8 Tips How We Kept Our Wedding Costs Under $5000

Congratulations! You’re getting married! I’m going to ask you a question and it’s not “when is the date?”

The question I’m wondering is: now how in the world are you going to pay for it?

Well, if you’re like us, lots of planning will be in order. From the moment Ethan asked me to marry him, we knew we were going to be footing the bill for our wedding. We were both making barely above minimum wage and decided to get married in 5 months.

We were crazy, but we were determined.

Since we already had school debt, we really didn’t want to start our marriage off with an additional wedding loan. If you’re in the same boat, find out how we’ve paid off that student loan, along with our cars, and credit cards all before schedule!

Needless to say, a tight wedding budget was in order.

After much running of numbers and comparing of costs, we were able to budget for wedding costs under $5000!

We’ve provided the tips that made our wonderful wedding day possible in hopes that you’ll be able to achieve all your wedding dreams without any financial guilt as well!

1| Commission friends and family for help


This point is number one for a reason. If you only take away one tip, I want it to be this one: commission your friends and family for their talents!

We all have those artsy people in our lives. I challenge you to find them and ask for their help on your special day.

So many of our friends either discounted or gifted us their products or services, especially since they knew our financial circumstances. Things like our photography, cake, lunch, alterations, makeup skills, etc. were taken care of by the people we love.

Some opted for this to be their gift to us and we couldn’t have been happier! If anything it made their gift even MORE special since they were now involved in our wedding instead of just attending.

(I’m not typically one for mushiness, but I got a little sappy thinking back on how loved we are and how much help we received. I promise it’ll make a lasting impact on you).



2| Prioritize what is most important to you


Prioritize, prioritize, prioritize.

Really it comes down to what is most important and has to be PERFECT, and what makes you say “meh, good enough” (there WILL be those things, believe me).

There are countless “Budget for Your Wedding” planners you will come across, saying you must spend so much percentage of your budget on your dress, so much on the flowers, yada, yada.

Instead, write out a list of what is most important to least important to both of you. Does the location have to look like a fairytale story? Put it towards the top. Don’t really care what the cake looks like as long as it tastes good? Down to the bottom it goes.

From there decide how much of your budget you would like to spend on those things. This ensures money is spent where it will make YOU happy.



3| Plan for a non-traditional day or time


There are definitely perks of having a sister who works at a wedding venue, especially when she gave me this tip early on.

Planning a wedding outside Friday or Saturday evening could save you money!

Since we were open to having our wedding in the late morning, we received major discounted pricing at our venue of choice (being as they could still book an event for that evening).

If it’s an option or you, this simple adjustment has the potential to open up a couple hundred dollars in your wedding budget.



4| Look on Etsy or other sites for dresses


Shopping online for an important dress can seem a bit daunting at first. I mean there are reasons why we have entire shows about trying on dresses and saying “Yes” to it.

But, there are options to getting around dress gallery prices and avoiding guessing on a style online.

First I tried on dresses at a gallery and found my style. Then, I shopped on Etsy for that style. That’s it, simple enough. I was able to find a unique dress I loved for only $300 tailored specifically for me. Nowhere would I find that price in a shop.



5| Purchase flowers online and make your own bouquets


Flowers are fleeting… and why do they cost so much for something we know is going to die. I’ve seen many ways people try to get around this: fake flower arrangements, brooch bouquets, foregoing them altogether.

But what if you really want a flower bouquet?

Back to that online thing… the Internet now empowers us to do things we never would have thought about attempting (and at a much lower price since you’ll be doing the labor and cutting out middle-men). Watching YouTube videos is like taking a floral arranging class right in your living room.

Then, we searched several wholesale flower sites and took a quick trip to our local hobby store for floral wire and tape… Bada-bing, this landed us with 4 bouquets, 9 corsages, and the extras for decorations all at $200.

If you’re worried about not being crafty enough to tackle this one, ask a crafty friend for help.



6| Print your own invitations or go digital


Save-the-dates, invitations, RSVPs, thank yous.

Individually these might not be “expensive,” but depending on your guest list and paper quality you could be looking at a nice chunk out of your budget.

So many friends passed along their success with making their own invitations that printing them ourselves was a pretty easy decision. For those looking for an even greener option, digital invitations have been increasing in popularity as well!

We purchased a digital download for $5, which included all 4 mailers mentioned above matching our theme. Since grey was among our color scheme, we were also able to cut costs and keep the ink as grey-scale and use that money we saved on ink to purchase a higher-quality paper.

They turned out beautiful and exactly how we imagined them!



7| Determine who needs to be fed on your day


Remember that sister from number 3? She often sees events spend thousands alone on food (sometimes $10,000+, yikes)!

Seeing how we could easily eat up our ENTIRE budget on food (pun intended), we put on our thinking caps.

To solve this problem we really zoned in on who would NEED food, and who would be okay with snacks. It helped that we chose to have close friends and family for the ceremony and a larger reception. Therefore, the small group from the ceremony and wedding party were the only ones needing to be fed.

However, we didn’t want a “hangry” horde on our hands, so we offered light snacks to the reception crowd. To be even thriftier, the snacks doubled as party favors with a rustic make-your-own trail mix bar.



8| Choose a Honeymoon destination during the off-season


Traveling can be tricky to get a stellar deal on. And honeymoons are no exception.

Look for deals on travel packages offered from sites like Groupon. And think about places that aren’t in high demand around your wedding day.

By missing the prime season by ONE DAY, we were able to get $100/night discounted from our hotel room at a 4-star resort while not missing out on any of the fun and activities!



Tie it off with a pretty little bow


Ultimately, I know your wedding will be everything you want it to be because you’re spending it with your life-long best friend! Share what tips helped you to make your wedding day possible.

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