Low-Budget Wedding Ideas w/o Eloping (Dress, Ring, Venue, Food, Honeymoon, etc.)

posted 2 months ago in Logistics
Post # 3
Member
535 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: October 2017

I did a whole wedding and paid for everything ourselves. Not sure what your budget is, but here are some ways I saved;

-I booked venue close to date. I booked my Oct 2017 wedding in late March. They had the day open (Sunday) and just wanted to fill the space..Booking only 6 months out saved us alot. 

-My dress was a sample. I went dress shopping, tried on a dress I loved that required only minimal alterations. I asked to purchase the sample (it was in prestine condition) andif they could give me a discount for doing so. They did! I got 20% off. My dress (which I know is alot to some) was $800

-I bought a TON of stuff on aliexpress.com Yes it ships direct from China but the stuff is amazing!! My catherdral length veil was like butter and cost $7 with free shipping. It was complimented by everyone at bridal salon during my fittings!! My custom jewlery, hair comb, garter, led flickering tealights were all purchased from there. LOOK INTO IT!!!! 

-I hired a cheap photographer. Sure u can spend thousands on a fancy photographer who will talk you into having 3 people shooting you, your fiance, your bridal party etc, but you really dont need that. Once person is more than enough. Everyone at the wedding will be taking pictures as well

-Flowers- Dont go all crazy, we did small centerpiecs. NO ONE WILL REMEMBER WHAT THEY LOOK LIKE EXCEPT YOU!

ETSY!! I bought the files on Etsy and printed my favor bags, menus, place cards at Staples. All you do is email Staples the file and they get printed! Cost next to nothing!! 

Attached are some pics! 

I can go on forver. My best piece if advice is using Aliexpress.com, it saved me so much money!!! 

Post # 6
Member
164 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: August 2019 - Mountains

Plan in advance!! Get on lists of stores you like and try to figure out sales, coupons, promotions. Think about what you are comfortable being crafty with your DIY skills. I got my dress half off by having an idea of what I wanted and when the store listed a sale turns out my dress was one on sale and was still available in my size- saved me $700. I’m not sure where you heard about public/park venues- I found them to not be worth the hassle. While the fee to get married might be minimal (~$200) there are ‘rules’. If you want food/drink you need to use their vendors. You want chairs? Same thing. Having those items brought in can add up.

BUT the best advice I can give you to save money is to limit your guests. We’re saving so much money by only inviting 40 people. We are able to offer so much more to fewer guests because there are small private rooms at nice restaurants that don’t require much decorating, in addition, the linens, tables, silverware/glasses, etc are already there. You really don’t need to invite everyone you know. While I felt bad at first limiting my friends, I do think some of them were relieved not to be invited. They now don’t need to feel awkward if they decline or spend the time/money to go and perhaps give a gift.

Post # 7
Member
314 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: September 2020 - Summer Camp!

We’re booking our date for 9-19-20 (50-75 guests), so we’re a ways out, but here’s the plan so far…

1. I bought my wedding dress from ModCloth…it needs no alterations (I don’t expect to lose much weight so that it won’t fit), and at 20% off, came to $120! I know of people that went with Lulu’s as well. 

2. Non-traditional venue with tables, chairs, no catering restrictions, and BYOB. Our wedding venue (a summer camp) is going to cost us about 2k, and while we could have gone cheaper, we’re pumped to have the campground for the weekend! Plus we don’t have to worry about a tent, renting Porta-potties, tables/chairs, which can add up (to the point where sometimes it’s cheaper to rent a venue than use a backyard!) I’ve seen a barn for around $500 and a cool mill for $700. A restaurant reception is also a potentially cost effective option. I like the advice about booking with a short timeframe, but you can also miss out on cool venues if you don’t book far in advance. It seems like if you have a long engagement, start looking early, but if it’s a normal engagement, then maybe book closer? 

3. Since we don’t have catering/alcohol restrictions, we’re going to get a keg and either boxed wine or a bunch of wine at Costco (they have a no-return policy on alcohol, so we’re probably going to only get things we’d drink if left over, which is most things). We might also do a pitcher of an easy-to-make mixed drink like sangria. We’re probably not going to have a bartender. 

4. As for food, we’re looking either at catering BBQ from a restaurant or from a grocery store that will also do eggplant parm/ziti for our vegetarian guests. Food trucks are also a potentially cheaper option. Our cocktail hour is probably going to be grocery store platters, but we’re looking into that. The camp has a large fridge, so that’s going to help us out. 

