Every wedding is a once in a lifetime event for couples. But that doesn’t mean that one has to spend lavishly on his/her wedding. In fact, it is not necessary, even if the budget is a constraint one can still host a big grand wedding on a small budget.
Here are 30 tips to have a big grand wedding on a small budget, you may thank me later ☺ ☺
1. Scale down your guest list
First things first, scale down your guests list, list down only who are very close and dear to you. No matter how tempted you are to invite everyone you know, because that’s not going to help. Remember, with each addition in your guest list, you will add to additional costs, thereby making your wedding less intimate.
Some people end up spending a lot of money at their wedding because they usually don’t scale down their guest list, which is a huge trap. You don’t have to call your cousin who you do not speak with for the past four years, or a friend who invited you five years back, or your new office colleagues, or anybody who you are not close to. You don’t have to feel obliged at your wedding!
So, save as much as you can by inviting fewer people and making the event more intimate. Make your list with your partner first. Start by cutting your list down by 20%, then another 20%.
2. Host your wedding at home, or hometown
Hosting a destination wedding on a small budget will be a task because you will have to see your guests travel, accommodation, and food for all the days. However, hosting a wedding at home or home town will help you save on your wedding budget. If your house is big enough, that your guests can be accommodated there for the ceremonies and reception, then consider hosting your wedding at home. Hosting a wedding at home will help you save on money, which you would otherwise pay as rent. Or if your house is not big enough then you can consider a public park with a beautiful view.
In each case, you can have your wedding outdoors, creating a picturesque, memorable ceremony while doing away with the cost of renting a venue. But, while planning a wedding outdoors, make sure you arrange for fans for your outdoor wedding in summers or a tent in case it rains, or heaters in winters.
3. Planning is the key
When you’re planning to have a wedding on a small budget, it’s important to plan accordingly, as planning is the key. Make a list of things that you want to have on your wedding, set your budget beforehand, and then walk through all the items step by step.
The earlier the better, it is crucial that you start your wedding planning early. This way you will not only avoid last minute stress, but also you will get more time to research ideas for making the whole event grand in small budget.
4. Skip the wedding planner
Though wedding planners can help you have a stress-free wedding, but they come with a cost. Wedding planners are a great help but these professionals cost you a great deal. Hence, it is always good to take care of things on your own or you can also have your sibling or cousin coordinating with you in your wedding related tasks. Recruits someone who you trust and you know that he/she can handle things better at your wedding.
5. Do the catering yourself
If yours is a very intimate wedding then doing catering by yourself won’t be tough. Take your aunt Anita’s help at your wedding, who is a wonderful cook, or you can hire a family owned restaurant to cater your wedding. These family owned restaurants are food to go with, they always try to go the extra mile to make your wedding extra special and are usually more understanding of your particular budget needs.
6. DIY the décor
Wedding decorations are also costly affair, and to minimize the cost you along with your girl squad can DIY the decors for your wedding. Believe you me, it not only helps you save a great deal, but also the DIY décor looks brilliant at any wedding. For instance, the table numbers which you will assign should go with the theme, venue, décor, and ambience. You can DIY table numbers using floral vase or empty beer bottles or some other decorating piece to make it look a bit unique and save money.
7. Go minimal with the flower
Instead of spending a huge amount of money on flowers, keep it simple but elegant. For instance, you can have a single rose for each bridesmaid and a very small bouquet for the bride. Bouquets are very costly, if you wish, you can make your bouquet by yourself just a day before the ceremony.
8. Go minimal with décor
Another area where a lot of money is used at the wedding is – wedding venue décor. Instead of spending lavishly on wedding décor that will surely go waste later, you can have an elegant décor at your wedding. DIY is trending, and you can also make some beautiful décor items to use at your wedding. Also, if you’re planning a night wedding reception outdoors, then you can make great use of lighting and paper lanterns to make the venue look beautiful and classy.
9. Use your own crockery
Instead of renting crockery for your wedding, you can use your own home crockery and save a great deal on it. Say, yours is an intimate wedding celebration with just 30 – 50 people, usually we have crockery at our households that we use only occasionally, the same crockery can be used at your wedding as well.
10. Cut cost in unnecessary things
Your wedding is a once in a lifetime event, yeah… that’s absolutely okay. Quite often just out of excitement couples especially brides spend too much money on things which they might not even use later. Just because she saw her friend buying on her wedding, she felt like buying it too, such shopping is of no use. You may regret buying it later, it’s better to make a list of items which you necessarily require for your wedding and cut-cost in buying not so necessary items. And this way you will be able to save a great deal.
