Have your Dream Wedding on a Budget

It’s that time of year when people are preparing for weddings. Weddings can be absolutely beautiful, and you want the day to be as perfect as you dreamed it to be when you were a little girl. 🙂 But you don’t need to go into debt for years to pay for your wedding.  If you are wondering how to afford a wedding I’ve got some ideas for you.

inexpensive wedding ideas

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I got married 14 years ago. I used my tips from a waitressing job to save up and pay for my wedding. My husband contributed with his job, which at the time was minimum wage.

We were young – I was 20 and he was 22 and we didn’t have established careers to fund our wedding. We managed to keep our wedding under $3000 dollars.

Now, before you say “but that was 14 years ago. What about inflation?” You may not be able to keep your wedding under $3000. But what if you kept it under $5000? The same concepts apply.

You can use these inexpensive wedding ideas to keep your costs down. However, I imagine there are people out there who are still managing to do a wedding for under $3000 if they really want to.

We live in a time where weddings aren’t what they used to be. Sure, there’s food and vows and family and friends, but there isn’t a one size fits all anymore. I’ve been to a lot of weddings and many people add their own personal flair.

There isn’t a set of proper rules you are expected to go by anymore. This can make it easier to save money because you don’t have the pressure of doing what everyone else is doing at their wedding.

So, how can you cut costs?




Pretty much in all areas of saving money in your life, whether it be with school expenses, in the kitchen, or at your wedding, you need to prepare and plan.  When you don’t have a well thought out plan you are liable to spend money you don’t have. That’s why you need a wedding budget  to keep track of things.  Check this one out.  It’s so affordable, and gives you all the tools you need to plan a wedding on a budget.

You want to save where you can so I highly recommend downloading two money-saving apps for your wedding purchases.  The first one is Ibotta, which you can use to save money in stores, and the second is Ebates (now under the name Rakuten) to save money when you shop online for all your wedding needs.  Every little bit helps!

Did you know you can register on Amazon for your wedding?  Amazon wedding registries are great because people love the option of being able to order their gift for you and have it shipped straight to you if for some reason they can’t make it to the wedding or wedding shower!

before I get into some key tips on how to save for your wedding, I wanted to talk about taking steps to make sure you have limited stress and enjoy your day.  You’ve waited your whole life for this day – you want it to be amazing!  But sometimes we get stressed and miss the moments.

Take the time leading up to your wedding, especially the couple of weeks before to take care of yourself so that you can enjoy the day.  Get enough rest, make time for exercise, and eat well.

I found sleeping difficult up until my wedding day.  Diffusing some essential oils as you fall asleep each night can really help with that.  Lavender essential oil is a great choice for that.  You can also rub them on your feet each night before you go to sleep to help you rest.

You want to be healthy and well rested for the big day.  Make sure you take time for yourself.  You deserve it!


Get Married on a Family’s Property. If you are lucky enough to have a family member live on some land in the country or on a farm, see if you can get married there. Not only is it cheaper (or maybe even free!) but outdoor weddings can be absolutely beautiful.

I do recommend renting a tent just in case it rains, but I have been to weddings where there were no tents involved. Thankfully they had sun. 🙂 I imagine they had a backup plan to rent a tent if the forecast said otherwise.

Get married during off-season or on any day other than Saturday. Saturdays and late Spring to early Fall are the busiest times for weddings. Prices tend to be higher during this time.

We got married in December and were able to score some great deals since it is not a popular time for weddings. Consider getting married on Friday instead of Saturday for a cheaper rate on services.

Keep it small. Small and intimate weddings can be a low-stress, laid-back option.

Grow your own bouquet. This will depend on how long your engagement is and for what time of year, but if it works, grow your own flowers for your bouquet and your bridesmaids bouquet. Some simple zinnias or sunflowers can make a gorgeous wedding bouquet.

You can also use these for centerpieces. Don’t be afraid to have only a few flowers as well. Less can be more and I’ve seen people use just 2 or 3 flowers in their wedding bouquet and it looked just as elegant as others who have a huge and full bouquet.

