doesn’t have to be. If you’re looking for ways to save money on your big day, here are some cheap wedding ideas that won’t break the bank.
Costs can quickly add up when planning a wedding: venue rental fees, catering services, decorations – it all adds up! With the traditional idea of a lavish and expensive wedding out of reach for many couples, there has been an influx of creative and budget-friendly ideas popping up lately.
Finding cheap wedding ideas that still provide a lifetime of memories is possible. From clever food options to lovely decoration suggestions, these affordable options put your dreams of having a beautiful and perfect wedding within reach. Here are some cheap ways to throw an amazing celebration without breaking the bank.
Important Points To Know:
- Planning a wedding on a budget is possible with creative and budget-friendly ideas.
- Knowing where the money for your wedding is coming from is important to keep costs within budget.
- Establishing priorities, committing to an affordable wedding, and choosing economical venues are some of the best ways to save money when planning your special day.
How to have the Perfect Wedding on a Budget
Planning a wedding can be an expensive and daunting task. The average wedding cost in the United States is $34,000, but varies by location. Fortunately, there are many strategies and ideas available to help plan a low-cost wedding. Having a cheap wedding is an excellent way to save money for other things such as a honeymoon or a down payment on a house. On average, a 100-person wedding can cost approximately $19,000. However, with creative cheap wedding ideas you can try and save more money.
There are many tips that you can use to plan an affordable wedding without sacrificing quality or style. For example, consider having your ceremony and reception at the same venue to save on transportation costs. You can also opt for less expensive catering options such as buffet-style meals or potluck dinners instead of plated meals. Additionally, look into DIY decorations and favors that will add personal touches without breaking the bank. With these 30 tips for planning a low-cost wedding, you can have the perfect wedding without breaking the bank.
1. You can have an affordable wedding anywhere
Having a wedding on a budget doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice style or quality. You can still have an amazing and memorable wedding without breaking the bank. One of the best ways to save money is to choose an affordable venue. Instead of renting out a fancy hotel or banquet hall, consider having your wedding at a local park, beach, or even your own backyard. Not only will this save you money on rental fees, but it will also give your wedding a unique and personal touch.
2. Know where the money for your wedding is coming from
When it comes to paying for a wedding, couples have a variety of options. Nearly 10% of couples pay for their wedding entirely on their own, while another 10% have it paid for them. Most couples have a mix of contributors and should sit down with all financial stakeholders to establish who is contributing what. Establishing boundaries with contributors can help ensure the wedding stays within budget.
Traditionally, the bride’s family was expected to pay for the wedding. However, modern couples are often saving up to pay for their own weddings, and contributions from family members are becoming less frequent. Couples may also consider taking out a loan or using credit cards to cover any additional costs that may arise during the planning process. Ultimately, it’s important that couples decide what works best for them financially and make sure they are comfortable with any decisions they make regarding how they will fund their special day.
3. Commit to an affordable wedding and clarify your priorities
When it comes to planning a wedding, it is important to commit to an affordable wedding and clarify your priorities. Establishing a budget and prioritizing what matters most to you both is the first step in creating an affordable wedding. Deciding how to use the saved money, such as paying down debt or saving for a house, can help keep costs thrifty during the planning process. Couples with expensive weddings have a higher divorce rate, so it is important to commit to an affordable wedding.
Having an honest conversation with your partner about what you want in a wedding and how much you’re willing to spend is key. List your top five must-haves, skips, and don’t-really-care-about for the wedding so that you can find areas of compromise that make your must-haves work with your budget. Creating a wedding vision board can help organize and establish goals while also helping determine what is within reach of your budget.
4. Create (and stay within) a budget
Creating and staying within a budget is one of the most important aspects of planning a wedding. It can be difficult to make sure that all of your desired elements are included while still staying within your means, but it is possible. The first step in creating a budget is to establish a realistic amount that you can spend on the wedding. This should include both the ceremony and reception costs, as well as any other expenses such as decorations or transportation. Once you have an idea of what you can afford, prioritize different aspects of the wedding to allocate funds accordingly. For example, if having an open bar is non-negotiable for you, then allocate more money towards that than something like centerpieces or live DJs.
