How to Plan a Wedding on a Tight Budget

This is the reality: In the United States, the average couple spends $30,000 on their wedding.


Not everyone can—or should—spend that large of an amount on their big day, especially when there’s a myriad of other ways to put that kind of money to good use. (Down payment on a house, anyone?)

The truth is, with a dash of creativity and a little craftiness, you can still have the wedding of your dreams—without spending a fortune.

Here’s how.

Budget Wedding Venue Ideas

Wedding venues demand the biggest chunk of most wedding budgets. They tend to be pricey—the average couple spends between $3,000 and $10,000 for the venue alone—and the more lavish and all-inclusive it is, the deeper the pockets have to be. Especially if you need to plan for wedding traditions, for example if you need a pre-wedding ketubah ceremony if you’re Jewish, it all adds to the cost.

However, there are many ways to get around paying a fortune on a venue. Here are some less expensive yet equally impressive and memorable wedding venue ideas:


Say “I do” outdoors. Most federally owned land is free to use. Check out this map of all the beautiful locations all across the USA. 

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Just be aware that in some cases, a permit is required. Also, there may be additional restrictions—fireworks for example, may be prohibited if there’s a risk of forest fire.

At Home

Tie the knot at home! Your house, a friend’s—even a vacation rental. If you opt for a vacation rental, ensure they allow parties before you book.

Library or Museum

Calling all book lovers or history buffs: How about getting married at a local museum or library? These tend to be housed in architecturally significant buildings, and add a non-traditional twist everyone will enjoy. Plus, just think of all the photo opportunities…

Venues During Off-Season

Traditional venues tend to be cheaper if you book them during their off-season. 

Other fun locations to get married on a budget include bars, restaurants, piers, theaters, and parks.

One thing to always factor in is amenities: Restrooms, food-prep areas, and a space for entertainment during the reception shouldn’t be overlooked.

Budget Wedding Gowns and Bridesmaid Dresses

Your wedding gown and your bridesmaid dresses are important. They’ll be commemorated forever in photos. 

People tying the knot now are celebrating in a time when photos and videos are crisp and clear, and will likely be preserved in their actual real-life state for grandkids, great grandkids, and beyond.

If that isn’t an incentive to pick a dress you absolutely love, we don’t know what is.

However, that doesn’t mean you have to compromise. If you’re looking for a deal on wedding dresses or you love vintage, there are websites that sell incredible second-hand wedding gowns.

Bridesmaid dresses can be a little trickier since you need more than one dress. Bella Bridesmaids has an incredible selection of bridesmaid dresses that cater to all budgets. Check them out—their collection is stunning!

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Another option for bridesmaid dresses is to choose a color, and let your bridesmaids buy any dress they like in that particular color.

Budget Wedding Food and Entertainment

Here’s another budget destroying category: food and entertainment.

Some couples choose to host their wedding earlier in the day, and serve brunch or delicate finger sandwiches which tend to be cheaper than a three course meal.

Other options are to have a potluck, or to serve platters of lasagna, or splash out on pizzas. Everyone loves a barbeque, so that’s another great option.

You can also hire a food truck to cater, a treat everyone loves.

If you’re looking for a band to play, check out your local music scene. There could be a college band up to the task who’d be more than willing to play, at a fraction of the price.

Alternatively, you could compile a song list of all your favorites, and encourage your guests to contribute.

Low-Cost Wedding Photos

Check out your community college. Perhaps they have some photography enthusiasts that would love to capture your big day.

Another thing you can do is create a wedding hashtag, and encourage your guests to use it. We love this idea because it provides many different perspectives.

Low-Cost Wedding Décor

You can create beautiful decorations with simple things like salvaged jars, a collection of thrifted candlesticks, paper lanterns, cut branches adorned with little string lights, wildflowers, feathers, clipped pampas grass.

Pinterest is full of ideas and detailed how-to tutorials.

Just choose your theme, and select the elements that play into it. A little bit of extra goes a long way in making your wedding special.

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A Handmade Wedding

In a world of AI and mass-produced items, many people are beginning to crave the authenticity of handmade items that have a little heart and soul.

Though your wedding may be on a budget, know that people will be way more touched by the things you include when they’re handmade. You know, things that require creative ingenuity. These are way more impactful and memorable. 


Through implementing these ideas and coming up with some of your own, you’ll be able to enjoy your wedding to the max without putting yourself in a bad financial position. 

And your guests? They’ll be having such a good time, they won’t even be able to tell the difference.


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