You don’t have to break the bank to have a beautiful day including lots of traditional trimmings, not with our Top Tips for a Frugal Not Cheap Wedding.
All it takes is time—either more time brainstorming how much you can cut or time invested in DIY creativity.
Go ahead & choose upscale, elegant details like invitations, your dress, awesome food & a romantic honeymoon. Just choose fewer of each of those things.
Let’s get started!
Top Tips for a Frugal Not Cheap Wedding: Guests & Gifts
Keep the Guest List Short
Resist the temptation to invite everybody you know. Why? Each extra person:
- Raises your budget requirements
- Makes your wedding less intimate
- Can make you feel obligated
How to whittle the list:
- Reduce by 20%
- Review & then reduce by another 20%
You may be surprised to find out you’re happy with the results!
Need more help? Check out this article: How to Cut Your Wedding Guest List: 9 People to Cross Off Right Now
Ask for Help, not Presents
- Assistance creating decorations or florals
- Friend or family member’s fancy car instead of a limo
- Assistance with decorating
- Help with breakdown & cleanup
Tip: Consider an alternative wedding “registry” where guests can donate to your honeymoon.
Don’t buy groomsmen & bridesmaid gifts
- Consider a simple but beautiful thank you card
- Throw a pizza, cocktail or potluck dinner party just for them in your new home after your honeymoon
- Create a ceremonial thank you at the reception—take a minute or two, call up each attendant & share with the other guests a special memory or moment that led to that person being in your wedding
Top Tips for a Frugal Not Cheap Wedding: Food, Venue & Drinks
- Do the catering yourself
- Dine at a family-owned restaurant—or—have the family restaurant do the catering
It’s easier than you think. Click to check out this article with 15 Homemade Wedding Cake Recipes
Renting a building or hall can cost a fortune. Instead, consider having either the ceremony or the reception—or both—in a free location.
- Ceremony in your home or one of your parents or friends
- Ceremony in a public park with a gorgeous view
- Reception in a traditional venue
- Ceremony in a traditional venue—church, synagogue, or an alternative like a museum, library, etc.
- Reception in the church or synagogue hall—often located downstairs or in an adjacent building)
- Reception in someone’s home or backyard
- Reception in a free public venue
Note: If you can have all or part of your wedding outside, do have a Plan B that accounts for the weather—tents, industrial fans, etc.
Source: Elegant Wedding Invites
- Ask the formal venue if you can provide your liquor:
- Get everything—open bar, champagne & beer/wine—from a discount supplier
- Ask to bring one or the other–either the bar liquor or the dinner beer/wine/champagne
- Limit alcohol to beer, wine & soft drinks only
Important Tips & Advice:
- Do buy more than you need—better to have extra than run out
- Do not buy kegs for beer—they won’t keep if you have any leftover
Top Tips for a Frugal Not Cheap Wedding: Flowers & Invitations
Flowers: Simple & Elegant
- One single rose or bloom per bridesmaid—for instance, calla lilies & over-sized stem blooms like hydrangeas or giant sunflowers make a statement
- Petite bouquet for the bride
- Fancy ties for the groom and/or groomsmen instead of boutonnieres
- Splurge on bouquets but choose fakes or rent greenery for ceremony & reception
Tip #1: DIY as much of the flowers as you can & you’ll save a bundle.
Tip #2: Fake flowers—either silk or dried—for all flowers (bridal party, ceremony & reception).
Check out more gorgeous fake flower designs at Budget-Bride
Invitations: DIY or Digital
- DIY on a home printer with an invitation kit
- A cost-effective site like Vistaprint
- Hire a freelancer for a custom invitation—freelance sites like Fiverr can start as low as $5
Top Tips for a Frugal Not Cheap Wedding: Entertainment & Photo/Video
Source: Entertainment Unlimited
Instead of DJ:
- Use or borrow stereo equipment
- Put speakers only around the dance floor
- Create an iPod playlist
Instead of Professional Musicians:
- Use truly talented family or friends
- Contact a local university
- Check out talent from your local community theater
Insider’s Tip on Community Theater: In addition to a singer, ask about hiring amateur musicians from their orchestra pit
Instead of Pro Photo/Video:
- University students with a major in media
- Hire the professional’s apprentice or assistant at a discounted rate
Tip if you still want professionals:
- Offer “Vendor Cards” as a trade-off for reduced rates
- Advertise with a card at each place setting with each vendor’s name, business specialty & phone number
Note: This could work for your florist & caterer as well
Top Tips for a Frugal Not Cheap Wedding: Decorations
Source: Rock My Wedding
- Price shop places like Hobby Lobby, Michael’s, even Walmart for DIY
- Consider used florals & centerpieces—Craigslist often has used items from brides & sometimes venues that are updating & getting rid of older decor
- If marrying in your church or synagogue—ask if the Ladies Auxiliary can help with existing decorations
Tip: Do ask the Ladies Auxiliary for help in setup & cleanup, especially if you have the reception at the same place you get married. Groups like that are often thrilled to help in exchange for a donation.
Top Tips for a Frugal Not Cheap Wedding: Tuxedos, Rings & Honeymoon
- Rent tuxedos as a group
- If cheaper, rent matching suits
- Skip the tuxes & suits—instead ask the guys to invest in quality mix & match dress pants, sport coats & sharp dress shoes
- Splurge on an engagement ring but keep wedding band simple
- Substitute the diamond solitaire for a semi-precious center stone—Morganite is one stunning alternative
- Skip the engagement ring & choose a diamond eternity band
- Instead of gold for the engagement ring & wedding bands, chose titanium, sterling silver or ceramic
Source: Wedding Ideas
If you’ve kept your wedding & reception super-simple, then sure—splurge on an over the top honeymoon. If not:
- Choose a “fancy” trip like a cruise or destination but keep it shorter—3 to 5 days.
- Honeymoon at a local upscale hotel or one just far enough away for privacy—one state over can do the trick.
- Offset the price of the fancy trip with a credit card that offers rewards or a sign-up bonus.
- Rent a fun car like a convertible & take a road trip—stay in less expensive motels (Motel 6 is famous for being both cheap and clean) then splurge on nice meals.
- Stay in a nice hotel/motel with amenities that offset food & entertainment costs.
One example: Courtyard by Marriott has beautiful rooms with the works.
- Well-stocked efficiency kitchen
- “Living room” with sectional
- “Bedroom” a king-sized bed
- Over-sized flat-screen TV that separates the living area from the bedroom area
- Complimentary breakfast/brunch
Want to get away but not spend a fortune?
Check out this article on the 12 Best Affordable Honeymoons in the U.S.
Last & Most Important Tips
Plan, plan plan
Do Not Stress
You got this!
Source: Sounds Unlimited
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