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How To Plan A Wedding On A Budget

How To Plan A Wedding On A Budget

May 22, 2024
How To Plan A Wedding On A Budget

Planning A Wedding On A Budget

Begin this process with an open mind and a willingness to listen to each other’s desires and expectations for the wedding day. It’s okay if you don’t always agree; that’s part of the journey. What’s important is to listen and respect each other’s views. This approach not only helps in budgeting but also strengthens your bond, ensuring that your wedding is a beautiful reflection of your shared dreams and love.

Analyzing your wedding budget is one of the most complex yet crucial tasks. This financial figure influences all other decisions—venue, guest list, meal options, and even that pricey DJ. It’s essential to create an accurate and realistic budget for your big day. Think about dividing your budget into “for you” and “for them” categories. Identify what’s essential for your happiness and what’s needed to please or impress your guests. Be honest with yourself and your partner.

Start with a guest list in hand, as this informs most of your costs. Be prepared to spend about 40% on venue, food, and beverages. The remaining amount covers fixed costs like wedding photography, videography, and entertainment, along with logistical items like transportation, labor, and stationery. If you’re working with limited funds, an attitude reset is essential. Focus on the ‘who’—you as a couple and your guests. Keep your “why” in mind during the planning process. Make sure your spending aligns with your priorities.


If you and your partner tend to struggle with budget conversations, try this approach for discussing your wedding budget. Start by individually writing down your expectations for the wedding day and how these expectations would impact costs such as the venue, dress, and guest list. Then, take a moment to share your thoughts with each other. This can help you both understand and respect each other’s priorities and make budgeting a smoother process.

1. Setting a Budget

First, sit down together and have an honest conversation about what you can realistically afford. This might feel overwhelming, but it’s crucial to ensure you don’t stretch yourselves too thin. 


    If you can’t afford it and you will spend years paying it off, it’s not worth it. Avoid starting your married life in crippling debt. Your wedding day is important, and you’ll have many more important and magical days after it, whether you have the most lavish wedding day or not. Keep that in mind. 

    2. Prioritizing Your Spending

    Deciding what’s most important varies for each couple. A good strategy is to choose three categories where you’ll allocate bigger chunks of your budget. For example, if you’re foodies, spend extra on a food bar or a fancy chef but save on decor elements like signage or a photo booth. 

      PRO TIP

      Create a spreadsheet to track your spending. Include vendor contract information, estimated and actual costs, service fees, tips, and taxes. This helps you stay organized and on budget.

      3. Shrink Your Guest List

      Inviting fewer guests is one of the simplest ways to cut down on your wedding budget. More people mean more food, beverages, rentals, and service staff, which all drive up costs.

      4. Finding Affordable Venues

      Look for county-run facilities, botanical gardens, or state/national parks. These beautiful places are often overlooked but can be budget-friendly options.

      5. Look for Built-In Décor at Your Venue

      Check out the existing features at your venue, like arches or gardens, that you can use for your ceremony or reception. Repurposing items like aisle arrangements for reception decor can also save money.

      6. Use In-Season Flowers

      Flexibility with your floral choices can significantly reduce costs. Give your florist a color scheme and overall look, but let them choose in-season flowers to stay within budget.

      7. Saving on Music and Entertainment

      DJs are generally less expensive than live bands. If you’re not set on live music, a DJ can save you several thousand dollars.

      8. Go Paperless Where Possible

      Consider low-cost or free digital invitations and RSVPs. Instead of mailing thank you cards, send video thank-yous to save on postage.

      9. Steer Clear of Saturdays

      Weekday weddings are becoming more popular because they’re often cheaper. Rates for venues are usually lower on Fridays, Sundays, and even more so Monday through Thursday. This can help you save money and naturally trim your guest list.

        PRO TIP

        You can invite everyone but fewer people will be able to come. Instead of having to make the hard cuts yourself, doing it on an off-day can help thin out your guest count. Sneaky!

        10. Venue Inclusions

        Get the most value from your venue by looking for included items like tables and chairs. Don’t be afraid to negotiate and ask about packages, promotions, discounts, and flexible payment options.

        • Do you have any packages or promotions?
        • Are there any cancellations that need to be filled?
        • Are there times of the year or days of the week with lower rates?
        • Do you offer discounts of any sort? (e.g. military discounts, AAA discounts, small business owner discounts)
        • Can I get a discount if I pay the entire fee upfront and all at once? (this is the most common one!)

        By following these guidelines, you can plan a beautiful wedding without breaking the bank. Focus on what’s truly important to you and your partner, and make decisions that align with your priorities and budget.

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