Moreover, a quarter of couples in the United States incur wedding-related debt. This is not ideal. You want to start your marriage off without any debt. You can do this by trimming your wedding expenses. The more money you save, the better.
You can have a fun and memorable wedding even if you have a small budget. Host your wedding at an affordable venue without going into debt. Here are some tips to help you keep your costs down.
Discover 47 Budget-friendly Wedding Planning Tips:
1. Know You Can Have an Affordable Wedding Anywhere
On average, the cost of a wedding in the United States is almost $34,000. This cost varies depending on location. For example, the average wedding cost in Idaho is $16,366, while the average price in Manhattan is $96,910.
You don’t need to spend the average amount of money no matter where you are. Even in glamorous Manhattan, there are choices you can make and strategies you can use to save money.
2. Determine Where the Funds for Your Wedding Will Come From
In 2018, almost 10% of couples paid for their wedding by themselves. Another 10% had someone else pay for the whole wedding. Most couples—80% in the middle—had a mix of people contributing money. Sit down with everyone contributing money to your wedding (not necessarily) to determine how much each person provides.
It is essential to establish boundaries with your future FIL. If he is donating the money, he cannot add as many guests as he wishes to the guest list. Doing so will significantly raise the cost of your wedding.
3. Commit to a Wedding Budget and Establish Your Priorities
Now that you have both said ‘yes,’ it is time to commit to an affordable wedding. You will need to set aside a time to discuss what you will use the money for later. This is an important conversation because it will help you figure out what is most important to you.
You need to decide together what you will do with the money you saved. You can use it to pay off your student loan debt or avoid getting more debt. You could also save the money to buy a house or your kid’s college fund. Or maybe you would rather use the money for a long, multi-country European vacation instead of an extravagant party.
When you get married, you will have to make numerous decisions regarding saving and spending money. There are many ways to spend money on a wedding and save money. You should develop a plan to help you stay thrifty during the wedding planning process.
If you’re feeling down because you can’t afford a big wedding, remember that research shows that couples with expensive weddings are more likely to get divorced.
4. Create (and Stay Within) a Budget
Almost half of the couples say that they went over their wedding budget. Nearly the same number stayed on budget, and just 6 percent say they came in under budget.
The takeaway is that if you set a budget, it is likely that the final tally will be close to that amount. Look at the numbers carefully and set a budget you can live with comfortably.
You will both need to rank the importance of different aspects of your wedding. For example, music might be the most important thing to you. You can then spend extra money finding a less expensive dress or borrow a tux. You can also use The Wedding Spot to find affordable wedding venues that fit your budget.
5. Reduce the Size of the Guest List
A smaller guest list means you can have a lower-cost wedding. For example, you can book a smaller venue (about half the average wedding cost). You will also have a modest cost for food, beverages, service, tables and table settings, linens, and invitations.
There are benefits to having a big or small wedding. Because you are choosing a small wedding, we will focus on the benefits of a small wedding. With fewer guests, you will be able to relax and enjoy your day more. You will also have more time to spend with your close family and friends. And even though you love your friends from work, they will understand that you want a more intimate event.
Some experts say to make a list of people you want to invite to your housewarming party, and then cut it by 20 percent. Then cut it again by another 20 percent. Other experts say to start with no one and add your parents, siblings, and grandparents. After that, add a couple of close friends each. But don’t let anyone else come after that.
If you are trying to save money, you will need to talk to friends and family who are not invited to the wedding. Most people would understand if you cannot afford a lavish wedding.
6. Visit a Thrift Shop for a Dress or Suit
When planning your wedding, wedding dresses and suits or tuxes can be a big expense. But you don’t have to spend a lot of money to get a beautiful dress or suit. You can find vintage wedding dresses and suits at thrift stores. Be sure to go on a day when you have enough time to look around because you might find something great! And even if the dress or suit needs some repairs, it will still be cheaper than buying a new one.