5. Dessert? We’re deciding between a. A small single tier decorated cake with a Costco sheetcake or b. Small decorated cake with grocery store cupcakes. Tiered wedding cake doesn’t personally seem worth it to me. And later on we’re doing s’mores, which is going to be awesome (and cheap). 

6. No wedding party. It doesn’t have to be a huge expense to have one, but we decided to go against one and just have his best friend officiate (so no paying for an officiant/we’ll have someone significant marrying us). 

7. No DJ. I know, some people say you need them, but my friend didn’t have one at her wedding and it was fine. People still danced! She had her dad be the one in charge of announcements…it’s better if you have a charismatic family member take on that role, though. We’re also going to have board games/archery/canoeing/maybe lawn games, so a DJ is less essential in our case. 

8. Our decorations are probably going to be minimal, since a camp has its own beauty. But my mom reminds me 2x a day to go to the Dollar store after holidays for cheap decorations. I might also try Facebook marketplace or local wedding groups for things. We’re probably going to get fake flowers off of Aliexpress and limit the amount we buy. 

9. Coming up with a budget breakdown. Create a Google Sheet, share it with your future spouse, and try to figure out what you feel like you need/can cut out. Shop around a little to find out what’s reasonable for your area. 

10. Not stress out about making it perfect. Everyone says people just care about decent food, enough booze, and having music/fun. Remind yourself that someone spending double your budget isn’t have double the fun.

11. FH got his titanium ring on Etsy ($200), and I got my wedding set from Starsgem ($600 for both). You can get tungsten and titanium for cheap, and they’re more durable than gold (although they can’t really be resized and are difficult to remove in emergency situations). You can get either metal for under $25 on Amazon. 

Anyway, since I haven’t had my wedding yet, we’ll see how it comes out, but I feel pretty confident we make a fun weekend for everyone under 10k. 

Post # 8
Member
1235 posts
Bumble bee

moissamight :  Very true, double the cost does not equal double the fun! 

 

Prioritize guest comfort when cutting costs— enough food, places to sit, entertainment, etc. No one is going to leave a wedding early if the center pieces are too plain. However, they will leave if there’s not enough food or seating for everyone. 

Post # 9
Member
326 posts
Helper bee

chillbee29 :  

I’m getting married June 2019.

Venue: church, free

Officiant: fiance’s pastor, free 

Food: we decided on a pot luck. We’re just doing smoked barbecue (his uncle has a smoker). And then me, his parents and few ladies from church are bringing simple sides.

Cake: We found a woman who does cakes as a side hustle. We are getting a 2 tier cake to cut for $100. A friend of mine offered to help with cupcakes (she and her mom used to host weddings at their venue). We’ll be making cupcakes at the cost of ingredients.

Invitations/ save the dates: I got the Save-The-Date Cards from Amazon and fiance’s aunt offered to buy invitations but there are some on Amazon cheap. And you can good “free wedding invitation templates.”

Dress: Amazon. Another site I’d reccomend is JJHouse. Check out the Facebook page “Chinese Wedding Dresses – success stories.” Theres a lot of reviews. 

Music: we are plugging out phone into a speaker, making a playlist 

Photographer: free, his uncle is a professional photographer. But we also arent doing a huge photoshoot. I just want a dozen photos of me and husband and of the wedding party. I know the rest would end up in a box I never look at.

 

Utensils, plates: Amazon

Decorations: borrowing a lot. Will spend some at walmart. I recommend Facebook marketplace as well.

Groom suit: renting (unknown).

Flowers: not sure I’m looking at possible silk flowers online for bouquets. We’re probably decorating with minimal flowers.

 

ETA: Forgot to add under food. Initially we thought of doing a taco bar with chips and salsa / queso as appetizers. That’s a cheap option but then we had people offer to cook so we went with that. 

Post # 11
Member
4 posts
Wannabee
  • Wedding: November 2018 - Pine Paradise, Kentucky

I agree about limiting guests! We decided on a semi-destination (different state) since my husband has a huge family. Another thing is if you’re guest list is smaller you have much more flexibility in choosing a venue. I found an amazing vacation home with commercial kitchen, wedding pavilion and rooms for all our 36 guests for 5k. It was our largest expense but it was important to us to have everyone under one roof for the wedding. 

