Wedding On A Budget: How To Plan An Affordable Wedding

Affordable Wedding: How to plan a wedding on a budget
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It’s no secret that a wedding is one of life’s biggest moments and it is costly.

Did you know the average wedding cost was $19,000 last year and $28,000 in 2019, according to The Knot (source)?

And in the same article, it’s estimated that the average cost of a wedding reception is $22,500 in 2021.

If you want to spend less than the average wedding cost in the US, the post is specifically written for you.

You DON’T have to spend a hefty amount to have a fantastic wedding.

Here are some simple money-saving ideas that will help you plan a beautiful wedding without going over your budget.

How To Plan A Wedding On A Budget

Why Wedding On A Budget

Whether you plan to make an intimate family affair orthrow a big lavish wedding, you will need a detailed budget (such as a wedding on a budget of $1,000, $5,000, $20,000, or $100,000).

Wedding planning could be overwhelming for the newlyweds-to-be as it requires lots of elements that cost a chunk of cash.  

Planning a wedding on a budget could save you extra hundreds (and even thousands) of dollars. 💰💰💰

For instance,

  • You can have an elegant wedding without going into debt. No stress, no drama.
  • You could avoid spending more than you initially planned (cut out the non-essential costs). 
  • It serves as a checklist of what you should buy and how much you plan to spend on each category. 
  • It could also help you say no to unnecessary upgrades as they will hurt your budget.

Did you know that money issues are one of the main culprits for couple’s fights and divorce?

Be a budget-savvy couple and live happily ever after without wedding debt.

Know Who Contributes To Your Wedding Fund

If your family members are willing to fund your wedding, that’s great news.

Know who can provide the additional financial support and set aside money for your wedding expenses.

Pro Tip: It’s essential to have a money talk with your fiancé and come up with the total wedding budget together if you want to save money.

When you figure out the total amount, you can first prioritize the must-haves (top three).

It’s also important to allocate a certain amount of money for unforeseen costs such as extra service fees and tips.

The extra funds could help you deal with potentially stressful situations with ease.

Further reading:

Plan It Early

Early planning will give you more time to save money for your wedding fund if you are on a shoestring budget.

Plus, you can get sales promos and big discounts for your wedding essentials.

The earlier you plan, the more control you have over the cost reduction. 

Allow yourself at least a couple of months to prepare for the big event.  

Feel free to bookmark this post so you can refer back to the money-saving tips on your wedding spending.

Track Your Expenses

When you set the budget for every possible cost, don’t forget to keep all your receipts and track your expenses to ensure you DON’T go over your budget and start your life together in the red.

With tracking, you will see how much exactly you have spent and how much money is left.

A spreadsheet could do the job, or you can use a financial app that is more convenient and efficient.

Also read: Which Payment Type Can Help You And Your Partner Stick To A Budget?

Choose Off-Peak

Like the tourism industry, wedding also has peak seasons and off-seasons

Choosing the most affordable months of the year and avoiding Saturday (choose a mid-week day) to get married will save you serious money.

For instance, an elegant winter wedding on Friday or Sunday will bring the cost down. Or you could have a fall wedding on a budget.

Apart from the date, the time of the day also matters.

A daytime wedding (such as a brunch wedding or afternoon reception) is more cost-effective than an evening celebration. 

Here are three main reasons: 

  • Guests are less likely to drink and eat more in the daytime.
  • Food is less expensive.
  • Fewer decorations are needed (such as lighting) on the venue. 

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How to plan a wedding on a small budget
Planning A Wedding On A Budget

Trim Your Guest List To Plan A budget-friendly Wedding

The fewer the guests, the more intimate the wedding. 

And most importantly, you could lower the wedding expenses dramatically.

For instance, the costs of invitations, party gifts, food, drinks, and transportation would be much less expensive.

If you are serious about planning a wedding on a budget, this is the section you need to cut down. 

For instance, if you plan to spend $85 per guest, trimming ten people from your guest list could easily save you $850.

The more you trim, the more you save.

Pick A Budget Friendly Wedding Venue

The location usually contributes a considerable amount of cost to a wedding.

If you want to plan a wedding on a small budget, you can choose a location that fits your budget and is near your guests (save money on transportation and potential overnight accommodations).

