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5 Tips to Painlessly Plan a Budget-Friendly Wedding

Getting engaged is one of life's most precious moments.

Unfortunately, it tends to be short-lived because it doesn't take long to get into the throes of wedding planning - and the financial decisions that come with it!

When we got married, we wanted to save as much money as possible and ultimately spent 54% less than the national average that year.

If you're looking to plan a budget-friendly wedding, you've come to the right place... here are my top tips on how to save! ⬇

(Here for the free stuff? No shame there! Skip ahead to the Wedding Planning Pack: Everything You Need to Know for Your Wedding Day to get 5 editable templates that'll help you organize the details of your wedding day so you can focus on the bigger, more-important financial decisions).


While the rest of the tips are more practical, I think it's important to mention this up front.

Your wedding is for YOU and your partner. It does not need to meet anyone else's expectations, or 'live up' to what society says your wedding should look like.

Almost everyone I talk to who has had a wedding wishes they spent less money on their wedding - even me, and I saved a bunch. So don't let your friends or family pressure you into including things you don't want or need or that feel frivolous to you.

Start your marriage off on the right foot - focus on what matters to you and your partner, and use (or save) your money for things that actually matter to you (for us, those things were less about our wedding day and more about buying a house and traveling).

GUT CHECK: While I do highly suggest skipping the things you can live without or really don't want (even if it's 'tradition'), I also suggest NOT skipping things that are very important to you.

Our single most expensive payment was a wedding videographer, however, I'll be forever grateful we opted for this. Each year on our anniversary, we don't pull out the wedding photo album... we watch our wedding video. Seeing the day in motion paired with some beautiful, sappy music does something for us that photos never will - so it was 110% worth the expense.


As of the date of writing this article, a quick internet search suggests the national average wedding venue cost is $12-14K, with prices generally rising each year, so picking an inexpensive venue is probably where you'll save the most money of all.

My advice: Don't rush, compare prices, think outside the box, and don't be afraid to use your network.

What we did: We have a close friend whose family owns 9 acres, so we asked them if we could get married on their property. They set some expectations with us (everyone out by 10pm, no one in the house except the wedding party), we agreed, and they were happy to let us use their land as a venue.

Another idea: I recently met a woman who noticed a local BBQ joint (that isn't a formal venue) had a nice open park area with a gazebo on their property. She asked them if she could have her wedding there; the company agreed and didn't even charge her for the ceremony. She had her wedding in the park, the BBQ joint catered, and they rented out the restaurant for the reception.


Beyond venue, spend some time thinking about this: who do you know that can provide the services you need?

Friends, family, and people you know will typically cost less than hiring someone you don't know.

What we did: Our friend was our photographer, our counselor was our officiant, a friend-of-a-friend was our day-of-coordinator, and we hired some college kids from our neighborhood as ushers (who doubled as the set-up crew, parking attendants, bar tenders, and more!).

The only people we hired that we didn't know personally were the videographer, caterer, DJ, and the table/chair & toilet trailer providers.

So: who do you know in your life who might be able to help - or who might know someone who'd be willing to help?

TIP #4 - DIY

There's a lot of room for DIY when it comes to wedding planning - and every effort you make adds up.

Think about what you already have that you can use, what you can make yourself, what you don't necessarily need, and what you can buy for cheap.

Here's what we did 👇

Things we had:

  • Most of the signage was just cute lovey-dovey wall decor that we had hanging in our house

  • Other decor (lanterns, baskets for programs/wedding favors) were also things we already owned

  • An old whiskey barrel (that we used as the altar)

  • Cute baskets (for programs, wedding favors, etc.)

  • Serving platters

  • Some tables

  • Tablecloths

Things we made:

  • Other signs (my sister made them using little chalkboards)

  • Wedding programs & name cards (found cute font online, designed/printed/cut ourselves)

  • Name card holders (halved wine corks & cut a slit for the name cards)

  • Burlap runners for the tables

  • Wedding favors (my friend made mini-candles)

  • Dance floor (my dad built it)

Things we skipped:

  • Real flowers

  • Real silverware, dishware, and cups

  • Tents (which was a gamble, but worked out)

Things we bought for cheap:

  • My mom was going to make our cake, but things got crazy and we found a cheap one at CostCo!

  • Also from CostCo: everything for the bar - alcohol, mixers, champagne, cups, napkins, citrus, etc.

  • Fake flowers for the bouquets and the arch 'backdrop' we used behind the altar

BONUS: Things we sold afterward to make some money back:

  • Dress & veil

  • Fake flowers

  • Candle holders

  • Cake stand and cake cutter

  • Arch we used behind the alter

  • Other decor


Give some thought to how much money you want to spend on your rings and your clothing - as this is another area you can save big.

Price shop. Price shop some more. Try resale shops and look on line for people selling their gently-used dresses or suits.

What we did: I wanted to look back on that day and feel beautiful, but I also knew I'd only wear my dress once, so I set a reasonable budget and stuck to it (I price shopped a TON). Cory found a deal at Men's Warehouse (he's good at that), and got a huge percentage off.

It can be tiring, but make sure you do your due diligence before deciding on a dress/suit.

As for the rings - this is another area where society 'says' you need a certain thing and, again, that's not true.

Love isn't measured by the amount of money spent on the rings and, if you haven't purchased wedding bands yet, use this as an opportunity to save.

Try comparing prices online instead of at jewelry stores (we used Etsy!), and think about what's important to you.

Remember: You don't even NEED a diamond... heck, you don't even need a RING!

Whatever works for you is just that - it's what works FOR. YOU.

What we did: My ring is lab-grown, which I love because this accomplished 3 things that are important to me:

  • We saved a ton of money

  • While I cherish my ring, I'm less concerned about it getting beat up or losing it

  • I know, without a doubt, that it's conflict free

Since Cory's so active and outdoorsy, he picked a type of metal (I don't even remember what) that was tough and sturdy so it would withstand the constant beating it would take given his lifestyle - but, again, he shopped for a good deal.

Think through what's important, and ask yourself if it's something that's truly important to you, or if you think it's important based on what society or someone else says.


Wedding planning is not for the faint of heart and sometimes, when we get overwhelmed, we spend more money than we would otherwise.

To help simplify your planning, I made you this FREE Wedding Planning Pack: Everything You Need to Know for Your Wedding Day. These are the exact 5 templates I used to make sure my wedding day was smooth, fun, and unforgettable.

Ditch the stress of planning the nitty gritty details of your wedding day so you can focus on the bigger, more-important financial decisions that feel right for you.

Sending my love - here's to you, your partner, and a lifetime of happiness!




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