I’m planning a wedding on a budget. Any ideas on cutting costs?

by DIY wedding planner on March 22, 2012

We’re willing to put in plenty of work and DIY anything we can. Any websites that can point me in the direction of low-cost wedding dresses, reception halls, etc. would be greatly appreciated, as well as any tips on what I can get away with not doing professionally and still have a great wedding would be greatly appreciated! =)

{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

Marie L March 22, 2012 at 6:06 am

Maybe an elopement is the best way to go.


proudpreemieparents March 22, 2012 at 6:16 am

Try and outlet wedding store for attire and just getting a sheet cake from a bakery instead of a wedding cake. You can save a ton right there.


<3 MuNcHy <3 March 22, 2012 at 6:41 am

Ross Dress For Less has some amazing dresses and they’re inexpensive! I say go there to find your dress! As for a reception hall, depending upon how many people you want to invite, you have many options. Churches, event centers, sometimes even offices rent spaces. Schools are another option as well. Have close family and friends help make all of the food and all make all of your decorations and paper items yourself!


hollywoodmelody March 22, 2012 at 7:14 am

Just for your information, a bride averages about 250 hours in the planning process. You don’t say where you are located but I just started a business that includes tips, workshops, guides etc.

I’m not offering my business services (not allowed) to you but I will offer any help you may need otherwise.


Baby Girl due in June! March 22, 2012 at 7:17 am

Go to a bridal show, if there is one around you. I won a half price tux for FIL.
You can get a beautiful and tasty, yet very cheap cake at a grocery store.
Don’t use flower for centerpieces. They’re beautiful, but if you don’t have money to spare, you can do without. As far as flowers for the party, give your florist your colors, and an idea of what you want, and set him a budget. That way they can choose flowers in that price range.
From my experience, but I don’t know for sure, places where you get the whole package tend to be more expensive, than if you get separate vendors.
Depending on the ages of your bridesmaids and the date of your wedding, you can shop for dresses in regular stores. I tried that, but wasn’t lucky and ended up picking my girls’ dresses at David’s Bridal. They all got a discount because I bought my dress there. I also used their 12 month no interest credit card. Advise – don’t buy your brassiere with the dress. It’s so overpriced.
I got my jewelery from ebay. Very cheap, but beautiful.
I used personalized favors only for the shower – less people, less money. I also made all the favors myself.
Don’t get a limousine. It’s such a rip off. Depending on where you live, you might be able to rent a luxury car for the weekend. That’s still too expensive, where I live, so we used my in-laws’ bigger car. If you have a big party, or really want a limo, yellow pages offers coupons.
And finally, talk to people. That’s how I saved thousands on my photographer, DJ, and catering.

Hope that helped.
Good luck and congratulations!


SirenSong March 22, 2012 at 8:03 am

Sit down with your fiance and make a list of your must haves and a list of stuff that isn’t important to you at all that you can skip.

Leave the food, music and photography to the professionals. Anything else you can DIY. The favors are the first thing you can cut out and most people won’t miss them if they aren’t there. You also don’t need programs for the ceremony. If you can live without alcohol, you will cut costs tremendously. Also, skip anything marketed as ‘wedding’ since it is 10x as expensive as the same products elsewhere in the store that are not labelled ‘wedding’ that are actually higher quality.

The ladies at the Tribe at http://www.offbeatbride.com are very helpful. The ladies at the local boards at http://talk.theknot.com are helpful with finding venues and other vendors and most are on tight budgets. It’s all about priorities.


Fauna March 22, 2012 at 8:51 am

Skip the reception hall — have a great backyard reception!
My cousin did this recently (and my aunt years back, and someone else just recently). Set up white tents, round tables and chairs (make sure you have enough seating for everyone), a table for the gifts to be placed, a dance “floor”, a place for the band or DJ (or friend who’s doing the DJ’ing). Dress up the chairs with ribboned bows in the back. Use cheaper local flowers (even wild flowers) for your centerpieces on the tables. Keep it simple, yet classy and fresh. They could even be candle centerpieces, or baskets of plants, however you want to set that up and save money.
Have a tent and long tables arranged for the buffet dinner (either have it catered, or a combo of catering and home cooking). Find someone to make your cake, or pay for a small wedding cake, then make your own sheet cakes to serve everyone, and make sure there’s a place setup for the cake cutting.
Have torches or lanterns for lighting, white Christmas lights under the tents. Hang ornaments from inside the tents. You can really make it amazing, use your imagination.
And bargain hunt for a dress! No need for those $1000 dresses. There are beautiful white gowns available at shops like White House Black Market for under $300.
Spend your money where it’s worth it: a great photographer (who won’t get in your way and stop you to pose every 2 seconds). And as long as there’s plenty of food, great music and dancing, you’re set for a great time.


