60+ Tips to Plan a Wedding on a Budget16 min read
If you’re in the thick of wedding planning, it’s likely that you’re looking for ways to plan your wedding ceremony and reception on a budget. If you need ideas to cut costs– you’re in the right place! The Budget Savvy Bride loves helping couples save money on a wedding with the absolute best wedding budget tips!
We believe that you don’t have to spend a fortune to have a fabulous wedding– heck, we can prove it! Just check out our Real Weddings Gallery for examples of budget weddings of couples who spent way less than the national average cost of a wedding.
Viewing our real wedding budget breakdowns will help you see that it is totally possible to host a beautiful, meaningful wedding ceremony and reception on whatever budget you’ve got. Plus, you’ll likely pick up some great wedding budget tips from the couples we’ve featured!
50+ Tips to Help You Save You Money on Your Big Day and Plan a Wedding on a Budget
We’ve rounded up all of our very best wedding budget tips to save you money on your big day, which you can find below.
Before you get started, we highly recommend picking up a copy of The Budget-Savvy Wedding Planner & Organizer to get yourself prepared for planning. Then dive on into these savvy wedding tips!
Just click on a post to read a thorough explanation and examples for each tip to cut wedding costs! We hope you find these helpful! Without further ado, check out these wedding budget tips:
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1. Create a budget and STICK TO IT!
Setting your budget is the very important first step in ensuring you actually stick to it! But where do you start? Read this post to learn more about how to set your wedding budget and get some tactics for sticking to it!
2. Cut the guest list.
One of the biggest ways to cut costs is to reduce the size of your guest list. Having a small wedding can save you on every item of your wedding. Learn how having a small guest list can save you tons of money on your big day!
3. Choose an off-peak wedding date.
Did you know your wedding date can actually affect the cost of your celebration? From choosing an off-peak month to a mid-week day, learn how to choose a date that saves you money in this post.
4. Use fresh flowers sparingly.
Fresh florals are absolutely stunning, but they tend to come at a steep cost. There are so many ways to make your wedding look beautiful without an abundance of pricey blooms. Check out some beautiful examples of non-floral decor on a budget!
5. Do DIY projects to save money.
If you’re looking for a way to save money on your wedding, consider tackling some do-it-yourself projects! Make your own decor, bake your own wedding cake, put together a DIY photo booth complete with props, or create personal wedding details yourself for less than buying new!
6. Find a venue that will let you BYOB.
One huge expense that affects your wedding reception budget is the booze. Alcohol is a large expense for many weddings, so having control over the cost per bottle is key to keeping that expense in check. Seek out venues that allow you to purchase and supply your own alcohol so you have control over the cost.
7. Choose a simple cake design.
Big, elaborate, or ornate cake designs come at a premium cost because of the time and artistry required to create them. Choosing a simple and chic cake design can save you hundreds on your wedding cake!
8. Choose a naturally beautiful location.
Opting for a wedding venue that doesn’t require a ton of decoration will save you on rentals and decorative elements. Outdoor locations with beautiful views allow nature’s beauty to do the work for you. As a bonus, many outdoor public spaces don’t have large rental fees, so you could potentially find a cheap wedding venue for a low-budget ceremony or reception. You could exchange your vows in a national park — just make sure you get the proper permit, if necessary.
9. Consider a local restaurant instead of a caterer.
Traditional caterers often come with all sorts of additional fees. Consider choosing a local restaurant for a more casual and affordable food option for your big day. Who doesn’t love barbecue or a taco bar?
10. Do what feels right for YOU.
It’s so important to remain focused on the priorities of you and your partner, rather than letting obligations or other opinions impact your decisions. Do what actually feels right to you and have the kind of wedding you want, not just what other people expect.
11. Establish your priorities.
Be intentional about setting priorities for your wedding day with your partner. Your wedding priorities should reflect your own personal and shared life goals and values, so the day can serve as a representation of the two of you!
12. Recruit talented friends to help.
Explore your network of family and friends and call in some wedding favors. Whether it’s having a friend design your wedding invitations or an aunt bake your wedding cupcakes, utilize the resources you have in your network to save money. Using people in your circle in lieu of hiring professional vendors can save you money on your wedding!
13. Borrow what you can.
One way to get some great wedding decor for less is to borrow items from family and friends. Like bringing a pair of velvet chairs from your parent’s home for wedding portraits or borrowing vases for your candy buffet. Your “something borrowed” can even be jewelry!
