Plan a Wedding on a Budget

When you begin the process of planning your wedding you need to pay particular attention to your budget. If you are looking to plan your wedding on a tight budget you can use our helpful tips to help reduce your costs and still have a beautiful wedding day that you will never forget.

The first step in your budget planning is to consider the different elements of a wedding. Here is an example of things to consider as you are creating your budget along with a general guideline of what percentage of your budget it will most likely use.

Reception - 36%
Wedding Cake - 3%
Flowers - 6%
Music - 3%
Invitations - 2%
Photographer - 4%
Transportation - 3%
Wedding Dress - 10%
Tuxedo - 1%
Rings - 15%
Church & Clergyman - 2%
Rehearsal Dinner - 8%
Miscellaneous - 7%

Obviously different aspects of the wedding are going to be different for each couple. You may decide for a very casual reception so that your wedding ceremony can be more lavish, or you may have a friend who is a DJ that can eliminate that cost. But the first step is to assign a general percentage of your budget to each piece of your wedding. Once you have complete this step you can use our tips below to save.

Plan In Advance

One of the easiest ways to save money is plan as far in advance as you can. Waiting until the last moment may cause you to pay more for your reception because the location you wanted is already booked, or the florist has to have flowers flown in to accommodate your order increasing your cost, etc. You are also more likely to make decisions with less thought if you are under pressure.

Cut The Guest List

The most expensive part of your wedding will be your reception. Because caterers and wedding halls charge by head count, cutting 10 people from your list at $120.00 can save you $1,200. Invite your close friends and family, but keep the list short by not inviting co-workers, children, and ask those that are single to not bring dates. If someone you are inviting is in a very serious relationship with a partner be sure to include them. Narrowing the guest list will not only save you money, but give you a better opportunity to spend time with the guests that do attend.

Save on Invitations

Although you do need to buy the invitations consider using a cheaper engraving or lettering. Don't pick out the most expensive invitations and consider not using a reply card. This method will not only save on the cost of the reply card, but the expense of the postage for the reply card. Instead include a form of RSVP such as calling by phone or sending an email.

Location, Location, Location

Consider holding your wedding ceremony and reception at the same location. This will help you to reduce the cost on decorations, flowers, and transportation. You can also consider planning your wedding around dates where the location is not in prime season and will cost less to use.

The Wedding Dress and Tuxedo

Instead of buying a designer custom made dress buy one off the rack. Check out the clearance rack and watch for big sales. Do keep an eye on your time as you will plenty of time for such things as alterations. You could also consider borrowing a dress. Ask your mother if you can wear the dress she wore in her wedding or if you have an older sister ask her. When it comes to the Tuxedo, renting is definitely a cost saver over purchasing one.

Food and Beverage

When planning your menu consider selecting a simpler less expensive dish vs. the lavish fillet mignon. You could also remove an appetizer. Many caterers will offer a desert option other than the wedding cake, you can reduce your cost by only having the wedding cake for desert. Also provide only beer, wine, and soda on the beverage list. You can also think about having a cash bar for any hard alcoholic beverages.

The Wedding Cake

You can save on the wedding cake by getting a smaller version than you need to feed all of your guests. Then have a large sheet cake in the back of the same flavor to serve to your guests. Sheet cakes are considerably more cost effective.


Transportation is one of the easiest places to reduce cost when planning a wedding on a budget. Instead of getting a motorcade full of limousines, stick with one limo to take the bridal party from the wedding to the reception and to take the bride and groom to their bridal suite. You could also consider renting a nice car such as a Cadillac or a Town Car instead of a limo. You can have a friend drive for you instead of hiring a professional driver as well. If anyone you know has a beautifully restore vintage car you could ask to borrow it.

Photography and Videography

A good way to save money on photography is to hire the photographer for only the wedding ceremony. Also negotiate for the negatives so that you can print the pictures you want at a cheaper prices when you want instead of having to purchase an expensive package up front. For your reception place disposable cameras on each table and have the DJ ask all of your guests to use these cameras to take pictures for your wedding album. Not only does this save money, but often gets you much better pictures as you get different perspectives and more care and thought is put into the moment. If you want to have video taken at your wedding borrow a video camera and have a friend shoot the video for you.

The Honeymoon

Instead of taking a two-week trip to the Bahamas or Europe consider more local attractions. Shorten your trip to five to seven days. Pick a location that you can take a short drive instead of having to fly. This will not only save on money but the hassles and jet lag that come with flying. Choose a location where you can spend more time enjoying each other and relaxing instead of trip where you will be participating in more costly activities.

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