Other tips:

Outfits: I got my dress from Lulus for $120. I tried on several of their dresses and found the quality was great for the price. My jewelry was a $15 earring/necklace set and I bought flats that I’ll wear again. My husband bought a navy suit that he plans to wear again. 

Food: I made all the food beforehand, which I will say is a ton of work and may not be for everyone. My aunt volunteered to make the cake and other desserts and it was beautiful. We bought beer, wine and whiskey from Sams Club and a local liquor store to save costs.

No DJ: the venue came with a sound system, and we just plugged in our phones with a playlist. I even had a playlist for the ceremony and asked my cousin to make sure the music started/stopped on time. 

Decorations: I relied on the venue to provide a lot of decorations. I did end up making some flower vases beforehand and getting some decorations for the pavilions. Everything was bought last year on clearance and cost less than $200.

Post # 12
Member
109 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: May 2019

We are having a very small wedding at my aunts house with 40 people tops. My aunt is doing all the cooking as well as making our wedding cake.

My parents are paying for the food and decorations and bought my dress. We got my dress for $600 CAD including taxes  from Davids bridal last Feb during their bridal Christmas. The dress was originally $1200. 

My mom is doing the few alterations that need to be done(fixing snags). My mom is fixing up my sister old veil so I didn’t have to buy a new veil.

We bought my fiances green suit during black Friday sales and spent around $420 for it.

My sister is going to do my hair and makeup. I am wearing my hair down in a simple Hollywood glam  retro curl style. We will use hot rollers and my make up will he very simple. 

Our favors will be a few tea bags. I got some tea gift sets for xmas that we will be using to fill the tea bags with So it wont cost us anything.

We are doing BYOB. We are doing this for numerous reasons. We couldnt afford to supply 40 people with alcohoI  I dont even drink and think it’s silly to have to slash the guest list so people could drink for free. The majority of our guests are my family so they can deal with no alcohol.. My mom was talking about putting 2 bottles of wine on each table anyways.

We hired a hobby photographer who has done other weddings but isnt a professional so our photos will cost us $500.00.

All bridal bouquets are silk flower except my bouquet will be real flowers. We will be going to the grocery store florist for my flowers and have a $50 budget. We plan to buy  a bunch of blue flowers some babys breath and greenery and my mom will arrange it all.

Our ‘honey moon’ will be a river cruise that lasts a few hours and includes a fancy dinner. We dont have the funds for a fancy trip but wanted to do something romantic.

 

 

 

 

Post # 13
Member
1361 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: March 2019

We are having a more expensive wedding, but that is because we are inviting way too many people! We are doing some things to save money though, so I figured that could be some help!

– I second AliExpress! I got all of my bm’s their gifts there (genuine Swig champagne cups for $3!!), we ordered tablecloths, rose gold plastic ware and plates from there, and it has been awesome! It takes a while to get here, so make sure you order early! My mom got all of her jewelery there as well, and it is beautiful! I am actually looking for a veil as we speak from there! 

– Keep your flowers simple and shop around. We are just doing garland on the tables (less than half what a centerpiece would be) and we actually asked a florist out of our local farmers market. She does a fantastic job (I’ve been following her on instagram) and she was half of what everyone else was. 

– Don’t waste money on paper. Vistaprint, zazzle ordering a template from etsy and printing them  yourselves, there are so many options that are affordable for something that will end up in the trash. And honestly they are just as beautiful as paying significantly more for them. And this is for ALL paper: programs, save the dates, invites, etc. 

– The biggest money saver we have is bringing in our own food. A local BBQ restaurant is catering and even with the $200 fee to use the venue’s kitchen we are saving a ton of money on food vs. venues where we would have to use their catering company. For 300 people it is less than $7/plate. And we know the food is going to be fantastic!

 – Don’t waste your money on favors either. No one takes them and they are just a waste of money. You are providing a party already, they don’t need something to remember, just give them a good time to remember! 

– Have the guys buy suits. It is cheaper than renting a tuxedo, and Macy’s will cut you a deal if you order them all from there. We got our groomsmen’s suits for $160, and they are all pumped they can actually wear them again. They love them. 

– For the honeymoon, sign up for Travelzoo’s top 20 and then just be patient. We went to Peru two years ago for less than $1,000 by doing a top 20 deal. We are planning on greece for our honeymoon, so we are waiting to see if there is a good deal that pops up! Otherwise we have a plan to use AirBnB’s to keep our costs down. 

