Low-budget but BEAUTIFUL! How to Plan a Low Budget Wedding. Wondering what an average wedding cost is and how you can pull off a wedding slightly lower than that average? Looking for ways to work around your wedding budget to get more savings? In this guide, we are sharing tips on how to plan an affordable wedding. Helping you manage your wedding cost and not max out those credit cards!
- Setting Priorities and Expectations
- Managing your budget
- “Off-season” is the way to go
- Go Paperless
- Food Options
- Photographer & Videographer
- Flowers & Decor
- Choose your guests wisely
- Rent and Return
- Petite Cake
“Low budget” can vary, and this is hard to define. There really isn’t a “range” for this. Even if others assume that it becomes low budget when it goes “less than” a certain amount, this is still circumstantial.
This article can help as a guide to making the most of the budget that you have set for your wedding. And if you feel that you are opting for a “low budget” wedding, we can definitely develop alternatives and creative ideas that will be as close as possible to your vision without breaking the bank!
Just because you are planning a “low-budget wedding does not necessarily mean that it WILL or SHOULD look low-budget!
Setting Priorities and Expectations
This is a good starting point. What are your priorities and non-negotiables? List these things so you can easily commit and be firm with them.
All other things that are “negotiable” for you and your partner should no longer have any “must” expectations on them. Instead, set a vision but be flexible to other “approaches” and “options” to execute them.
Avoid starting your wedding planning and shopping randomly. Instead, you can try this:
- Start researching first and understanding what the price range of vendors charge in your area. By starting with this step, you have a better idea of what to expect regarding pricing, helping you set a more realistic budget and put together your creative details accordingly.
- Set a budget and breakdown details into your budget spreadsheet to avoid surprise expenses! (Learn more: How to stick to your wedding budget.)
- Decide on a theme
- Create a mood board/inspiration ideas (Try using Canva, easy and quick!)
- Speak to a wedding consultant to help you review your mood board/inspiration ideas and help develop budget-friendly and creative alternatives that will not exceed your budget
- Start a checklist, set a schedule, and break down your tasks (Learn more: How to break down the steps in your wedding planning journey.)
Keeping an open mind does not mean you have to sacrifice your vision completely. It only means that there might be other creative designs that will be as close to your budget and vision as possible and that these “options” are literally worth considering.
Managing your budget
Although it might be easy to say that it is important to start setting your budget first, it might be beneficial to ask for quotes for your vision. This will give you a realistic pricing idea.
As mentioned earlier, asking for quotes will give you a good starting point to understand how much something will cost. Then you can adjust from there to see which ones you can move around.
“Off-season” is the way to go
When selecting your date (and venue!), consider months like November to March. These months are the typical wedding off-season. If you have a limited budget, you can save money by hosting your wedding during this time frame. Think about the celebration in January, and you can expect discounts.
These are great options that will give you a surprisingly more affordable price point than a hotel or event venue.
However, note that these locations will also come with restrictions. For example, golf clubs might not allow you to party until 2 am and might need to shut it down at midnight.
Restaurants might have limited dance floor spacing, although this is totally doable and will work for a smaller count wedding. Breweries, of course, might only allow specific alcohol/liquor to be served.
What your required minimum spend is also very important to know and understand so that you can easily stick to what’s “necessary” if it already met the “minimum spend” required.
There will always be some trade-offs. This is why, even if you are not looking into hiring a full-on wedding planner, speaking to a wedding consultant will yield creative ideas that can help you work around your vision to match your budget.
A few things to double-check when choosing a venue, especially when you are trying to maximize your budget, are:
- Will they allow you to DIY your decor or centerpieces? Meaning, you will need extra time to set it up prior to the wedding, so you will need early access – will that cost extra?
- Can you move tables and chairs around to make room for a small dance “area?”
- Is setting up your own “welcome signature” drink bar possible?
- Are there other options that you can work around instead of doing “drink tickets?”
In addition, a venue that doesn’t limit you to hire their preferred vendors only will be a great advantage to you. In this way, you can hire your own caterers, DJ, a photographer you search for at the lowest cost. Or even execute your DIY projects freely.
Instead of spending your money on sending invitation cards, you can send electronic invitations for free or use wedding websites to manage your guest list. It will help you save on stationery and postage expenses.
If you want to mail something to your guests, you can still mail them the save-the-date and reference website you have created. This is not just a wedding hack to save you money but also helps save paper!
Feeding your guests or the reception part is where the budget will be heavily allocated. In addition, this is tied almost directly to the venue you will choose, what they have available and what they allow.
Choosing a buffet-style for dinner is also another great idea if you would like to maximize your budget. Here, we share how to navigate buffet-style dinner to avoid it being perceived as “tacky.”
Consider these wedding menu options to help you save money!
We all want a great party! And serving alcohol can definitely contribute to that! This can easily increase the budget, especially when figuring out how to plan a low-budget wedding.
What you can do is limit your bar to basic drinks like beer and wine, or even adding 1-2 hard liquor options can still get the party going without breaking the bank!
Photographer & Videographer
Although this has been popular advice on how to plan a low-budget wedding, we don’t fully agree. Cutting your photographer and/or videographer hours to 3-4 hours only is definitely a risky thing to do! Amazing and memorable things happen unexpectedly, and if no one is there to capture them, then the 3-4 hours you paid will most likely not be “worth” it.
We think this is something that you should totally not skimp on! Photographers and videographers can make your wedding look the most expensive, beautiful, and memorable wedding! That’s magic they possess! And this is something that you might not want to skimp on!
What we can suggest, however, is that you can search for up-and-coming talents. If you work with experienced and notable vendors, you can expect a high price. But there are amazing talents that can provide comparable deliverables at a more affordable cost.
Flowers & Decor
Here are wedding entrance and aisle decor dupes that will give you that high-end look but will be perfect for your low-budget wedding.
Remember to communicate these plans that you have with your venue to ensure that they are acceptable. Things like open flame candles might not always be allowed in all venues. It is always important to help.
Also, consider pre-arranged wedding flowers like that from The Bouqs. This will help you save money on custom flowers without compromising the beauty and quality of the flowers.
Choose your guests wisely
The smaller the list of invitees, the lesser the budget is. Keep your guest list shorter. Invite only close friends and relatives. A small wedding can save you on every item of your event. Plus, you can fully enjoy the moments with your loved ones you can’t in case of a big event.
Rent and Return
Consider renting your wedding dress! You can also rent bridesmaids’ dresses! Also, rent decor for your wedding to save $$ and reduce the number of things that will be thrown away after your wedding!
Consider having a one-tier cake – for photos only. Order a plan slab sheet cake from your favorite bakery and get that served instead. Something your guests don’t need to see. This can be done behind the scenes by the kitchen staff! It will surely save you money.
Here are more tips on how you can DIY your wedding cake!
We share more creative ways and hacks to save money on your wedding to help you find ideas that will best work for your wedding vision!
There you are! Our tips on How to Plan a Low Budget Wedding!