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12 Budget Wedding Tips for the Thrifty Bride

Updated on December 16, 2011

Have a Classy Rustic Wedding


Smart Preparation for the Happily Ever After

Weddings are expensive. This is a no-brainer to just about everyone. If you want to get married you better be prepared to spend money unless you want to elope and stand before the justice of the peace in a courthouse. There is nothing wrong with elopement, and in fact in today's economy many more couples are choosing this price-conscious option instead of having a fancy wedding. But for the average bride who wants to have a big party to celebrate her day of marriage to her hubby, the price tag is going to be hefty.

Here are some ideas for ways to cut back spending in certain areas. You may decide to pick and choose, by spending more in one area and less in another. But nevertheless, these are thrifty tips to consider so you can have a fun, memorable wedding without having to go into credit card debt and live in misery after the honeymoon.

1. Consider a Destination Wedding

What's so great about destination weddings? You can say your vows and honeymoon all in one place, without having the stress of planning. Most destination wedding sites have planners who work through every detail -- arranging all the vendors so that you don't have to. They put together a package so you know exactly what you will be getting and for what price. A destination wedding forces you to put your trust in a wedding coordinator who might be in another country or at least far enough away that you will not be able to micromanage. This is a scary thought for some of the more, controlling types, but if you keep things in perspective and stay focused on the celebration of your marriage, you are bound to have a wonderful wedding, in a beautiful location, and at a lower cost than the traditional wedding.

2. Be Flexible with Bridesmaids!

Bridesmaids come in many different personalities, ages, styles, shapes, sizes, and FICO scores. As a thrifty bride, you should look for bridesmaids dresses in places that you wouldn't expect to find them. Instead of a prestigious bridal shop, try a fashion retail store or department store that sells evening wear. You would be surprised at how many beautiful dresses there are out there. Who cares if your bridesmaids have the same dress styles as someone else?

Checkout some of the cute ideas at Macy's!

3. Flowers

DIY Flowers are a great way to save money on the wedding. Whether you choose to go with real or fake flowers -- you can have beautiful arrangements without spending money on hiring a florist. I dressed up as a FedEx mail-order bride for Halloween and to my astonishment, I was able to find fresh flowers (white roses and white lilies) at my local grocery store for $12.99. I made it into a bouquet and everyone thought they were from a florist shop and cost me much, much more.

Check out these other great sources for DIY flowers:




4. Music

Ever consider having your own playlist from your iPod? Who needs a wedding commentator anyway? Why not take the stress off and let people have fun, enjoy their food, and dance to the music you've picked out. You can rent speakers and a microphone at a rather cheap price -- much lower price than paying a DJ to play for hours.

5. Photography

I went to Boston University with college kids studying graphic design and fine arts. Their personal photography blogs are electrifying and purely stunning, and many of them are still students (now in grad school). Post an ad on craigslist, a photography facebook group, or your local university and you are bound to find someone incredibly talented interested in getting the experience. Avoid posting a newspaper ad...Keep in mind that you are targeting 21st century college kids. Be sure to ask for sample photos or to see their blog first before booking them.

6. Location

You can find the best deals by finding a place that does not usually have weddings. This is KEY. This is also a great way to get creative with your style of wedding. Look for historic buildings in your area that have old-fashioned charm and beauty. Some historical societies will be willing to make an arrangement with you if you provide a donation to their non-profit preservation group. If you're thinking about a more rustic location, look for barns, vineyards, state parks, or campgrounds near you as possible wedding sites.

Check out what this blogger did for her wedding. She is my biggest inspiration -- $5000 Budget Wedding

7. Dress

If you plan on cutting back the budget for the wedding dress, consider purchasing a pre-owned wedding dress. Unless you are highly ambitious and have had lots of experience dress-making, I would highly advise not to attempt making your own gown. Pre-owned wedding dresses can also be altered and you can find reputable sites that sell beautiful, quality, "like new" gowns you can order right from home:

8. Beauty

Remember to keep things in perspective. Do you really need your makeup done by a professional? Even if you have no experience doing make up at all, you can practice applying make up for the big day or have a beauty-expert friend apply it for you.

Consider a simple but elegant hairstyle that is easy for you to do yourself or easy for a friend to do for you. You may not have an extravagant updo of curls, but you can still have a beautiful look on your day while doing it yourself. Make sure to practice a few times before!

Take a look at this bridal makeup tutorial video:

9. Cake

Ever heard of "fake the cake"? The cake sits in the reception area and you might glance it when you walk in, but you probably aren't oohing and ahhing over it the rest of the evening, and neither are your guests. It sits in the corner until you cut the cake and a few photos are snapped - then you never see it again. So why spend hundreds or thousands on a cake that is just going to be in a few pictures and then sliced up and never seen again? Consider renting a fake cake or making your own fake cake - so you get the glamour for your photos but have a practical, delicious sheet cake prepared that gets sliced and served to your guests.

Want to really fool your guests? Have 1 large round real cake as the bottom tier, and attach 3 smaller tiers made out of light-weight foam (and decorated to look just like the real thing). Then when the cake is wheeled away, your kitchen staff will cut up the sheet cake hiding in the back. That way you can still have a real cake-cutting but without a real cake cost.

10. Invitations

If you have good handwriting and the skill of arts & crafting, making invitations will be a perfect way for you to save money. Scrap the idea of "save the date" cards if you are really in a budget pinch and email your guests instead. A stack of embellished cardstock at JoAnn's Fabric cost $19.99 and can make about 35 invitations. I'll show you how to do this in another hub.

11. Party Favors

If you're on a tight budget, party favors are an extra expense that you just don't need. Consider tossing out the idea of party favors all together.

But, if you have your heart set on giving out something to your guests, check out some ideas from this site. They offer great prices and easy things to order:

12. Veil, Shoes, & Accessories

Ok let's remember, it's only one day. Do you really need a $400 wedding veil? Is anyone really going to be looking closely at your feet? Is an embroidered, lace aisle runner necessary? Another great way to cut costs is to consider a less expensive veil or a pre-owned veil. It also isn't too difficult to make your veil. You should also consider purchasing shoes from a regular retail store like DSW or Payless Shoes. Who is really going to see your shoes or care?

It IS possible to save money and keep within your budget for your wedding. Yes, weddings are certainly expensive, but these are all ways that you can keep it beautiful without killing your wallet.


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      Danisa Flowers 4 years ago

      I agree with 4 and 5,those need not be expensive so yeah I would take on that tip and suggest it to friends and clients. Flowers however are another story, these need to be handled by professional. visit our site for more info.