It’s perfect if you can find one venue that hosts both your ceremony and reception, which saves even more time (research and transportation) and thousands of bucks (decorations and vehicles).

Here are some cost-cutting options to consider so you don’t have to dip into your savings or max out your credit cards.

  • Look for a spacious backyard.
  • Borrow or rent out a friend’s property at a low cost.
  • Find a free outdoor wedding venue (a public park/garden) with amazing views.
  • Look for a local church.
  • Contact the City Hall.

You can also google “low budget wedding venues near me” or “affordable wedding venues near me” to locate an inexpensive place.

Want to spend even less on the venue? Think outside of the box (like a non-traditional venue).

Pro Tip: Book the venue earlier (like one year or at least a couple of months earlier), so you can get the best price and prepare your wedding in a hassle-free manner.

Ask For Wedding Help

When you plan a wedding on a low budget, don’t hesitate to ask for help from your family members and friends.

Besides, having your family and friends involved makes your wedding more meaningful and sentimental.

Maybe one of your close friends is a highly skilled amateur photographer and would love to grasp the beautiful moments at your wedding.

Or your aunt Mary is happy to make the wedding cupcakes.

Perhaps your sibling can lend you their house for your wedding party.

It’s ok if they don’t do the tasks for free. You can hire them at a fraction of the cost.

You will never know who can help you out for the big day and save you tons of money until you ask.

Create the Affordable Wedding Invitations

It’s crazy that couples spend boatloads of money on wedding invitations.

Did you know you can design your own invitations to keep your wedding costs down using a design tool like Canva?

Yes, you can create a wedding invitation from scratch or use one of the captivating customizable templates in Canva.

It’s easy, fun, and affordable.

The best part is that no design experience is needed to create like a PRO.

Not only can you choose whatever design you want (such as font, color, and image) for the wedding invites, you can also inject some personality into your design, which creates a more personal touch.

If you are a big fan of traditional invitations, Canva Print makes everything easy. With the click of a button, voila, beautifully customized invites are born (professional and quality). And the delivery is for FREE. 🥳

Alternatively, another option is to use virtual e-vites or create a lovely website for your wedding invitations.

Once you finish, you can publish it right from the app. No extra postage fees.

No matter what you choose, you could get affordable wedding invites and save hundreds of bucks 💵💵💵 down the road.

If you want to know more about Canva, check out this post. Or you could try the Canva Pro 30-day for FREE here.

Read The Contracts Carefully

If you decide to go for different vendors, choose reliable and trustworthy suppliers, and make sure you have read through all the contracts before signing up, especially the fine print.

Be careful with any potential hidden fees and additional costs.

Don’t be afraid to ask questions if there is confusion.

It’s smart to make everything clear earlier than paying extra fees later.

Take Advantage Of A Credit Card

It’s wise to use a credit card to pay for all your wedding expenses if possible.

If you choose a credit card that offers generous rewards or other benefits (cash back or mileage for your honeymoon), you can save lots of money.

Plus, it’s easy to track all the wedding expenses using one card.

Pro Tip: Do make sure you can pay off the bills each month to avoid additional interest payments.

Shop For Affordable Wedding Decor Items

The small items could quickly add up and exceed your budget. 

If you don’t fancy renting the decorative elements from an event rental company, you can buy them in bulk from many affordable places, such as

  • thrift stores/dollar stores,
  • Amazon,
  • flea markets,
  • and Etsy.

Cut Down on Food and Beverage Prices

Food and drinks seem to go hand in hand with a wedding party. But they can hurt your wallet.

Food 

Buffet-style food service has been a popular trend because of its flexibility and cost-efficiency compared to a formal sit-down dinner.

To reduce the food costs drastically, you can either prepare them with the help of your family and friends or find a family-owned restaurant. 

Wedding Cake 

Instead of having a big, elaborate wedding cake, why not go for lovely cupcakes/donuts to serve your guests.

They are simple and easy to make, which could save you hundreds of dollars.

For instance, you can bake your own cupcakes or buy them from the grocery store for only $1 each and arrange them in tiers.

However, if a wedding cake is essential to you, try to get a simple tiered cake from your local grocery store at an affordable price.

