Planning a Wedding on a Budget: Our Guide
We know that planning a wedding on a budget can be stressful; it can seem impossible to tie the knot without breaking the bank. But we at Rebel Bride know that it is possible! Below is a step-by-step guide to planning a wedding on a budget, from guest lists to scheduling to DIY projects. Keep in mind, none of these are rules – your day is your day, and if you want to splurge on a dress and keep everything else on the cheap, you do you, boo! These are merely suggestions based on our experience to help you keep that price tag as low as possible, which means you can afford the things that are most important to you.
1. Budget your guest list.
While you’re budgeting your wedding, give yourself a “budget” for the guest list. For this, we recommend starting by listing everyone you have to invite – closest family members, closest friends, and don’t forget to budget in any vendors that you’ll be hiring (photographer, videographer, day-of planner, etc). After this, go ahead and list everyone else you want to invite. Once you have your full list, go through and eliminate 5-10 guests at a time until you’ve hit your budgeted number. Just keep reminding yourself that this is your day, and you want those pictures to be full of people you love and remember, not your third cousin’s ex-girlfriend, or your co-worker whose name you just can’t remember.
2. Pick a budget-friendly wedding date & time.
With some exceptions (namely, rough summer states like Florida), the main wedding season runs from about late spring to early fall. When it comes to planning a wedding on a budget, if you’re looking for cheaper rates, look for cheaper dates! Look at the months of January, March, April, and November (December & February pick up a bit due to the holidays & Valentine’s Day).
In addition, one way to save money and whittle down your guest list is to have your wedding on a weekday, such as Thursday or Monday. Since most weddings are held on weekends, most venues and vendors will offer you a lower rate for these less-popular days. While it’s unlikely that all of your hardworking adult friends will be able to make it, if your guest list is limited to the most important people in your life, they will most likely be able to take the one day off and make it into a long weekend.
For a bonus discount, if you’re really determined to save, ditch the dinner and have a brunch or lunch wedding instead! Catering a brunch is much cheaper than catering a dinner, and these matinee weddings are much less in demand, leading to a lower price. For the ultimate bargain, try a Monday brunch wedding in January!
3. Budget in some DIY projects.
With the popularity of Pinterest and Instagram, more and more brides and grooms are embracing the idea of a DIY wedding, crafting everything from table numbers to seating assignments to candy buffets. If you’re planning a wedding on a budget, making some of the supplies yourself is a no-brainer! To see some of our favorite ideas for DIY wedding projects, we recommend checking out our Pinterest boards. You can find all sorts of supplies for these at Hobby Lobby or Michael’s.
Be careful not to take on too much work; it’s easy to start a million projects and scramble to finish them as the wedding date approaches. Putting together a handmade s’mores kit as a favor sounds easy, until you realize that it’s 120 s’mores kits. Make sure you have a schedule and plan made for finishing each project, so that you’re not taking on too much work for your schedule or scrambling to finish at the last second. It’s your wedding, it shouldn’t be stressful!
4. Forget the wedding gifts, ask for help!
While wedding gifts are great, they are definitely on the downtrend. At most weddings now all you’ll see is a box full of cards! Rather than asking for gifts or cards, ask around for some help with the wedding. Maybe you have an uncle who enjoys woodworking and can create some cool centerpieces, or a good friend who photographs on the side and could snap some pics. Get creative and don’t be afraid to ask – loved ones love to help out on and before the day of, and they may even be flattered you asked! And be sure to mention how grateful you are – they really are doing you a huge favor, even if they just offer a discount, and are giving you a fantastic gift.
5. Check out alternative wedding venues.
While it’s difficult to find a free public ceremony space that’s indoors, there are plenty of them in the great outdoors! If you’re okay with some open air as you walk down the aisle, check out the area to see if there’s any parks, beaches, lakes, or friends’ backyards that could serve for your ceremony venue.
Reception spaces are harder to find for cheap, unless you happen to have any friends with a mansion estate. But the more local and personal you can get, the more likely you are to negotiate a deal. Check out local restaurants that are family-owned, and see if you can cut a deal that includes a venue space and catering.
6. Buy or rent a budget-friendly wedding dress.
We know that it’s tempting to go to a wedding dress salon and do the whole “Say yes to the dress”, champagne and corsets routine, but if you’re planning a wedding on a budget, it’s hard to justify spending $1,000+ on a dress you’ll wear once. Take a look around for local “off the rack” dresses, doing a search online for stores that include the words “warehouse” or “outlet”.
Alternatively, take a look at renting wedding dresses. Websites such as Rent the Runway ship across the country, and another local Google search can turn up more options that you can try on in-store.
7. Remember what’s important!
The most useful tool when planning a wedding on a budget is to constantly remind yourself what’s important – you’re getting married to someone you love, and you don’t want the best day of your life to end with a bill that makes you want to cry. Only happy tears!
We hope that this list was helpful to you, and that you are feeling like your budget-friendly wedding is a little more possible.