10 Budget Wedding Ideas From a Satisfied Bride

Posted by Amanda on May 19, 2010

We got engaged, we took the plunge, and we survived! My husband and I are now happily married, and have settled back into our home in Houston, TX.

I am now contentedly sitting back, enjoying all of the free time that has crept back into my schedule. You know what else I am enjoying? All of the extra money that we saved while planning our wedding.

The wedding industry is full of people with ideas and opinions about what the perfect wedding should look like, what is appropriate to spend for “the best day of your life”, and what a bride simply cannot do without.

Perhaps this is why the national average wedding budget for 150-guests has ballooned to $30,000! But Paul and I didn’t play their game. We did things our way, and we were extremely satisfied with the results.

Budget Wedding Ideas

source: epSos.de

Wedding on a Budget

Here are ten things that Paul and I decided to not include in our day to keep wedding costs down and our approximate cost savings.

  1. Borrowing Only One Item: We’ve all heard the saying that a bride needs “Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue.” But why only borrow one item for a wedding on a budget? Our friend let us borrow a beautifully handmade ring bearer’s pillow and a set of cake cutting knives, my mother and grandmother let me borrow jewelry to wear with my gown, and my sister gave us a flower girl basket. Here are some other items that can be borrowed: centerpieces, veils, cake topper, etc. The sky is the limit! Cost Savings: $60
  2. Professional Photographer and Expensive Prints: We used a great tip from the book Bridal Bargains, which as lots of great cheap wedding ideas, by going through a local university with a photographer department and asking the department chair to recommend a few students who are passionate about photography and who may wish to make some extra money on a Saturday. Despite everyone else’s hesitations, our photos turned out beautifully, and we only paid $230! Plus our photographer was happy because it helps to build his resume. The other great thing about this is that you can request to have full rights to the photos, and so you can skip all of the expenses of printing out as many photos as you’d like. Cost Savings: $500
  3. Limo: Our wedding and reception were at the same location, so there really was no reason to rent a limo. Even so, a limo was not on our priority list. If we had needed transportation to the ceremony site/reception site, we would have used either a friend/family member to drive us individually, or a rental car. Cost Savings: $250
  4. Practice Hair/Makeup Session: Some brides may not be comfortable without doing a dry run of hair and makeup with their stylist before the big day, but I did. Before the day of our wedding, I spoke with the hairstylist about my idea, and let her know that I was flexible as well. My hair turned out beautifully! Also, I did my own makeup (I do not wear much, even on our wedding day). Cost Savings: $60
  5. Engagement Photos: Admittedly, engagement photos are fun! Instead of paying for them, we asked a great friend to get her camera and meet us at a gorgeous park (where many others have their engagement and wedding photos taken at). Cost Savings: $150
  6. Accessories: There are certain items that Paul and I considered to be accessories, and not necessary to our wedding day. These included monogrammed napkins, centerpieces (our reception was held at an Inne, and they had their own small centerpieces of fresh flowers), and a cake topper. Cost Savings: $150
  7. Two Bouquets: A lot of experts (and friends and family!) will tell you that you need two bouquets—one to keep and one to toss. We really did not want to keep around a bouquet that we knew would rot/whittle away over the years, especially when bouquets are not the cheapest. Cost Savings: $50
  8. Extra Layer on Cake: Many people add an extra tier onto their cakes in order to freeze it to eat on their first wedding anniversary. We saw no need for this. Cost Savings: $50
  9. DJ/Dance Floor: Paul and I had a day wedding, and needed to cut our wedding budget down. One of the ways was cutting out a DJ and making our own CDs for the ceremony, cocktail hour, first dance/father-daughter dance, and reception. The music was played outside on a beautiful terrace, so we also did not have to rent a dance floor. Cost Savings: $750
  10. Videographer: It may be tempting to want to catch your day on DVD so that you can watch it later down the road, but Paul and I wanted to memorialize our day through our memories and photos instead. Another way to get around this is by asking a guest to bring along their own camcorder. Cost Savings: $300

As you can see, just from our choices alone, we saved $2320.

