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Having a Wedding Without Breaking the Bank

Updated on November 21, 2008
RGraf profile image

Rebecca Graf is a seasoned writer with nearly a decade of experience and degrees in accounting, history, and creative writing.

How? How?


When it comes to our wedding, we want it to be memorable. We want it to reflect us. We want our dream wedding. The request made that prompted this answer was how to have a wedding on a budget.

Let me start off being a smart-aleck. Go to the courthouse. The BEST answer for money issues.

Now, seriously for those who want a wedding in which friends are invited and you can celebrate. The courthouse. They can come,too.

Now, I'm really serious.

The first thing you need to do is pull yourself for awhile out of the euphoria of the moment. Actually envison your wedding in your head. You need to know where you are going to make sure all planning is done correctly. Usually this vision is way more than you could probably afford. So, now you have the dream. Let's pull back and see how you can pull a wedding off.

You're tight for money. Do you have to have a GRAND wedding? No, seriously. My mother always said that in the end you are still married no matter how the wedding looked. And she is right. I did not get my dream wedding, but I got one with more precious memories than I could have dreamed of. Can a simplier wedding work? Can little things be done to cut the cost? Here are several suggestions to do just that.


  • Combine your wedding with another family events so that extra travel and expense on everyone's part is minimalized.
  • Shop and shop for your wedding gown early and look for bargins. There are sales everywhere. Remember that the more expensive does not mean it is more beautiful. You can even find used gowns or one to borrow depending on if you want to keep it for your daughter. Look for a friend or family member who could make it. My sister made mine - I only paid for the material and helped her cut it out.
  • You don't have to go the big florist in town. Look around you. There might be a very talented person in your own circle who could make beautiful pieces and put love into it. I found a woman who owned a small shop. I allowed her to use my arrangements that I designed with her and she gave me a big discount. We helped each other out.
  • Pictures - I know very few people who are happy with the pictures when they get them. Especially for what they paid for it. Find a student at the local schools that are majoring in photography. Get some references from them and use them. It is cheap and they get experience. Have friends and family taking pictures at the same time so in case some don't turn out right, you'll have others available. You would be surprised how well they will turn out.
  • Bridesmaids - Please be aware of the expense that the bride puts on her attendants. That tends to get forgotten. They have budget needs, too. Some have had them wear any dress as long as it a certain color. I had my attendants wear dresses that they could wear other places. They thanked me over and over and got a lot of wear out of them. In the end they spent maybe $75 total.
  • Food - Depending on where you have your wedding, you might be limited due to catering restrictions. If there are restrictions, carefully plan the menu. Do you really need a full meal or can appetizers work? If there are no restrictions, have a pot-luck, have the restaurant you and your groom always ate at cater it, or have your aunt that will not leave you alone as you plan this do it - it will keep her occupied.
  • The Cake - this can be expensive. Remember, it is going to be eaten!!!!!!! When going down the throat no one cares what it looks like. You still want it to be pretty. Again, find a bakery school and have them do it. Have a relative do it. My sister made mine which turned out gorgeous. That was her gift to me.
  • Bouquet - Make it a sentimental one. Some families keep silk flowers from other events. Combine them into one and maybe start a tradition of handing it around so everyone has a piece of their family history. For attendants, there are a variety of ways to do things here. Buy simple brandy glasses and fill with over-flowing flowers. I had mine use simple white lace fans with flowers and ribbon hotglued to it. They could display in their homes afterwards.
  • Nix the wedding planner. I've been in more than a few weddings and every one of them that had a planner were the worst ones. The unneccesary stress put on the wedding party is absurd. One wedding I was in had the planner coming up with obsure traditions and making the bride feel like she had to do it or the wedding wouldn't be just right. Needless to say, the expense kept going up.
  • Combine your wedding with your honeymoon. This is becoming very popular. We know a couple who flew to Hawaii, had their wedding on the beach at sunrise, and videotaped it for the family. Granted others couldn't be there, but it was beautiful and they all celebrated with a family barbeque when they got back.
  • Really make it cheap? Do it the way it used to be done centuries before. Have the groom kidnap the bride. Then all expenses are on him!!!!!!

Planning a wedding can be stressful, but it can be fun. Do a lot of it as family projects instead of hiring someone to do it. Of all the weddings I've seen, the ones that were simpler, more emotion than bling, were the ones that were fun and the marriages were happier.


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      PamD 6 years ago

      Another idea, if you are a church member, is to have the wedding service followed by a pot-luck dinner. Those church ladies can really set up some amazing food!!

    • RGraf profile image

      Rebecca Graf 9 years ago from Wisconsin

      Totally agree. I told my children that I would pay for the honeymoon if they would elope or they could invite family and friends for a picnic and we surprise them with a wedding. Therefore, the stress of planning is gone and everyone can enjoy it.

      Thanks for stopping by.

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      JenArt 9 years ago

      These are great tips, especially since the trend seems to be moving away from over-the-top weddings to smaller, more intimate and less grandiose ceremonies. I prefer seeing the focus come back to the reasons for the marriage, not have it remain on who can out-do all of the other brides!