Utilize resources like The Wedding Spot to help find affordable venues and vendors who offer discounts or packages that fit into your budget. Prioritize spending by referencing conversations about nonnegotiables and nice-to-haves so that you know which items are worth splurging on and which can be cut back on.
5. Minimize the size of your guest list
Having a smaller wedding is becoming increasingly popular as couples look for ways to save money. A smaller guest list can lead to a lower-cost wedding and allows you to enjoy the day with your closest family and friends. Experts suggest cutting the guest list by 20% or starting with just close family and friends. It is important to talk to friends and family who are not invited to the wedding, so they understand why the guest list is kept small.
The number of guests invited to a wedding can significantly increase the cost. Catering costs typically average $70 per person, so the difference in food costs between 20 and 100 guests could be more than $5,000. This is why it is important to consider how many people you want at your wedding before making any decisions about catering or venue size. With careful planning, couples can have an intimate and memorable celebration without breaking their budget.
6. Go to a thrift store for your dress or suit
Thrift stores (or charity shops) are an excellent option for those looking to save money on their wedding attire. Not only can you find affordable dresses and suits, but you can also find unique pieces that will make your special day even more memorable. From vintage gowns to classic tuxedos, thrift stores offer a wide selection of styles and sizes that won’t break the bank. You can also find accessories such as veils, jewelry, and shoes at thrift stores.
Online options such as eBay, Craigslist, Etsy, Nearly Newlywed, and Rent the Runway also offer affordable wedding dresses. High-end stores like Nordstrom, Anthropologie’s BHLDN line, and David’s Bridal also have affordable dresses in their collections. Consider buying a pre-loved wedding dress from Recycle My Wedding to save up to half the price. Dry cleaners are experienced at looking after such precious items, so most dresses come in excellent condition.
7. Pick a wedding venue close to home
When it comes to planning a wedding, there are many factors to consider. One of the most important decisions is choosing a venue. Destination weddings can be expensive due to travel and overnight accommodations, so staying close to home is often the more affordable option for nuptials. The phrase “Home is where the heart is” emphasizes the importance of choosing a wedding venue close to home.
Destination weddings are also a great way to keep your wedding small and intimate. You can choose any dream vacation destination for your wedding, such as an exotic beach or a romantic mountain getaway. Plus, your honeymoon won’t require you to travel far since it’s already at the destination of your choice! With careful planning and budgeting, you can have an unforgettable wedding experience without breaking the bank.
Low-cost wedding venue ideas and tips
Finding the perfect wedding venue can be a daunting task, especially when you’re on a tight budget. Fortunately, there are plenty of low-cost wedding venue ideas and tips that can help you find the perfect place to celebrate your special day without breaking the bank.
One of the best ways to save money on your wedding venue is to look into alternative, affordable options such as historic sites, all-inclusive venues, churches, schools, parks or beaches, national parks, and backyards. Researching unconventional and alternative wedding venues can help you find the best option for your budget. Additionally, utilizing online resources to find cheap wedding venues in your area can be very helpful. You may also want to consider looking into village halls, parents’ back gardens, holiday homes or even your own home as potential venues. Comparing the cost of a dry hire wedding versus one with specified suppliers is another great way to save money on your venue costs.
8. Remember, the lowest-cost venues are free
When it comes to planning a wedding, the cost of the venue can be one of the most expensive aspects. However, there are ways to save money on your venue without sacrificing quality. One of the best ways to do this is by utilizing free venues. Free venues can include backyards, parks or beaches, churches, schools, and national parks. These locations often provide a beautiful backdrop for your special day without breaking the bank.
Tent, chair, and table rentals are also low-cost options for a backyard wedding. This is an ideal option if you’re looking for a more intimate setting that won’t break your budget. Additionally, researching cheap venues in your area can help you find the best options for your budget. Historic sites and all-inclusive venues are also great alternatives that offer affordable packages with everything you need for your big day. With a little bit of research and creativity, you can find an amazing venue that won’t break the bank.
9. Get married at town hall, followed by dinner at a restaurant
Getting married at a town hall is an affordable and convenient way to tie the knot. You can enjoy the communal experience of waiting in line with other soonlyweds, and you don’t have to worry about booking a venue or paying for decorations. After the ceremony, you can celebrate with a meal at an affordable restaurant. Make sure to make a reservation ahead of time and bring a cake if you want to add a special touch.
