18 ways to Plan a Wedding on a Budget!
1. Avoid excessive guest lists.
Although it’s tempting to invite everyone you know, that isn’t always the best idea. With each extra person, you’re adding additional costs while also making your wedding less intimate.
To a degree, this was a trap we fell into with our own wedding – our guest list grew and grew because we felt obligated to invite them.
To save as much as you can, try inviting fewer people and making the event more intimate. Start by whittling your list down to those you socialise with on a regular bases. Then see if you’re happy with it, if not this is only when you should add family or friends that you don’t see as much to the list.
2. Ask for wedding help over wedding gifts.
Some people are lucky that several of their friends and family had musical talents, creative artist or gifted in the crafting sections, so this could be a great option to explore with your friends.
Do you have anyone that would be able to provide musical accompaniment for your ceremony, Craft for your table and venue decorations etc?
Asking family and friends to offer help or services that align with their talents in lieu of a gift is a great way to keep your wedding on a budget, of course if your friends and family do those things for a business, you can’t expect to get it for free but maybe a reduced rate maybe offered, if you don’t ask you will never know… We at Petrie’s Photography do offer mates rates for close friends and family only, maybe your friends and family business people would do as well.
3. Hold the ceremony at home, or outdoors.
Hiring out a building or function room for your ceremony and reception can be very costly. Instead, consider using your own home (or the home of a parent) for your ceremony, or perhaps a public park with a beautiful view.
In each case, you can also have your reception outdoors, creating a picturesque, memorable ceremony while eliminating the cost of renting a venue.
If you do the outdoor option, it’s best to have a back-up plan in case of poor weather; you don’t want to get married in a downpour that leaves all your friends and family drenched. That might mean renting a sturdy tent or marquee if rain is forecast, or a few industrial fans if it’s an extremely hot day — or simply stuffing everyone inside the house to wait out a storm.
4. Do the catering yourself, or hire a family-owned restaurant.
If you handle your own food preparation and catering with a lot of help from your family and friends, this drastically can reduced the food costs for the ceremony.
If this isn’t your forte, look around your local community for a family-owned restaurant and ask the owners directly to cater your wedding. Family-owned restaurants are always the first place to check – they will more likely to go the extra mile to make your wedding special and are generally more understanding of your particular budget needs.
5. Go minimal with the flowers.
Instead of spending bucket loads of money on flowers that will wither and die shortly after the reception, keep it simple but elegant — for example, a single rose for each bridesmaid and a very small bouquet for the bride. Do you know anyone with a rose bush? If you do, you can actually make your own bouquets the day before the ceremony by cutting the roses yourself and trimming away the thorns. (very important to cut the thorns off, don’t want any pricks at your wedding or sore fingers etc)
Another cheap wedding idea is to go with fake flowers instead. It’s likely that no one will even notice, and you could save a bundle by making the arrangements yourself well ahead of time and they can be placed in your home afterwards as they wont wither and die. This may also be a great option for hayfever sufferers! Win WIn situation here!
6. Skip the groomsmen and bridesmaid gifts.
While it’s considered tradition to give gifts to your groomsmen and bridesmaids in some circles, it isn’t always needed. Instead of buying gifts they may not even want or enjoy, consider writing them a special note to say “thanks” instead. If your friends and family know that you’re trying to have a low budget wedding, they will understand.
7. Make your own invitations.
With a quality home printer and some time, you can make very classy invitations on your own. My wife and I picked up a simple blank invitation kit on sale at The Works and made our own invitations to our wedding. No photo or anything – just a very classic font and simple text. It looked stylish and didn’t cost us much at all.
Sites like VistaPrint.com also offer cheap wedding invitations you can order from the comfort of your home. Their options aren’t too fancy, but they’ll certainly do the trick. You can even hire Invite/stationery company to do it for you if this is not an area you feel comfortable doing yourselves but will be more costly.
8. Display ‘vendor cards’ in exchange for reduced rates.
If you’re hiring people to provide services for your reception (musicians, a DJ, florists, caterers, photographers, etc.), offer to advertise for them in exchange for reduced rates.
At the reception, put a small card by each person’s place setting that lists the businesses responsible for each service at the wedding, along with their contact information. Since this tends to be very effective advertising, many businesses maybe happy to provide services at reduced rates in exchange for this opportunity.
9. Contact the local university.
If you’d like live musical accompaniment for the ceremony (and perhaps for the reception), one place to look for lower-cost musicians is your local college or university’s music department.
Contact them and ask if there are any students who are studying a particular instrument or vocal work and see if they’re available to provide music for a wedding. It can help them develop their resume and save you on this typically pricey part of your wedding, but I would also recommend listening to what they can do in person not just a recording just to make sure you are getting quality.