14. Find affordable decor at thrift stores.
Decorations are another area that impacts your wedding ceremony and reception budget. Want affordable wedding decor? Go hunting for decorative items at your local Goodwill or thrift stores in your area to build your collection. It’s especially great for centerpiece vases, linens, old books, or other accents to make your decor shine.
15. Upcycle items to use as wedding decor.
Upcycling is a great way to create wedding decor on the cheap! You’ll be amazed at what a coat of spray paint can do to glass jars or bottles. Raid your own recycling bin for items that can be transformed from trash to treasure!
16. Choose in-season flowers.
Flowers can be a huge sticker shock for many couples and can take up a large portion of the decoration budget for your wedding ceremony and reception. Many flowers are more readily available during certain times of the year, and the seasonality can affect your spending. Check out this post where we share which flowers are in season in different months of the year so you can choose budget-friendly blooms!
17. Consider buying a pre-owned wedding dress.
Have your eye on a designer gown but can’t fit it in your budget? Consider purchasing a pre-owned wedding gown from a reputable reseller. You can easily save 50% or more on a designer gown by buying from a former bride!
18. Be your own DJ.
Entertainment is another pricey line item in the wedding reception budget if you’re hiring a professional. Running your own reception playlist (or getting help from an outgoing friend or family member) is a doable project to take on without the help of a professional. Check out this post on how to be your own DJ and save yourself hundreds!
19. Consider having a brunch wedding.
Who doesn’t love brunch? Not only will you likely save money on your venue rental for a daytime celebration, but your food costs will likely be less as well. We can’t think of anything better than a beautiful brunch celebration with mimosas!
20. Skip the open bar, and offer signature cocktails instead.
If you’re worried about bar costs busting your budget, consider offering a few signature cocktails instead of a full open bar. Do cocktail hour the savvy way by choosing a favorite drink of you and your partner to serve your guests. Alcohol costs can easily get out of control, so this is a great way to offer your guests libations without going overboard.
21. Try the wedding cake switcheroo.
Consider renting or crafting a display cake but serve your guests slices of a simple sheet cake to save money. Sheet cake will taste just as delicious but won’t need as much work to decorate, therefore saving you money!
22. Skip the favors or make something edible.
If you’re looking for ways to cut costs, consider skipping personalized favors. Tchotchkes and knickknacks are often a waste of money and end up in the trash. If anything, consider making something simple and edible to avoid a large cost.
23. Skip the pricey limo rental.
Renting a limousine to transport the bridal party or to deliver you and your partner home at the end of the wedding day is an unnecessary expense. Have a family member or friend drive you, or consider taking an Uber or Lyft!
24. Serve only wine and beer to cut bar costs.
If you’re set on serving alcohol but don’t have the budget for a full bar, wine and beer is more than fine. Your guests will be glad to have options to drink, so don’t stress if you’re not able to afford pricey liquor and spirits.
25. Sign up for a credit card to earn rewards points.
If you’re able to be responsible with paying off the balance each month, signing up for a rewards credit card could be incredibly beneficial. You could put your wedding expenses on your card and earn points to put towards your honeymoon! The deposits for your wedding venue and reception catering costs, in particular, take up a large portion of the budget and could yield sizeable rewards. Earn a new card bonus or two and honeymoon for practically free!
26. Shop wedding dress sample sales.
One way to score a wedding dress for less is to shop the sample sales at your local bridal salons. You can get a gently worn designer gown for up to half off by purchasing a bridal shop’s sample gown.
27. Rent wedding attire and decor instead of buying new.
If you hate the thought of purchasing a wedding dress that you’ll only wear once, consider renting your wedding attire! Check out this post with resources for rental attire for brides, bridesmaids, guests, and more!
28. Do your research and explore all the options.
When shopping for literally anything, it’s so important to do your research and shop around. Gather all the relevant info, options, and quotes and you’ll be much more likely to find the best value. Also, be sure to check for wedding deals and discounts on *everything* you buy for your big day.
29. Choose items that you can resell or reuse.
When choosing items for your wedding, consider if you can resell, reuse, or repurpose each item after the wedding day. From decor and accents to shoes and accessories, consider the use beyond the wedding day to be cost-conscious.
30. Use inexpensive filler flowers like baby’s breath.
Certain types of flowers are less expensive than others, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t beautiful! Opting for affordable filler flowers like baby’s breath and greenery can create a truly gorgeous effect for less.
31. Choose a non-traditional venue to save money.
If you want to find an affordable wedding venue, think outside the box when considering your options. Is there a special place that is meaningful to you? A public park, a college library, or the zoo you went to on your first date? Don’t be afraid to explore the less traditional options.
