My husband and I spent $75 on our wedding. After 5 years of marriage, there are times where I wish we would have done more for our wedding. Maybe a small gathering in our backyard; something that we could have catered ourselves. The option to spend money on a wedding was just not possible, so today I really don't regret having one. We made the right decision for our financial situation, and the option to renew our vows and have a “real” wedding is always an option for the future.
Planning a wedding nowadays is not what it used to be. The one thing I hate to see is newly married couples getting into debt because they feel they need to spend a fortune on a wedding. The worst thing you can possibly do is start your lives together in debt. Having a beautiful wedding can happen on a budget. But before this can happen, the thought process of wanting EVERYTHING needs to be replaced with what matters most to you. For example, maybe the wedding dress is something you really want to splurge on. If it is, you need to think about cutting back on other areas that aren't that important to you. Prioritizing will allow you to spend money on the areas that really matter, and cut back on the areas that don't.
Skip the alcohol
You might be thinking, “OMG, we have to provide alcohol for our guests.” This really is not true. Alcohol is one of the major expenses for a wedding, so cutting it out all together will save you a lot of money. Your guests are not there to drink, they are there to celebrate your day with you. With all the amazing drink recipes on Pinterest, there are literally a thousand of unique, inexpensive drink recipes to make for your wedding. Paired with a great drink serving station, and fantastic drink accessories, your guests will be commenting about the unique tea you served, and not about alcohol being absent. Adding a simple pretty garnishment to your non-alcoholic drinks will make them look a lot more expensive than they really are.
Note: Decide on whether you want your guests to pay for their own drinks. Though this is not something I recommend, it is an option. Keep in mind, if you do make this decision, there might be unhappy guests.
Keep the ceremony close to home.
If you have a beautiful backyard or know a family member or friend who has one, consider having the ceremony there. Renting a venue hall for your ceremony is another HUGE cost. Not only is it expensive, but it can be restrictive. They may limit you to using only their catering and bar service. Renting the building for your ceremony may seem pretty inexpensive, but when you add their catering the price skyrockets. Catering your own wedding is another huge money saver, but if you are restricted to only using the venue hall's food service, this is no longer a cost saving option. Make sure the outdoor space you choose has options if the weather does not cooperate. Try setting up an outdoor tent, or having another destination just in case.
Get creative with the flowers.
Who says your flowers have to be real? Flowers for a wedding can cost over $500 depending on the amount and type you buy. Real flowers look and smell great for the wedding day, but what use do they have after? Having paper flowers for your wedding is something you might want to consider if you are looking to save some money. Not only will this give you more options without the price tag, but they will literally last forever and can be something memorable you can give to guests. How about a flower making party with your bridesmaids? If you are not wanting a ton of flowers for your wedding, maybe just the bouquets, this becomes a great memory with your closest friends. There are a TON of YouTube videos on how to create amazing flower bouquets. My sister made amazing paper flowers for my baby shower to give out as thank you gifts to the guests, and 4 years later, some of the guests still have them in their home.
Ask for a honeymoon, not presents.
If you are accepting gifts for your wedding, instead of registering somewhere, ask for help with the honeymoon. I don't know about you, but I would rather have financial help with an amazing trip, than with a set of kitchen dishes. Your guests will be thankful they are not left wondering what to get you, or picking out a cliché crock-pot from a registry list somewhere. If my husband an I did have a wedding, this is something I would totally do. You can always put this request on the invitations you send out. It may not pay for the entire trip, but it will definitely save you some money.
A bigger guest list does not mean a more memorable wedding.
It may feel like you have to invite everyone you know to your wedding, but if you are wanting to have a wedding on a budget you can't invite all of your friends, co-workers, and family. Think about keeping it small and intimate. Every time you add someone new, there will additional costs to accommodate that person. The best way to plan the perfect guest list is to sit down and talk it over with your soon to be spouse. You want to make sure that both sides are happy with the guest list. Once the list is complete, try to cut the list down by 15%. Look over the new list, then try to cut that list down by another 15%. Doing it in increments will allow you to really narrow down your choices, and make the best decision for both of you. Keeping it with just close friends and family is always a great option for the ceremony.
Other wedding budget tips & ideas.
- Get help from family and friends when it comes to the food. Providing your own food is a huge money saver.
- Don't be afraid to get in touch with your artistic side. Handmade centerpieces and invitations will be easy on the budget, but will also make things more memorable and sentimental.
- Providing bridesmaid and groomsmen gifts is not a given. Don't be afraid or feel bad for skipping this tradition. If you are wanting to give gifts, keep it simple like a framed picture of a great memory you shared.
Start your new lives together the smart way. It might be tempting to go all out and have a “dream” wedding, but the dream will only last so long before you have to start making payments. It's always a smart idea to sit down and have a financial meeting with your soon to be spouse. Talk about your limits, create an actual wedding budget, and have a plan. There is an amazing article on A Practical Wedding that shows you how to create an actual wedding budget ranging from $2,000 all the way up to $30,000. You can read their article here.
Did you have a budget wedding?