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Cheap DIY Wedding: Keeping Costs Down

Updated on September 11, 2014

Dream Weddings on a Budget

I wouldn't say that it's every person's dream to have a cheap diy wedding; people prefer to fantasize about white dresses and endless flowers instead of carefully counting dollars and cents.

Still, reality being what it is, many of us simply can't afford to throw huge lavish weddings. And being up to your eyeballs in debt is certainly no way to start off a strong union. The great thing is, you don't have to spend thousands of dollars to have a memorable ceremony and reception that will be a pleasure to all who attend.

Cost Saving Idea #1: Grow Your Own Flowers

For a Lush and Wonderful Harvest

If you're at all into gardening, and you have some extra space (or you know someone who is/does), it's not a bad idea to consider growing at least some of the flowers for your wedding. Flowers can be a big part of wedding expenses, especially if you want specialty flowers or to purchase flowers in large quantities.

How do I know this is a good idea? Well, my mom and I grew some of the flowers for my sister's wedding decorations (find out more here).

Image credit: Emma Larkins

Cost Saving Idea #3: Pick Your Venue Wisely

A wedding venue is likely to be one of the most expensive items in your budget. Luckily, there are many places that are free (such as your own backyard) or low cost (such as parks and community centers).

Cost Saving Idea #4: Limit the Number of Guests - Invite Only People Who Make You Smile

There are plenty of "rules" about who to invite to your wedding (and how many people to invite) such as "you have to invite family," or "you need to have at least [x] number of bridesmaids and groomsmen."

The thing is, it's your day, and you need to do what makes you happy. Spending a few extra $1,000 (or $10,000) on inviting people who you don't have a strong relationship with - or, worse, who are likely to cause a stink - isn't worth it in any way, shape, or form.

And if you're DIYing a large part of the ceremony and reception, realize there's a definite limit to the number of people you can accommodate. We happily hosted thirty guests, but more than fifty would have been a stretch.

Check Out This Great DIY Wedding Video

Cost Saving Idea #5: Buy Your Own Drinks

And Stick to Beer and Wine

Drinks are one of those things that tend to have very flexible prices (and not in a good way). You can get soda for a great deal if you buy large bottles at your local big-box store; the same amount of liquid can cost an exorbitant amount if you purchase it at a movie theater.

Likewise, you'll pay a premium if you hire someone to do an open bar for you. Save money by buying drinks and letting guests serve themselves.

Image source: Flickr.

Cost Saving Idea #6: Get Creative with Decorations

I managed to create some fabulous wedding decorations for my sister's wedding with glass jars, wrapping ribbon, tulle, and ivy. Peruse dollar stores and local sales; repurposing items you own also works.

Which Idea Is the Best Way to Save Money... - ... Without Sacrificing Enjoyment?

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Cost Saving Idea #7: Have a Friend or Family Member Take Pictures - Do You Really Need a Photographer?

This is a tricky one. Plenty of people scrimp and save on a bunch of things, but splurge on a photographer. And a professional photographer really can get some truly amazing photos. It all comes down to what really matters to you.

My Favorite Wedding Camera - Good for a Variety of Environments

Canon PowerShot S95 10 MP Digital Camera with 3.8x Wide Angle Optical Image Stabilized Zoom and 3.0-Inch LCD
Canon PowerShot S95 10 MP Digital Camera with 3.8x Wide Angle Optical Image Stabilized Zoom and 3.0-Inch LCD

I wouldn't have wanted to be the photographer if I hadn't just bought this awesome new camera. It works well in low-light situations, and also takes great up-close (macro) photos. In addition, it performed better than other cameras when it came to capturing subjects in motion.


Cost Saving Idea #8: Beware of Add-ons - Things That Aren't Necessary

The wedding industry has blown wedding costs way out of proportion by tacking all sorts of "necessities" onto the list of wedding purchases. The prices for many of these items are especially exorbitant, seeing as many of them are one-time use only.

Below you'll find some items that we decided not to get. Each person has his or her own opinions about these kinds of things. The main thing to keep in mind is that no one can tell you what you HAVE to have; you'll save money by deciding for yourself what is important, and what just doesn't matter.

Wedding Card Box - Ivory Embroidery Wedding Money Box
Wedding Card Box - Ivory Embroidery Wedding Money Box

You can spend a lot of money on a box like this; we simply had people put cards on the table.


Tips or Ideas on Keeping Wedding Costs Down? - Share Them here!

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    • cdevries profile image

      cdevries 6 years ago

      Some wonderful suggestions. My own wedding (decades ago) had an at-home reception and family cooked... a wonderful time and fond memories of grandparents and friends helping out.

    • profile image

      miaponzo 6 years ago

      Thanks for all these great wedding saving ideas!