Planning a Wedding on a Small Budget

My sister is doing a series on her blog on Planning a Wedding on a Small Budget. If you’re planning a wedding or planning to be planning a wedding soon, you’ll definitely want to check it out.

And if you want to hear some of my thoughts and ideas for pulling off a frugal wedding, read my article from a few years ago here.

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  1. Allison says

    My best friend & I planned her wedding in 2 weeks! They kept a small budget, and aside from missing some guests who couldn’t make it on such short notice, you’d have never known it hadn’t taken lots of planning. She was somewhat picky about the dress, but everything else was flexible. It looked like a “real” wedding, and it was so much fun, so cheap, and not nearly as stressful!

  2. says

    My daughter got married two weeks ago, and we spent just under $4000 on her wedding. Taking advantage of coupons at the local craft stores, combined with sales, making things ourselves, and just being smart, made this possible. The wedding was beautiful!

  3. says

    Speaking from a photographers point of view… I have packages already set up, but I am always open to making a package that fits the brides needs and budget!Looking for a photographer that will work with you is the key!!
    Thinking of what you specifically want for your portraits of your big day is very important! Maybe you only want the before the wedding and during the wedding/ formal portraits after and just use disposable camera’s at the wedding reception! There are ways to get a really wonderful photographer, if you look at what you want!! This is a major event in your life, that needs to be recorded!! Feel free to contact me if you have any questions!!

  4. Jenn says

    We spent around $1500 on our wedding. That price includes my dress, $25 (it was from JCPenney, a giant white and fancy beaded prom/quincenera dress on clearance. Hubbys tux was 49.99 with coupon. We used a little wedding chapel in a strip mall. lol 50 people was $99. I spent $15 on real flowers for my bouquet and $25 on fake flower arrangements and vases as gifts. My parents have a friend who took the pics for $100. We found a super cute restaurant that was only open for lunch that we rented for the evening. We had a delicious fancy dinner , drinks, and beer (yuck) and our champagne for toasting and tip came to $750 for 50 people. We shopped around at some bakeries in the area and got a beautiful 3 tier with strawberry in the middle for $140 and a couple other odds and ends, like the cake topper. We chose a pricier Boyds Bear collectible of a bear bride and groom so that we could keep it out. We got that on sale at a card shop for around $20 (I love half off). We pulled all this together in about 2 months. Next month will be our 6th! : ) The deals are out there, you just have to look!

  5. Cherie says

    We got married last fall for less than $2500, which included clothes for me and hubby, rings, location, photographer, flowers – everything. We rented out a bed and breakfast and had a small ceremony and afternoon reception there with about 30 guests. The house was beautiful, so we needed very few decorations and what we did need I picked up at Hobby Lobby during 50% off sales. I bought my dress at a bridal outlet and found cute shoes at Goodwill for $2. My husband bought a suit that he could wear again instead of a tux and then we bought matching ties for him, the best man and my dad. My maid of honor wore a dress and shoes she already owned. I paid for our mani/pedis a few days before the ceremony and getting our hair and makeup done that morning at her favorite salon. I bought flowers at Sam’s Club and she and I created the bouquets, corsages, etc. I found a photographer on Craigslist (I interviewed several before finding one with a good personality, portfolio and price). After the rehearsal, we took our attendants, my parents and grandparents, and an out of town friend out for dinner. Since the wedding was in the middle of the afternoon we just had a luncheon reception with sandwiches, salads, cake and a champagne toast. As a gift, my parents bought the cake (white) and prepared the food. I made the mints. My grandparents’ 59th anniversary was the next week, so I bought a small sheet cake (chocolate) with a congratulatory message for them. It was a beautiful day and it turned out just the way we hoped it would.

  6. jennifer says

    We got married on a week’s notice.
    Hubby is in the National Guard and it was right at the start of this second Iraq war (2003). At that time, if a unit was alerted, they were usually gone within a week.
    We decided on Sunday, got married on Friday. We were not even engaged so it was certainly spur of the moment.
    I borrowed an outfit from a friend, another did hair/makeup, rings from JCP, bought him a new shirt/pants. My mom made potatoes and salad, we had some broasted chicken and a cake from the grocery store. His brothers did the photos. We did it at my home church in the chapel with the pastor that confirmed me. We gave the pastor around $50 as a donation for his time.
    ~20 people or so. Was it my dream wedding? Not hardly, but here we are, almost 8 years later.
    The kicker-they never got deployed until I was 6 months pregnant in 2006!

    • DeAnna says

      @jennifer, This happened to my mom at the beginning of the first Iraq war (circa 1990-91) My mom and dad had to rush to get married and then he deployed 2 days after the ceremony so they didn’t even have a honeymoon. (of course, I was 5 at the time so I’m not sure how romantic it would have been ;) ) The plan was to have a “real” wedding/honeymoon when he returned, but my brother was a product of Desert Storm (lol) so they held off until their 10th wedding anniversary. They took a cruise to the Bahamas and got remarried on the beach. It was beautiful and Mom said it was well worth the wait!

  7. brookeb says

    I totally agree with the idea (mentioned on your sister’s post and your older one) of deciding what’s important. We put more money into our photographer and our entertainment (dj) but did away with things that we didn’t care so much about (no birdseed toss, no throwaway bouquet, no champagne toast, no live music for the ceremony, etc.) We also minimized things where we felt okay doing so, like a bridesmaids gown as a wedding dress, serving only beer & champagne punch (much cheaper than multiple bottles of wine) vs. a full bar, and having family help us with food that was then plated on elegant, but borrowed, platters.

  8. Birgitte says

    We got married on $2000. I designed and my mom sewed my dream wedding dress. We had the wedding dinner with only close family and best man/matron of honor and then went to a rented place where our friends brought homemade cakes (incl. wedding cake) and coffee/punch and we danced and had a LOT of fun! It was great for our friends and family who got to help and it made our wedding more special because everyone got to put something of themselves in it. It was WAY better than any moviestar wedding!

  9. Birgitte says

    Ooh, forgot to mention. We nixed the photographer but had several friends take photos of us and they gave us some AMAZING photographs afterwards.

  10. WilliamB says

    My two cents for an inexpensive wedding:
    - don’t get married on Saturday
    - the earlier in the day, the less formal (= less expensive) it’s expected to be and the less expensive the site/the caterer/whoever else is
    - alcohol is expensive; have a dry wedding
    - small wedding party means fewer expenses
    - negotiate!
    - if you want a pretty cake, get one pretty layer for show and have a sheet cake in the back
    - dollars spent does not equal good time had; the most enjoyable wedding I went to probably cost less than $1500 for 100+ guests. The location was a public park. The wedding party was the couple (rented tux, second hand dress), the groom’s uncle as officiant, one sibling each, bubbles to blow. The party location was the church hall. The food was organized pot luck by the church members. The cake was bought: one fancy layer for show, sheet cake in the kitchen. All the dishes and such were rented (possibly the most expensive item). The guests themselves provided the entertainment. Up on stage friends told stories, read poems, sang songs. The couple met contra dancing and both were callers and musicians – they and their friends provided the music, instruction and calling. No wallflowers allowed! Everyone had a great time. It was a nice contrast to the many expensive, uptight, tense weddings one hears about.

    Most important: it’s the marriage that really matters, not the wedding. Don’t focus on the event to the exclusion of your relationship.