The fact that your DJ and photographer are free really do make this possible.
Renting a restaurant may be cheaper than booking a venue and having the stress of potluck. Somtimes if you spend a certain amount of money on food and alcohol you can have the rental of the place for free. Or, you can just see how much if would be p/p if they “catered” at their restaurant, and decide from there if it works out to be cheaper. Also, having the food prepared and served all in one space would really help on stress because you don’t have to coordinate between caterer and venue location.. keeping it simpler for you on your wedding day.
Other ways to save money on low budget: Don’t deal with flowers. Try to do non-floral decor, and pick places that don’t need a lot of work to begin with. Have bridesmaids and yourself carry single stems, or just go to the store and get a few different things and tie them together the day before. Huge money-saver.
If no one really drinks in your family/circle of friends, cut out alcohol. If you want it, try to find a catering company that sells pre-mixed mixed drinks in bulk. Way cheaper.
Do a grocery store cake. Some can be about a hundred dollars. Or, if you don’t care about a traditional cake, ask your mom to help you bake a few different ones instead of doing potluck (IE go with catering or a restaurant to free up her time to do this instead). Then decorate them simply yourself.. or do them all in white (to go with your colors) and just ice them slightly differently. For example, have one plain iced, one with little white dots around the edges, one with “messy” icing. Or, add some purple ribbons around the base. There are tons of examples online of DIY cakes and decorations.
Get simple rings for you and future hubs. No diamonds.
Don’t do Save the Dates. All the people YOU really want at your wedding already know when it is! So save that money. They are gonna just throw them away eventually. Every.little.bit.counts.
Do postcard RSVPs to save money on the extra envelopes. Or, if everyone is pretty tech savvy or would use a phone (or your guest list is small), do online (on your website or by email) and phone-in RSVPs. You could set up a Google number and voicemail to receive the calls. Just make sure the record each one as you get it!
Unless you end up feeling really stressed, don’t hire a planner. Just put on your plate what you can handle and keep things simple. Put that money somewhere else, like for catered food (really, a huge savings in stress and will allow your family to enjoy the wedding more I bet).
Don’t get caught up in the “extras” like fancy getaway cars, for example. Just ask some buddies to decorate the car to make it more “wedding getaway” like. That’s cuter anyway than a limo!