You can find affordable wedding dresses online. You can visit eBay, Craigslist, or Etsy. Nearly Newlywed and Rent the Runway are two websites where you can find affordable wedding dresses that have been used before. Even high-end stores have affordable wedding dresses.
7. Choose a Wedding Location Close to Home
Having a destination wedding can be expensive for you and your guests. This is because it involves travel and overnight accommodations. However, if you have your wedding close to home, it can be cheaper. And since “Home is where the heart is,” this may be the best option for you.
Low-cost Wedding Venue Ideas and Tips
The venue is the most expensive part of a wedding. You need to be careful about what type of venue you choose because it can save you money.
8. Remember, the Lowest-cost Venues Are Free
Consider holding the ceremony and reception if you have access to a backyard. You can rent tents, chairs, and tables cheaply to make your backyard look beautiful for your wedding.
9. Follow Your Wedding Ceremony at City Hall With Dinner at a Restaurant
You can have a small wedding ceremony by inviting only a few people, such as a witness and some guests. If you get married in a large city, you can often do it at the town hall with other couples who are getting married.
After the ceremony, everyone heads to a restaurant for a celebratory meal. You’ll want to make a reservation and think about bringing a cake.
10. Explore Wedding Venues Within Your Budget
There are many different types of venues that are affordable. Whether you want a rustic, elegant, modern, or very casual wedding, you can find the perfect location for your wedding. The Wedding Spot’s budget filters help you find venues that fit within your price range.
11. Select a Vacation Rental in Your Neighborhood
If you reside near a major tourist destination during the off-season, you can hire a house for your wedding. This option provides ample indoor and outdoor space and restrooms for the convenience of your guests. Inform the owner that you intend to host a small wedding.
12. Time Your Wedding for the Winter
Weddings are popular and costly during the holiday season. However, January through March is considered the off-season for weddings in the majority of the United States. (This is not the situation in winter resort towns like Telluride, Colorado, where snow bunnies spend top bucks to get married in front of a snowy mountain background.) In most regions, you will likely discover the most affordable venue options during the dead of winter. You may even be able to negotiate a lower price, as venues would prefer to have an inexpensive wedding than no wedding on a specific date.
13. Skip Over Saturdays
Fridays and Sundays are typically less expensive days to have your wedding. The venue, catering, and vendors are usually less expensive because most people want to have their wedding on a Saturday.
14. Consider a Mid-week Wedding
There is no restriction against having a wedding and reception on a Tuesday or Wednesday. However, it is uncommon. These alternatives are even cheaper than Fridays and Sundays. If you choose Thursday, many of your guests will be able to take Friday off and enjoy a three-day weekend.
15. Hold the Ceremony and Reception at the Same Location
This is typically more affordable because guests traveling to the reception site don’t have to stop for cocktails. The wedding party can take pictures elsewhere. This also simplifies the logistics of the day.
16. Buck the Trend of Nighttime Receptions
There is no requirement that the reception is a supper. Have a morning ceremony and a wonderful brunch reception. It is unique, delicious, and typically inexpensive.
Here Are Some Inexpensive Reception Meal Ideas:
When you compare the costs of different venues and foodservice, make sure that you compare the same things. For example, all-inclusive packages may seem more expensive at first. Still, it may be a better deal if you consider the cost of tables, plates, linens, and the food itself. Make sure to include all of those costs in your calculations.
Here are some creative, low-cost catering options that have a lower price tag:
17. Choose a Favorite Family-owned Restaurant
Inquire whether your favorite restaurants offer catering if you seek a cheaper solution. Enquire whether they can prepare your favorite meals in large numbers and provide chafing dishes if they do not cater frequently.
18. Choose a Food Truck or Two
These popular catering solutions are inexpensive and stylish. Plus, you may use paper plates.
