Say “I Do” to Savings. How to Plan a Wedding on a Budget.

couple planning a wedding on a budget

Wondering how to turn your dream wedding into reality without draining your bank account? Then you’re in the same boat I was when I got engaged. I wasn’t sure where to start, let alone what the wedding I had envisioned would cost. Until I started looking at venues… that’s when reality hit. A reality involving way more zeros than I had hoped. But that didn’t stop me from having the wedding of my absolute dreams. Heck no! So, I’m sharing all my tips on how to plan a wedding on a budget with you. Because that shouldn’t stop you either.


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How to Budget for a Wedding

Budgeting for your wedding is a crucial first step in planning a memorable celebration without breaking the bank. Before you can really get to planning, you should carefully consider the budget you’re comfortable setting.

Though there are many sites you can go to in order to understand basic wedding budget fundamentals and average wedding costs, I encourage you to use my 7-step wedding budgeting process rather than looking for “typical” wedding budgets. Rather than relying on a tool to help you set and allocate your budget, this process will help you define your budget based on your unique goals, priorities, and finances.

How to budget for your wedding day

Plan a Wedding on a Budget FAQs

What is the average wedding budget?

According to a study by the Knot in 2022, the national average cost of a wedding was $30,000. The Knot also provides more detailed data on specific average wedding costs by region.

Who typically pays for a wedding?

It used to be custom for the Bride’s family to pay for the wedding; however, now that’s not always the case. Many couples are opting to pay for a portion or all of their wedding expenses, and in some cases, you may also find the Groom’s family contributing in some way. In any case, early communication on the wedding budget is key to ensure everyone is on the same page.

What is a realistic minimum wedding budget?

That really depends on your expectations. Technically, you can get married for a few hundred dollars, but that means you’re having a City Hall wedding. You can plan a wedding for any budget, it’s just a matter of aligning your budget with your expectations and vision for your wedding day. The smaller the budget, the more creative and flexible you’ll need to be.

10 Tips to Plan a Wedding on a Budget

Next, let’s talk about planning and execution tips. Whether you’re looking to get married on a small budget or simply want to keep your expenses in check, these tips will help you make the most of your resources.

10 tips to plan a wedding on a budget

1. Get Creative with DIY Elements

Embrace do-it-yourself (DIY) projects for decor, invitations, and even some aspects of your attire. Handmade items can add a personal touch and save you money. Here are three incredible real savvy weddings to inspire you.

2. Consider Budget-Friendly Wedding Venues

All-inclusive venues are great and can offer some savings in the form of pre-curated packages; however, the most budget savvy option is a DIY wedding venue. Choosing a more blank-slate, budget-friendly venue, such as community halls, parks, or your own backyard can be both charming and cost-effective.

3. Consider Off-Peak Wedding Dates

Avoid Saturdays and holidays! You’ll pay a premium for a Saturday or Holiday wedding. You might also consider off-peak wedding seasons and times, like a weekday or morning winter wedding to save on your wedding venue. Both venues and vendors may offer deeper discounts due to lower demand.

4. Be Thoughtful About Your Guest List

The biggest way to keep costs down is to keep your guest list in check. A smaller guest list means reduced catering and rental costs, and also allows you to look at smaller venues. Consider your guest list carefully if you’re on a budget and choose close family and friends for a more personal celebration. 

5. Explore Second-Hand Options

The world of second-hand is an absolute gold mine, people. I thrifted just about every aspect of my wedding and saved a bundle. And the opportunities are honestly endless if you’re open to it.

Second-hand wedding decorations are a no-brainer, but you can also explore thrifted furniture, supplies, and even attire. By exploring second-hand, you can often find high-quality items at a fraction of the cost.

6. Negotiate and Seek Discounts

I am all about being up front with your wedding budget. And I encourage you to do the same. When meeting with potential vendors, don’t hesitate to share where you want to be and work through that negotiation process. As long as you’re within a realistic range for their rates (and you’re not shopping outside of your means), many are willing to offer options to work within your budget, especially if you’re flexible with dates or services.

7. Consider Alternative Food and Beverage Options

Being budget-savvy, also means being open to considering alternative food and beverage options. This could mean considering different dining options, like a DIY brunch wedding, or food truck, instead of a traditional caterer.

This could also mean ditching the full bar and going with a “soft bar” instead of only beer and wine. This is an area I strongly recommend thinking outside the box on, given it’s one of the heftier price tags.

8. Go Paperless Wherever Possible

Save on paper and postage by sending digital invitations. Numerous elegant and customizable options are available online and you can easily track RSVPs via a wedding website. If you’ve got some “old-school” invitees you’re worried about navigating an online RSVP tool, you can always send out just a few physical invites to those select guests. Read more about low cost wedding invitation options.

9. Involve Your Wedding Party

You’ve already talked to your family about ways they can contribute, but your wedding party is also a source of assistance. Discuss with your wedding party how they can contribute to your special day, whether it’s financially or by assisting with DIY projects.

10. Skip Non-Essentials

There are so many extras couples can get swept away with in the throngs of planning their big day. If you’re on a budget though, there are a lot of ways you can get creative, or even skip out on typical traditions and customs that can add extra expense. Here are 15 costs to consider cutting to plan a wedding on a budget.

You’re Ready to Plan a Wedding on a Budget!

By following these budget-friendly wedding planning strategies, you can create a beautiful and memorable celebration without sweating about your finances. Remember, the essence of your wedding is your love and commitment, and that’s what truly makes the day special.

Have any savvy budget planning tips to share with fellow brides and grooms to be? Please comment below, we’d love to hear from you.

And here is some additional reading you might find useful:

Happy Planning!

The Savvy Swaréy

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