Shop for a cheaper dress. These days some of the white prom dresses I see girls wearing could pass for a wedding dress! You can also find cheaper ones online. Whatever you do, shop around for awhile.

When I shopped for my wedding dress I walked into a bridal shop and told them my budget for it was 600 dollars. The ladies at this particular shop let out a bit of a laugh and declared that they didn’t have anything there for under 1000 dollars.

I started looking anyways, and buried deep in a corner was a gorgeous dress for $360 dollars in the exact style I wanted.

If I wasn’t already married and planning my wedding now as opposed to 15 years ago, I’d buy this gorgeous dress that is available online for under 200 dollars!  Gone are the days you need to pay thousands of dollars for a wedding dress.


Skip the veil. Lots of women go without the veil now anyways. You can put flowers in your hair, or nothing at all. Either way can be beautiful.

Make your own decorations. You can find just about any kind of DIY on Pinterest these days. Round up some girlfriends and make some gorgeous pallet signs together. Or grab some burlap and twinkling white lights that you bought after Christmas on sale of course and decorate your venue with that.

Some homemade chalkboards are a great way to decorate as well. You can also use holiday decorations for a cheaper option if you decide to get married around a day like Christmas or Valentine’s Day.

Think outside the box for the reception. You don’t have to serve chicken or steak. Have a laid back BBQ with hamburgers and hot dogs (the kids who are guests will THANK YOU! ) Or what about some gourmet pizza?

Try doing most of the food prep yourself and enlisting some people to help serve the food the day of. You can also do a cocktail style reception instead of a whole meal.

Skip the alcohol. I know, I know, some people will gasp at this idea. BUT an open bar is insanely expensive. We didn’t have any alcohol at our wedding and I promise you everyone survived. If people were upset by it, I never heard a word about it, and no one stopped talking to me over it.

Think creatively for reception entertainment. If you have friends who just enjoy performing and don’t get the chance, see if they would be willing to play some music at your reception. Or, hire someone who does it on the side.

My husband sometimes plays piano for wedding receptions but because it is just something extra that he does he rarely sets a price, allowing the person getting married to choose what they pay him.

Use cheaper options for hair and makeup. If you live near a cosmetology or hair dresser school you can often get your makeup or hair done for a cheaper price. You can also do these things yourself to save money.

Choose an alternative to a tuxedo. Tuxedo rentals are expensive! A simple suit can work. Or if you are getting married on a beach or outdoors than a more casual outfit can work too.

Wedding favors and invitations. Both of these can easily be made yourself. For invitations, print them up on your computer, and for wedding favors, you can make something like preserves, candles, potted succulents, or bars of soap with cute wedding labels.

Keep Bridesmaids gifts simple and inexpensive.  Okay, so you don’t want to completely cheap out on gifts for your wedding party, but you don’t need to go all out either.  A simple, gorgeous smelling candle can be a sweet gesture without breaking the bank.  While you are at it, maybe keep the wedding party on the smaller side.  It’ll keep things affordable.

Also, did you know that you can create a wedding registry on Amazon?  I think this is a great idea as most people can easily order your gift online no matter where they are, and there are a wide range of products for all different types of budgets.  Check out how to start your own Amazon gift registry.

You can have a beautiful wedding on  a budget with these money saving ideas for your big day. Remember that as important as the wedding is, it is just one day of your entire life. It is the marriage that is the most important thing.

Enjoy the day, but don’t spend the next 5 years trying to pay it off! You will sleep much better at night as you start your new life together with your husband if you don’t have a huge debt load of wedding expenses hanging over your head.

1 thought on “Have your Dream Wedding on a Budget”

  1. So many great tips!! My wedding is next week actually and was originally supposed to be a backyard wedding! Unfortunately, it’s forecasting rain that day, so we’re seeking alternatives for a venue right now. I think if we were to bring twinkle lights and greenery into my childhood home it would work perfectly for a ceremony. My mom even just had her floors resurfaced, so they’re party-ready! Wish me luck as I attempt to pull off my dream budget wedding haha!

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