City Hall weddings are also great for couples who want to keep their wedding small and intimate. Check the maximum number of guests allowed when choosing your day so that everyone important can be there. Afterwards, you can celebrate in whatever way you choose, from a small dinner for close friends and family to a larger party. No matter what type of celebration you decide on, getting married at town hall is an easy and cost-effective way to start your life together as husband and wife.
10. Explore wedding venues within your budget
Finding the perfect wedding venue within your budget can be a challenge. Fortunately, there are plenty of options available to suit all tastes and budgets. Wedding Spot offers budget filters to help you find the right location for your special day. If you’re looking for something more affordable, consider booking a village hall, open space or AirBnB. You can also save money by having an all-inclusive venue or an intimate wedding with fewer guests. Booking on a weekday rather than a weekend is another great way to save money.
For those on an even tighter budget, registry offices are the most affordable option, costing as little as £170. Church weddings are slightly more expensive but still relatively affordable at £512 in your home parish. Stately homes and manor houses can be costly to hire for a wedding, so it’s worth exploring other options first if you’re looking to keep costs down.
11. Choose a vacation rental in your area
Renting a vacation home for your wedding in the offseason can be a great way to save money and create a unique experience. When selecting a rental, it is important to communicate your plans to the owner beforehand. This will ensure that you have access to all of the amenities and features you need for your special day. Additionally, choosing a location close to the largest number of your guests can help you maximize savings on transportation costs. Not only will this make it easier for them to attend, but it can also free up more funds for other areas of your wedding planning.
When renting a vacation home for your wedding, look for one that comes pre-loaded with outdoor and indoor space plus restrooms. This will give you plenty of room for activities such as dancing or games, as well as provide private bathrooms for guests who may need them. Additionally, if there are any additional features that you would like included in the rental, make sure to discuss these with the owner before signing any contracts.
12. Time your wedding for the winter
Winter weddings can be a great way to save money and still have an amazing day. The winter months (January-March) are considered the off-season for weddings, so venues may be willing to negotiate prices during this time. If you’re looking to save even more, consider hosting your wedding on a Friday or Sunday as this can save up to half the price of your venue. Additionally, vendors like bakeries, photographers and DJs may also be available at a discounted rate due to less demand on those days.
However, if you’re planning on getting married in a winter resort town, it may be more expensive due to the scenic backdrop. Additionally, September and October are the most popular months to get married so plan ahead if you want to book during this time. With some careful planning and research into local vendors and venues, you can find great deals for your winter wedding that will help make it an unforgettable experience without breaking the bank!
13. Skip over Saturdays
Saturdays are traditionally the most popular day to get married, but they can also be the most expensive. Couples looking to save money on their wedding should consider skipping over Saturdays and opting for a Friday or Sunday instead. Venues, catering services, and vendors tend to charge lower prices on Fridays and Sundays due to fewer people wanting to get married on those days. Additionally, booking your event outside of peak season can help you save money on wedding services. Negotiating prices with venues and vendors is more likely when fewer couples are looking to get married.
For even more savings, consider having a mid-morning or early afternoon ceremony followed by a backyard BBQ-style reception. This type of reception is often much less expensive than a traditional sit-down dinner and can still provide an enjoyable experience for your guests. With some creative planning, you can have the wedding of your dreams without breaking the bank!
14. Consider a mid-week wedding
Having a mid-week wedding can be a great way to save money and still have an amazing celebration. Wednesdays and Tuesdays are typically the least expensive days of the week for weddings, so if you’re on a budget, this is definitely something to consider. With a $15,000 budget, you could rent out a seven-bedroom villa for the week, cover food and beverages, rentals, attire, flowers and decorations, hire a wedding planner or venue coordinator, photography services, entertainment options like speaker rentals, dessert choices and invitations.
You can also look into DIY options to help keep costs down. For example, flights cost around $1,000 but you can find cheaper alternatives if you’re willing to do some research. Attire costs around $300 for a dress and $150 for a suit on sale; flowers and decorations cost about $400; photography services cost around $2,000; entertainment costs about $100 for speaker rentals ; and dessert choices cost around $200. With some careful planning, you can have a beautiful mid-week wedding without breaking the bank!