32. Choose a dual-purpose venue.
Find a wedding venue that can accommodate both your ceremony and reception. Choosing a dual-purpose venue will save you on transportation between spots, as well as decorations in two different locations.
33. Hold your wedding at home.
Have a big backyard? Does someone in your family have some open land? Consider hosting an at-home wedding. Even with bringing in items like a tent, tables, chairs, etc you could still come out spending less by having a backyard wedding. Just be sure to crunch all the numbers!
34. Consider having a destination wedding.
One way that you could cut costs is by hosting a very intimate destination wedding. Fewer of your guests will be likely to attend if you plan an international wedding, and you can basically have an extended honeymoon. Win-win!
35. Remember to factor in the cost of rentals.
Your whole wedding budget, no matter where you’re hosting your event, will need to include ceremony and reception seating, tables, and more. When considering all-inclusive venues vs raw spaces, you’ll want to add up every line item to be able to accurately compare apples to apples. Be sure to get thorough quotes from several companies to make the best choice.
36. Consider a day of the week other than Saturday.
Saturdays are the most popular days for weddings, so you can save big by choosing a mid-week wedding date. Even a Friday or Sunday could yield big savings, so don’t overlook those other dates if you need to cut costs.
37. Think outside the box for wedding catering.
Feeding your guests will take up a hefty chunk of your wedding reception budget, so finding affordable food is key. What better way to create a memorable wedding experience than with a unique meal? Think outside the box for your catering– who doesn’t love a food truck, taco bar, pig roast, or shrimp boil? Not only will it be delicious but your guests will never forget it!
38. Use non-floral items as decor!
Fresh flowers arranged by professional florists can be expensive, so explore options for decor that don’t include flowers. From vases to candles to books to fruit, there are so many options to consider that can still make a beautiful impact on your wedding decor.
39. Buy wholesale flowers and DIY your floral arrangements.
If your heart is set on displaying fresh blooms in your centerpieces and other decor, consider ordering wholesale flowers and DIYing your arrangements. Check out this post with tons of resources for DIY flowers.
40. Skip the pricey champagne!
A champagne toast is common at weddings but don’t fret if you can’t afford to purchase champagne. Just skip the pricey bubbly– you can offer affordable champagne alternatives or your guests can raise a glass for wedding toasts with whatever they are drinking!
41. Close the bar an hour early.
If your celebration is happening at a venue where they control the bar, ask to close the bar an hour early to put a cap on your spending. Maybe you could offer coffee or tea service for the last hour of the reception instead of booze. This choice could give you decent savings on your wedding budget!
42. DIY your wedding invites!
One great and easy way to cut down on costs is to DIY your wedding invitations. Paper is super inexpensive and you can easily print your own invitations at home or at an affordable online printer. Check out this post for our tips!
43. Choose flat printing to save money on your paper items.
If you’re opting to order wedding invitations from a stationery company, one way to keep costs down is to choose flat or digital printing. It’s much more affordable than letterpress, thermography, or offset printing methods.
44. Find a photographer with a la carte options.
Finding a photographer that offers a la carte options for their services is a great way to save money. Instead of spending a ton on a package full of items or shoots you don’t need or want, just hire a photographer for a certain amount of coverage.
45. Choose a grocery store wedding cake.
Another large wedding reception cost to budget for is a cake for your reception. One affordable source for wedding cakes is none other than your neighborhood grocery store. They often have full-service bakeries and can create simple tiered cakes that are easily decorated with a few fresh blooms!
46. Book your wedding photographer for fewer hours.
If you’re concerned about the cost of your photography package, ask your photographer if you can book them for a fewer number of hours. Trust us, you won’t care about photos of the shenanigans on the dance floor anyway!
47. Go for buttercream over fancy fondant.
One tip for saving money on a cake is to choose buttercream frosting over fondant. Not only is it less expensive, but it’s also tastier! Fondant cakes are often ornate and beautiful but come at an added cost, so go buttercream or go home.
48. Opt for a dessert buffet instead of a traditional wedding cake.
Instead of purchasing a big fancy wedding cake, consider offering a cute dessert buffet of sweets, pastries, pies, cupcakes, etc. You can easily assemble something with store-bought goodies on the cheap!
49. Save your receipts and stay organized.
Want to stay on budget? Keep track of your expenses. We suggest keeping all your receipts and recording purchases in a dedicated wedding spreadsheet. Get more tips for staying organized and on budget, including using wedding budget planners and more.
50. Ask yourself, is this really important?
If you’re having trouble making decisions on purchases for the wedding, there are a few questions you should ask yourself to help make those choices. Check out this post if you’re feeling confused about what to do.
