Sure, you can have the wedding of the century and end up spending your life savings for one day (or let’s say for a couple of hours). Or you can have a wedding on a budget and still feel like you have a million dollar wedding budget.
Nowadays, pick up a wedding magazine and you’ll see gorgeous pictures of wedding dresses, table centerpieces, appetizers, main course meals, and others. You aspire to have these beautiful pieces that make up a fairy tale wedding.
Then, it hit you. You need to spend over $50,000 to get this dream wedding or wedding party. Yikes.
Think about it. You can spend $50,000 on a one-day wedding or you can spend that in the following:
- Invest the money and let it grow to millions of dollars years from now.
- Use as a down payment on a house.
- Do a ton of travels.
- Pay your student loans faster.
- Secure your emergency funds.
- Save money when you move.
For many people, spending too much on a wedding can be impractical. Do you know you can have a $50,000-like elegant wedding on a budget of $3,000?
My wife and I did it a couple of years. With the right imagination and a couple of bargaining skills, you can still have your fairy tale, elegant wedding on a budget.
Wedding On A Budget: Pre-planning stage
Your big day is coming. Are you ready for the big price tag? Or are you into a wedding on a budget of $5,000? Let’s make $3,000 or less. Let’s hop in and start working on how to cut wedding costs and how to have a cheap wedding (but an elegant one).
1. Find out what kind of wedding you want
The cost of your wedding depends on what kind of wedding you want. Do you know the average wedding cost is $34,000?
If you’re here in this post, chances are you are looking for a wedding budget that works.
For now, figure out what the overall concept or theme of your wedding. Don’t get into the details just yet.
2. Get a budget in place
It all comes down to having a wedding budget. You simply can’t have a $3K wedding budget when you don’t have a budget.
Whether you’re looking for cheap wedding venues or something else, you need a budget.
Believe it or not:
Between the ever-growing number of guests, ever-increasing wish lists, etc., it’s easy to go over the $3K budget.
Seriously, it is to do that.
Set up a budget, save money for wedding costs, and work on the details (e.g. where the money is coming from, what you can afford, and where the money is going). Remember the devil is in the details. The more detail your budget is, the better.
Here are some posts in this blog that details what you need to make a budget and make it work:
- Benefits of Budgeting: 14 Surprising, Genius Reasons To Budget
- Budget Templates: 10 Free Budget Planners To Fix Your Finances
- How To Make A Budget: 11 Comprehensive Ways To Do It Like A Pro
3. Get your priorities straight
You both need to understand what your priorities with this wedding or what the most important things are for this wedding.
When your wedding budget is tight, knowing your priorities or needs and wants will help you determine which ones to keep and which ones to scrap.
4. Get a side hustle or two
If you are still short in funds to make your budgeted wedding or if you want to just earn extra money so you won’t have to get it from your savings, there’s one thing you can do.
Get a side hustle.
There are those legit side hustle that can generate you extra money without you having to break your back or even stepping outside your home.
Here are some ideas:
- Sharing your opinions: Some people make over $600/mo using Survey Junkie, and/or Survey Club. My wife and I made $200/$300 per month on just survey sites. That’s without us leaving our house.
- Getting paid to do everything you do. Literally, you can get paid for doing things you normally do. Browsing for wedding venues? Looking at dresses online? Or something else? Swagbucks will pay you cash and gift cards for doing even the silliest things you do online. Best yet! It gives you $5 sign bonus for just signing up and additional $10 for something secret you’ll only know once you join.
- Blogging your journey: This little blog of mine makes over $20,000/mo, and I work on this for 5 hours per month. Start here for just $2.95/mo.
Wedding Ideas: If you want a wedding for $2,000 or less ….
Not everyone has $3,000 to budget for a wedding. So, before we go into the details of a $3,000 wedding-budget that feels like $40K-wedding, let’s go into a $2,000-wedding budget.
Believe it or not:
A lot of people want to learn how to plan a wedding on a budget of $1,000.
You may think that such budget can’t work for a wedding.
The truth is it could and would work. Here are less than $1,000 and $2,000 wedding budget breakdown:
The City Hall Elopement/Super Small Wedding
- Venue/Officiant: $100 slot at City Hall for you and select few guests, officiant included
- Attire: $300 dress; $0 suit (just use whatever you have in your closet)
- Flowers: $50 for one bouquet and one boutonnière
- Photographer: $0 (using honeymoonwishes)
- Delicious restaurant lunch and drinks for eight: $250
TOTAL WEDDING BUDGET: $700
Backyard Weddings on A Budget
- Venue: $0
- Invites: $0 evites (75 people attended)
- Officiant (family): $30 to be ordained (He got his two weeks before the wedding)
- Flowers and decor: $150 DIY (mostly plastic, but they looked real)
- Rentals: $250 for a few chairs, tables, and linens
- Food: $400, plus donated by family and friends (catered by a BBQ place)
- Photographer: $300
- Champagne and drinks: $400 (booz was needed, of course)
- Flowers: $50 for one bouquet and one boutonnière
- Attire: $150 dress; $0 suit (just use whatever you have in your closet)
- Music: $200
TOTAL WEDDING BUDGET: $1,930
The Las Vegas Wedding
Las Vegas is the “wedding capital of the world.” There a lot of people who get married in Las Vegas. Yes, these weddings are legal and binding.
If you want a no-hassle, just-show-up type of wedding with the feel of a high-end wedding, you’ll find that there are wedding chapels that offer top-notch wedding packages.
