Secrets to Making the Most of Your Wedding Budget

secrets to making the most of your wedding budget

Unless you’re a celeb, you probably don’t have an infinite budget for your upcoming nuptials. But as any good DIY-er can tell you, a limited budget doesn’t have to mean limited fun. Let’s take a look at a few creative ways to make that wedding budget stretch to its very max.

Though it might seem an impossible prospect at first, there are as many ways to stretch your wedding budget as you can dream up. Approach wedding planning like solving any problem: You have your goal (a fun, meaningful wedding), you have your constraints (budget), now show everyone what you can do inside them!

Secrets to Making the Most of Your Wedding Budget…

1. Make Your Own Flower Arrangements

While professional florists certainly do have a magical touch, you can still make lovely arrangements on your own, and you’ll save a lot of cash by doing so. First, find yourself a flower wholesaler, where some brides have reported buying flowers at a 50% discount. This is all the more true if you go for cheaper flowers, like peonies rather than roses, and stay in-season.

You’ll get a lot of flowers this way, but if you still find yourself somewhat lacking, you can flesh your arrangements out cheaply by adding more greenery. Also keep in mind there’s much fun to be had with alternative bouquet materials, like pine cones, lanterns, and even crocheted flowers.

Another idea is to hit-up the grocery store for your flowers see this post: Grocery Store Wedding Flowers and Wedding Cake

2. Bulk Up on Wedding Favors

If flowers are bought cheaper wholesale, so, too, are wedding favors. On sites like Blue Cotton, for example, you can easily create fun, customized designs for products ranging from t-shirts to pint glasses and order them in bulk. Just upload a photo, pen your own witty text, and you’ll have something that will keep you and your guests reminiscing for years to come.

Wedding favors are also fun to DIY. Really, you could make just about anything for guests to take home, from homemade chocolates to seeds guests can plant in their gardens. What better way to think back fondly on your wedding than when they’re picking tomatoes from the plant you gave them for their summer feast?

Another idea is to make a donation to your favorite charity and put up a sign stating that in lieu favors a donation has been made in your guests honor.

3. Go Off-Peak

I know, I know, having a summer wedding would be ideal. But if you and 100,000 other couples are eyeing the same venue during the same season, those prices are going to skyrocket. Going off-season doesn’t have to mean waiting until the middle of winter. Usually, venues will drop their prices at a firm cutoff date, like after Labor Day weekend. Chances are, you’ll still get some sun and even a little fall foliage, saving yourself thousands along the way.

4. Shorten the Planning Time Frame

If you’ve never heard of the term “decision fatigue,” now is a great time to brush up on it.

Wedding planning is decision fatigue in overdrive. The longer you wait to go from the engagement ring to the wedding ring, the longer you have to second guess yourself and add more expenses you don’t need. Because, let’s face it, there’s always something cuter and more fun to add into the design, menu and festivities.

Rather than waiting 1 to 2 years, consider shortening the planning time frame to 6 months, if at all possible. This should still give guests enough time to make plans, and it will motivate you to get going and not overdo it. Because…how could you, with such a short amount of time to plan?

5. Keep the Guest List Small

You love a lot of people and you want them all to be there. But keep in mind that each person you invite can cost you anywhere from $30 to $150, just for the food alone. Putting a dollar amount on each guest might seem harsh, but it can help you determine whether or not that business associate really needs to party it up with your closest family and friends.

If cutting down the list is absolutely not in the cards, consider having a private ceremony with just your immediate family or even just you, your spouse and the officiant. Then invite everybody to a bigger reception, but throw it in somebody’s backyard and explain to your guests that you’re just having a casual wedding celebration.

6. Change Your Wedding Dress Mentality

Of course, you want to look your very best on your wedding day. But that doesn’t have to mean spending a small fortune on a wedding dress. If a friend or family member wore a dress you loved, asking them if you can use it too will be much cheaper (to get it adjusted at a tailor) than to buy a brand new gown. If the person who donates the dress doesn’t mind, see if you can also add your own touches to make it something special for you. This is also something you can do with a simple, inexpensive plain white dress that’s not a dedicated wedding dress by adding lace and other embroidery. If you’ve got sewing skills, use ’em!

Along similar lines, there are also plenty of shops online where you can buy used wedding dresses, or receive cash for your old dress once the festivities are through. Keep your eyes peeled for wedding dress store going out of business sale, as you can receive deep discounts on designer gowns.

Another idea is to consider a dress that’s not listed as an official “wedding dress”. Many stores have white or off-white dresses that are perfect wedding gowns. Or, while it is completely non-traditional, think about forgoing white all together and you’ll open your options dramatically while also giving you a wider selection of prices.


Do you have any ideas about how to make the most of a wedding budget?
Alyssa is a bridal-savvy blogger and avid DIY-er living in the Seattle area. Through her work as a professional wedding photographer, Alyssa has developed a keen eye for both classic wedding styles and modern day trends (though she tends to gravitate towards all things vintage!). You can keep up with Alyssa via Twitter.

P.S. Ready to get out of debt ASAP? Check out the Spending Fast Bootcamp!


8 thoughts on “Secrets to Making the Most of Your Wedding Budget

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  1. Kara

    Just a quick comment – I think you misread the bit about peonies and roses. Peonies are MORE expensive than roses because they’re very seasonal and very fragile. Roses are grown year round and are very hardy when handled right – so they can be found cheaply just about everywhere.

    When I got married, I bought my flowers from Costco – you can preorder from their florists and get great prices. Then I put together my own bouquets, which were just clutches of flowers tied with a ribbon, nothing fancy. It was definitely a money saver.

  2. kaylee koenig

    these are all great ideas! when i got married almost 2 years ago as a senior in college, my budget was TINY. i used my mom’s dress, had a 6-month engagement, only invited best friends, etc.

    another way i saved money was by having an evening wedding!

    the reception didn’t start til 9pm, so guests could eat dinner before and drink free beer (bottles i bought in bulk) and appetizers/desserts. it was so much fun, and my wedding ended up costing about $5000 total. (if you wanna see photos, check out the photographer’s blog post : )

  3. Teresa

    I don’t think the flowers tip is always true. We did some number crunching for months (yes months!!! I refuse to spend more money than I have to). I found my local florist could give us the same arrangements I would have done myself with fake hobby lobby flowers at 50% off and it was only $50 more… way worth the money to just have them done for me to save time and have fresh and real flowers! It is a personal decision but sometimes we have to weigh the pros and cons of each project….

  4. Meredith

    When my brother and sister-in-law got married 4 years ago I made all their flower arrangements to help them cut costs. I ordered all the flowers online and had them shipped to my house. I made the bouquets, boutonnieres, and centerpieces. It only took me about 6 hours to make everything and it cost them less than $100 in supplies.

  5. mariko

    great ideas! I am a wedding planner and specialize in low-budget weddings (averaging under $5000) and also think choosing a free venue is a huge money saver. friends with gorgeous backyards are typically thrilled to show them off, and the local church where you might be a member can be transformed into a beautiful reception venue. another great way to DIY your way through the wedding process is organized craft days, where once a month you meet with your girls and work on wedding crafts. These days are always such a fun time for all and are a great way to get family & friends in on wedding planning. Lots more budget and craft ideas on these blog posts:


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