Mrs Noel ?6/19/2010? March 22, 2012 at 9:01 am

-Do your invites/save the dates/programs yourself. Order some samples (www.invitationsbydawn.com has some totally free ones) and see what you like, then play around on MS Word and create something similar.

-Decorations, Flower girl basket, toasting glasses, etc.- Find out if there is a Hobby Lobby store near you. At least 3-4 times a year, they have ALL of their wedding stuff 50% off. GREAT DEAL. If no Hobby Lobby, check out ebay/craigslist.

-Dress- check out http://www.bridalonlinestore.com. They’re very inexpensive, not made in china, and what you see in the pic is totally what you get. Also, don’t have any reservations about “cheaping out” on your dress. You’re only going to wear the thing once.

-If you’ve got your heart set on bubbles, make the stickers for them yourself. Staples has “sticker paper” that you can print a bunch up, and go to walmart and get a “cheaper” paper cutter to cut them out.

-Consider doing the food yourself. We’re doing a hog roast and having shredded chicken sandwiches (for the kids and guests that don’t eat pork) plus all the sides. We’re getting everything but the hog at GFS for about $800 (sides, buns, plates, cups, napkins, everything). The hog will run about $300, and a friend is roasting it for us as our wedding gift. $1100 for 240 guests turns out to $4.58 per person. Can’t get that price per person from ANY caterer (unless that caterer is like your brother or something…lol).

-If it’s an option, consider silk flowers. Obviously alot cheaper than real. If silks aren’t an option, consider at least assembling the bouquets yourself. Florists really don’t charge all that much for just the flowers, it’s the arranging that starts to rack up.

-Shop around for your cake. The popular baker in your town is going to charge about twice what the lady who does it on the side will. (Trust me on this one…the big baker in my town charges $3 a serving. I found someone who just does it on the side who is only charging me $1.25.

-Reception sites- check your local parks. They might have a hall or something that is fairly cheap to rent. Also, check smaller towns near you. My wedding is in a bigger town, but the reception will be in a small town about 10 minutes away. Can handle it, because the hall in the small town is only $250 with a $100 deposit. In the bigger town, the cheapest hall is $500 with a $250 deposit. Tough call.

-DJ- If you can swing one great, but if not, how about an Ipod reception? I’m not doing it, but that’s just because the DJ I’m hiring is a friend of my FH. If you or your FH don’t already own an Ipod, borrow one, load it with the songs, and go from there.


mrs March 22, 2012 at 9:39 am


i’m doing lots myself. i made my own engagment party invitations from cardstock, which is the same as i’ll do for my announcements. i’m having a destination wedding, so my wedding planner in jamaica is doing pretty much anything, but here are some ideas to help you:
- email me if you want the instructions for the invites
- centerpieces: glass vases and fake flowers from walmart (they look real and you can re-use them after the wedding)
- have a friend/family member that’s good at baking/cooking/photography to do these things for your wedding as your gift
- honeymoon – check out bridal shows in your area. if you attend a 45 minute presentation they’ll give you a voucher for a 2-3 night stay at an all-inclusive resort. i got 2 of them and didn’t have to buy anything.
- dress – check out sale racks at department stores. i found mine on the sale rack at dillards. i didn’t like any of the traditaional dresses that are usually found at davids bridal, so i started looking elsewhere. it was only $40 b/c the zipper is broken. it’s only going to cost $20 to fix and it’s georgous!
- cake – grocery stores make cakes that are just as beautiful (and tastes better, in my opinion) than those overpriced ones at bakeries. they’re usually a fourth of the price, too!

congrats and good luck! (hope i helped)


Jessica March 22, 2012 at 5:11 pm

We saved heaps at our wedding by doing all the decorating of the reception venue (my Moms!) ourselves. I bought a load of pretty floaty fabric from http://www.partyfabrics.com and draped it all through the garden, then used it as table runners, and for decorating the chairs too. It was a really nice way to tie the whole look together.


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