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Nine Fun & Frugal Wedding Ideas

Guest post by Amanda

The wedding industry has become a beast to be reckoned with. I recently pulled off my entire wedding for less than $2,000. It can be done!

My Advice

Be prepared to have an army helping you! We could not have done it without so many people offering their services and their time.

Prioritize what you really want and be prepared to make tough decisions. Do things because you and your fiancé want them, not because they’re expected.

1. Our Invitations

Frugal Wedding Invitation

We got 100 invitations from Vistaprint.com for less than $35. Formal invitations didn’t fit our not-so-fancy wedding, and we liked that we could customize the postcards. The purpose of invitations is to give people information — they don’t have to be a piece of artwork!

2. The Flowers

The only flowers we had were bouquets, which we got at Kroger for less than we would have spent at a traditional florist.

3. What We Wore

Frugal Wedding Dresses

I was lucky enough to find my dress (which I loved!) on sale for $99 at David’s Bridal.

Bridesmaids wore blue dresses of their own choosing. I’ve been a bridesmaid six times and know how expensive it gets. My girls looked great and each of their total outfits was less than $40.

Frugal Wedding Suits

The guys wore black pants and white shirts, and matching ties from a discount online tie shop.

4. The Cake

Frugal wedding cupcakes

We decided to do only one small cake and supplement with cupcakes. I made a “tower” for the cupcakes by covering boxes with white wrapping paper and accenting with orange ribbon.

5. The Cake Table

Just Married Sign

I found a template for a “Just Married” sign online. We ran string above our cake table and secured the letters with clothespins.

The total cost of this was less than $10 and it looked great!

6. Instead of Centerpieces…

We didn’t do any centerpieces for our reception tables. I struggled for weeks trying to think of an inexpensive idea, but even at $5 a table, the cost really adds up. I finally decided that centerpieces weren’t necessary, and they definitely weren’t worth the stress!

I searched online for a crossword puzzle template and made one themed around Dave and I. I used them as placemats and they also served as a fun activity for guests.

7. Reception Decorations

Frugal wedding decorations

I made tissue paper flowers to hang from the rafters. These were inexpensive and added a great pop of color and dimension to our space.

Don’t be afraid of plastic serving ware! Our color was orange, so I wrapped orange cutlery in a white napkin and secured it with orange ribbon. I also made contrasting ones of white cutlery in orange napkins with a white ribbon. So cute!

8. Our “Guestbook”

We made a homemade “photobooth” by hanging a sheet where guests could take pictures with my digital camera and leave a note on a card made from scrapbook paper in leiu of a traditional guest book.

9. Be You!

Keep things simple and do things that reflect who you are. Dave and I had volleyball at our wedding because we both love it. And people didn’t think it was weird — they loved it!

Our wedding was definitely a reflection of family and community, which made it all the more fun.

Amanda Ungleich lives in Knoxville, TN with her husband Dave. They both work two jobs and are going back to school, so they know the value of saving a dollar!

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  1. Mary says

    I love the idea of the scrapbook page and photo…such a memorable way to reflect on your special day and who was able to help you celebrate!

  2. CJ says

    Small, simple weddings are the best! My ideal wedding would be a small ceremony outside or in a church, everyone in “normal” clothes, with a picnic lunch at a park afterwards. I’ve never understood why people spend so much for a wedding instead of putting that money towards their life together.

  3. Beth says

    I think this is the best guest post I’ve read! As someone soon to get married I really loved some of the ideas. I really liked your idea for the “Guestbook” I’ve often thought who wants a book of signatures anyway?!

    Thanks for posting! :) Congratulations on the new marriage!

  4. jen says

    Wow. I can appreciate the effort at making a wedding frugal. We didn’t go overboard either. I got my wedding cake at the grocery store. However, I scrimp and save so that I can enjoy moments that are special…like a nice dinner out for an anniversary or a wedding or other special celebration. If you have some resources – consider splurging a little on something that is unique and special and will create a memory for you that YOU will treasure (not to other people’s standards). After all, this is supposed to be a once in a lifetime event. Now, if you don’t have the money – that is another story – you do the best with what you have. It doesn’t have to be expensive to be significant to you.

  5. Kim says

    Sorry if this is a repeat question, I started reading but there were SO many comments :) Do you remember the site that you did the crosswords on? Sounds like a great idea, and definitely something me and my fiance would look into for our wedding in March! Thanks for sharing.

  6. Amanda Y. says

    I think I’ve mostly only ever known “firehouse weddings” so when people talk about fancy things, I just feel lost, but even being frugal as I am–there were some awesome tips in this post, THANK YOU for sharing! (esp. love the crossword idea)

  7. Jessica says

    We had a wonderful wedding and reception that people still talk about (in a good way!). When people asked “what can I do to help?”, we let them help. Our reception was picnic style, and my dad works in the restaurant industry, so he was able to get all the food really cheap, plus his boss’s gift was footing the food bill :)

    We collected baskets on sale, and at yard sales throughout the year before, and each family that came to the reception was given a size appropriate basket to carry their picnic in. They went down a serving line, picking out what sandwich, salad, and fruit they wanted. We had lemonade and ice tea to drink. They got to keep the basket as a wedding favor. The cake was made by a sweet girl who earned a little extra money doing a few cakes a year. She used the recipe my mom had for her wedding cake, and did a terrific job.

    The highlight of the reception was a dunk tank my brother rented. The groom knew nothing about it, and the look on his face when he spotted it was priceless. Instead of a “Dollar Dance” the bride, groom, groomsmen, and best of all…the father of the bride all took turns being dunked for donations. Lots of fun, and the proceeds payed for our entire honeymoon (a week in the Smokey Mountains, staying at my grandmother’s cabin).

  8. says

    Glad to see someone else not buying into the hype of major wedding expense. We had a wedding and reception for 250 people, plus paid for our week long honeymoon for only $3,000.

  9. says

    Wow — I can only hope my daughter will someday use ideas like this! I often regret spending so much cash on a one-day event. We could have gone to Europe for a month instead! I wish couples knew what a waste those big weddings are!

    I also think the ideas do not come across as “frugal” — just creative and personalized. Love it!

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