12 easy tips on how to plan a wedding on a budget

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How to plan a wedding on a budget

Congratulations you are getting married!

Bet you can’t wait for the big day, but you are at a standstill as you have to plan your wedding on a budget.

Unsure how to plan a wedding on a budget. Not to worry, here are 12 tips to help you save money while planning your special day.

How to plan a wedding on a budget?

Not everyone has the cash to spend on an extravagant wedding, and some want a small intimate wedding.  When you want to plan a wedding on a budget, there are quite a lot of things you can do to cut the cost right down, so you are not breaking the bank.

1. Setting your budget?

It is good to set a budget, this way you have an idea of what you want to spend on your wedding.  Start with a minimum and then work out your maximum, so you have a bit of leeway to work within.

2. How to keep your guest list to a minimum.

There may be many people you know that you think you have to invite, but when you are planning your wedding on a budget, you need to concentrate on the most important people in your life.

Those people would be your closest friends and family. By only inviting these people, you will be able to keep your guest list down.

3. How to pick the right venue.

You now have your budget and guest list set, it is time to select your venue.

How to plan a wedding on a budget

Before you decide, there are a couple of things you need to take into consideration.  Location, price, how many people they cater for, and what do they supply.

You may also need to consider two venue locations if you need a separate place for your ceremony and the reception.  You will find there are plenty of venues that cater to both, but here are some ideas for you.

Ceremony venue.

A church or chapel may be where you both want to hold the ceremony, but for those that want something else you could consider a garden or a beach depending on the time of year, you want your wedding date booked and the style of your wedding.

Reception Venue.

Golf clubs, sporting clubs, and restaurants are great locations to hold your reception when your budget is tight.  These places offer function rooms that may cater to your guest numbers and budget.


Ceremony and Reception Venue

If you can afford a location that offers both ceremony and reception facilities, that will save you time trying to find separate areas.

It will also save on travel time on the day for both you, the bridal party and guests.

Hire a hall for your wedding and pick a catering service that suits your budget.  Some have a beautiful garden or grassy area where you can hold your ceremony as well as having the reception inside.

Another option if you have the room is to have the ceremony and reception at home.  Or if you know someone that has a large enough property for you to hold your wedding there.

4. Flowers

Using flowers for both the bridal party and décor can become quite costly.  Taking into consideration whether you want fresh or artificial flowers.

There are a few options you can do when it comes to the flowers you want.

  • Use flowers for you and the rest of the bridal party only. It will keep your budget down if you have bouquets and buttonholes. Or you can even choose to have one your self, and the rest of your bridal party has a single flower and buttonholes.
How to plan a wedding on a budget
  • Keep flowers to a minimum if you are choosing to have them for the décor as well. You don’t need to go over the top with the décor if you have a limited budget.  Just a small bunch on the guest tables and you could even double the bouquet and bridal party flowers as décor for the Bridal table if you wish.
  • Make the bouquets and décor yourself. If you are a crafty person, use that to your advantage. Have a look around in spotlight, the reject shop or other discount stores and see what you can find to make your flower arrangements for the bouquets and décor.

5. What to do about the décor for your ceremony and reception?

When on a budget, you can keep you décor to a minimum without it looking cheap and nasty.  Use what the venue has to offer.  These things can consist of Chair covers and sashes, candelabras, table mirror or wooden centerpieces and table numbers. Along with chairs for the ceremony, linen and tables for the wishing well or gifts and cake.

Hire décor instead of buying can work out to be a lot cheaper for you in the long run and you are also not stuck with things you need to sell off after your wedding.  But only hire what you need to.

When hiring décor consider places that also hire the flowers if you want them used for your décor.

If you want or are in the position you have to buy what you are looking for, look at eBay, discount gift shops and Facebook wedding buy and sell groups.

There is also nothing wrong with buying second-hand décor items for your wedding providing they are in good condition.

If your budget is tight, consider DIY décor for your wedding, especially if you’re the crafty type of person.  And don’t underestimate what a few balloons can do to the atmosphere of your wedding.

6. Do you need Photography and Videography for your wedding?

If you have the budget to have a photographer and a videographer then, by all means, get a professional in, but choose one that offers both services to save you money.

If you are in a position where you can only afford one of these services, then choose a photographer.  Pictures of your wedding day need to take precedence over video.

But if you are in the position that you are unable to afford either then don’t worry as there is the invention of the smartphone and other mobile devices.
Use friends and family as your photographers and videographers.  You may be surprised by what they capture.

Even consider hiring a photographer for their smallest package so you can get the more professional shots of you both, the bridal party and family.  Or if you know a person that’s great with a camera, then you could ask them to take those photos for you.

7. To hire or not to hire wedding cars?

How to plan a wedding on a budget

Hiring wedding cars are a great advantage. You arrive at your venue in style, and you can get great photo opportunities and most have night transfers to pick you up after the reception.

What if your budget doesn’t allow for wedding cars?

If your budget doesn’t allow for the hire of wedding cars at all, then consider using your own or a friend or family members car.  Just get the ribbon for the vehicles if you want the decoration on them and bobs your uncle you have wedding cars.

