The best tips & tricks to planning a wedding on a budget.
Planning,  Weddings

The Best Kept Secrets To Having A Wedding On A Budget

Now that you’re engaged the next step is to plan your wedding.

But can you really afford it? The average wedding these days can cost anywhere from $10,000 to $50,000. Some can cost even more than that.

Insane! That’s a down payment on a home.

One of the 1st things that my husband & I decided to do when we got married was to have a frugal wedding so we could actually live after the honeymoon.

Our entire wedding, from gown to photos to ceremony cost us a total of $1,700.

You may be thinking that you have make everything yourself in order to have a wedding on a budget. But, you don’t.

Yes, some parts are DIY. But if you’re not crafty there are wonderful sites like Etsy & Minted that will do it for you.

(Make sure you get to the bottom for the ultimate secret to having a budget friendly wedding)

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. Which means I will earn a commission if you purchase through those links. This is at no extra cost to you. You can read my full disclosure policy here

Figure Out A Comfortable Limit

The first thing that you need to do before you plan anything is to set a budget. You can learn how to create a step by step wedding budget here.

Sit down with your fiance & figure out:

  • what you want
  • where you want
  • when you want it
  • how much you can spend

Remember there’s no need to go broke over a wedding. You have to live afterward.

Choosing A Wedding Theme

One key to saving money on your wedding is to have a theme. It will help you stay on track with your planning & make searching for supplies easier.

The best tips to help you have a wedding on a budget.

Choosing A Wedding Venue

There’s a lot that goes into choosing a wedding venue.

In order to save, when going to look at ceremony & reception venues consider combining the two into 1 location.

Some venues may have separate areas for ceremony & reception. But if they don’t consider having all of your guests seated at tables for the ceremony.

The tables can create an aisle. Then when the ceremony is over it will flow seamlessly into the reception.

Wedding Decor

Save money on decor by combining DIY & thrifty.

You can make your own guestbook, centerpieces, & favors.

Get thrifty by re-purposing vases, frames, books, bird cages & knick knacks that you can find at thrift stores.

A key element to remember is that not every table has to have the same decorations. They can vary as long as they flow with your theme.

Then you have those small decor elements like wedding favors. Here’s something you may not know…you don’t need them! Most people actually leave their favors behind.

Shopping Smart

Did you know that you could get money back from shopping online?

Ebates & Ibotta both give you money back from purchases that you make from their apps.

Some sites can give up to 10% cash back!

And no, this isn’t a gimmick or scheme. If you need to order your wedding shoes, why not use Ebates & order them from DSW. Ebates will then mail you what they call a “Big Fat Check” for your earnings.

Ibotta works in a similar way. Except you can also scan in a receipt after the purchase on certain items for a percentage back.

I was skeptical at first too until I received my $80 check in the mail. I love saving money!

Wedding Invitations

This one is a bit DIY & you have a few options.

Option 1: You can run to any craft store like Michaels & Hobby Lobby to grab printable invitation sets. That will allow you to make them on your computer & print them on the paper.

Bonus tip: those stores always have great coupons & deals so wait for those instead of buying full price.

Option 2: Hop on over to Etsy. There are some great shops on there that will customize your invites (for cheap) & send you a PDF file.

Once you get the file you can either print them yourself or print them somewhere like Staples or Office Depot.

Option 3: Order your invites through a company like Minted. The best part about this route is that they do all the work for you, at a great price.

Option 4: (my favorite). Make your own invitations from scratch. Don’t worry it’s easy to do & allows you to make the invitations look exactly how you want them.

Saving Money On Wedding Gowns & Attire

Your wedding gown & attire of your wedding party is important to every bride. But that doesn’t mean you need to spend a fortune.

To save money on it think outside the box.

  • Check out department stores for suits
  • Look at suit clearance warehouses
  • Buy floor model wedding gowns
  • Browse wedding consignment shops
  • Buy clearance dresses
  • Look into used wedding gown sites like Tradesy or Once Wed

Related: What to do with your wedding gown after the wedding

Wedding Flowers

The best tips to have a wedding on a budget.

Let’s talk wedding flowers. This comes down to your preference. Remember that. If you want flowers, greenery, or something out of the box, it’s your choice.

For our wedding I went with giant paper flowers & tissue paper flowers. That picture above is of my bridesmaid bouquets.

They took me just a few hours to make & I was done. It was great to have a wow factor plus it only cost me $50 as opposed to hundreds of dollars.

You can also cut down on the cost of flowers by,

  • Not doing corsages for everyone
  • Cutting down on the amount of floral used in centerpieces.
  • Having simple bouquets & boutonnieres
  • Using more greenery & filler plants as opposed to flowers.

There are also out of the box options. So instead of having bouquets of flowers you & your bridesmaids can carry,

  • Fans
  • Umbrellas
  • Purses
  • Jeweled bouquets
  • Wooden flowers

The sky’s the limit & Pinterest is filled with ideas!

Wedding Photography

Photos are a major deal of any wedding. We all want great shots that we can look back on & be proud to show off. But it’s insanely expensive! We’re talking at least a thousand dollars. So here are some options to cut down on costs.

  • Find a photographer just starting out. Their prices are generally lower.
  • If you have a college or arts center around you that offers photography classes, put a feeler out to those students. They need to expand their portfolio & you’d be surprised at the talent you’ll find.
  • Combine engagement, bridal, & wedding shoots to 1 photographer. (To save even more, limit it to just wedding pictures).
  • Instead of having multiple photographers on site, just have 1.

Related: How To Choose A Wedding Photographer

Reception Food 

Did you know that it’s cheaper to have a lunch buffet over a full course sit down dinner?

I don’t mean cheaper by $2. It’s generally $10-12 cheaper per person. If you have a wedding with 150 guests that’s a savings of $1,500.

The best tips to planning your wedding on a budget.

Wedding Cake

The cake is always central to wedding receptions. But that too is something that you can save money on.

We explored bakers at our local farmer’s market & found quite a few options. They were significantly cheaper than traditional bakeries.

To bring the price down even more we did a tower filled with mini cupcakes & then added a small cake on top for us to cut.

Instead of having a traditional tiered cake, you could make it unique by having a:

  • cookie tower
  • donut tower
  • several individual cakes

The Big Secret

Ok, you’ve waited now here’s the big secret. If you want to save the most money on your wedding then you need to have it during the off season.

The off season is generally mid November to mid February.

Most venues are willing to give you a great deal because it’s their quiet time, unless they have a holiday event.

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The best tips you need to know to have a wedding on a budget.