Whether you have a small wedding budget or simply don’t want to spend a fortune on your wedding (other priorities) we have tips and advice that will ensure you have a classy elegant wedding that doesn’t break the bank!
Your friends and relatives will ask you afterwards how you managed to pull off such a lovely wedding on such a small budget. You can direct them here! 😉
Plan to fail if you fail to plan
Planning ahead and being organized is all important for any wedding but especially so for a small budget one. A budget of $5000, £3000 I believe is realistic. If your budget is smaller than this then trim costs further by making savings on numbers attending, venue and dress. This article will show you how to keep £’s or $’s down without losing anything on style.
Wedding Planners and Organizers
OR .. you can start making savings right now and print off a FREE wedding planner checklist such as that provided by Martha Stewart. This is a very comprehensive wedding planning checklist that is available as a PDF doc. It includes a wedding timeline, budget planner, guest checklist, photography planner, music planner, flower planner and reception seating planner.
If you have a spreadsheet program, you can record wedding budget costs and schedules via that and update it easily as things change – they will!
Set the Budget and then Set Budget Priorities
What does this mean? You’ll have a budget that includes dress, venue, catering, invitations, cake , photographer, cars, gifts, decorations etc. and then decide as a couple what is MOST important to you.
Usually a bride has an idea of where her main focus will be – invariably the dress and venue. If that’s the case then from your total budget set aside the amounts you feel you NEED (not want) to spend on those two areas to get the best result as per your ‘wants’. This will give you an idea of what is left re all those other things and it is on those other things that you need to focus your energies re making savings.
That’s not to say you can’t still make savings on your dress and venue, you can! But the most creativity will come from the items for which you have the least cash available.
Beautiful Wedding Dress On A Small Budget
- Pre-Loved – Worn once, specialist cleaned, can be as much as 75% less than the original purchase price. If going this route ensure you allow a small budget in case you need alterations and give yourself a LOT of time to hunt down the perfect dress. There are lots of Facebook groups and eBay lists etc. as well as Charity, Thrift stores that sell wonderful pre-loved wedding gowns.
- Online – NEW – China Dresses – I have a guide here re buying China Dresses and Other Wedding Dresses made-to-order online. You can make huge savings. From what I’ve seen so far re China Dresses on Facebook groups is that the bride while delighted, often the dress isn’t quite like the promotional photo, so make sure you read the reviews and keep your expectations realistic! Most importantly ensure your measurements as provided to them are spot on!
- Borrow – sometimes a family member or friend has a wedding dress that they are happy to loan you with no cost to you other than specialist cleaning afterwards.
- Make it Yourself – if you have the skill why not? I saw a beautiful wedding gown recently a bride crocheted! It was stunning. Many of us don’t have those skills however, but if you do … worth considering and what a wonderful sentimental keepsake that would make.
- Buy a Prom Dress Instead – many prom dresses look a lot like wedding gowns and they’re much cheaper.
Making Savings On The Bridal Party
Bridesmaids, Maids of Honor, Mother Of the Bride, Groomsmen, Bestman, Father of the bride, Flower girls … wow it’s an endless list with a LOT of expenses re outfits, shoes, grooming, hair and makeup for the ladies and gifts afterwards.
The best way to keep costs down in this regard is to keep your bridal party small to non-existent. This may however NOT be possible if you have a large family who and friends list who want to be part of the special day. So what to do?
Explain to your bridal party you’re on a budget and so plan to keep things simple but elegant. Ask them if they’d consider wearing something in the color scheme you’re planning so they can take their place in the Bridal Party but explain that you can’t purchase their outfits for them.
If you’re not dictating what they wear (outside of color theme) then this request is NOT unreasonable as they’d generally be buying something to wear to your wedding in any case. if they can’t do this, they themselves are opting out of the bridal party and so that takes care of the ‘we want to be in it’ ordeal!!
How to Save Money On Wedding Flowers
- DIY – I made my own floral centerpieces for the reception tables and was able to use the flower arrangements left behind from the previous wedding! Matching it all up wasn’t my priority so I took what was offered. If you’re going this route, have a few practice runs so you know what you’re doing and what flowers work best. You can be very creative with rustic themes, using glass jars as vases and strings of LED lights.
- Artificial Flowers – there are many silk, paper, rubber wedding flower options today that look every bit as fabulous as the real thing and of course they last longer and you don’t have to worry about timing and storage. You can also try your hand at making these yourself following a YouTube tutorial to make further savings.
How To Have A Low Budget Wedding Reception
- Have it at home – In the Garden – Obviously you can only do this if you have the space! If you’re planning a garden wedding reception, this will incur costs as you have to prepare for good and bad weather and that means shelter, possible heating and waterproofing. Unless of course you’ve also got room indoors! A garden wedding reception with a BBQ is a great way to save money and super fun and relaxed.
- Book a local community hall, pub, church room – There are many places within most communities that have room hire services for weddings and they’re not expensive especially if you agree to provide the decorations yourself.
- Go to the local Bar and Guest Pay For Themselves – To avoid the cost of hiring a room, you could make an arrangement with your local bar and food landlord to make a space for you, which they’ll be happy to do with all that lovely trade coming their way. Then the guests can pay for their own food and drinks.