15. Hold the ceremony and the reception in one venue
Holding the ceremony and reception in one venue is a great way to save money on your wedding. Not only will you save on the cost of renting two separate venues, but you can also skip the cocktail hour as guests travel to the reception site. This simplifies the logistics of the day by having everything in one place.
If you’re looking for an even more affordable option, consider hosting your wedding and reception at a friend’s or family member’s property. This could save you up to $10,500! Alternatively, if you don’t have access to a private property, many public parks offer beautiful outdoor spaces for weddings and receptions at a fraction of the cost of full-service venues. Depending on your location, this could range from $1,000 to $4,000. Utilizing public parks can be significantly cheaper than paying for a full-service venue while still providing an unforgettable experience for your guests.
16. Buck the evening reception trend
When it comes to planning a wedding, the venue can be one of the most expensive items on the budget. But that doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice style and personality for a cheaper option. Wedding planner Amy Nichols suggests spending more of your budget on food, decor, and photography instead of a pricey venue. There are plenty of budget-friendly wedding venues that don’t sacrifice on style and personality.
One way to keep costs down is to buck the evening reception trend and opt for an earlier event with free drinks during the cocktail hour. Have a happy hour with free drinks or serve wine during dinner and have guests pay for the bar at the end of the night. Consider unique and refreshing summer cocktail ideas or Halloween-themed cocktails, as well as affordable summer wedding appetizers for cheap wedding ideas. With these tips in mind, you can create an unforgettable event without breaking your budget!
Here are affordable wedding reception and food ideas
When it comes to planning a wedding reception, the cost of food and drinks can quickly add up. Fortunately, there are several affordable options available that can help you keep your budget in check. To start, compare venues and food service costs to ensure you are making a useful comparison. All-inclusive packages may have a higher sticker cost but include tables, plates, and linens which can save you money in the long run. Additionally, explore creative catering options such as food trucks or mini food stations to reduce the overall price tag. Negotiating with vendors is also an effective way to save money on food and drinks.
When it comes to choosing affordable wedding foods, there are plenty of ideas that fit within your budget. Consider brunch for a more casual atmosphere or heavy appetizers instead of a full meal. Cake & punch is another popular option that won’t break the bank while still providing guests with something sweet. If you’re looking for something unique, consider a taco bar or a build-your-own pizza station. With a little creativity, you can create an unforgettable wedding reception without breaking the bank.
17. Choose a favorite family-owned restaurant
Family-owned restaurants can be a great option for catering your wedding. Not only are they often more affordable than traditional wedding catering services, but the food is usually of a higher quality and more personal. When considering a family-owned restaurant for your wedding catering needs, there are several things to keep in mind.
First, ask if they offer catering services and if they will provide discounts for large orders. Many family-owned restaurants may not have the resources to cater large events, so it’s important to check before committing. Additionally, inquire about creating large portions of your favorite dishes and providing them with chafing dishes or other serving equipment. This will help ensure that all guests have enough food throughout the event.
Another way to save money on wedding catering costs is to look outside of the traditional wedding industry vendors. Ask friends and family members who enjoy cooking if they would be willing to cater as a gift instead of buying something off your registry.
18. Opt for a food truck or two
Food trucks are becoming increasingly popular for wedding receptions. Not only do they offer a unique and fun experience, but they can also be more affordable than traditional caterers. Food truck owners are often willing to collaborate with couples to create a customized menu that fits their budget. Plus, there are other options such as ice cream carts and mobile bars that can add an extra special touch to the reception.
For those looking to save even more money on catering costs, consider having friends and family cater for you in lieu of a gift. This could save up to $2,550! Alternatively, you could ask a local family-owned restaurant to cater for you and work with them on a less expensive option which could save 25% per plate or $638. If the budget is really tight, trimming the guest list is another way to reduce catering costs.
19. Ask for help with food instead of gifts
Asking friends and family to help provide food for a wedding instead of gifts is a great way to save money on the big day. Many people are happy to contribute in this way, but it’s important not to expect everyone to be able to help as some prefer to relax at weddings. Alternatively, guests can be asked for assistance at the ceremony in lieu of a gift. This could include photography, emcee services, tending the bar or other tasks that need doing. Involving loved ones in the ceremony can make it more meaningful and create lasting memories for all involved.
