November 23, 2015

How to have a dream wedding on a budget

budget weddingSo how did I manage to get a gorgeous, fancy, dream wedding for only $10k when the average cost of a wedding/reception in the United States is almost THREE TIMES that amount? Lots (and lots and lots) of planning and thrift shopping and hot glue gunning! But other budget wedding brides need not worry about spending the same amount of time and effort in order to save the same amount of money. If you’ve read my Faking a Fancy wedding dessert table post and other wedding posts you already know half of the story. The rest of my budget wedding tips and advice are below!
How to have a dream wedding on a budget
  • Pick three top priorities for a great wedding
  • When in doubt -RENT IT!
  • Know when to DIY versus buy
  • Pick your top three priorities for a great wedding.

Pinterest is an amazing tool when researching wedding decor, dresses, themes…pretty much everything, BUT (and as you can see this is a big butt, like “Oh my God Becky..” size) BUT, you can get completely carried away with all of the great ideas, and trying to implement too many of the ideas into your wedding can leave even the most organized bride frazzled, overwhelmed, and completely broke. Never fear ladies! I have a foolproof plan that helps you avoid the “tear-stained, panicked Pinterest bride” syndrome.

First, download a wedding “to-do” checklist (there are ton on Pinterest and elsewhere online) and out of the main categories pick your TOP THREE. (Yes only three, you will thank me later…) If you decide what matters most is your dress, music, and food- use the majority of your funds on making those items spectacular, then to save money elsewhere, look for an interesting venue where you don’t need much decor, download and print the invites yourself – get creative!

budget wedding
I purchased my invite and RSVP templates from Stella Makula, a small stationary shop on Etsy. I then took them to the local printer in town and chose an affordable linen paper for printing. Because I included theRSVPs in the order and bought envelopes from them, they gave me a package deal for less than $100.
budget wedding
Not only did they turn out beautiful, they looked almost exactly like the invitations Lauren Conrad used for her wedding. (I die!!) And I am pretty sure Miss Conrad spent more than $100 on her invites, even if she sent out the same number…
More budget wedding ideas!

Focus on what’s important: Let’s say you want a Great Gatsby themed wedding with a non-traditional wedding dress, and your focus is on glamorous decor and creating an elegant vibe. My advice would be to focus your funds on renting a fantastic chandelier and bedazzled decor, then rent your wedding dress and have your wedding later in the evening. If a wedding is after 7pm, it is perfectly acceptable to have just cocktails and appetizers at your reception, versus a more expensive sit-down dinner. Morning weddings make for cheaper receptions also, but if you are like me, a super-freaking cranky a$$ NOT a morning person, then pushing back the wedding time makes more sense (and cents!).

When in doubt- RENT IT!: Rent your wedding dress? Why not? The odds of you having a daughter that fits into your dress and someday loves the same style has been proven to be one in a million incredibly low…try Rent the Runway for beautiful designer wedding dresses for a fraction of the cost. And don’t stop there! Renting decor and having someone come and arrange it for you is the perfect solution if you cannot afford to go out and buy a bunch of decor for one day, and/or do not have the decorating skills needed for putting it all together. Although renting decor can seem expensive, it usually works out to cost less money than buying everything, and you don’t end up with 15 decorated mason jars and a bunch of other peach and blue or specifically decorated decor that you will never use again. I have seen certain sites, like Tradesy or Craigslist, where brides sell their used wedding decor in pieces or packages but even that seems like a lot to deal with than just having some rental company come pick it up after and take it all away. Because I love doing crafts and had a specific look in mind I made all of my own decor, and while I saved a lot of money or buying everything already made, I was not aware (at the time) that I could rent almost everything I made. It would have saved me so much time to worry about other things- it would have saved me from hours of DIY “this isn’t turning out right” frustration as well as a few hot glue gun burns!

Know when to DIY: If you are a crafter, or know a few people who can be bribed would like to help who are, feel free to make anything that would be cheaper than buying OR renting. Or if you are in an area with few event decor rental companies, DIY is the way to go over purchasing for sure. I have several posts on how I DIY’d some “extra” elements for my wedding and saved a ton of money. Below are a few examples of items I DIY’d and kept costs down:

budget wedding
I made my own shoe clips for my “bridal shoes” so I could unclip them afterward and get more wear from those shoes! I wear them out on girl’s nights all the time now!

budget wedding

There was a fire pit at my garden wedding so I made these super cute s’more sticks to match my “vintage romance” wedding theme. I simply ordered cheap wooden roasting sticks off Amazon, rolled some felt and lace around the blunt end, and added a little wooden heart with twine into the felt. I already had some alphabet stamps and brown stamping ink to monogram the hearts with the initial of my new last name.

budget wedding

Sometimes a DIY project is simple but takes a lot of creativity and patience. After months of checking thrift stores, I still could not find enough pink doilies for my reception table centerpieces, so I simply dyed some white doilies with food coloring tinted water. Problem solved!

Use the talent within your circle: Everyone knows someone who knows someone who is a photographer, even an amateur one. Don’t be afraid to ask around and use any “friends and family” discounts you can finagle! Our wedding photographer normally charges almost $1600 for a full day of his services at a wedding, but because we have known him for a few years through a mutual friend, we were able to secure his amazing services for a fraction of that cost. (A critical feat as photography was in my top 3 list and one of the most expensive parts of a wedding!) Another friend of ours offered the services of their daughter, a talented make-up artist, as a wedding present- so I didn’t have to worry about my own shaking hands drawing on crooked eyeliner before my big day. Don’t be afraid to ask around your circle of friends and even acquaintances for referrals. Do you know someone who once dated a florist? Pray they were a good “breaker-upper” and give them a call! You will be amazed how many friends and family members are willing to donate their amazing skills and talents in order to make someone’s wedding dreams come true…

budget wedding
budget wedding

Because I used all of the tips and tricks above I managed to have the wedding of my dreams for less than a third of the cost of the national average in the U.S! And I did not have to leave out party favors or serve only chips and beer! As you can see from the pictures, my wedding had all of the beauty and magic that any dream wedding should have- only my new husband and I will not be paying for it for the next five years like most parents couples!

budget wedding




Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...


  1. I love these ideas!
    Especially the shoes!

Speak Your Mind