My partner and I are have a $3,000 wedding budget for our wedding this fall. Throughout the planning, we're managing to actually stick closely to our budget. Here's how we're doing it.
Timing: get married on a Sunday
We're getting married on a Sunday wedding. This is a huge money saver, since most people get married on Saturdays, and many venues and other service providers have big discounts for Sunday weddings.
Venue: look at park lodges
We went searching for unique wedding venues and ended up renting a lodge at a local state park for $125! They only allow beer and wine, so our venue choice actually had the added value of saver us money on liquor.
Clothing: save cash, go casual
The men are going to be wearing suits that were on a $99 sale. I hate the look of tuxes anyway.
Reception entertainment: no dancing, no DJ
We're skipping the dance to do games (hello bridal party sand volleyball!) and will use Spotify for the ceremony. If you're a big dancer of course this won't work for you, but for those of us who are into no-dance weddings, it can be a great way to save money.
Dessert: go local
A local gal we found is doing 200 gourmet cupcakes and a small decorated 8″ cake for $200 total.
Food: self-catering saves tons but isn't for everyone
The one thing I'm concerned about is that we're self catering a taco bar with the help of family. I think we will be okay though because a lot of it can be made ahead of time or doesn't require a lot of prep.
Photography: less hours, less dollars
The other downside to our small budget is that we're only hiring a photographer for 4 hours and that's taking 1/3 of our budget. We could have gone with a cheaper photographer for more hours but decided a few great pictures were worth more to us than a bunch of okay ones. I think it'll also let us enjoy the day more and live in the moment, appreciating things as they happen without the worry of catching the photo.
So, that's how we're keeping our wedding budget under $3000. I'm not going to lie: ours might not be the most glamorous wedding, but it will reflect who we are as people — and that includes our financial realities! I've accepted the fact that not everyone will like it, but feel good about planning a wedding that reflects our values… which include not going into debt for a one-day party.