How to Plan A Cheap But Beautiful Wedding

Whether you are planning your wedding or that of one of your kids, let’s make it as painless as possible. Weddings add up really quickly. After financing a large portion of my own I am going to give you some tips on how to stay in budget and still have the wedding you or your daughter dreamed of.

The Dress

Method #1: Shop clearance racks

I love clearance racks. I personally found mine on a clearance rack at a bridal shop for $500. I paid about another $100 for alterations after that but I got a free veil and a jewelry set to go with it so I considered it a pretty good price especially since the sticker price was around $2,000 for the dress alone. If you want a quality dress that you can keep without paying too much this is a good way.

Method #2: Second hand finds

If clearance racks are out of your price range, try second hand stores like Goodwill, Deseret Industries, or Tags. Even online classified ads like Craigslist can sometimes have good finds. You can probably find something for a couple hundred dollars depending on how picky you are. Keep in mind you may need to make modifications and if you don’t feel you have the time or talent to do that it will come out of your budget too.

Method #3: Rent

Lots of people nowadays realize they buy a dress worth thousands of dollars and it just sits in their closet for years unused. When they get desperate for money they may decide to rent out said really nice wedding dress for a couple hundred dollars. If you don’t care if you ever see the dress again this might help you get a nicer dress than you could afford otherwise.

The Location

There are so many places you can go. My sister had her wedding at a public park with a rented gazebo and pavillion and it turned out great. I had my reception at a local meetinghouse with stained glass windows I loved. I was a busgirl once for a reception held in a landscaped backyard. Secretly I have kind of always wanted to go to a reception in an old barn but that opportunity hasn’t presented itself yet.

The choice is yours and there really isn’t much limiting you except your imagination. Just try to go for places you own or can get fairly cheaply. Reception halls cost A LOT of money and honestly you can make just as nice of a party somewhere else. Brainstorm people you know and land they own or have access to. If you know someone who can pull strings and get you into a nice hall for free by all means take advantage of it. If not, there are plenty of ways to make it still look nice. Lucky for you rustic is in right now so feel free to serve lemonade in your field. You don’t need a sandy beach to make it memorable.

The Food

Remember people are coming to wish the happy couple well not stock up on food. I bought quick bread mixes from the grocery store and distributed them to friends who baked them and brought them before the ceremony. We served that and some fresh fruit to friends that came. I also had a friend make us some dipped pretzels but we didn’t go super fancy or all out for food. I figured if they wanted a meal they could go out to eat afterward.

If you really want to do a meal to feed your close family and friends that’s ok and doable for a low cost too. I had a luncheon for just close family and we served baked potatoes with toppings. It was fairly inexpensive and rather filling.  There are lots of other meals you can make fairly cheaply though. How about a soup buffet?  Baked mac ‘n cheese or chicken alfredo can be done with a pretty low price tag. Look for low cost meals that still look nice and that you enjoy eating and serve that.

The Cake

Consider having part of your cake not actually be cake. My sister’s cake was made entirely out of fruit with watermelon forming the main layer. My cake was only cake on the top layer and rice krispy treats on the others. Doing this makes your cake both lighter to carry and less expensive on the pocketbook.

The Flowers

Go for inexpensive options. Flowers will likely only be used for one day then stored in the fridge during the honeymoon or left to die. Carnations and daisies are cheaper than roses and lilies for example.

If you are dead set on having your favorite flower in the bouquet focus on the bridal bouquet more than on bridesmaids and groomsmen corsages. You can’t throw money at everything so prioritization is key here. I love calla lilies and went this route creating a more expensive bouquet for me and less expensive ones for everyone else.

Make It Rock

Whatever you decide to do, have fun. Relax as much as possible and enjoy the day. Things will go wrong. My shoes got left behind on my wedding day so all of my pictures have me in a pair of black flats, but you know what, we look back on it and laugh now. Do the best you can with your budget and let the magic happen. After all, the whole point is to celebrate love, which costs nothing at all.


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