11. Skip the gifts for the bride’s and groom’s squad
It is not at all important to give gifts to the groomsmen and bridesmaids. Instead of buying gifts for them, which they may not necessarily enjoy, you can write them a special “thank you note” to convey your feelings and gratitude for they being so supportive at your wedding. Your friends will understand that you are having a wedding on a small budget.
12. Send E-vites
Instead of going traditional ways to send invites to your guests, you can even choose to send e-vites. Electronic invitations are in trend, and why not when everybody is becoming tech savvy these days. Instead of spending money on printed invites, you can create beautiful invitations online, that too on a free app. You can even personalize your invites as you want, you can have a picture of you two or maybe a great poetry to help people know your bond with your partner. Send these invites over mail, whatsapp, and other media.
13. Hire a freelance photographer
Wedding photography is again a costly affair, these professional photographers charge heavy money for one day event. So, it is better you hire a freelance photographer, there are many portals such as fiverr, where you can hire a freelance photographer. Before you hire a photographer for your wedding, make sure you see his/her prior work so that there are no surprises later. Also, it is good to take quotations from at least 4 to 5 freelancers.
Or if you have a great friend who is a passionate photographer as well, ask him to do the needful at your wedding. Or if you feel a professional wedding photographer is needed for your wedding, then hire the person for the main event and on an hourly basis. And let your passionate photographer friend handle the small events at your wedding.
Or another way is to contact a local university. If there’s an art school or photography program in some college of your city, you can see if there are any talented students or recent grads who are willing to photograph your wedding at a discounted rates for the portfolio-building experience and exposure they’d receive.
14. Buy wedding dresses on sale
If you want to save on bridesmaid dresses, instead of ordering custom dresses, you can scour a few stores with dresses on sale and see if you can find something “off the rack” for all. Or else you can ask your bridesmaids to wear a particular color dress which is common with all.
For a bridal dress, do not just buy your dress from the first store you hit, instead explore a bit more, just check four to five stores, check on prices, see if any scheme or discount is coming in the near future, etc. And accordingly you can buy your wedding dress and save.
15. Get your wedding dress sponsored/funded
It might sound bizarre to you but there is no harm in getting your wedding dress funded, how you ask….. Like other couple you also must be having a list of close relatives, some of them will be really close ones like your paternal and maternal uncles, they must have decided some amount to buy a gift for your wedding, instead going for some gift, ask them to fund or sponsor your wedding dress which you will never forget. Whenever you will see your dress you will always remember that uncle has gifted you your wedding attire. Often, household items which close relative generally give on wedding are of not much use so it’s good to go for this option.
16. Search locally – for live music or concerts
If you are planning live musical accompaniment for your wedding reception, the only place to look for lower-cost musicians is your local university’s music department. Because there you may find student’s band who perform for a low cost. You can simply contact them and ask if there are any students who are available to provide music for your wedding. It will help them develop their resume and save you on one of the priciest parts of your wedding.
17. Borrow stereo equipment or use your own
Wedding without music and dance seems incomplete, but at the same time the truth is – DJs are costly too. So, instead of hiring a DJ, you can use your own home stereo equipment, or you can borrow equipment from a friend. All you have to do is put speakers around the dance floor area, create a playlist on your iPod in advance with all your favorite party songs, or you can ask your girl or boy squad to make a playlist for you. And just enjoy the party!!
18. Look for décor in budget
You can buy centerpieces and decorations on sale from a store or you can have used centerpieces and decorations for your wedding. More often than not, recent brides sell their decorations on sites, you can buy them for your wedding and save a great deal by going that route.
19. Choose affordable wedding rings/bands
Of course, your wedding bands are an important part of the wedding ceremony, they symbolize your commitment to each other. But that doesn’t at all mean that they have to be costly.
A typical 14-karat wedding band you around $1,000, but when you are planning a wedding on a small budget, this is the major area to cut your cost on. Instead of buying an expensive material wedding band or ring, you can also choose a ring made of titanium, sterling silver, or other materials that are less expensive, durable, and can be personalized for even deeper meaning.
20. Wedding reception delicacies
When it comes to the food items, there are a few options you can choose from. You don’t necessarily need to have a lot of items in your wedding menu, instead you can keep your menu limited but make sure the items you add are all great. Remember that most of your guests will come for the sumptuous meal only. If there is something special about your city or town, then you can consider adding the local delicacies of the place, it will simply add to your wedding.
21. Desserts at wedding
There are many bakeries that can help you create an out of the world wedding cake, that too in your budget. If you want, you can chuck pricey tiered cakes altogether and instead, serve desserts like brownies, macarons, donuts, lemon squares, and S’mores. You can ask your bakery to provide you a variety of their most popular or favorite treats to be placed on your very own dessert table in place of tiered cake.
