Congrats on your engagement! While you’re giddy with excitement from being newly engaged, you’re probably also stressing over the cost of planning your dream wedding. It’s no secret that weddings can be crazy expensive. But as you’re planning to say “I Do” to your future spouse, you don’t want to also say “I Do” to an unreasonable amount of wedding debt. If you’re not careful, the most romantic day of your life can easily become one of the most expensive days of your life. Finding the right dress, venue, and photographer are just a few of the many wedding expenses to worry about. But, don’t stress yourself out too much, planning a wedding on a budget is completely doable!
Once you have a budget in mind, you can begin deciding how much you can spend on each expense. If your budget is on the smaller side, you can still create the wedding of your dreams by cutting costs and planning carefully. Read on for everything you need to know about planning a budget-friendly wedding.
Choose your wedding venue wisely
A good chunk of your wedding budget usually goes to your wedding venue. On average, couples spend at least 40% of their budget on their venue. However, finding the right place to have your wedding can do wonders for your budget. Backyards, hotels, Airbnbs, local and national parks, beaches, theaters, churches, libraries, and museums are all options for low-cost wedding venues.
Though you may be skeptical about going the cheaper route, inexpensive wedding venues can be just as beautiful and memorable as the pricier ones. For instance, if you and your partner love the great outdoors, you can acquire a wedding permit at the Grand Canyon National Park for $240. If you prefer to keep your wedding indoors, you can rent an affordable yet luxurious Airbnb for your special day. Many Airbnbs across the globe could make great wedding venues, just bear in mind that Airbnb currently allows only 16 guests for gatherings, so it’s only a good venue if you have a short guest list.
When it comes to picking a wedding venue, there are many affordable options to choose from. Talking to your partner about the theme, size, and location of your wedding will help you narrow down your choices and your cost.
Limit your guest list
If you haven’t always dreamed of having a big wedding, a small wedding is a great way to keep wedding expenses low. Small and intimate weddings cost less than big celebrations because you can reserve a smaller venue and spend less money on food and drinks. Venue and catering costs tend to make up a large portion of your wedding expenses, so if you can keep them low by limiting your guest list, you’re guaranteed to save money.
Generally, a small wedding is considered to have 50 guests or less. If you’re able to crunch the numbers and keep your guest list small, it will be easier to celebrate your big day without breaking the bank. And even if you can’t invite all of your family and friends to your wedding, you can always throw a larger party or get together later to continue the celebration.
Timing is everything
Weddings that take place from May through October tend to be the most expensive. While there’s a lot to love about summer and fall weddings, venues and vendor prices are much cheaper during January, March, April, and November. If your heart isn’t absolutely set on having a fall or summer wedding, you can save money by having an off-season wedding. It’s also typically cheaper to say your “I Do’s” on a weekday versus a weekend. Opting for a Thursday night wedding can save you up to 17% on your wedding venue (Essence, 2020).
Getting married during a holiday season such as Christmas, New Year’s and Valentine’s Day can also up the cost of expenses for venues, travel, and lodging. So, when it comes to planning a wedding on a budget, timing is everything. Carefully selecting your wedding date can save you money on venues, catering, photographers, and more, so be sure to select a date that speaks to your heart and your budget.
Say yes to a cheaper dress
For some people, buying a memorable and extravagant wedding dress holds a lot of sentimental value, and there’s nothing wrong with that! But, if you’re looking to save money on wedding expenses, being open-minded about where you get your dress could save you hundreds of dollars.
If you don’t have a problem with wearing a preowned wedding dress, there are plenty of places you can get one at a good price. Websites such as Preowned Wedding Dresses sell designer wedding dresses for a portion of their original cost. But, if you don’t feel comfortable purchasing a dress online, you can also consider buying a secondhand dress from a local thrift store or browsing Facebook Marketplace to see what may be available near you.
If you’re not set on the sentimental aspect of buying a dress you can keep, you can choose to rent a wedding dress from a dress rental company. Depending on the style and designer of your dress, you can rent dresses for as little as $50 to as much as $600 (Brides, 2021) Renting a wedding dress gives you the ability to afford the beautiful dress of your dreams without having to dish out a lot of cash and make space for it in your closet.
DIY your decorations
Wedding decorations can cost anywhere from $2000 to a whopping $10,000. Between flowers, lighting, centerpieces, photobooth backdrops, and place cards, your wedding decorations can create a major expense. To save a significant amount of money, break out the arts and crafts and let your creative side shine. Pinterest has many easy and affordable ideas for making wedding decorations, and craft stores such as Michaels and Hobby Lobby are great places to gather supplies. For some DIY projects, you may even be able to pick up supplies at your local Dollar Tree. If time and creativity are on your side, you can arrange your bouquets, centerpieces, party favors, and place cards. The great thing about DIY decorations is that it gives it a personal touch that you can’t quite get with premade wedding decor. But be sure to not get too ahead of yourself with DIY projects, if you overdo it, you may end up spending excess money on projects you don’t have the time or ability to complete.
Prenups don’t have to cost a fortune
If you and your honey are considering a prenuptial agreement, you may be concerned about the associated cost- and you’d be right! Prenups can get expensive, and many couples choose to forego their right to get a prenup because they just can’t stomach the cost, time associated, or the fact that hiring an attorney feels intimidating.
That’s where HelloPrenup comes in. Our platform was created with you cost budget savvy, efficiency focused couples in mind. HelloPrenup takes about an hour and a half (on average) to complete, and costs $599 per couple – a fraction of what traditional methods would cost. Click here to begin your prenup today.
Remember what’s important to you
It’s sometimes easy to get wrapped up in someone else’s fantasy of what an ideal wedding should look like. However, you shouldn’t allow anyone except you and your partner to decide how your special day should go. While receiving opinions from others is great, at the end of the day, only you and your partner know how you want to celebrate your big day. If photography is important to you, invest extra money into a good photographer. If a lavish cake isn’t your style, choose a simple cake instead. Make decisions based on how the two of you want your wedding to look and feel.
And remember, your wedding is just a celebration of your future with your partner. The life that comes after your wedding is when your future truly begins.
Julia Rodgers is HelloPrenup’s CEO and Co-Founder. She is a Massachusetts family law attorney and true believer in the value of prenuptial agreements. HelloPrenup was created with the goal of automating the prenup process, making it more collaborative, time efficient and cost effective. Julia believes that a healthy marriage is one in which couples can openly communicate about finances and life goals. You can read more about us here Questions? Reach out to Julia directly at [email protected].