19. Request Assistance With Meals Rather Than Presents
If you’re looking for a fun and unique wedding, consider having it in your backyard or at a local hall. You can reach out to friends who love food or your aunt, who makes amazing cakes, for ideas. Many people would be happy to help out in this way, but don’t expect everyone to be excited about it. Some people might prefer to relax and not do anything when they go to a wedding.
20. Create a Cash Bar
Provide champagne or sparkling wine for the toast, but visitors are responsible for their own drinks. It is acceptable for some guests to drink excessively at an open bar. Alternately, the bar may remain open until after supper, at which point it would become a cash bar. Make this obvious on your wedding invitations and at the bar with a sign.
21. Skip the Hard Liquor
Beer and wine are less expensive options than spirits.
22. Explore Affordable Dessert Options
Most weddings have a cake that costs more than $500. However, there are cheaper alternatives, such as cupcakes, pies, or donuts. You can put them in tiers, and no one will miss the cake. You can offer completely different desserts, such as an ice cream sundae bar or Belgian waffles.
23. Keep the Reception Short
If you have your wedding reception during the day, consider negotiating a shorter reception for a lower cost. This will help you stick to your budget and provide the venue with more time to prepare for an evening wedding.
24. Go for a Buffet Service
Buffet-style servings of food are usually less expensive than sit-down service. Buffets don’t require as many staff members, and they are less complicated for the chef and kitchen staff.
25. Increase the Buffet’s Vegetable Offerings
Meat is more expensive than vegetables. But that doesn’t mean that vegetables are not delicious. Some examples of great vegetarian dishes are guacamole, roasted vegetable quesadillas, macaroni and cheese, and eggplant rollatini.
26. Focus on Inexpensive Proteins
Some methods of serving beef are less expensive than others. The price of prime rib, salmon, and filet mignon is high. The prices for taco bars, pasta bowls with pancetta, and pulled chicken sandwiches are lower.
Explore Cheap Wedding Favor Ideas
Favors are a way of saying thank you to your guests for coming to celebrate your day. They can be something small and special, like a candy or a trinket. But be careful not to spend too much on them! If you give favors to 150 guests, it will cost $450.
Guestlist control will help you keep costs down. If you have 30 guests, you can give them a small favor for $3 or less. Here are some additional ideas for inexpensive wedding favors:
27. Caramel Popcorn in a Mason Jar
Another idea for a do-it-yourself project is to organize a get-together with your wedding party to put these jars together a few days before the wedding.
28. Gauze Bags With Seasonal Fruit
Send them home with a ripe apple or pear if you have guests over.
29. Chocolates From a Local Chocolatier
You can save money by putting your things in small boxes or bags yourself.
30. Homemade Cookies
Once more, assemble your wedding party and begin baking. You can create cookies that match the theme of your wedding, or you can simply bake your favorite cookies.
31. Personalized Candy Bars or Mints
You may construct your own party treats by arranging miniature candy bar replicas in a colorful bag and adding a personalized tag. Some firms will additionally add personalized wrappers or imprint your name on the shell of the candy.
32. Soy Candles
Soy candles are easy and affordable to make. You may place your own stickers on the candle tin’s lid.
33. Homemade Jam
This is a charming, homey design ideal for a rustic wedding. Gather your preferred berries and prepare a substantial quantity of jam. Decorate the jam jars with a lace or burlap bow and a personalized label.v
Budget-friendly Wedding Decorations That Don’t Appear Cheap
After you choose a wedding venue, the decor you choose will set the tone and mood of your wedding. You can go for a rustic, winter, refined, or unique look. Choose design ideas that complement your theme intelligently. There are always low-cost options for the exact decor accent you want. Remember that smaller venues have less space to decorate.
34. Get Used Decor From Recently-weds
Some couples sell their wedding decor after the honeymoon. They may get a good price if they are lucky.
35. Visit the Dollar Store
You can find many affordable items for your wedding ceremony and reception here. This can be a treasure trove of vases, jars, candle holders, pretty materials, faux flowers, etc. We won’t tell if you don’t.
