Wedding Planning on a Budget

Congratulations, you’re engaged!  Now let the planning begin.  For anyone and everyone who has ever been engaged this is the fun part, right? Yes and no.  Wedding planning can be very stressful, especially when on a budget.  Below are my tips and tricks on beautiful budget-friendly wedding ideas!


Top 8 Wedding Planning on a Budget Tips

1. Decide on your wedding size!

This is probably one of the hardest discussions between newly engaged couples and families.  The size of your wedding greatly affects the cost.  Big weddings cost big money while smaller weddings allow for a little more splurging during the detail planning process.

In the end, regardless of size, make sure you and your future spouse agree on this part of the wedding planning and include or rather leave out whoever YOU choose because, in the end, it is YOUR day.

2. Decide what is most important to you (& your future spouse)!

The best advice I have for any couple planning a wedding on a budget is to sit down with your future spouse and decide what is most important to you and what is most important to him/her.  For some couples, this important detail may be the same thing (total win) and for others, it may be two totally different things.  For example, my husband wanted a band and I wanted a winery venue.

Kevin and I found having this conversation at the beginning of wedding planning to be beneficial.  After discussing what was important to us we decided the other details would have to fit into our specific budget or be removed entirely.

3. Make a budget!

This is a very important tip!  Before booking any vendor, come up with a price list you are willing to pay for their services.  My vendor budget is listed in the table below.  The first price listed is the price we were willing to pay.   The second price was what we actually paid.

CategoryBudgeted PricePrice Paid
Flowers$1300$800
Dress$1500$1820
Hair/ Makeup$200$190
Seating Chart$150$60
Photography/Videography$3000$2842
Music/Band$3000$6300
Centerpieces/ Details$1000$595
Accessories$200
$80
Photobooth$700$500
Cake$200$0
Alcohol $3000$2600

As seen in the table above some vendors cost more than originally planned while others came in under budget.  Our band cost significantly more than we originally budgeted but since it was important to Kevin we splurged.  My dress also cost more than I originally intended but since I already knew we were saving money in other areas I allowed myself to spend the extra $320.

4. Talk to multiple vendors!

Vendors want your business no matter how much you are willing to pay!  Before booking a vendor, make sure to contact several different vendors in the area.  Take photography packages, for example, some include a “free” engagement session, extra photographers, a photo album, 10 vs 8 hours of shooting time, rights to your own photos, etc.  If you only contact one photographer you will never know the differences between the packages being offered and the pricing of those packages.  This also helps you decide what you want out of a photographer.  For example, Kevin and I wanted an engagement session included in our package as well as rights to our photos so we could print them whenever we pleased.

Even something as basic as a photobooth comes with different packages based on the hours the photobooth, the number of pictures printed, whether the monogram on the photo is customizable, etc.

By contacting different vendors not only do you become more educated on package offers but you can even position them against one another.  For example, if you are speaking with one vendor but their pricing is just too high tell them.  Let them know “I would love to hire you but ‘Company A’ only costs this much for the same/similar services”.  Speaking from experience, some vendors will work with you on price to get your business!

5. DIY, at times.

This tip is completely based on how much time you have and how crafty you are.  While planning our wedding I was quoted $250 for the seating chart.  My vision included two old doors with guests names painted on them under their corresponding table number.  However, I was not willing to pay $250 nor was it in the budget.  That being said, I found a font I liked and I typed up each table setting myself and printed them at the local Staples for $10.

DIY Wedding Ideas. DIY Seating Chart. Planning a wedding on a budget.
Seating Chart $60

DIY Wedding Ideas. DIY Seating Chart. Planning a wedding on a budget.
Table assignments printed on paper at Staples.

 

Are ceremony programs something you are thinking about?  Ceremony programs can run about $180, how about saving the $180 and creating a “ceremony program window” or “ceremony program blackboard.”  For our wedding, I created a “ceremony program window” for $54 dollars thus saving $126.  Although each guest did not receive a program, the “ceremony program window” was placed at the top of the aisle so everyone could see it.

DIY Wedding Ideas. DIY wedding program. Planning a wedding on a budget.
Ceremony Program Window $54

 

Ceremony programs and seating charts are not the only areas where money can be saved by creating DIY projects.  You can make your own signature drink sign, dinner menus, centerpieces, welcome signs, etc the ideas are truly endless.

DIY Wedding Ideas. DIY ceremony sign. Planning a wedding on a budget.
Pick a Seat Sign $10

 

6. Borrow rather than buy.

After all your wedding is one day.  If you’re not going to use something again don’t buy it!  Unless you are tossing your bouquet and garter, is there really a reason to buy a garter at all?  Save money where you can!  Another example of this is a veil.  They are beautiful and make for gorgeous ceremony pictures but like most of us, you will wear it for maybe two hours and then never wear it again.  My advice talk to an aunt, cousin, or best friend who had a veil you liked and ask to borrow it.  Not only will it cross your something borrowed or something old off your list but it will save you roughly $250-300.

Wedding Planning. Planning a wedding on a budget.
This veil was perfect and borrowed from my aunt!

 

Something old. Wedding Veil. Planning a wedding on a budget.
Something borrowed or something old, whichever you prefer.

 

7. Repurpose things around your house.

After deciding on your theme take a look around, is there anything sitting around your house that fits your theme.  Decorating your venue can be very expensive so I suggest using pieces you already have to decorate if possible.  For example, we used mason jars as vases, windows/mirrors as programs and signs, doors as our seating chart, and pieces of wood as table numbers.  This really helped us cut costs in the end and looked beautiful in our venue.

DIY Wedding Ideas. DIY Centerpieces. Planning a wedding on a budget.
Mason jars used as vases and from my grandmother who passed. It was awesome to have a piece of her there.

 

DIY Wedding Ideas. DIY table signs. Planning a wedding on a budget.
Dessert Table Sign $20

 

8. Reuse ceremony flowers at your reception.

Huge tip, reuse any and all ceremony flowers at your reception!  If you are purchasing flowers to go on an altar or over an arbor why not reuse them after the ceremony is over.  Kevin and I saved over $200 by reusing our ceremony arbor spray and placing it on the mantle over the fireplace at our reception.  I also reused my bouquet as the flowers for our sweetheart table rather than purchasing an additional centerpiece.

Notice the arbor spray used in two different locations in the pictures below.

DIY Wedding Ideas. Planning a wedding on a budget.
Arbor spray was reused at the reception.

DIY Wedding Ideas. Planning a wedding on a budget.
Arbor spray reused over the mantle and my flowers used as our centerpiece. 

 

Feel free to leave a comment if you found this article helpful or if you want to share how you saved money during your wedding planning process!   If you have any questions or want to ask me how I came up with the ideas please leave a comment below!

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Taylor Mathers

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