Updated on: Feb 23, 2024
One of the most commonly known aspects of planning a wedding deals with the event’s expenses. However, until you have to plan a wedding, you may not know just how expensive it is. If you are worried that you will not be able to afford the wedding of your dreams, don’t fret. We have some cheap wedding ideas with alternatives to make your wedding unique as possible at a low cost to help you with how to plan a wedding whether you're on a small budget of $1,000, $5,000, up to $10,000 in 4 to 6 months.
This is when you’ll have to choose what parts of the wedding are most important and will be given the most funding. To make sure that you are able to afford the wedding especially for these parts, you’ll want to save some money using budgeting ideas to spend less on other parts of your wedding. Here are 15 Cheap Wedding Ideas, an expense sheet, and a task list that’ll help you achieve that goal while you organize your wedding.
Cheap Wedding Ideas - Tips
1. Savings, Savings, Savings
If you are in a serious relationship with someone, have recently gotten engaged, or are simply planning ahead, consistently putting money away for your future is a great idea. Prior to choosing wedding planning businesses or event coordinators, begin putting some money aside. One way to do this is by putting two dollars each day in a box that will go toward your wedding expenses.
If that is too much or too little, you can adjust it to work for you. Perhaps, you can set aside the money you would have spent on a coffee or treat once a week. If you think to do this year before your wedding, you will be able to save a fairly large sum of money. Anything counts, so this tip will help you no matter what.
2. Simplify the Food
Regardless of what anyone says, just because it’s a wedding doesn’t mean you need to cater luxurious steak or shrimp entrees. Your guests will simply be thankful that you have been generous enough to provide a meal. Some cheaper options to consider catering from are food trucks, potlucks, or if you have a chef in the family, might as well let them work their magic!
Many wedding venues are beautiful but expensive. Don't let this discourage you though! There are many other affordable wedding venues for you to consider that can fit into your price range and suit your wedding such as a park, local church, chapel, beach, barn, friend’s backyard, outdoors, or anywhere else you can envision. Be sure to account for your decorations and hygiene services (bathrooms!) for your guests when choosing a destination. No matter what, there are many great places to get married on a small budget.
Another money-saving option is to hold your reception at a more expensive location in the U.S., but have the ceremony somewhere else or vice versa. That way, you will be paying less for the location because you’ll only be using it for a shorter amount of time. There are many cheap wedding venues to choose from that can still be as gorgeous and can save you hundreds of dollars.
Not many people know this, but the specific date you choose to hold your wedding can affect pricing. Although weekends are most convenient for everyone, they are also the most common wedding dates. Because of this, almost every service will be more expensive on those days. Similarly, May through September is typically considered peak wedding season. Depending on the locations of your wedding, this may vary, but it’s fairly common throughout the country.
December is also a very expensive month because of all the holiday parties. To get the cheapest pricing ever, book during months outside of this season, and the price will be significantly lower. March and April can be great wedding months because the weather is typically pleasant and they’re considered “off-season” months. This means that all event coordinators, vendors, etc. won’t have as much business. Thus, you won’t get charged as much, and they may have more time to dedicate to your special day.
Hiring DJs, live bands, and other types of entertainment can be very expensive. One way to save money in this area is to have some of your friends or family be in charge of entertainment. If you know someone with musical talent or a band, ask them to perform live. This can be a great networking opportunity for them. If you don’t have anyone willing to perform live, simply create a playlist and ask someone to “DJ” for you. With a playlist already made, you can be sure that the songs are ones you have approved, and you will not be surprised.
6. The Dress
One of the most important aspects of a wedding is the dress. Bridal gown prices usually begin at around $500. This price does not include alterations and most dresses are more expensive. To save on this aspect, you can search stores that don’t specialize in wedding dresses. White prom dresses that can be found in department stores are a great choice.
Boutiques might be a good place to check as well, but their selections may be smaller. Although sometimes out of style, consignment stores will have marked down dress prices. With some alterations, they could become the dress of your dreams, without breaking the bank.
7. Look for Discounted Decorations
You don’t have to wait until the month before your wedding to purchase decorations or anything else you may need to decorate your wedding reception party hall or venue. The second you begin wedding planning, keep an eye out for deals on the products you know you will need. That way, the second a good deal pops up, you will be able to take advantage of it.
You can also ask for discounts since there is a chance there might be some. There may be a group or large purchase discount you are unaware of. When shopping for flowers and decorations, you can also shop at smaller, local businesses. Though their prices may sometimes be more expensive, they may also give better discounts!