22. Stock the bar yourself
When it comes to wedding expenses, alcohol at the wedding is a big expense. But at the same time it is big variable you can play around with to cut costs. Instead of going for a full open bar at the wedding, you can just offer beer and wine, or a free cocktail hour followed by a cash bar.
Moreover, if you’re hosting your wedding at a hall, ask beforehand if you can supply your own alcohol instead of using their, which can be a big money-saver. Also, while arranging for alcohol, you can probably look for a discount liquor store in your area, and stock up at least the basics, such as red and white wine and a different types of beer at the very least. And, if you’re planning a full bar, pick up the standard liquors like gin, rum, vodka, and whiskey, plus a few mixers and soft drinks like sodas and juices.
Pro tip: Buy a keg of beer instead of cases, it’s more cost-effective.
23. Ask the ladies’ auxiliary for help
If you’re getting married in your own church then you can ask the ladies’ auxiliary for help. Most churches have a women’s organization, which can help you with wedding preparation in exchange for a small donation. You can get them involved, like this you can get a lot of worry off your shoulders for a relatively low price.
24. Rent tuxedos or simply wear matching suits
Tuxedos are again costly part of any wedding. If you don’t have any specific reason for owning a tuxedo, you can consider renting one. Or if you’re not planning a tuxedo at your wedding, then you can have all of your groomsmen wear a black suit (which usually people have) or other matching formalwear at your wedding.
25. Take help from friends or family in the preparations
While planning your wedding on a small budget it is crucial to take help or get your close friends or family members involved in the process. You never know, they may have great ideas to help you with your wedding planning on a small budget.
For instance, your cousin who got married last year, can help you with a vendor reference who can give you discounted rates, or maybe she can help you with a dress for your bachelorette, which none of your friends have seen. So, for a great wedding it’s good to take ideas and help from your close people.
26. Avoid using word – WEDDING while hiring your vendors
You may probably get something for a lower price, but the moment you use ‘w-word’ things become automatically expensive. Wedding vendors such as caterers, florists, bakeries, photographers, and musicians sometimes mark up their services for the word wedding. So, while shopping and planning, try to get straightforward quotes for the services you need for your wedding but without mentioning the wedding part at first. For instance, for a wedding cake you don’t need to use word wedding, just a cake for 100 people, it can be for a corporate event.
So, likewise you can get quotations for the services that you need for your wedding, accordingly you can hire vendors. Before signing a vendor contract, you’ll need to tell about your wedding, but by that time you will have some leverage to negotiate.
27. Ask for wedding help in place of wedding gifts
Instead of taking wedding gifts you can consider asking your wedding guests for help at your wedding. For instance, your passionate photographer friend can take care of your wedding or pre-wedding photography, your friend with musical talent can provide musical accompaniment for your ceremony. Likewise, asking family and friends to offer support or services that align with their talents in lieu of a wedding gift is a great way to have your wedding on a small budget.
28. Plan a delayed honeymoon
Honeymoon is the time that every couple await with excitement and joy 😉. The first thing they want to do just after their wedding is honeymoon in some far away land. A dream destination is chosen, tickets are bought, bags are packed, hotel bookings, and all the other preparations are done beforehand to have a great honeymoon. This is one side of the story, and the other side of the story is – honeymoon demands time and money. If both are a problem just after your wedding, then it is recommended to delay your honeymoon.
Delaying your honeymoon gives you an opportunity to save up for the trip of your dreams. As your wedding is already a pricey affair and spending on honeymoon just after your wedding can bring financial crunch. You need to have some breathing space after your wedding. So delaying your honeymoon and saving for it let you have that space.
29. Plan a “mini-moon” in place of honeymoon
If having a honeymoon is so important immediately after your wedding, then you can take a “mini moon” for a couple of days to a destination that’s less costly. And plan a much longer, more elaborate and expensive honeymoon maybe after 6 months or on your first anniversary. It is up to you. Mini-moon is a great option to unwind after those hectic weeks leading up to your wedding, and savoring some time alone with your new spouse.
Pro Tip: If you’re planning a distant honeymoon, then try paying for most of your wedding expenses with your credit card that offers great travel rewards or a sign-up bonus that could help cover the cost of your flight. Or you can also have a honeymoon gift registry so that you can use that for your honeymoon travel expenses.
Well, I would finally want to say that your wedding is a once in a lifetime event, do what all you can do to make it a great event, but do not take any stress in the process. Sometimes things happen your way and sometimes they don’t, it’s okay whether your way or not your way!! Acceptance is a key to a great and successful wedding and wonderful life. So enjoy every bit!!
Wedding on a small budget is possible if you go by this list, and if you too have options for a wedding on a small budget (of course, different from the ones mentioned above) please do share with us, we would be happy to incorporate them in the list.