This goes for photographers as well — if there’s an art school or photography program at your local college, see if there are any talented students or recent grads who would be willing to photograph your wedding at a discount for the portfolio-building experience and exposure they’d receive. However, Student photographers may not be insured, have professional grade equipment or backup gear if something should fail on the day. So if you consider this avenue, please check what they have, and view their work to make an informed decision on if this option is right for you or if you just invest on the one thing that will bring back those memories with quality and trustworthiness. Feel free to contact us!
10. Price shop for decorations – and consider buying used.
Paper Warehouse and Hobby Craft all have sales throughout the year. If you know what you’re after ahead of time, you can simply wait until it goes on sale and “pounce” when the time is right.
Meanwhile, you can also consider buying used centerpieces and decorations from Facebook wedding groups. Recent brides and grooms often sell their decorations on sites like Facebook, Gumtree or Ebay, this can save you a bundle of cash and effort.
11. If you’re getting married in your own church, ask the ladies’ auxiliary for help.
Most churches have a women’s organization that is very happy to help with wedding preparation in exchange for a small donation. Get them involved if you ca, they can take a lot of worry off your shoulders for a relatively low price.
At our wedding, the “church ladies” were a great help with church decoration and other helpful things on the day of the ceremony.
12. Buy dresses off the rack – and on sale.
If you want to save on bridesmaid dresses, try to avoid ordering custom dresses altogether. Instead, head to a few stores with dresses on sale and see if you can all find something “off the rack.” You may need a seamstress to alter them a little but a lot cheaper than custom dresses altogether.
This works best if your colors are chosen ahead of time and if the store you’re shopping at carries plenty of sizes. To minimize spats within your wedding party, you can also shop ahead of time and only have them try on dresses you already approve of.
Again you can look to previous brides who maybe selling their dresses, be mindful that some maybe worse for wear and needs dry cleaning which can be costly, so way up the costs against a new dress before going for this options.
Another cheap wedding idea: Instead of buying new dresses, have every bridesmaid wear a particular color dress they already own.
13. Rent tuxedos as a group, or simply wear matching suits.
Unless you have a specific reason for owning a tuxedo (and not many people do), you should rent one. It’s often best to rent the tuxedos as a group through the same business, as you’ll often get a group discount.
If you don’t want to go the tuxedo route, you can also have all of your groomsmen wear a black suit from home or other matching outfit.
14. Choose affordable wedding rings.
Wedding bands are traditionally an important part of the marriage ceremony, symbolic of your commitment to each other. That doesn’t mean they have to cost you the earth.
A typical 14-karat wedding band can cost upwards of £1,000, and some wedding websites state that couples tend to spend about 3% of their overall wedding cost on the rings (plus thousands more on an engagement ring). If you’re trying to pull off your wedding on a budget, this is an area where you can trim costs pretty easily.
Unlike the wedding itself, which is over all too quickly, you’ll be wearing your rings every day for the rest of your lives, so it’s important you like the way it looks and feels. But again, that doesn’t mean it has to cost £1,000 or more. Titanium, sterling silver, and other materials are less expensive, durable, and can be personalized for even deeper meaning.
15. Plan a simple honeymoon, not an ostentatious one.
A huge, over-the-top honeymoon might sound fun, but it’s far, far cheaper (and often more enjoyable) to stay closer to home.
Instead of planning a big, expensive trip, focus on what matters to you both: Unwinding after those hectic stressful weeks leading up to your wedding, and savoring some time alone with your new spouse. An 18-hour flight across the world with multiple connections isn’t going to help in that regard.
You could even just jump in to the car and spend a week or two seeing all of the local sights you’ve never had time to see until now. Whatever you do, just enjoy this time together!
16. Involve your closest friends and family in the preparations.
As you’re brainstorming cheap wedding ideas, you should get your closest friends and family involved with the details. Quite often, they’ll have good ideas that can save you money and effort.
For example, they might know a vendor that would offer you a deal, or have something you could borrow for your special day. Good friends and family are always there to help, and they’ll be especially happy to contribute to such a joyful occasion — so you might as well take advantage of their generosity.
17. Plan, plan, plan.
When you’re trying to have a wedding on a budget, it’s important to plan ahead. List everything you can think of and research each for ideas on a price, ask friends and family for any recommendations and visit wedding fayres to meet actual suppliers in person.
The earlier you get started – and the more things you think about early on – the less “last-minute stress” you’ll have, and the more time you’ll have to find sales and discounts, research other good ideas and pay for the services you choose to book.
18. Don’t stress.
Something will probably go wrong at the last minute – a little detail of some sort won’t work out. Don’t worry about it. Just assume something little is going to go wrong and avoid the urge to throw money at the problem.
Most likely, no one will even notice the little issue, and quite often someone in your wedding party (or someone helping out) will come up with a pretty good solution to fix things.
Good luck (and congratulations)!