Balanced Budget Bride

It’s officially go time & in less than a year my fiancé Andrew & I will be getting married! In the blogsphere you will find a whole range of different ways that people plan on celebrating their big days. It’s incredible how varying the different ceremonies, receptions, elopements, and destination weddings are that take place today. Whether you believe in having a wedding celebration or not, I am going to be downright honest that I absolutely cannot wait to have a wedding. My fiancé & I have the opportunity to throw one awesome celebration while bringing both of our families together! Here’s the scoop of how the planning process has gone down so far. I wanted to give some insight on how we’re discovering ways to avoid sky-high costs that weddings can potentially bring about.

Wedding’s can be ridiculously expensive (I’m talking an average in the U.S. of $30,000+…yikes)! I can tell you point blank our budget does not even come to half of that projected cost. It can become a bit challenging to lower the costs of a wedding, considering the market of this type of celebration has gone haywire. In order to figure out which costs you would rather spend more money on than others, determine with your significant other what holds the most value for your big day. Want your guests to be speaking of the delectable food months later? Research heavily on what dishes you’d like to serve at your reception. Think you would dig having all of your loved ones get down on the dance floor? Focus on what type of tunes, live band, or DJ you would like to have at your event. Find that balance: spend more on the features you value for your day, while finding alternatives for the others.

Since beginning the wedding planning process, I’ve also realized that you can either spend more time, or money. Yes, you can definitely DIY your way to the big day. But if it’s going to take away some of your sanity and normal sleep schedule, than maybe you should consider otherwise. Outsourcing to a vendor/professional may be a bit more cost wise, but it will also free some of your time up for other things than just wedding planning. Finding the right balance of DIY and paying for services for the wedding is what we are striving for right now.

The planning process can be a bit overwhelming (hello, Pinterest & Etsy giving a million and one ideas). Simultaneously, it gives me incredible euphoria when my fiancé & I find ourselves smiling over how excited we are for this day to come. Here are some things we’re doing to decrease the costs/maximize what we value for our wedding. I hope that some of these ideas can be implemented into your current (or future) wedding planning process (in fact, this goes for any big event you may be planning in your future)!

1. Generate more value from the venue.

Think you can have your ceremony & reception in the same location? That alone cuts the cost of transporting your guests from point A to point B. Do you feel like only having a location for a few hours in the day is too short for the rental fee? Find places that allow you to rent for the whole day and/or weekend. My fiancé & I were able to find a venue that has a lodge you reserve VRBO style, where the ceremony/reception takes place outdoors. When you rent the venue, the cost pays for the whole weekend Friday-Sunday with a lodge that sleeps up to 12 people. Score for us, because we’re able to make our wedding a serious weekend bash! This allows us to have our dress rehearsal, ceremony, reception, and lodging fees all wrapped in one. The crazy catch? It still was less than half the cost of some major venues that we visited! It pays to keep researching beyond the heavily marketed venue choices.

2. Catering craze.

All-inclusive catering companies can have a very hefty price tag. Lots of venues also have the option of offering their own catering, which can lower the cost of hiring an outside caterer. We were also fortunate to discover that our venue includes this option if we choose. Think you would prefer to not use a caterer & have several family members/friends chip in to create a killer meal? Consider a potluck reception dinner (or brunch if you’d prefer a morning wedding)!

3. DIY when you want to give it a try.

With several blog resources, websites, and YouTube tutorials, you’re bound to have the skills to take on decor & additions to your big day without breaking the bank. A few things we’ve done so far ourselves: my fiancé is a graphic designer & will be creating all of our save the dates, invitations, thank you cards, and wedding signage. From there we will print at a local, or online print shop cutting the costs of stationary expenses by over half! Also, for the past several months we’ve been collecting any glass bottles/vases/jars that have come our way (we’e even received bottles & vases from co-workers because they know we’ve been collecting)! I’m talking pickle jars, pasta sauce jars, beer bottles, miscellaneous vases, you name it. This growing collection will be spray painted or hand painted with our wedding colors, and added to all the reception tables for flowers & decoration. Up-cycling at it’s finest!

