Best Budget Friendly Wedding Ideas

These days, planning a wedding can come with a hefty price tag. Luckily, achieving your dream day doesn’t have to mean emptying your savings. Using creativity and thoughtful planning, it’s entirely possible to curate a beautiful and memorable wedding within your budget. In this guide, we’ll explore some practical, budget-friendly ideas perfect for executing an amazing celebration without overextending your finances.

image shows a cake and dollar sign implying budgeting for a wedding

Set a Clear Budget

Before diving into any wedding planning, it’s crucial to establish a clear budget. To set a clear budget, start by determining your total available funds and how much you’re willing to sped overall. Then, allocate percentages to major categories like venue, catering, attire, and photography. Keep track of expenses in a spreadsheet or in a wedding planning book. Adjust allocations as needed to stay within your budget and try to stick to it closely to avoid outstretching yourselves.

Prioritize Your Expenses

Decide what elements of the wedding are most important to you and your partner. Allocate more of your budget to these areas and look for ways to save on less important aspects. If having a great photographer is a priority, consider cutting back on floral arrangements or opt for a simple dessert. A fun way to do this is for each person to create a list of vendors or things of importance. Each partner will take 5 minutes alone to create their list of priorities from 1 (least) – 10 (most). When the 5 minutes are done, come together, compare, and discuss!

Choose an Off-Peak Date

Wedding costs can vary significantly depending on the time of year and day of the week. Consider having your wedding during the off season or on a weekday to take advantage of lower venue/vendor rates. Thursday and Friday wedding days are becoming increasingly popular as more venues are offering lower rates on weekdays. Remember, most people are taking several days off to attend your wedding, so it’s really not a bad idea!

Keep in mind that most vendors will offer larger discounts during the slow season because there’s just not much happening. This is not only a good way for you to save money, but also for your guests as lodging, flights, and rental cars will be cheaper too.

Have a Smaller Guest List or Elope

Reducing the number of guests can significantly lower your wedding costs. A smaller, more intimate wedding allows you to spend more quality time with each guest and can make the event feel more personal and special. The biggest cost savings with a smaller guest list will likely be with the venue option and food. On the other hand, planning an elopement allows couples to have an even more intimate, personal, and cost-effective wedding experience. It allows them to focus solely on their love and commitment without the stress and expense of a traditional ceremony. You can also get really creative with it – micro weddings and adventure elopements are becoming increasingly popular with photographers.

Consider a Non-Traditional Venue

Traditional wedding venues can be expensive. Think outside the box and consider alternative locations such as public parks, national parks, community centers, or a family member’s backyard. These options can offer a unique setting at a fraction of the cost.

DIY Decorations and Invitations

image shows a sign that says to love, laughter, and happily ever after at a wedding

DIY signage made using Canva + printed at a local print shop

Get creative and make your own decorations and invitations. There are countless DIY wedding ideas online that can add a personal touch to your wedding while saving money. Canva is an excellent resource for creating DIY invitations and signage. Create signage like seating charts, menus, and etc and get them printed at a local print shop. Websites like Minted have beautifully curated invitation suites and can be a little more convenient than making your own fully from scratch on Canva. Enlist the help of friends and family for a fun crafting session when it comes to creating simple yet elegant center pieces and bouquets/boutonnieres.

Simplify the Menu

image shows wedding guests going through a buffet line at a wedding reception

Food and drink can be one of the most expensive parts of a wedding. Consider simplifying the menu by opting for a buffet or family-style meal instead of a plated dinner. You can also save by limiting the bar to beer, wine, and a signature cocktail.

Borrow or Rent Attire

Wedding attire can be costly, especially if you’re only going to wear it once. Consider borrowing a dress or suit from a friend or family member, or look into rental options for both bridal and groom’s attire. Most local wedding shops will offer suit and dress rentals. Also browse Facebook Marketplace and local consignment stores for gently used and very affordable wedding dresses. Azazie and Lulus also have affordable wedding dresses and bridesmaids dresses. Amazon and Macy’s are great places to shop for men’s attire if you don’t plan to pursue suit rentals.

Use Natural Scenery

If you’re getting married in a naturally beautiful location, let the scenery speak for itself. Minimize elaborate decorations and let the natural surroundings provide a stunning backdrop for your ceremony and photos. Candles are the best way to create an elegant and cozy ambiance while being affordable and easy to clean up. Utilize votive candles with an elegant set of holders or taper candles with a simple table number (that you DIYed on Canva) placed on a tall stand. For an added touch, thrift some cute small glass vases and add a few flower sprigs or lay some faux greenery on the table.

Be Mindful of Extras

we saved on our wedding by making these homemade boutonnieres using faux florals from Michaels

It’s easy to get caught up in all the additional offerings from vendors and all things wedding related as a whole, so be mindful of what you truly need. Extras like photo booths, elaborate favors, and excessive lighting can quickly add up and are often overlooked by guests and unnecessary. Evaluate if the extra add on or item would hold personal meaning to you and your partner or if it’s just an add-on for the sake of it. Remember that most often, less is more! For the things you do splurge on, ensure that any extras align with your overall wedding vision and theme to maintain a cohesive feel. Also consider if any of the extras you purchase, like decor or accessories, can be repurposed or retain sentimental value after the wedding.

Remember, the most important aspect of your wedding day is the celebration of your love and commitment to each other. By being resourceful and prioritizing what’s truly important, you can craft a wedding that not only reflects your unique, bond but also respects your budget. Embrace the joy of the occasion and remember that a beautiful wedding is defined by the love it celebrates and the people who surround you, not by the amount spent.

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