8. Shrink the Guest List
It's easy to want to invite everyone you know to celebrate your special day, but reducing the size of your guest list and having a small wedding will help you lower the cost. For each additional person added, it'll increase the expenses from food, favors, rental supplies, to invitations. Plus, the fewer the people, the more intimate your wedding will be!
If you already have a list of people to invite, you can try trimming down the guest list to save money on the wedding. Reduce the list by 20% and then trim it down another 20%. Another option is to start by creating a guest list from scratch. Then add your close friends, family members, and those who are of importance in your life.
Don't feel bad that you cannot invite everyone, even those who you barely know. People are understandable if you are on a tight budget and cannot afford to host a large wedding.
Instead of splurging on professional invitations, you can do some DIY at home yourself and save on postage and stationery costs. All you need is a printer, an account on Canva to design invitations, and some creativity! There are lots of free customizable templates on the platform that you can use and other designs that are under 5 dollars.
If you're feeling crafty, you can buy a simple kit to create your invitation cards that will look trendy yet be inexpensive. It could be as easy as adding a classic font and text with nothing else or sprinkling a few decorations on top.
On the morning of your wedding, choose available flowers from your local shop. See if you can find any good deals or ask for discounts, as some are close to their expiration dates and would get tossed soon. Buy cheap vases from a dollar store or purchase them using coupons at craft stores and then arrange the flowers.
For those who have a green thumb and a garden, you can attempt to assemble your own bouquets and vases of flowers. See if you have someone you trust with an eye for things to do arrangements for you.
Fresh flowers are not forever, so consider using artificial flowers as an alternative option to minimize the cost even more. You can plan this ahead of time to save lots of time and money.
11. Bridesmaid Dresses and Groomsmen Suits
Choosing outfits for bridesmaids and groomsmen can be pretty simple when you have a set theme and wedding colors. There is no need to spend extra to order custom dresses or tuxedos that they may not wear again.
For bridesmaids, allow them to pick dresses at their own expense to coordinate with the chosen dress color while still adding some personal flair at your wedding.
As for groomsmen, they do not need to own or purchase tuxedos, but they can rent or buy a suit that would coordinate with the groom. They can even wear their own suits that they have if it works without having to spend anything.
12. Wedding Rings
Exchanging wedding rings are a symbolism of love and commitment in a marriage. It's easy to get lost in the moment and get carried away when looking at rings that come with hefty price tags, but it doesn't need to cost you an arm and a leg.
See if you have a family heirloom ring to pass down the tradition for free. It is a special way to commemorate your loved ones. If not, take a look at different materials in wedding rings and opt for sterling silver, stainless steel, titanium, and other types that are durable, but less costly. Plan ahead and keep an eye out for holiday sales that would lower the price much more.
For a more personalized ring at an affordable price, consider looking at options on Etsy and choose from a great variety to customize a ring best fit for you and your partner.
If you happen to decide to cut down photography costs, see if you can hire a student photographer from an art school or in a photography program at a discount. Be sure to check out their portfolios to see if their style would be a good match for you. While the photographer can build their portfolio and gain more experience, you'll be able to get great pictures at a lower cost. It's a win-win.
Reduce the time the photographer would need to be present to take photos when people are eating, dancing, and drinking during the reception. Instead, you can have friends and family take over and take candid shots at the time.
14. Cash Back Rewards
However much you spend will come with perks in a credit card and in a cashback app. Look for a credit card that will give you the most rewards back for spending a lot of money and get cash back or earn incentives such as air miles that could be used towards your honeymoon. Find cashback apps that will give you even more money in return for shopping at a certain store through gift cards or cash.
When you've just about emptied your bank account to have a wedding, you might want to aim for a budget-friendly getaway and not go all out on your honeymoon. Although going abroad may be expensive, plan for a simple and relaxing local sightseeing trip in the United States that you've always wanted to go to while celebrating as a newlywed.
Cheap Wedding Ideas: Conclusion
Hopefully, this list was able to assist you in maximizing your wedding budget whether you're holding a small or a big wedding. Although weddings are typically expensive, they don’t have to be unreasonable. There are many ways in which you can save money while still having the day of your dreams. Be sure to check out Easy Event Planning’s blog for more event planning tips and tricks!
Written by Sarah Guidas, Lauren Hendricks, Anna Wertman and Stephanie Tse