my husband and I tied the knot. We were able to pay cash for our entire wedding by working several jobs and saving up for over a year. We planned a wedding for 140 guests and honeymoon for around $12,000. While prices have changed, these tips are timeless and can probably save you even more money if you do it right. Check out my favorite tips for planning a wedding on a budget.
9 Tips for Planning a Wedding on a Budget
TIP ONE: Print your own invitations
Technology is so great these days that you can easily print your own invitations at home. Or at least make your invitations and then have them printed.
A friend of mine made these on Word and had them printed at an office store. She paid less than $12 for 80 invitations on card stock. Talk about a great deal!
TIP TWO: Pick an inexpensive location
You can have a wedding at any public place as long as you apply for and pay for a permit. A typical permit costs $25. You can easily contact your city council for details.
As for reception venues, check out your local recreation center. Lots of cities have beautiful rec centers these days that rent for low prices. Ours even had a water view. This picture was taken at our venue that we rented out for 8 hours for $1,000.
TIP THREE: Use in-season flowers
Forget about your dream wedding flowers and try to find something that is in season instead. They will look fresher and cost way less. You can make your own bouquets by using a wholesale flower retailer or contact a florist and ask for seasonal flowers at the lowest price.
I told my florist my colors and she came up with my orchid bridal bouquet, 7 bridesmaid bouquets, and 2 junior bridesmaids bouquets all for $150 including tip. Crazy, right?
TIP FOUR: Make the most of your bridesmaids talents
Don’t be afraid to ask your bridesmaids and friend for help. Just be sure to ask in a nice way, this is not time to be a bridezilla and make demands! You may have a friend who is good with flowers, or someone else who has a connection to a hair salon.
For example, I am not a huge make-up/ hair/ nails person but two of my bridesmaids were into that stuff. I was very fortunate to have my maid of honor (a make up junkie) do my make-up and another bridesmaid do my hair. Another close friend was our “wedding coordinator” because she loved being in charge.
TIP FIVE: Be smart about the alcohol
There are lots of options to save money on alcohol at a wedding. You can do an open bar during cocktail hour and then switch to a cash bar. You can even skip the alcohol altogether. Some other tips to save money on alcohol include serving a signature cocktail, limiting the bar to a few types of drinks, or only serving champagne.
However, my favorite tip to save money on drinks is to find a reception venue that will let you bring your own alcohol. Buy alcohol at a bulk price (including wine by the case) at a liquor store and you’ll save a ton of money. You can even return unopened alcohol to most big box stores!
TIP SIX: Be smart about the wedding dress and tux
If you are on a budget, you should only buy your wedding dress off the rack. Thousands of dollars for a one time dress is too much if you are on a budget. Let’s be honest, you will only wear this dress for a maximum of 8 hours. After that you will never wear it again (at least out), and it will most likely spend the rest of its days in a box stowed away in storage.
If you are lucky enough to have a family heirloom dress, jump at the chance to wear a dress for free!
As for a tux, check out rentals places that give the groom a free tux when the groomsmen order theirs.
TIP SEVEN: Make your own centerpieces without flowers
Flowers for each table can cost a lot of money. Consider doing something else such as candles or greenery in fun containers. A bonus is that you can use the centerpieces as decor in your home.
TIP EIGHT: Be honest about your budget and shop around for everything
Make sure you are upfront and honest with every wedding vender you meet. Then, shop around until you find the best deal. You might be surprised how willing people are to lower prices when you tell them how much you can spend.
TIP NINE: Splurge on one big thing
Have you been dreaming of a fancy honeymoon your whole life? Dying for the perfect dress? Are you a foodie who can’t live without having top of the line food at your wedding? Then go for it! Pick the one thing that means the most to you and work it into your budget.
If you allow yourself to really enjoy one aspect of your wedding, then it will be easier to scrimp on other aspects.
Planning a wedding on a budget doesn’t have to be difficult. There are tons of ways to save money on a wedding. All you have to do is follow these tips for planning a wedding on a budget!
What is your best tip for saving money on a wedding?
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