Shelly Pate

How to Plan a Wedding on a Budget Without Losing Your Wedding Vision

Many tried to get married in 2020 but that didn’t happen. The following year needed to squeeze two years worth of weddings into one so it was tough to get a date. If you couldn’t get yours done last year, or perhaps you eloped instead, you’re left with planning your big day in 2022. Now we are in the midst of what’s being called a “Wedding Boom” with prices rising and no end to inflation in sight due to worldwide shortages and broken supply chains. But, delaying your wedding is no longer an option. So what can we do? Here are my best tips for how to plan a wedding on a budget that you will love even with wedding inflation costs.

Couple stands in backyard wedding ceremony

Remember Who’s in Charge of Making Your Wedding Decisions

For starters, my biggest piece of advice is to invest in what matters the most to YOU. It’s important to distinguish between this and any outside influences. This is how you let your personality truly shine on your wedding day

Is your top priority the flowers, the food, or the decor?  Is it preserving your memories and experience through photos? Or could it be getting a small group of family and friends to the destination of your dreams? Could it be a relaxed full day of fun just the two of you? Selecting the direction of your wedding is completely up to you!

You Can Save Money By Rethinking the Little Things

Bridesmaids stand with bride in a row holding wedding bouquets

When you are sorting out how to plan a wedding on a budget, usually the top-four budgeted items are the venue, caterer, photographer, and florist. It’s these selections that make and preserve your day and are therefore worth the investment.

After these choices are made, the costs of a wedding can actually add up in a really sneaky way through all of the little things. It’s the unexpected add-on details that you didn’t consider when making your wedding budget breakdown. Check out the number of items you can cut or tweak when you look at how to plan a wedding on a budget in new ways:

How to Plan a Wedding on a Budget: Florals & Decor

I do truly believe that wedding day florals are the key ingredient to creating your wedding style. Once you have a venue, caterer, and photographer set (that would be me!), the entire vibe of your wedding then falls to the florist. As you determine how to plan a wedding on a budget, here are some ways to keep wedding florals off the chopping block:

  • Incorporate greenery into the overall decor and bouquets to fill in any floral gaps.
  • Recycle flowers by using them in multiple places: the ceremony arch florals transferred to the head table and bridesmaid bouquets repurposed into reception table floral arrangements.
  • Select one statement piece per table: glass goblet, hand-calligraphy menu or an intricate place card. Candles placed beside baby’s breath runners is very romantic!
  • Use standard linens or incorporate fruit into your decor.
Green wedding florals on reception table

How to Plan a Wedding on a Budget: Invitation Suite & Printed Signage

Wedding invitation suite with wedding rings as part of tips for how to plan a wedding on a budget

Using letterpress can be beautiful for printed wedding invitations but it is more costly. You can choose instead to do flat printed invitations or splurge on the main invitation and use a flat print for the inserts. A third option is print one full invitation suite in full letterpress/hand calligraphy just for you and your photos. There are many options for reducing spending on wedding printing:

  • One-ply paper for the inserts.
  • A cute ceremony sign instead of individual programs.
  • Colorful or non-traditional outer envelopes.
  • Single insert that directs guests to your wedding website or you can go completely paperless! Even in this situation, printing a single physical copy of your entire invitation suite for your detail shots is still an option.
  • RSVP postcard or wedding website RSVP instead of an envelope and stamp.
  • Skip the guest favors since they are often left behind.

How to Plan a Wedding on a Budget: Make it Small

Instead of a large wedding you can opt for an elopement or an intimate wedding which automatically reduces total costs. Hosting a micro wedding or elopement instead of a large guest list can significantly lower your catering costs which helps your overall budget. Since there will be fewer to zero guests, you’ll be able to invest more in the actual day! Keep reading for my guide on how to determine what kind of elopement is the best choice for you!

How to Plan a Wedding on a Budget: Wedding Dress

Bride stands holding dress in woods

I recommend ordering your wedding gown at least eight to nine months prior to your wedding day. This will allow you to avoid rush fees on both the dress order and alterations. If you’re in the DC Metro Area you should start your dress hunt with Green and Blue Studio in Dupont Circle! Even updating a family wedding dress or snagging a sample dress can be great money-savers.

How The Venue Plays a Huge Role in Your Wedding on a Budget

Even though the venue is one of those unavoidable key pieces to your day that can be more of an investment; you can still get creative:

  • All-inclusive venues can be such a money-saver!
  • Venues attached to a hotel or inn may offer discounted rates for you and your guests or a bridal suite that’s included in your package.
  • Backyard wedding: through rentals and flowers you can completely transform your own backyard or childhood home. This saves on all the venue costs and it can be even more meaningful using a site that’s personally significant.
Couple walks by backyard wedding tent
  • Sites that double for the ceremony and reception such as distilleries, breweries, or wineries.
  • Close friend or family member to officiate or self-officiate your own wedding if you’re in Washington DC!
  • Hire a day-of coordinator or month-of coordinator instead of a full planning service.
  • Friday or Sunday wedding date or one that’s entirely off-season. For Washington, DC couples: April-June and August-October are very high-demand months.
  • Use the same chairs for the ceremony and reception.
  • Select only two signature drinks instead of a fully open bar. Do a buffet-style meal instead of plated.

Transforming Your Wedding on a Budget Makes it Uniquely Yours

An important mindset to remember when figuring out how to plan a wedding on a budget is that cutting corners isn’t bad if what you remove isn’t important to you. You don’t have to serve a full meal, decorate with flowers, or provide cake for everyone if that’s not what you want. If you desire a top notch invitation suite or transporting everyone to a magical experience in your own backyard then go for it! Whatever those priorities are for you two, make the day your own and let your choices shine!

Couple cuts cakes at backyard wedding reception
Table setting on backyard wedding reception table
Couple dances under tent at backyard wedding
how to plan a wedding on a budget graphic

If you’re ready to start transforming your wedding ideas into reality then let’s hop on a call and start planning!

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