How to have a beautiful wedding for under $5,000!

Jennifer Leigh DiMarco

Sunday, August 09, 2015

Attention everyone!  Watch us get married and spend all of our savings AND go into debt in one day!  That's one way to announce your impending wedding date!  As a fellow Bride-to-be and a Wedding Planner I know that it is absolutely possible to have a wonderful wedding day on a budget!  The most important thing is to make a list of the must haves and the extras can come along if there is money left over after taking care of your Wedding Day Priorities.  As a Wedding Planner, the following are my tips for creating your ideal ceremony on YOUR budget!

  •  Limit your wedding party and guest list.
    Start by only having 2-3 people each in your wedding party. I know this can be a little difficult, especially for the bride, but its really unnecessary to have all of your girlfriends up there with you while you are saying your vows. It should be enough to have them there in your wedding audience. It cuts down on gift costs, flowers, and a lot more. You also do not need every friend, acquaintance, and work colleague present on your special day. Limit your guest list to a few close friends, immediate family, and a small allowance for special guests. You can send an online wedding announcement to everyone else you would have liked to include with a few photos from the event. Remember, people understand weddings are costly, and will appreciate just being thought about when you send your announcement.
  • Choose an inexpensive wedding venue.
    So I know the dream is to be married in a crazy romantic setting, but you don’t need to put down all of your money to achieve something classy and elegant. If you have a family member or friend who has large property, or even a really big backyard, ask them if you could have the wedding at their place.  If this isn't an option, there are always local parks and beaches that offer rental areas inexpensively. There’s also a lot of people out there who have gorgeous properties just outside the city that are available for rent. You can rent it out for a few hundred dollars for the entire week/weekend, and spend your honeymoon there as well. A lot of them are on the edge of a gorgeous lake. It’ll have that ‘gone away’ feeling without breaking your bank with travel costs and whatnot. You can always decorate your backyard, rented cottage, or park area yourself to make it really special as well.

    There are tons of artists out there who offer all kinds of DIY ideas for weddings and other kinds of elaborate parties. Do a search on Google or Pintrest, Youtube as well, and save your favorites. A lot of people offer step by step instructions, and a lot of times these romantic and beautiful settings can be created from stuff you can find in your kitchen! Recruit your family to help you with the work. It will offer great bonding time and keep costs at a low.

  • Choose the least busy time and date!
    I know a lot of brides want to get married in the summer, but I beg you to stop and think about it. Choose a time of year that is a little cooler. I always suggest March-May or September-November. It will allow you to have the bulk of your ceremony and reception outdoors and cut down on venue costs and refreshments. You don’t need to have your wedding on a Saturday or Sunday either. Choose to book your wedding on a weekday when its usually cheaper to book your desired venue.

  • I want to stress this part more-so than any other. When someone mentions the word ‘used’, do not picture dirty smelly items with hidden stains and bad quality! Of course you have to weed through the good and the bad butmany people offer really great quality lightly used products on websites like craigslist, and! The very first wedding I ever booked was created completely from the popular website She paid under $5000 simply by going around booking vendors and props that are gently used. 

  • DIY Heaven! Recruit family members!
    So the newest artistic trend going around these daysare DIY projects. A DIY wedding is great for brides planning their own wedding. Everything from decorations, invitations, and even the food can be done yourself. As I mentioned above, there’s tons of artists out there who offer step by step instructions on how to create the most elegant crafts for weddings and larger styled parties. Remember; the more time and effort you put into your crafts, the better they’ll look. Start planning your wedding early enough to do everything yourself. Recruit your family and friends to help you when you decide on what you want to create.

  • A lot of vendors appreciate the chance to be at your wedding simply for the chance to advertise to your guests. So why don’t you do both yourself and your chosen vendors a favor by fine tuning a little deal? Offer to hand out ‘vendor cards’ to each guest at the ceremony/reception in exchange for a discount. Make a list of everyone involved (photographer, catering, DJ, etc…) on an elegantly decorated card with contact information to each. It keeps the vendors happy and might get you a discount!  Hire friends who have a talent in an area that serves your wedding! If this is not an option, hire people who are at the beginning stages of planning their business, they will offer great rates and provide you with surprising results!

  • Bring down your cost per plate.
    Although the timeline for a wedding day is usually the same from person to person, it doesn’t have to be. Why don’t you have a wedding brunch with coffee/tea and sandwiches before the ceremony instead of a dinner? You can all head to the ceremony together, then have your guests head home for a small break before a larger party later on at your place or your selected rental property.
    If a big reception with food and drink is an absolute must for you, why not have a buffet styled dinner? Recruit your family to make large amounts of food that you decide on beforehand. You can buy bulk levels of food at places like Costco and really bring down the cost per plate. Here’s a little tip; make casserole dishes like sheppard’s pie, different kinds of pasta, bbq, etc!  Don’t forget to offer ‘fillers’ like bread, salad, and fruits! This is a cost effective way to reduce the strain on your main courses! Worried about the price of alcohol?  Serve one signature drink and a select amount of bottles of your favorite wine or host a BYOB reception!  It's your day!

As a Bride-to-be and Wedding Planner I would love to hear how you plan on saving money on your wedding day.   Already married?  Share with us how you saved money and if there are any corners you cut that you wish you hadn't!