Post # 14
Member
821 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: May 2018 - Farm

We invited about 85 guests we had approximately 60 people attend.  Don’t feel pressured or allow others to guilt you into inviting people. Plan in advance. Research different vendors and don’t let vendors pressure you into hiring them just because you request a quote.  I would google vendors in your area check out their work and pricing if available. If the pricing isn’t available reach out for quote. Most of them will provide a quote and details of what is included in the price.

We lucked out by finding an event planning company that offered; catering, bartender, photography, DOC, cake and cleaning services. This saved us a lot of money because we found one vendor that offered a lot for us.  We only had to hire a DJ, officiant and a videographer. I found my DJ on a wedding vendor group on Facebook. I found my officiant on Thumbtack. We met him and loved him. He was very open and friendly.

I purchased the bridesmaids dresses from David’s bridal for $215.00 for 4 dresses. My wedding dress I paid $115. My bridal jewelry just wore costume jewelry from Etsy. Guest book $30 from Etsy it was a canvas that everyone signed. My husband purchased the grooms suits and vests they paid for their own shoes. The bridesmaids did their own hair and make-up. I got the bridesmaids robes that they didn’t have to wear the day of the wedding it was part of their gift.  They were $5 each from AliExpress. I went to a bath and body works semi-annual sale to get different lotions and perfumes and lip gloss to go in their gift boxes.

Décor I found lanterns a few years before the wedding at Lowes hardware for $1.99 each. I got 6 of them. I purchased birdcages from Michaels during a clearance sale for $5 each. We spray painted them the wedding colors. We DIY’d a lot of the décor for the ceremony and reception. All flowers including bouquets and boutonnieres were silk flowers I purchased a lot of silk flowers from hobby lobby and Michaels during clearance sales.

I ordered my veil from an Etsy seller for $27 not including tax.

I ordered all stationery during 50% off sales from Vista print

I used quick candles, paper lantern store, posh party supplies, webstaurant.com, AliExpress, EBay and oriental trading (purchased our engraved hour glass for the unity ceremony $32.00 including shipping).

I highly recommend oriental trading they offer a lot of wedding items that can be purchased in bulk.

I ordered linen napkins from linentablecloth.com good quality and inexpensive.

Webstaurant.com and posh party supplies – ordered tumblers for cocktail hour, durable plastic plates, wine glasses, forks and knives in bulk (good pricing) from these sites.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Post # 15
Member
1907 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: October 2018

While, we did not have a budget wedding and pretty much went all out (no regrets at all!), my first wedding was absolutely budget:

Dress and veil: I bought my Betsey Johnson dress at the mall for $150 and did no alterations. Borrowed the veil from my friend.

Hair & Makeup: While I had them professionally done, I went to a salon the morning of the wedding instead of having the HMUA travel to me. Saves A LOT.

Venue: Had it in the beautiful backyard of my friend’s Mother-In-Law, around the pool. Free.

Officiant: We actually got married at city hall the same morning and had a friend conduct the ceremony at the wedding for free

Food: Had it catered from a Turkish restaurant. Much cheaper than having a wedding caterer.

Cake: Got at a local bakery for $50 and decorated with flowers ourselves

Alcohol: Made two “signature” drinks in pitchers on my own and provided beer and wine. Bringing in your own alcohol is key.

Photography: A friend of ours who was starting out in the wedding photography business and did it for free as a wedding gift and to establish a portfolio

Flowers: Picked up at the grocery store the day before

Music: Plugged in an iPod for the ceremony and during dinner. No dancing.

Invites: By email

Rings: My engagement ring was an eternity band, which is a lot cheaper than a solitare. I think it was about $2K. My wedding ring was white gold for about $50 and his was titanium.

Guests: 30

Day after Brunch: Had it in the same house for free and picked up a few coffee cakes and other bruncy items from the bakery section of the grocery store 

Honeymoon: A 5-day cruise to the Bahamas.

 

Just to emphasize, in no way do I think that having things like big, beautiful centerpieces or a live band or nice, printed invites is a waste of money. I love all of that stuff and I think it’s well worth every penny. However, when you can’t or don’t want to spend the money, that’s perfectly OK, too. It bugs me when people dismiss everything they didn’t do as a “waste” or something “no one will care about.” I cared about the flowers, the caliber of the photography (there was no comparison between the student photographer from my first wedding and the professional one we got this time time around), the welcome bags, the centerpieces, etc. That doesn’t mean you can’t have a great wedding without a lot of that. It’s all about matching your budget to your goals and aspirations. It can be done on any budget.

 

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