A frugal wedding can still be fun if you plan ahead from the start and budget carefully.
Budgeting for Your Wedding Essentials
The wedding gown and groom’s outfit will be a substantial cost. However, you can cut corners by either renting or buying in a clearance sale. You can also buy something that can be used again for another occasion with just a few alterations, such as a gown with a detachable train or design details that can be removed easily to give the dress a fast makeover.
Beach weddings can be very informal and romantic, with fewer costs involved. There are several excellent beach wedding destinations in the United States, so if you live anywhere near the coast, this might be one wedding option to consider.
Your own backyard or home, with caterers or friends and family taking care of the food, might be another way to cut corners and still have a terrific time.
If you do want to go to a catering hall, see what it would cost for a non-weekend wedding, such as one on a Friday or Thursday. Chances are you can save a great deal (and on the guest list too, since not everyone will be able to make it).
Two of the highest costs for most weddings are going to be food and entertainment. For the food, try a buffet rather than a sit-down meal. Go for a wedding earlier in the day, when the catering hall will likely be cheaper, and people will most likely not be so interested in drinking a lot.
It is up to you how you want to handle the bar situation. An open bar will be the most expensive. Wine at the table is another option. A cash bar will be the cheapest option, but you don’t want to look too cheap either. One suggestion is that the first drink will be free and then revert to the cash bar. Or you can have an open bar for the first hour, then a cash bar thereafter.
For entertainment, a DJ will always be cheaper than a live band. Make sure they have a range of songs everyone will like, and ask if they do ice-breaker types of activities to ensure everyone has a good time.
Real flowers or silk? Obviously, silk can be reused, so go for the clean, green option.
Wedding favors come in many shapes, sizes, and themes. There are edible ones and ones that are practical, such as small picture frames. You can use them as place card holders at a table and get someone to print out digital photos right at the reception to give them a great memento of the occasion and also save on the cost of place cards and having to mail photos to everyone who attends. You should be able to buy them in bulk online, in a range of prices, colors, and styles.
Use silk flowers in table arrangements, church decorations, and more. At the very least, you will be able to keep some of them as a memento and sell the rest in a yard sale or on eBay. You can even pick up some great bargains there.
Planning a wedding without going way over budget can be a challenge, but by doing it yourself as far as possible and actively making decisions that will help you get the best deal, you can have the wedding of your dreams without it breaking the bank.