The average wedding in 2016 was estimated at $26,645. Throughout the years, weddings have only become more expensive. Companies have realized that a bride and groom (and their families) will pay a small fortune to stay at their dream venue, eat good food, and dance the night away. But do you really have to get into debt to have a wedding? No, you really don’t. You can have your dream wedding on a budget. I know because I did it!
I planned my wedding, and honeymoon, in only three weeks. No, that is not an exaggeration, and yes, it was amazing.
I may not have had the fairytale wedding with a horse-drawn carriage that some women think of, but it was a fairytale to me.
The best part? No debt. In total, I spent around $600 for my wedding and honeymoon. Let me break it down for you.
How I Had My Dream Wedding and Honeymoon for Only $600!
Marriage License: $55
Invitations: Free. We invited our close friends and family via Facebook and word of mouth.
Wedding Venue: Free. We had our ceremony at our church. Our reception was spent at Dave & Busters, and we didn’t have to pay to have the “party room”.
Food For Reception: $100. We had punch and snacks right after the ceremony, and everyone paid for their own food at the reception.
Cake: $60. My sister-in-law bakes, so she graciously made us a carrot cake wedding cake and only charged us for the supplies and ingredients.
My Wedding Dress & Accessories/Beauty: $48. I found my wedding dress at a thrift store for $13. My slip was $8. I wore a gifted blue necklace (something blue). My shoes were the best deal at only $9! I also spent $10 for my makeup. About $8 was spent on my DIY bouquet. It was made out of Dollar Tree flowers, ribbon, and a cute brooch. There was no charge for my hair because I did it myself.
My Husband’s & Daughter’s Attire: $103. We found my daughter’s dress on clearance at Old Navy for around $10. My husband’s tux was found for $53, and alterations were $40.
Photography/Videography: Free + $30 tip. My mother-in-law’s friend took our pictures and set up our video recorder for free in exchange that she could use our photos to build her portfolio.
Music: Free. We used the church’s sound system and played music from my phone.
Travel: $30 for gas to and from our place, the church, reception, and hotel.
Hotel, Fun Money, & Food: $174. We got a great deal on our hotel about three minutes from Dave & Busters for $80 (including tax). We only stayed for one night because we knew we would miss our daughter. The other $94 we spent on miscellaneous items, like food for the next morning, money for games at Dave & Busters, and other items that came up.
Now that you’ve seen how I spent my wedding budget, here are 5 tips you can use to have your dream wedding on a budget.
Decide What’s Most Important
For me, the most important thing was having my two favorite people with me, my husband and daughter. Honestly, I could have gotten married at the courthouse, but I still wanted to celebrate with friends and family. Knowing that as long as I had these two, it was a lot easier to say no to added expenses.
DIY When You Can
My dress had an ugly pink slip under it when I bought it. But, my husband and I loved the price and the other details that the dress had. So, I took some scissors and cut the slip out. I replaced it with a white one from target. I also created my own bouquet, did my own makeup and hair, and accessorized the church with things we already owned. Having a dream wedding on a budget doesn’t mean you have to skimp on looking good! 🙂
Barter Or Ask For Help
We were able to get a deal with our photographer because she needed to build her portfolio. My sister-in-law baked our cake, and the church graciously offered their services for free because we are loyal members of the church.
I told Dave & Busters about wanting to have a fun reception there, so we were able to rent out a “party room” without paying for it. All I had to do was give them a shout-out and review. Talk about easy!
Use Your Wedding Gifts
Instead of asking for gifts, we asked for money and gifts cards from our guests. Although some may not consider this appropriate, we knew we didn’t have a need for gifts. For one, we already lived together. Plus, we have a child, so we didn’t really need any housewarming presents or items to start our new lives together.
We didn’t make gifts mandatory, and we didn’t advertise a cash registry, but we still got about $500 from friends and family. We used that money to pay for part of our honeymoon. What was left over was put into savings.
Realize That It’s Just A Day
Here is the thing. You can have your dream wedding on a budget if you realize that your wedding is really just one day. To be honest, I don’t even remember everything about my wedding day.
I know it was filled with laughs and memories, but I wouldn’t be able to tell you all of the details if you asked. My wedding was only 4 months ago, and I’ve already forgotten most of it!
Your wedding day is just that…a day. It isn’t going to make or break your marriage. It isn’t going to give you a lasting fulfillment, and it isn’t going to stay in your memory (without help) forever. You can always have a more extravagant vow renewal later. My husband and I plan on doing that for our 10 year anniversary. But you don’t have to get into debt or blow through your savings just to get married.
At the end of the day, what matters is that you are with the person you love and care about the most.
$1,000 Dream Wedding Budget Template
To help you have your dream wedding on a budget, I’ve created a FREE $1,000 Dream Wedding budget template.
It includes space for everything from invitations, decorations, your dress, venue, food, music, and even your marriage license. There’s also a section to help you budget for your honeymoon!
The template includes a loose suggestion for how much you can spend on each item in order to keep your wedding and honeymoon to a $1,000 budget.
Some of the amounts listed might seem low, but that’s why you can easily make changes to this spreadsheet. You can choose what’s important for you and what’s not important to spend your money on. You might even be able to DIY some things like I did to save money.
Just enter your email below to get a copy of the $1,000 Dream Wedding Budget Template so you can have your dream wedding on a budget!
So, there you have it, your dream wedding on a budget. It can be fun, silly, romantic, or even downright exhausting, but it will be whatever you make of it.
Would you rather have $30,000 in debt that you have to pay off for many years, or would you rather start off your marriage with a clean slate and money in the bank? I’d take the latter, always!
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