51. Utilize a Wedding Website
Make the most of your wedding website! Many platforms have incredible features that you can use to eliminate extra printed goods from your wedding invitations. Nix the printed RSVP cards and have your guests submit their responses online, and share important details with your guests!
52. Opt for a Small Wedding Party
The number of people in your wedding party can easily add to your expenses. Think about it: there are bridesmaids’ dresses, hair, and makeup, as well as gifts– having fewer attendants can help reduce your costs.
53. Swap Fresh Flowers for Faux
Fresh flowers can easily bust your budget, so swap out the real thing for high0quality silk wedding arrangements. You can rent bridesmaids’ bouquets, bridal bouquets, corsages, boutonnieres, centerpieces, and more for less than half the cost!
54. Use Decorations that Pull Double Duty
Make the most of what you have, when it comes to your decor or your wedding budget! Utilize decor items that can be moved and reused from your ceremony to reception. A prime example: your wedding party bouquets! They can be repurposed at your wedding reception as centerpieces to make your budget pull double-duty.
55. Feel Free to Buck Traditions
Don’t ignore traditions completely, but try your best to include only the ones that are most meaningful to you. You can also create your own! If you’re interested in learning more about where popular wedding traditions came from, check out our podcast, The Bouquet Toss!
56. Buy Discounted Gift Cards to Save on Wedding Purchases
There are websites where you can find and purchase gift cards from people who don’t want or intend to use them– and at a discounted price! Check out sites like Raise or Gift Card Mall to buy discounted gift cards to use on things for your wedding for instant savings!
57. Have a long engagement
Choosing to plan your wedding far in advance comes with many perks. Throughout the wedding planning process, you’ll have time to save additional funds to pay for your wedding. You’ll also be able to collect things you need along the way. And you’ll likely get the first pick of available vendors and venues if you plan ahead!
58. Opt for DIY videography
If you can’ afford to hire a professional, you can still get a lovely video to remember your wedding day yourself! Set up cameras during your ceremony, have a video booth for guests to leave you messages, etc. Hiring a professional to document your wedding ceremony and reception would add a huge chunk to your budget.
59. Buy a Suit over Renting a Tux
If you ask us, buying can sometimes be savvier than renting! The groom and groomsmen can get a beautiful and affordable wedding suit for the same price as many companies charge to rent. Suit up the men in your wedding for less and they’ll have a stylish suit they can wear again and again for years to come.
60. Consider a Staged Wedding Exit
If you’re looking for a way to cut down on your wedding costs, one option is to consider a staged wedding exit. This involves sending your photographer home early and only paying for the hours of their services that you actually need. Get those perfect shots you want of you and your partner heading off into the sunset, walking through an aisle of your guests with sparklers, or riding off in a classic car. You know they’ll make the perfect closing page of your wedding album!
61. Book a Vacation Rental Wedding Venue
If you are planning a DIY wedding, you could consider using an Airbnb as a wedding venue. Not only are Airbnbs often more intimate and personal than traditional venues, but they can also be a lot more affordable. Be sure to book well in advance as popular Airbnbs can get booked up quickly (especially during peak wedding season). With a little planning, an Airbnb can make for a truly unique and memorable wedding venue.
62. Watch Out for Hidden Fees and Extra Costs
Many couples forget to budget for certain items that come as a surprise and put them over budget. Anything from corkage fees to cake cutting fees, transportation, tips, and more. Then there are those little extra costs you don’t think about such as ribbons for your favors or postage for your wedding invitation RSVP cards. These extras can all add up into quite a hefty extra sum if you’re not careful, so make yourself aware and budget accordingly.
63. Shop affordable sites for wedding stuff
If you’re looking to save on everything you need for your wedding day, check out affordable suppliers and websites to buy your wedding items. From Amazon to Etsy, to our Used Wedding Item Marketplace– there are so many options to find affordable wedding items online.
More wedding budget tips and money-saving wedding ideas
Remember, all you truly need to get married is you, your partner, a marriage license, and usually an officiant. The rest is all just extra! Of course, you could easily plan a city hall wedding and skip all the extra logistics and planning. But if you want to have a celebration that includes your loved ones, these tips are sure to help you cut costs.
The amount you spend isn’t what makes a wedding beautiful, it’s the meaning and intention you put into the celebration.
If you consider yourself to be a bride on a budget, you’re likely looking for ways to save money on your wedding. Be sure to bookmark this page to refer back to when you feel stumped or stressed about wedding spending! We want you to be able to tie the knot without tying yourself up in debt.
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