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​10 Budget Wedding Ideas For Brides On A Shoestring

Posted by B.Appleby on Mar 24, 2020

Times are tough and yet love abounds. It’s a testament to the human spirit that weddings still push ahead no matter what the world is going through. But many weddings need to start thinking about how big their big day is now going to be. It's time to rethink the wedding budget.

Certain options may now be off the table either due to cost or availability. That’s perfectly normal even at the best of times. But before you go crazy with that red pen and draw a line through most of your wedding day, let’s consider a few budget alternatives.

Interestingly, most experts agree that the easiest way to reduce a wedding budget isn’t by looking for the cheapest option or cutting numbers, but by actually getting a lot more creative.

So let’s get into it – here’s our favourite budget wedding ideas for brides:

Budget Wedding Idea #1 - Stick To Your Budget & Negotiate!

All of these ideas below are for nothing if you can’t stick to your budget. Be realistic and find a number that both you and your fiancé are comfortable with. There’s no worse fight a couple can have than about money (besides breaking up).

Once that is nailed down, you can use your budget as a tool in negotiations with potential suppliers. I recently had a lot of experience of this with the tailors of Vietnam. If I saw something I liked and I asked the tailor how much, they might have said “$100”. You can’t just say “that’s too much” and expect them to come back with a better price. That’s not negotiating, that’s just bleating. If you say, “my budget is $50”, now you’re negotiating.

So if your DJ says it’s $800 for your reception, tell him your budget and then follow up with, “how can we get the price down to this”. It’s not your job to get creative in reducing a price, it’s your supplier’s.

Budget Wedding Idea #2 - Combine Elements Into One

Wedding Menu Placecard Chocolates

Combining things gets easy once you get started. For example, place cards, menu cards and bomboniere can total $20+ per person if you’re not careful. Chocablock Chocolates offers a custom designed place card menu chocolate bar that ticks all 3 boxes for around $3. Brilliant, yeah?

Other things you can combine include the MC, the Celebrant and one of your guests (yes, the outgoing/theatrical one). Why not encourage them to go do the Celebrant’s short course so they can marry you off and have a new career path at the same time?

Why not use the bridesmaid’s flowers as centrepieces once they’ve walked you down the aisle?

See how easily the creative juices begin to flow when money is at stake?

Budget Wedding Idea #3 - Contain The Guest List

This is a big one. It’s easy for couples to add “just one more” when it comes to their wedding guest list, and the fear of slighting a periphery friend is always a real one. But take the word of somebody who was married a decade ago – if we were to have our wedding again today how many of that original 100+ would be there? Not even half. So go ahead and make a few tough choices. Even the Kardashians have to draw a line somewhere when it comes to guest lists.

If you are really struggling with numbers, even after an initial cull, there is one way to let people know that you still want them to be a part of your special day and that is to invite them to the ceremony only. Years ago, I had a friend who was getting married which I only found about a few weeks out from the wedding day. While I was a bit miffed, she explained that due to budget she was making the wedding family only which was perfectly acceptable. But all she had to do was open the ceremony up – her wide group of friends would have been able to be there for her with no impact on the budget.

Budget Wedding Idea #4 - Hold The Wedding At Home

Young couples usually balk at this idea, but they shouldn’t. Over the years all your great moments are going to be celebrated at home (baby showers, kids birthdays, 40ths, 50ths, etc) and you’ll cherish those moments even more.

The venue savings alone are massive and if you have the space, a marquee out on the lawn looks like so many of those swanky weddings you see in the movies.

Add to this, it is much easier to get parents and friends to help out with the cooking in your own kitchen. Which leads us to…

Budget Wedding Idea #5 - Self-cater

Irrespective if it is you who prepares the food or a friend, you are going to save thousands on food if you self cater. Don’t worry if you are not Maggie Beer - luckily for you, it’s the year 2020 and the number of gourmet options you can come across at Costco is insane.

We’ve run plenty of parties and weddings using gourmet canapes, desserts and more from Costco and everybody raves and thinks we’re the best caterers in town. Costco is our dirty little secret and can be yours too.

Budget Wedding Idea #6 – Exchange Wedding Help For Wedding Gifts

Most people will spend $100+ on finding a wedding gift for you. Why not convert that into savings? What you are looking for here are friends and family who either make a living or run a side-hustle doing things you could use on your wedding day.

There is always somebody who has bought some pretty ritzy camera gear and if they know that they are now a part of the wedding day (and forever more if they get great pics) you could have saved yourself a few thousand dollars. DJs, florists, hair stylists, make up artists – go through your contact lists and see who you can call upon.

If you want to take this a step further, you could ask people to fund certain elements of the wedding in lieu of a gift. One could fund centrepiece hire, another the wedding chair sashes. You need to be careful who you ask here as some can be a bit testy to hear that you’re not looking forward to the cutlery set they had planned for you.

Budget Wedding Idea #7 - Wear Matching Suits & Rent The Dress

There’s not many men who wear a tuxedo on a regular basis. And if they do, it’s rare that they still fit into the same size tuxedo a few years later. Equally as impressive is if you can have the groomsmen all agree on a colour suit they already own (usually black as there are too many shades of blue to match) and then they can just match a tie and pocket square colour to tie the look all together.

For the dress, this is a multi-thousand dollar decision. But again, how many times after the wedding day are you going to wear it? Bridal gown hire companies are now a dime-a-dozen and finding something that suits your style at a fraction of the purchase price has never been easier.

Budget Wedding Idea #8 – Flowers, Centrepieces, etc - Decorate Yourself

And keep it simple! You would be amazed how an arrangement of single stemmed flowers in thin mason jars interspersed with an assortment of glowing candles creates an elegant look without breaking the bank.

Budget Wedding Idea #9 - Nobody Remembers What Car You Showed Up In

Unless you were planning on arriving on the back of a Harley, you can just borrow one of your friend’s nice sedans. I knew one bride who arrived in the back of a Mistubishi Colt complete with exhaust smoke blowing out the back. Was it a little trashy? Sure. Was it hilarious and did it capture the spirit of the wedding day? You bet!

Budget Wedding Idea #10 - Don’t Get Married On $aturday

Saturday makes up only 52 days of the year, leaving 313 other days to choose from. If you can’t have the wedding at home and need to use a venue, then try and find the least in demand day you can, like Monday. Your guests will love the long weekend they will get, and your hip pocket will love the discount you get from the venue.