- Book a mid-week, out of season wedding date – if you do this you can make massive savings on wedding venues. If the time, day of the week and the month of the year are less popular for weddings, you can sometimes save as much as 50% on the cost. Make sure you check their terms when booking and that any fee quoted is the same when the date swings by!!
Read all contracts thoroughly and DO spend money on wedding insurance if parting with big sums of cash.
How To Save Money On Wedding Photography
- Friend/Family – this is of course the cheapest solution to wedding photography and videography however be aware that this person won’t want to spend all their time (despite the fact its your day) taking photos and they may not take the photos you want them to take, so even if you do rely on a friend or family member re this, DO try to have an element of organization agreed with them before hand, re what group pics you want and where they need to be when etc. And don’t forget them in your thank you speeches and re gifts!
- Have a Facebook Page – Create a page for all your guests to upload the wedding photos they took of your day, you will definitely have some there that are wonderful, unexpected and worthy of a place in the wedding album. You can pick your favorites, save them and upload to a site like SnapFish for cheap printing!
- Book a student photographer, qualified new in business, out of season – all these will offer cheaper photographer rates than for seasoned professionals, established in business and of course will be cheaper off-peak.
How To Save Money On Wedding Catering
- Keep your guest list small
- Have a Buffet rather than a pre-set meal
- Do your own catering and rope in friends and family with culinary skills to help!
You can still have a sit down meal with a buffet menu. Be organized so people aren’t getting hungry in long queues and ensure the food doesn’t run out. Ensure you have enough seating and tables. Provide your own disposable tableware to save costs re the venue providing them. If you’re having a bar, let the guests pay for their own drinks. I’ve done this at every wedding I’ve been to, it’s fine and for me expected.
How To Keep Your Guest List Small
- Invite your closest friends and family who are local and let others know you wish they could be there but you’re having a small intimate gathering. Don’t publicize your wedding outside the group of attendees if it makes you uncomfortable saying ‘no’.
- Exclude +1’s and children that aren’t in the bridal party – harsh but this keeps costs down catering for people you don’t know and may in fact not attend.
How To Save Money On Wedding Music
- Record your favorite wedding songs and dance music and play it via your venues music device.
- Hire a local band who want the exposure and are happy to offer a reduced price.
- Recruit talented friends and family to do a stint.
- Have a karaoke!
How To Save Money On Wedding Cars
There is usually someone in the family with a nicer car than the rest. Ask if they’ll decorate it with a ribbon and transport you on the day. Offer to pay for any costs for cleaning etc.
Save Money By Being A DIY Bride
You don’t need to be crafty yourself, you can recruit helpful friends and family members to assist! A great way for enlisting your crafty friends to help with DIY wedding projects is to host a crafting party rather like a wedding shower but with a twist.
Trending Wedding Table Decorations for 2017 and 2018 weddings include mason jars or recycled jam jars which you can fill with little strings of LED lights or tea lights. You can also add pebbles and shells for a beach theme or for something simpler add water and a floating candle or plastic flower. There are lots of options. The jars themselves can be decorated with ribbon, glitter, burlap, lace etc.
These jars can be used as DIY centerpieces or can be hung from trees (outdoor weddings) or the ceiling (carefully). If you’re a fan of rustic and shabby chic themes, you can source eclectic vases from thrift stores.
On the subject of thrift stores, for a tea party vintage theme you can buy some very cheap pretty china from charity shops which you can use to make cake stands (dinner plates for this) and centerpieces using teacups filled with candy / flowers or turn the teacup into a home-made candle holder – fill with a wick and wax.
DollarTree have some great deals on materials you can use for DIY wedding centerpieces. Check out their great deals via their linked Ads.
DIY Wedding Favors
This YouTube video doesn’t have any tutorials but it does feature various DIY wedding favors for inspiration. There are though lots of great DIY favor tutorials on YouTube. Check them out as a cheap way to learn how to make them.
DIY Wedding Invitations
The advantage that DIY wedding invitations have over pre-ordered ones is that they will be very personal and unique to you. Your guests will appreciate the thought and the gesture that bit more. If you’re not very crafty choose a simple design and print out the wording. Make sure to spell check thoroughly! Bad spelling is a clear sign an amateur is at work!
Personalized Printed Invitations
Another source of cheap wedding invitations that are personalized is Zazzle. They may not appear cheap at first glance BUT Zazzle often have mega sales on, with as much as 50% off so you can save here by keeping an eye on those sales!
Take Advantage Of End Of Season Sales And Closing Down Wedding Store Sales
Wedding trends do change year on year, season on season BUT NOT THAT MUCH! So you can buy a wedding dress in an out-of season sale or closing down sale that remains trendy for when your wedding date comes around and this applies to much of the rest of the items too.
Consider wedding decoration sales (that won’t perish if stored), wedding invitation and stationery sales (SEE HERE for latest offers) and job-lots of favors and accessories on places like eBay.
That’s it for the moment Beautiful Brides-To-Be! Please do add to these wedding budget tips and advice in comments below and share your saving stories!