Planning a Wedding on a Budget?

by DIY wedding planner on April 6, 2012

I am setting a budget between 2-3k for our wedding. I am estimating between 100-150 guests. I am trying to come up with a budget for food. The food will be prepared by family, which will be free, I just have to buy the food. I am trying to get an idea of what i am looking at. I am looking at serving something like, Ham or Chicken, rice/gravy, green beans, etc…. just you’re average Sunday dinner type meal. Also any other DIY ideas would be helpful to stay under budget. Thanks in advance.
We won’t have to pay for a pastor or church use, just a venue and that may be at no cost to us as well.
Decorations will be done my best friend’s mom. She is real crafty and wont charge anything. I’ll just have to pay for the items. Plus, she has a bunch of stuff that she did for her daughter, but they ended up not having a wedding, just a small ceremony, so she has all of that stuff she made and didn’t even use, so I may end up getting that. that would cut costs down significantly.

{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

ms. contrary70 April 6, 2012 at 5:40 am

I’m planning mine on about 2k and am serving at least 4 different types of sandwiches, chips, and drinks.

Also, silk flowers are always cheaper than real flowers and Garden Ridge, Michael’s, or Hobby Lobby has those.

Plus, either will be the cheapest place to get invitations or see if Michael’s has some on clearance; that’s where I just bought mine for 100 @ $10 instead of the original $80.


Shhh .. its a secret. April 6, 2012 at 6:35 am

We stayed on a tight budget too. Chicken’s easier on the wallet. I would serve chicken with rice, a vege, salad, roll and dessert.
I would get a membership to shop at a warehouse place for good prices. Something like Sam’s Club.
Remember that 5 years from now (if not before that) people aren’t going to remember what you served, they’ll remember how they were able to share the most beautiful night of your life with you! Congrats and good luck, I am sure the food will be great!


Juicy Fruit April 6, 2012 at 6:52 am

To save money, visit the website Lots of neat ideas there.

At my wedding, we also hired a videographer who was just getting her business off the ground. She did a fantastic job of filming our whole wedding- totally free, providing she was allowed to use the footage for a promo for her company. Perhaps look around for similar things in other areas?

In terms of price, I think Chicken bought at a costco or whatnot would be the cheapest. Rice is super cheap. Potatoes aren’t bad either this time of the year. maybe have a buffet style with a bunch of different dishes? Pasta is also another super cheap option. I think if you used paper plates/cutlery and had a free venue (relatives home, outside park area, etc) you could do it. Otherwise I don’t think your budget is big enough for that many people to eat (+ dress, + everything else).

Perhaps move the time of the ceremony/reception so that you only need to provide appetizers/dessert style reception (ie, around 2-3 pm)? This would cut your costs quite a bit I think.


Yes, it's true April 6, 2012 at 7:28 am

Can I be honest? Slash your guest list and have a smaller proper wedding. This will help you stay under budget.

Splurge on photos (it’s how you’ll remember your wedding).
Instead of an open bar, offer beer, two wines (white & red), and a signature drink (Molly & Dave’s Mojitos).
Wear a simple dress and have hubby wear a suit with a new tie rather than renting a tux.
Use simple flowers from Costco or a grocery store. No need for elaborate centerpieces and huge displays.
Hire a basic DJ instead of a band.
There are much nicer DIY invite kits than there used to be, but you can still buy them for less hassle and often cheaper. Do your homework on the Internet before automatically assuming that DIY is cheaper.

Always remember that Elegance is simplicity done right.

If you are set on doing the Mom’s Special for your reception, Costco is a great place to shop for food.


Shaina April 6, 2012 at 7:34 am

If you do need to order decorations or favors, check out Oriental Trading Co. They have great stuff that I used. Some of it I added to or personalized. The floor cling from there is $15, it was one of the most talked about items at my wedding. I also purchased the card holder form there then painted and decorated it myself.

Invitations can take up a huge part of the budget. Finding someone who can design them for you and printing on a kit is the cheapest way to go.
If not, ordering from an inexpensive company is possible, just check their work and references first. If you need help, visit my site at or visit, there are many design artists like myself on there!


Janine J April 6, 2012 at 8:27 am

I would say definitely consider buying food from places that sell in bulk. This will cut costs dramatically! Try to do the same with decorations.

Look online for deals too. Consider going to discount store for table cloths or dishware. Get some books from craft stores too for different ideas.


Cammie April 6, 2012 at 8:47 am

Don’t have any attendants. I didn’t.My wedding was very simple.
On the invitation we wrote please join us for cake and champagne after the wedding.That’s what’s we served.It was after dinner and at sunset.
We had about a dozen close friends.
We met and treated them to dinner the next evening.The third day we went on a long weekend honeymoon.
You do not need favors. Make sure to hand write ty cards.
Lose the huge guest list.
Make it small and simple and really treat your guests to a nice day.
Make sure you have friends and family to do the serving , set up and clean up.
It would be in poor taste to to it yourself.
At your current price range with 100-150 guests you are looking at about $20 per person.That won’t work.Some thing has to give.


Elana April 6, 2012 at 9:44 am

Hi Lex,

This is a great service for planning your dream wedding on a budget:



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