What are some ways that you shaved money off of your wedding without compromising on what you wanted?

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Comments to 10 Budget Wedding Ideas From a Satisfied Bride

  1. Thanks for the tips, I’m getting married next year and can use all the help I can get!



  2. Rex: Congrats on the upcoming wedding! I am happy to help. Check out my website for some more wedding budget tips.

    Amanda L. Grossman

  3. Cost savings compared to what exactly? “Average” prices?

    Anyway, glad you’re day turned out so well! We too skipped on the videographer, DJ, limo, and had an “amateur” photographer that turned out great. I didn’t even know about a practice hair session…

    Congrats again!

    Budgeting in the Fun Stuff

  4. Hello Budgeting in the Fun Stuff!

    Cost savings is based off of what we were quoted.

    Thanks for the comment!

    Amanda L. Grossman

  5. Good job!!

    As my sister says, it sounds like you put your energy into planning the marriage instead of just the wedding.

    I can name 3-4 young couples who had huge “blow out” weddings and divorced within a few years.

    In my opinion most weddings are just spoiled little girls spending daddy’s (or whoever’s) money on “their” special day. Whateva!!!


    • Hello m! Yes–putting time and energy into the actual marriage is WAY more important than any wedding day:). Thanks for your comments!

      Amanda L. Grossman

  6. I might add that you can get bulk flowers at Amazonflowers on line. I bought my daugher 500 Gerber daisies for the price of 10 in the store! They arrived in a bulk carrier and we proceeded to put them all over the tables- and around the cake. It was LOVELY—and a reasonable price.


  7. My husband and I held the reception in his brother’s back yard which was large enough and even has a slight view of the ocean.

    We rented tables and chairs. Our moms made most of the food and our neighbor, a professional cake baker, made the cake as a wedding gift.

    It was wonderful and didn’t break the bank.

    Bucksome Boomer

  8. I got married 3-1/2 years ago, I can’t remember where the $75 Lenox cake topper is. The photographer idea is great, there’s also a lot of people that do freelance photography. And only $230 for one and you ONLY seaved $500, my photographer (the cheapest we found) was $1200, I wish we had gotten all the photos on cd we could have printed them ourselves. Engagement pictures are the biggest waste of time and money, we never even gave out any of ours. Something else that you could save money on, invitations and hold-the-date cards, Staples has a nice selection that you can print yourself, easily can save you over $200. Also, do the programs from Staples if you’re going to pass them out at the ceremony. DJs are overrated, they really serve very little purpose, especially now that you can download anything you want online and make up your own mix.


  9. I am not married yet, but the most important thing to me it to have as many people as I desire in attendance.

    In order to cut cost (and be green) I plan to send electronic save-the-dates and invites to everyone with email and only mail invites to those without.

    Broke by Choice

  10. We also went without a DJ. We rented audio equipment from a professional company, then made play lists on my room mate’s computer. We had all the music we needed for the reception that way. We were also fortunate enough to know some very skilled musicians, so instead of hiring a band, we asked our friends to play the music we wanted and gave them music store gift certificates as a thank you.


  11. I just got married last month, thankfully to a very budget-conscious bride.
    We saved a ton of money by her wearing a bridesmaid dress instead of a wedding dress. You can get almost all of them in white or off-white. She picked a simple style and added a bit of design of her own to make it more elegant. Instead of an overflowing Cinderella, she looked stunningly elegant (sometimes simplicity is better). The total cost including all the alterations was about $400.

    Regarding the photographer – advice from my mom was that in 40 years basically the only memories you have of the day will be from the photographs. Make sure they’re good! This isn’t to say don’t use students, but do your due diligence and make sure they’ll do a good job. Cheap flowers won’t ruin the day, but bad photos will make it harder to remember and share with your kids.


  12. Oh yeah, invitations too. We used a site called vistaprint.com. My wife designed the layout, they do the printing and mail everything to you. I think we paid about 70¢ per invitation, and everyone said they looked great.


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