4. Used wedding decor = score.

Decor for weddings can be incredibly unique making most couples only utilize them just once for the big day! Check different sites that offer marketplaces for brides that can sell their one-time/gently used decorations from their weddings (check out: Tradesy or Ruffled Blog Recycle Your Wedding). Rather buy locally? Craigslist and Facebook often have people trying to find new brides to sell and/or give their decorations to. Definitely check out garage sales locally as well, lots of hidden gems can be found there to add that unique decor touch!

5. Saying “Yes To The Dress” can be accomplished many ways.

Here are some other alternatives that I’ve been mulling over for a wedding dress other than paying a fortune. Consider renting a designer gown for your day (sites like BorrowingMagnolia can help you accomplish this). Visit sample sales and/or expos locally. Check into different retailers/designers that are not necessarily deemed as a “wedding” dress designer. For example, I may have found my wedding dress at Nordstrom Rack by BCBG for only $19.97!!! Yes, I’m not even kidding – you read that correctly. Trust me, I’m still in disbelief too! It’s not quite your stereotypical moment to be in a dressing room alone without your bridesmaids/mom/relatives etc. trying on your potential future wedding dress (instead I sent my mom awkward selfie pictures of me in the dress, and called her in the process of standing in the dressing room…). It was quite hilarious discussing with the random employees that did not even know me about how it could become my wedding dress (I would go into detail about what it looks like, but my fiancé reads my blog – hi babe)! Anyways…after this long-winded explanation & awkwardly fun story, there are several alternatives to searching for the perfect wedding dress.

These are just a few of the big items we’ve worked on to lower the costs of for our wedding. With access to the vast internet, researching your way to planning a wedding with the best value to you & your significant other can be feasible! In a year, I am sure many decisions will be made, and ways to curve the extraordinary costs of a wedding will be accomplished. Remember: at the end the day is about you and the person you love who you will spend the rest of your life with. That in itself is absolutely priceless.

How did you plan your wedding (or how are you planning right now)? Did you find alternative ways to lower the costs of the celebration? What is some advice you have for a future bride to be? Let me know in the comments below!


*Please note: none of the following listed links in the post above are affiliate links. These are all just resources I have looked into that I have found incredibly helpful for the wedding planning process!


9 thoughts on “Balanced Budget Bride

  1. I love to hear about how everyone is planning their wedding, and you’re absolutely right. There are too many ways to count! Yours sounds like it will be a blast! Also, thanks for sharing your ideas. I’m in the midst of planning as well and am always looking for ways to save. The wedding dress will be the hardest for me I think. But I never considered borrowing, which could be awesome!

    Good luck with the planning! Do you think you’d share your budget a little further down the line? I’d love to hear more. Thanks!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Of course, Alyssa! It’s such an exciting time & there are so many ways to go about it. Definitely look into the borrowing/renting option for a dress! They have some incredibly expensive designer gowns for a fraction of the cost. I just might do that, thanks for the suggestion! 🙂


  2. I was in the same boat as your cousin. Realizing a wedding at home in the bay area where nothing is cheap would’ve meant 20k alone for us. I had a major meltdown and we settled on one step above eloping to have our mini Disneyland wedding. Everything and I mean everything from our shoes, my make up, dress (which I bought at Macy’s for under $200), rings, venue,photographer, cake, etc cost us less then 10k. A wedding isn’t a reflection of how much money you have to spend but of how much two people love each other.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Haily, I’m so glad Disney came through after a meltdown of how expensive weddings can be! That is incredibly fantastic and I’m so happy that everything turned out exactly how you wished for without paying over double the cost!


  3. We worked to cut our total wedding cost down as much as we could and still have the celebration that we wanted. My wife make a bunch of the decorations which she found to be fun. We worked with a lot of vendors to get good prices. We did no where near as well as you on the wedding dress price, but I’m seriously in disbelief that you pulled that off! You will be doing all of our shopping from now one, FYI 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s wonderful! I’m looking forward to making most of the decorations as well. 🙂 That’s a great point to bring up too, when you work with the vendors you can create something that is more tailored to your budget. I can’t even believe it either! Haha yes, sounds like a plan!! 🙂


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