By asking family and friends for assistance at the ceremony instead of gifts, couples can save up to $1,400 which can then be used towards buying a home they both love. This is an excellent way of making sure your wedding day is special without breaking the bank. It also allows you to put any saved money towards something that will benefit both of you in the long run such as a house deposit.
20. Make it a cash bar
Having a cash bar at your wedding can be a great way to save money. By providing champagne or sparkling wine for the toast, and then having guests pay for their own drinks beyond that, you can significantly reduce your costs. Hiring a wedding bartender typically costs $35 per hour, plus the cost of the alcohol. You can save money by sourcing your own alcohol and hiring a separate bartender or asking a friend. This strategy can save up to 50%, or $1,150. Consider switching to a cash bar after dinner when most guests are done drinking and it won’t be as noticeable.
Cash bars are becoming increasingly popular at weddings due to their cost-saving benefits. Not only do they help keep your budget in check, but they also give guests more control over what they drink and how much they spend on beverages throughout the night. If you’re looking for an easy way to cut costs without sacrificing quality, consider making it a cash bar at your wedding!
22. Explore affordable dessert options
When it comes to planning a wedding, dessert is often one of the most expensive items on the list. Traditional wedding cakes can cost upwards of $500, making them an unaffordable option for many couples. Fortunately, there are plenty of affordable dessert options available that will still make your special day memorable.
Cupcakes, pies, and donuts are all great alternatives to traditional wedding cakes that can be much more budget-friendly. If you’re looking for something a bit more unique, consider an ice cream sundae bar or Belgian waffles. When comparing venues and food service costs, make sure to factor in additional costs such as tables, plates, and linens. You may also want to explore creative catering options such as a build-your-own taco bar or a popcorn station. With some careful planning and research, you can find affordable desserts that will fit into your wedding reception budget without sacrificing quality or taste.
23. Keep the reception short
When planning a wedding, it is important to consider ways to stay within budget. One way to do this is by negotiating a shorter reception. This will help save money on your wedding day and also give the venue more time to set up for an evening wedding. Limiting the size of your guest list can also help reduce the overall cost of your wedding. Consider cutting your guest list by 20-40% and inviting more guests to the ceremony while hosting a smaller reception with family and close friends.
Having a shorter reception can be beneficial in other ways as well. It allows you to spend more quality time with each of your guests, rather than having them come and go quickly. You can also focus on creating meaningful moments that will last long after the reception has ended. Additionally, it gives you more time to enjoy yourself and celebrate with those closest to you without feeling rushed or overwhelmed.
24. Go for a buffet service
Buffet service is a great option for couples looking to save money on their wedding catering and bar service. Restaurants and country clubs often have lower food and beverage minimums than luxury resorts or private estates, making them an attractive option for budget-conscious couples. Furthermore, the food and beverage minimum may be the only fee required to pay, rather than a rental fee on top of it. Couples can also consider nontraditional venues such as parks or community centers to save even more money.
When planning a buffet service, couples should budget for costly nonfood items such as tables, chairs, china, glassware, tablecloths, servers, and a bartender. To keep costs in check, they can opt for a cocktail party instead of a full reception with beer, wine, and a signature cocktail. For the toast, champagne is not necessary – prosecco or cava are cheaper options. For dessert, couples can opt for a small wedding cake for photos but serve sheet cake or cupcakes to their guests. With some careful planning and research, couples can find affordable buffet service options that will fit into their wedding budget without sacrificing quality or taste.
25. Increase the buffet’s vegetable offerings
When it comes to planning a wedding, food, and drinks can often take up a large portion of the budget. To save money, couples should negotiate their wedding food and drinks carefully. Generally, up to 40% of the overall budget should be allocated for food. There are many cheap wedding reception food ideas that couples can consider such as brunch, food trucks, heavy appetizers, cake & punch, and mini food stations.
Wedding cakes can also be expensive, costing more than $500. Couples looking to save money on their cake should consider lower-cost alternatives such as cupcakes, pies, or donuts. Alternative desserts like an ice cream sundae bar or Belgian waffles are also great options for those looking to cut costs while still providing delicious treats for guests. Additionally, increasing the buffet’s vegetable offerings is another way to reduce costs while still providing a variety of healthy options for guests.