Here are some wedding packages from the Chapel of The Flowers:
- Intimate – $299
- Specialty – $495
- Elegant – $995
- Reception – $1,095
- Legendary – $3,100
Even for the most expensive one costs only $3,100. Can’t beat that.
Cheap Wedding Ideas: $3,000 or less wedding budget
Now it’s the fun stuff.
Let’s go straight to the ideas that can help you get that $40,000-feel wedding for so much less. You’ll find the cheap wedding ideas that people tend to overlook.
1. Location and Wedding decorations
Now, it’s time for the affordable wedding venues and wedding decorations.
That’s one for the books. According to Value Penguin, the average cost for a wedding location is $13,500.
Just the location alone costs a lot of money. Not to add the fact that decorations can be so expensive, too.
Does your family have a big backyard that you can use for your wedding instead of renting a venue? Do you have a skill like singing opera, playing musical instruments like Mozart, graphic designing, or something else you can use to barter with a restaurant in exchange for the wedding location?
Before you book that location, look around, ask questions, and/or barter. You’ll save money now or later if you find something that costs way too less.
That goes for the decorations. Maybe you can find a location that doesn’t need any more decorations because the place is already exquisite.
You can look for decoration ideas and go to the discounted stores to find something that can work.
You’ll never know what you’ll find.
You might end up finding inexpensive wedding locations to choose from.
2. Wedding dress… and all other dresses
Wedding dress is one of the most important things in a wedding.
Sure enough, it’s also one of the most expensive pieces of a wedding. But you don’t have to shell out thousands of dollars.
That’s just the wedding dress alone. If you factor in the bridesmaid and maid of honor dresses, then, you can easily blow your expenses pass that $3K.
Instead of going for the custom-made dresses (not for the bride), buy something that’s ready to wear or ask a friend if she has a dress of the same motif you can rent or borrow.
As with the bride, you can always find an off-the-rack wedding dress that’s a fraction of the cost of a custom-made dress.
Better yet, if your mom still has her wedding dress, you may consider wearing it especially if it looks good. You’ll save tons of money doing that.
Food can be expensive or is expensive especially when it’s a sit down dinner.
Expect to pay around $4,200 for 140 guests, which is $30 per plate. Yikes.
Or don’t forget to add the wedding cake or sheet cakes or the cocktail hour.
Now, you can go to great restaurants like Mission BBQ or even food trucks that can cater for the number of guests you’ll have.
For a fraction of a cost, you can still serve high-quality food for your guests.
One tip when you’re going to restaurants is don’t tell them right away that you want them to cater your wedding food. When they here ‘wedding’ they automatically think $$$$.
Ask them for the price of food catering for XXX number of people.
In addition, always request for food quotes from at least three different restaurant caterers. It’s best to see what restaurants offer and what their prices are. Don’t stick with one and be done.
4. Wedding invitations
It is easy to spend $750 on wedding invitations. That includes the following:
- Save the date
- Actual invitations
- Response cards
- Menu cards
- Thank you cards
- Place cards
If you want to save money on wedding invitations, do them yourself or better yet use VistaPrint. It’s so cheap compared to professional-created invitations.
Just because you created them doesn’t mean they won’t look good.
VistaPrint has professionally made type look of wedding invitations your guests would feel you spent thousands of money on the invitations.
5. Wedding guests
The more, the merrier. That’s certainly true for most of the parties. But when you and your future spouse have to shell out money, then, that’s a different case.
Limit the guests as much as possible.
While it may be your dream to invite hundreds of people, sometimes, an intimate wedding with just your close friends and family would be fine.
While you may hurt somebody’s feeling when you try to limit the guests and he/she isn’t included, explain why you are limiting the number of people.
You simply can’t have a $3K wedding budget when you’re inviting 300 people.
Between the food, venue, invitations, and others, you’ll likely run pass that budget mark easily when you invite a lot of people.
Let’s face it. A party won’t be a party without drinks (for most of the parties, that is).
Instead of buying all the alcoholic beverages, which would cost you hundreds of dollars, please ask your guests if they could bring a bottle or two especially if they have special preferences on drinks.
Some call it tacky or cheap, but if you really know your guests, then, you can certainly ask them. I don’t think they would mind bringing in some good bottles.
7. Photography and Music
Wedding on a budget cost: $500
You can literally blow out your budget when you include photography and music into the mix.
You can always go to a community college or university and ask the school if they know of students who study photography and/or music who can take photos and play music for your wedding.
You’ll be surprised how many students will be happy to do either or both of the photography and music for you especially when they can use your wedding as an addition to their experience.
Do you want to go to the Caribbean or Europe for your vacation? That sounds expensive, but it doesn’t always have to be.
My wife and I skipped the gifts and requested money instead. If you craft your words right, you wouldn’t look like your begging for money.
Or you can also use a website called honeymoonwishes to create your honeymoon registry.
All you need to do is register for a trip anywhere in the world and give your guest that special code. They’ll be able to login using that code and make a contribution.
The money will be deposited in your bank account in just a matter of days.
Final thoughts on Having A Wedding On A Budget:
Celebrating a wedding doesn’t always have to be expensive. You can create a wedding of your dream for a lot less with just a few tricks on your sleeves and being creative with what’s on your surrounding.
A simple wedding but an elegant and memorable can be achieved even under a tight wedding budget. Remember that!
Are you planning on getting wed this season? Are you looking for cheap wedding ideas? Do you think you’ll be able to make your dream wedding for a lot less? Now you can have an affordable wedding you’ve always wanted. ,.
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