Drinks

If you plan to offer alcohol, beer and wine are much cheaper options for a budget-friendly wedding.

Don’t forget to make sure you CAN supply your alcohol when choosing a venue. 

Consider An Affordable Wedding Dress 

The wedding dress is no doubt a big-ticket item.  

According to Brides, the average cost of a wedding dress is $1631 (including alterations).

If you are planning a wedding on a budget, drop the crazy price tag of the big brand name and consider these money-saving ideas.

  • Buy a pre-owned designer wedding dress at a much lower price (like 50% off) from a vintage shop. You can also resell it after the big day. 
  • Purchase an affordable wedding dress on Amazon (surprisingly, they do sell wedding dresses).
  • Rent a stunning wedding dress.
  • Borrow the wedding dress from your family or close friends.

You can buy, rent, or borrow for all your wedding-related outfits to stay on top of your wedding budget.

Cut Back On Wedding Flowers

Fresh, exotic flowers 💐 that come from afar can quickly blow your budget (NOT budget-friendly blooms).

Ask yourself, do you really want to spend hundreds of bucks on these that are only used for a couple of hours and then end up in the trash?

On the other hand, stunning seasonal and local flowers are much more affordable if you buy them from local grocery stores or flower markets.

You can easily cut down on floral expenses by opting for simple bouquets and table arrangements.

Alternatively, you can opt for a mix of candles and greenery, which could also create a romantic ambiance.

Another attractive option is to use silk or wood flowers.

Save Money On Your Wedding Music And Photography

Music Supply

Skipping the live band (especially the out-of-town band) or professional DJ can save you thousands of bucks.

You can ask your friend to be the DJ or find music students at your local university for a cheaper rate.

Alternatively, you can prepare a playlist of wedding songs and connect your laptop/iPad with a speaker for a lovely dance party.

If the venue provides a sound system, make sure the price is already included in the package.

Wedding Photography/Videography

It’s nice to capture the beautiful moments on your special day, but hiring a professional photographer could cost you a lot. 

If you want to plan an affordable wedding, you can

  • get a friend or family member to be your wedding photographer for FREE. Or hire them with a “friends and family” discount.
  • check with photography students or recent grads to get a reasonable rate
  • google “affordable wedding photographers near me” to see what you can find.
  • hire a professional photographer with limited hours (like three to fours hours for the important moments).
  • let your guests be amateur photographers and take photos for your wedding. 

You could use the saved money in other places, such as paying for the down payment of your new home or your honeymoon.

Create An Amazon Wedding Registry

YES! 

Amazon has its own online wedding registry to help you get everything you need for your new life as a couple 👰‍♀️🤵.

You can add gifts from other websites simply by installing Amazon’s Universal Registry tool for your convenience. Then your guests could shop ALL in one place. 

You can also get a FREE gift whenever your guests purchase registry items from select brands.

Another bonus is that you can enjoy a 20% discount (Prime members) for anything left on your wish list. And non-Prime members will get a 10% discount. 

Sounds tempting? Find out more benefits in detail here

Once you are ready, you can create an Amazon wedding registry here.

It’s Your Big Day

🌟 Remember, it’s your BIG day.

You get to decide what is right for you and do what you feel most comfortable with on the big day.

Spend the money on the things that matter most to you and your partner.

For instance, if the gorgeous floral arrangements are a must-have for your wedding, allocate a specific dollar amount for that expense, and cut back on other places such as trying to find a budget-friendly wedding venue.

Final Thoughts – How To Plan An Affordable Wedding

Having a beautiful, unforgettable wedding doesn’t always cost you an arm and a leg.

I hope you find these frugal wedding ideas helpful.

Feel free to pick up the wedding budget tips that work for you and save thousands of dollars during the process of your wedding planning.

👉 Here is a list of articles on how to start saving for your dream wedding that you might want to read:

How To Stop Spending Money On Unnecessary Things For You And Your Partner

Things You And Your Partner Should Stop Buying To Save Serious Money For Your Wedding

How To Stop Living Paycheck To Paycheck For Couples

Best Frugal Living Tips That You And Your Partner Should Know

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How to plan an affordable wedding
Wedding On A Budget
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