How To Save Money On Your Low Budget Wedding
Planning A Low Budget Wedding- Where To Start?
If you recently got engaged chances are you are over the moon (and you should be), but you may also be very overwhelmed and stressed. And that stress is likely only amplified if you are planning a low budget wedding. Once you start looking at all the things you’re going to need and how expensive they can be, it can seem impossible to stay under budget.
This article from The Knot says that the average cost of a wedding in the U.S during 2021 was $28,000 and that cost does not include the rings, which on average was an additional $6,000. Now if you’re a couple who wants to go all out and have the perfect wedding day with everything you want, then go for it!
However when I got engaged in December of 2021, my (then) fiancé and I knew we wanted a low budget wedding to save money for other things. We also knew we were going to have a short engagement and the wedding was going to be planned quickly, and we certainly did not want to spend anywhere close to $30,000.
All in all our wedding budget was $7,500 and we ended up coming in under budget at about $6,500. I would also like to mention that my husband and I are so very fortunate to have amazing family and friends who helped us with different aspects of our wedding, and that certainly contributed to us being able to stay under budget. That being said, I worked really hard and did a ton of research to also save us money. So, in this post I will give you some tips and tricks on how you can also have a low budget wedding that will still be incredibly special and beautiful.
This post may contain affiliate links that I receive a commission from if you purchase and item through the link. This is at no expense to you. I only promote products and services that I have personally tried and truly enjoy. You can see my full disclosure here.
Map Out Your Expenses Early On
I think this is super important to any wedding, especially a low budget wedding. Take some time to sit down with your significant other as soon as possible after getting engaged, figure how much money you want to spend, and then budget that money and stick to it as closely as possible.
Use a Free Wedding Planning Tool
My husband and I used The Knot for all of our wedding planning and it was amazing and free to use. That is where we created our wedding website, found vendors, created our guest list, budget, and wedding registry. It is also where guests were able to RSVP, and The Knot’s blog answered a lot of our wedding questions, so I highly recommend using them for your planning.
Consider a Small Low Budget Wedding
Now I realize this can be a big sacrifice, and it is understandable if you want to be able to invite all the people close to you. If that is the case for you then that is okay, you will just need to make room in the budget in other areas!
However, if you aren’t super attached to the idea of a wedding with 100+ in person guests, than considering a small guest list can be a huge money saver. You will save money in so many areas such as food and drink, venue size, and wedding favors (if you choose to have them).
Our wedding had about 35 in person guests and those consisted of our closest family, friends, and vendors. Yes, we included our vendors in our guest list because we wanted to make sure we accounted for getting them food too! Some of our vendors were close friends too.
When my husband and I were wedding planning and writing out our guest list we realized that if we were to invite everyone in person, we would have to plan for 300+ people and that just wasn’t doable. Plus, my family and friends were in Montana and Michigan, while my husband and I, as well as my husbands family and friends- were all in New York. And, the wedding was being held in Montana. Ultimately, it was unrealistic to expect everyone to be able to travel such a distance in the middle of January, especially with the new Covid surge.
Utilize Virtual Weddings
So how did we manage to invite all 300+ guests to our wedding while only having 35 in person guests? Like many other couples over the past two years, we invited most of our guests to attend our wedding virtually on Zoom. We didn’t have anyone upset that they weren’t invited in person, in fact some of the guests we did invite in person opted to attend on zoom!
Hold Your Wedding In A Back Yard or Affordable Outdoor Space
If you want to have your big guest list but still want an affordable venue it is worth it to consider a back yard wedding. This article brings out some great ideas, and proves that back yard weddings can be elegant and beautiful.
If you don’t have a big yard ask around within your close friends and family. You could also check out and get in touch with some parks or other outdoor spaces you really like in your area. It is likely they would allow you to use the space!
Buy Your Wedding Dress Online or Rent Your Dress
I purchased my wedding dress from JJ’s House and they were really great to work with. I ordered my dress custom sized, and my mom and mother-in-law also ordered their dresses from JJ’s. We all loved our dresses and they fit perfectly. My dress was only $200, which I was completely fine with because it was hard for me to justify spending much more on a dress I was only going to wear once. And, in the end I really loved my dress and found it to be good quality. Here are some photos for example!
Consider Silk Flowers For Your Low Budget Wedding
Another thing I purchased online were my wedding flowers. I did this for two reasons. One, buying silk flowers was much more affordable than real flowers. Two, the flowers I wanted were not in season and I was pretty set on the look I wanted.
I purchased all my bouquets, boutonnieres, and corsage’s from Ling’s Moment. I was a little nervous about how fake flowers were going to look, but I really loved all my flowers and in total the cost came to $318 when the average U.S cost of wedding flowers is $1,500, so I definitely think it was worth it.
Buy Your Wedding Decorations Online and Get Creative
When I was searching for wedding decor I found that premade options were pretty expensive, which wasn’t super suitable for a low budget wedding. Instead I decided to buy some decoration supplies and put them together myself. I’ll include some photos of my wedding decor and the links to the items if you want to check them out!
Dark Green Cheesecloth Table Runners – This is the brand I used, however when looking I couldn’t find the exact color I purchased. They have a large variety of other colors though!
Fake Eucalyptus – I used real white roses and babies breath that we purchased from a supermarket the day before the wedding and it worked perfectly. The fake eucalyptus blended right in and looked great.
I purchased the place cards from Hobby Lobby, and the wedding favors were gifted to us from a long time family friend. We also purchased two mini hand-sanitizers from Target for each table. If you look on Pinterest and get creative you can create a really beautiful wedding space yourself and affordably!
Send Out Your Wedding Invites Virtually
I debated on this for a while. Was it tacky or acceptable? Finally I decided that because most our guests were attending virtually, and because the wedding was happening in just two months, it would be best to send out virtual invites. I also thought about wedding invitations I had received in the past and realized I didn’t keep any of them. Now maybe that is because I am not very sentimental, but it seemed like an unnecessary expense to me.
I was able to create really pretty virtual invitations for free using Canva.
If you are someone who really wants to have physical invitations, that is also understandable! The Knot has some affordable, elegant, and beautiful invitation themes you can choose from here. You can get 15% off any paper purchases with the code PAPER15 so be sure to check it out!
Skip the Wedding Favors
Listen, this may be a little controversial, and if you want to provide wedding favors then go for it! I just feel that wedding favors are often left behind and forgotten, and you’re providing food, drink, and a good time for your guests. Like I mentioned before, our wedding favors were provided to us as a gift and I really liked that they were small candies that could be enjoyed right at the venue.
Choose Affordable Food and Consider Self Catering
Another huge wedding expense is the food. I recommend considering non-traditional meal ideas for your low budget wedding, and even enlisting friends and family to help self-cater. Often times buffet style foods are going to be less expensive than a sit down meal with courses. You can also do a potluck style meal, or have more of a grazing table than a full meal. Another option is to hire a food truck. Food trucks often will have a lower cost-per-person.
My husband and I had some good friends who had experience catering help us with our food. They did an amazing job and it was much more affordable than any other options we were finding.
Ditch the DJ
With all the technology today I felt that a DJ was unnecessary. I created a Spotify playlist and put it in the order that I wanted the songs played and just let it go. Of course you can also enlist a trusted friend who you know would be good at the job and ask them to play songs from a playlist and keep the crowd entertained.
Enjoy Your Special Day
Just because you’re having a low budget wedding doesn’t mean it isn’t going to be amazing. This is your big day, and you can have the best time and know you aren’t breaking the bank.
I hope these tips helped you with your wedding planning, and thanks so much for reading!