36. Buy Decor Items in Bulk
You can save money on your wedding decorations if you buy them in bulk. You will need a DIY-savvy friend to help you out because buying in bulk can be tricky. If you can find someone getting married within the year, you can even save more money!
37. Obtain Fresh Flowers on the Wedding Day Morning
Choose gorgeous, reasonably priced flowers from the florist the morning of the wedding. Request a discount on flowers they would discard shortly. Arrange these flowers in the dollar store vases you purchased. (Wedding day tip: Give this task to a trusted friend who has an eye for floral arrangements and would be willing to perform it as a gift.)
38. Consider What’s Seasonally Available
Pinecones can be used in centerpieces. They are usually on the ground in the fall and winter. You can find them at craft stores. They are always on hand and affordable.
39. A Bicycle With a Flower Bouquet in the Basket
You can find old bikes lying around people’s garages or thrift stores. If the bike is not old, you can paint it white, off-white, or any color to match your wedding colors. Then, place an arrangement of flowers in the bike’s front basket.
40. Mismatched China
You can find pretty patterned plates at thrift stores. You can use them as chargers, table runners, or for the foodservice. Guests can take them home as a favor.
41. Substitute Greenery for Flowers for Garlands
Adding greenery, such as ivy, can make your home look more inviting and festive. A mix of different types of greenery is less expensive than flowers and just as eye-catching.
42. Ribbons or Lace Chair Decor
You can add sophistication to your low-cost wedding by adding ribbons or lace to the chairs. This will make them look nicer and more expensive. You can use simple bows or bold wraps around the back of the chair.
43. Brown Craft Paper Table Covering
If you desire a rustic wedding, paper is an excellent option. You must secure the paper in place using double-sided tape or even string! Then, at each guest’s place setting, write their name. Distribute crayons so that children can color during the reception.
44. A Photo Display
Order black and white prints of some of your favorite photographs. This could include pictures of you and your fiance, extended family members, and friends if it is a small wedding. Display them on a bare wood pallet or attached to a length of twine with wood clothespins.
45. Paper or Fabric Bunting
You can make paper flags in your wedding colors. You can also collect lace or colorful fabric napkins from thrift stores. Tie them to twine to make bunting that will go across the ceiling or hang across the reception entrances.
46. Paper Lanterns
You can buy paper lanterns in different colors and sizes. They are affordable and can make your wedding look more special.
47. Fairy Light Lanterns
You can find mason jars or glass lanterns at thrift stores. Get battery-powered fairy lights to put in the jars or lanterns. They will make your wedding look magical with their warm light, and it won’t cost a lot of money.
You can have a beautiful wedding without going over your budget, no matter your wedding budget. If you are creative and ask for help, you can find affordable ways to plan and organize your wedding. Numerous free apps can assist with this.
Learn more: How to Plan a Wedding. – Style Guides
Frequently Asked Questions About Wedding Ideas
Who Usually Pays for What in a Wedding?
The WeddingWire Newlywed Report says that parents pay for 52% of wedding expenses. This means that couples are paying 47% of the costs. The remaining 1% is paid for by other loved ones. Even though couples are chipping in, parents are still paying for most of the wedding.
What Do Wedding Guests Want?
Guests want to socialize. Weddings are a great opportunity for people to get together and catch up. But if your guests don’t know anyone, they will not have as much fun.
What Is a Quick Wedding Called?
Today, the term “elopement” is used to describe any marriage that happens quickly and without a lot of public engagement. Some couples elope because they don’t want to deal with objections from their parents or religious groups.
What Is a Micro Wedding?
A micro wedding is a smaller wedding with around 50 guests. They have the same traditions as regular weddings but on a smaller scale. We think this sounds great!
How Many Bridesmaids Should You Have?
There can be any number of bridesmaids during a wedding. Some individuals have no maids, while others may have dozens. The most frequent number of bridesmaids is three; however, any number from one to twelve is acceptable.