26. Focus on low-cost proteins
When it comes to serving a meal without breaking the bank, focusing on low-cost proteins is a great way to go. There are plenty of delicious and affordable options available that can provide your guests with a satisfying meal. For example, taco bars are an easy and inexpensive way to feed a crowd. You can also opt for pasta bowls with pancetta or pulled chicken sandwiches for something more filling.
Another option is to look into alternative proteins such as beans, lentils, tofu, tempeh, and seitan. These plant-based proteins are not only budget-friendly but also packed with nutrients and fiber. They can be used in a variety of dishes from tacos to stir-fries and salads. With some creativity and careful planning, you can create delicious meals that won’t break the bank.
Explore cheap wedding favor ideas
Favors are a great way to show appreciation for guests attending the wedding. However, the cost of favors can quickly add up, with $3 each for 150 guests costing $450. Couples looking to save on favors can reduce their guest list size and opt for low-cost options such as DIY projects or edible treats.
Having a cheap wedding is an excellent way to save money for other things. On average, a 100-person wedding can cost approximately $19,000, so finding creative cheap wedding ideas can help couples save more money on their special day. There are many ways to have a beautiful and memorable wedding without breaking the bank. For example, couples could make their own decorations or favors instead of buying them from stores. They could also opt for simple yet elegant centerpieces or choose venues that don’t require expensive decorations. Additionally, they could look into catering services that offer affordable menus or even ask family members and friends to help out with food preparation.
27. Caramel popcorn in a mason jar
Caramel popcorn in a mason jar is an excellent way to show your appreciation for your wedding guests. Not only are these favors inexpensive, but they also offer a unique and creative way to thank your guests. The small glass candy jars can be reused by the guests at home, making them a great value. For an even more affordable option, you can opt for Wildflower honey sticks and favor tags which start at 25 cents each. This is a fun and budget-friendly way to show your gratitude while having fun with friends.
DIY assembly of the caramel popcorn in mason jars makes this favor even more special. You can customize the look of the jars with different colors of ribbon or twine, or add personalized labels with each guest’s name on it. This will make sure that each guest feels appreciated and remembered on your special day. With these favors, you can be sure that your wedding guests will have something sweet to take home as a reminder of your big day.
29. Chocolates from a local chocolatier
Chocolates from a local chocolatier are an excellent way to show your guests how much you appreciate them. Personalized mini Hershey’s chocolate bars make a great wedding favor, and labels are easy to assemble and customize. Everyone loves a sweet treat, so why not give your guests something they can enjoy? Custom foil Hershey’s Kisses also make great, affordable wedding favors. Each favor can be purchased for less than $1, and if you want to go the extra mile, you can provide two favors per guest for an even better deal. Not only will your guests love the delicious treats, but they’ll also appreciate the thoughtfulness of having personalized chocolates on their special day.
Chocolate is always a crowd-pleaser, so it’s no surprise that chocolates from a local chocolatier make such great wedding favors. Whether you choose mini Hershey’s bars or custom foil Hershey’s Kisses, each favor is sure to bring a smile to your guests’ faces. Plus, these favors are affordable and easy to assemble, making them a great choice for couples looking for cheap wedding ideas.
30. Homemade cookies
Homemade cookies are a great way to add a personal touch to your wedding day. Whether you’re gathering your wedding party for an afternoon of baking or just making a few batches of your favorite chocolate chip cookies, homemade cookies can be the perfect addition to any wedding. Not only are they delicious, but they can also be customized to match the theme of your special day.
If you’re looking for something more affordable than a traditional wedding cake, there are plenty of other options available. Cupcakes, pies, and donuts can all be arranged in tiers to mimic the look of a wedding cake. If you’re feeling adventurous, you could even serve alternative desserts like ice cream sundaes or Belgian waffles. No matter what type of dessert you choose, homemade cookies will always make for an unforgettable experience on your big day.
Wrapping Up Cheap Wedding Ideas
Cheap wedding ideas don’t have to be boring or unoriginal. There are plenty of ways to make your special day unique and memorable without breaking the bank. From caramel popcorn in mason jars to chocolates from a local chocolatier, there are plenty of affordable options for wedding favors. And if you’re looking for something sweet, homemade cookies can be the perfect addition to any wedding. With a little creativity and some careful planning, you can make your wedding day truly special without spending a fortune.