Skip to Content

Top 7 Budget Wedding Planning Tips

One of the first realities when planning a wedding on a budget is discovering IT’S EXPENSIVE! But can a bride- or groom-to-be still have the wedding of their dreams? Absolutely.

The biggest hurdle is understanding everything imaginable is not possible. Photos of lush celebrity weddings are certainly Pinterest worthy.

But they are not what you really want. Your unique wedding should reflect you. Here are some budget wedding planning tips to help you discover that uniqueness.

Budget wedding planning tips you need to know


Budget Wedding Planning Tips

The secrets to budget wedding planning are two-fold.

(1) Rank what’s important to you and
(2) be conscientious about what you spend. Here are seven ways you can do this.

1. Prioritize Wedding Expenses

When dreaming of the perfect wedding, there are likely two or three elements you imagine. What are they? The gown? Decor? Location? The people?

Whatever the aspects, these are where you should put your priorities.

First, take a minute and decide what, exactly, are the pieces of the wedding day of most important to you. Now, choose to make these your planning focus.

With this mindset from the start, you will be able to concentrate on the few elements that make the dream a dream. You will soon forget the other parts that don’t happen as you at first anticipated.

Be Both “Penny Wise” and “Pound Wise”

Most of us have heard the phrase “penny wise and pound foolish.” It is a description of someone who watches every little cent. Yet it is wasteful when it comes to more significant expense decisions.

You can be wise on both fronts! Saving dollars on several smaller expenditures adds up. As does making smart decisions on more substantial costs.

Here are some ways to go about doing this:

2. Pick and Choose Where You Will Hire Service Vendors

The top areas for hiring vendors should be:

(a) Aspects of your wedding most vital to you, and
(b) projects you do not have the time or available talent to do yourself.

Cut costs in areas that are outside the top priority list you made above in #1.

Also, save where you can DIY. Remember to factor in the time and stress factors when choosing what to do yourself.

Before making final decisions do a reality check on what quality you will give up. Your cousin’s videography skills or Uncle Walt’s speakers may be a bit too sub-par compared to the pros.

Expertise and experience do matter, so scrimp here with your eyes wide open.

3. Choose a Nonconventional Venue

As nontraditional weddings have become more popular, so have unconventional spaces. Couples have receptions in spaces like empty buildings, barns, or the outdoors.

Be aware of hidden costs. Remote locations may be missing electricity, bathrooms, or food preparation areas. Providing for these missing amenities can eat into your savings.

Also, think about avoiding the cost and logistics involved with two venues. Consider using the space for both the ceremony and wedding reception.

For ideas, see 76 Unexpected Wedding Reception Venues.

4. Scrutinize Guest Count

I know you’ve heard that before! There is a good reason.

Guest count determines many wedding reception costs. What you pay is determined by square footage, table rentals, number of decorations, amount of food and drink, to name a few.

There are two approaches to saving here. (a) Fewer people, or (b) cheaper food.

(a) Invite an intimate group of family and friends. You can spend more per person on food, favors, and ambiance.

(b) Invite everyone you, your partner, and all your parents want at the wedding.

The party will be a more massive event. But it also means you will have to choose less spendy options to stay within budget.

5. Choose Lower Cost Food Options

Serve a generally lower cost buffet, for example, or have only the entrees catered. Another idea is to ask each person in your family to cook their specialty for your wedding.

Some choose to skip a sit-down meal and serve drinks and hors-d’oeuvres only. I even read of one wedding that had an all-dessert reception.

Whatever your approach, be sure to note it on the invitation so your guests can plan their meals for the day.

For more ideas on keeping the food situation under control, Wedding Food Ideas on a Budget.

The Visual Details

Budget wedding planning tips six and seven are about the products and services. There are so many modern options. The days of relying on a bridal store for your products are long gone.

6. Do it Yourself (DIY)

When deciding what to DIY and what to buy, make some items yourself and buy supplies wherever it makes sense. Create your own easy centerpieces or veil, for example. Or give handcrafted, personalized gifts to the wedding party.

If you like the idea of making your own veil, watch and read my How to Make a Wedding Veil with Comb tutorial. It’s easier than you may think.

7. Buy Online

The last of the budget wedding planning tips is use the Internet. When I first wrote this post e-commerce was a new thing. So “shop online” was a more earth-shattering tip.

Now, buying online is pretty much a given. Amazon and Etsy are two go-to sites to look for supplies and gifts. Not to mention the dozens (hundreds?) of wedding dress sites. And almost every retailer has a corresponding website to buy their products.

The part that some people miss is the advantage of digital savings methods. There are ways to automatically get more savings or rebates by using the right methods.

Read Five Wedding Shopping Savings Tips for more details on saving through online shopping.

Zoe Campos

Thursday 16th of July 2020

Thank you for giving me the idea to use the internet if we were to shop on a budget for things that should be used for the wedding. In my case, it is my sister, who wants to get married in a hurry even if it is only a simple and budget wedding. It might be a good idea to help her look online for affordable wedding dresses.


Sunday 7th of May 2017

Don't write off traditional venues without looking at the big picture. I found a gorgous hotel that waived the rental fee for a food and beverage min. The non tradtional venues that I looked at once I figured in rental fees, catering, bar services, table and chair rentals, decor, and the security officers that they required me to hire I had way surpassed the food and berverage min at the traditional venue that already had the over all look that we wanted. Plus without the added stress of trying to cordinate all the outside vendors.


Monday 9th of June 2014

Booking your wedding on a weekday is significantly cheaper than weekend. One place I looked at was ALMOST half off when doing the wedding on a weekday versus a weekend. It also cuts back on the guest count because not everyone will be available during the week. Also consider just inviting closest family and a few friends to the ceremony and then you can invite more to the reception. Consider dollar store decor like in doilies, fake flowers, mirrors, glasses, colored stones etc. you can find many things there that you would at the party store. Also maybe see what thrift shops have. I always find some pretty cool things there like an old suitcase for $10.


Friday 14th of March 2014

working in catering a lovely bride had a very small budget decided to do a breakfast wedding with the photos at sunrise alternatively the food was a lot cheaper and no one touched the booze! huge savings and was a lovely country style wedding :)


Monday 10th of February 2014

If you're religious, your church/synagogue/mosque/whathaveyou should let you have your wedding there for free, maybe asking for a donation to cover utility costs, and you can use the lawn or fellowship hall for the reception. Saves time and money. Also, instead of favors, have a dessert buffet and have little baggies for people to take home a few treats - they get fed at the wedding and a favor, but you only shell out for one thing.