8. How to keep the cost down on wedding invitations?

As much as those handmade and extravagant wedding invitations and matching stationery look amazing, the price tag can take its toll on your bank account if you don’t have the budget for it.

Consider other options for your wedding invitations and stationery.

Zazzle and Vistaprint are two places you can go to if your budget is tight.  There are wedding stationers that you can go to that are competitive in price if you are not after the digital invitations.

Make your Wedding Invitations

You can make your wedding invitations and other stationery.

You may also be able to find a supplier that will design your invitations for you to take and print at officeworks if you are not confident in creating the design yourself.

eBay and officeworks are both great places to go and find everything you need to make your invitations as well.

How to plan a wedding on a budget

Where else can you save money on wedding stationery?

Save the date Cards.

Unless your budget allows for it, don’t worry about sending out save the date cards.  If you want to give guests plenty of notice, do your invitations six months before your wedding and send them out or even earlier if you wish.

Table Placement Cards

Double your thank you or bonbonniere gifts as the placement cards on your table.  Alternatively, make your own.

Seating Chart.

If you don’t want your guests to roam the tables looking for where they will be sitting, and you don’t have the budget to have a seating chart.  An alternative option is to place your Table placement cards all on one table, and the guest name and the table number on the placement card.

If you are going for a completely relaxed wedding reception, just let your guest choose where they want to sit.

9. What sort of wedding entertainment can you consider when you are on a budget?

Today there are quite a few DJs out there that offer their services along with Photo booths, dry ice, and indoor fireworks and by choosing a vendor that provides these services along with the DJ and MC service, you will save money instead of hiring individual vendors with these services.

How to plan a wedding on a budget

Matt Jefferies Entertainment and Wedding Parties Entertainment are just two that spring to mind within the Melbourne area.

However, if you are not looking for a DJ and want a signer or band, you can find quite a few that are reasonably priced.

Other types of entertainment options for your wedding could be giant games.  These can consist of a large chest, Jenga, connect four, memory games, and many more.  These games are great for outdoor weddings giving your guests games to play through the duration of the reception.

What if your budget doesn’t allow for these entertainment ideas?

Some budgets can be a lot tighter, and DJ’s, Bands, photobooths, and Lawn games are totally out of the question.

Not to worry.  You may consider just hiring a jukebox for your music or if you have access to a sound system, create a playlist on Spotify and hit play.

What about music for the ceremony?

Not to worry there, celebrants usually have their system where they will be able to play the song you want for when you walk down the aisle and while doing your signing.  You tell them what songs you want and leave the rest to them.

If you are in a church or chapel, they may have something you can use to play the music through, or you can utilise the piano if you want something a little more traditional for your ceremony.

10. Ideas for your thank you gifts.

It is good to give your guests a thank you gift for attending your wedding, and it gives them something to remember the occasion.

So what are some of the things you can do that are cost-effective as well?

Candles with a label saying thank you to your guest, chocolate bars, or little trinkets such as bottle openers.

Making your own can also be a great way to personalise your gifts.  Vista print offers excellent little gift ideas such as key chains or magnets.  Choose a beautiful photo of yourselves, add the wedding date and say thank you for attending our wedding and there is a lovely personal gift for your guests.

You can also save by doing your gifts the same way as you did your invitations.  This way, it is only one gift per household instead of per person.  Again it depends on your budget.

Do you need gifts for the bridal party?

You do not have to give gifts to your bridal party at all, but it is nice to thank them in some way.  If you are not in the position to give them each a gift, then consider having a get together at your place.  Maybe a BBQ in their honour to say thank you.

11. How to save on your wedding attire.

How to plan a wedding on a budget

Firstly consider hiring the suits for the Groom and his side of the bridal party.  Not only benefits you but the groomsmen as well.  Ferrari Bridal and formal wear have some amazing reasonable priced suits available to hire, along with shirts, cufflinks, and ties.

Wedding dresses and dresses for the bridesmaids are not usually offered as a hired garment, so you will need to buy these.

There are ways to save money on these also.  The buy and sell wedding groups on Facebook can be a start if you are happy to buy second-hand dresses.

Keep an eye out for sales on wedding and bridesmaid dresses.  Ask your bridesmaids and groomsmen to chip in for the cost of their garments, or if they are in a position to fully pay for their own.

12. Do you need to cut costs with hair and makeup?

If you can, I do suggest you have someone do your hair and makeup on the day of your wedding.

Otherwise, if you have to be mindful of what you are spending, do your make up yourself and have your hair done by a professional.

What are some other wedding money-saving tips to consider?

Some people may be put off by this, but you may be surprised if you try it.  If you are struggling with finances, don’t be afraid to ask your guests to help you out a little.  Instead of them buying you a gift or putting money in your wishing well, ask them to pay for part of or all of their meal as a gift.  Or you could consider asking them to pay for their drinks.

How to plan a wedding on a budget

On top of your wedding costs, you have your Honeymoon costs.  Flight Centre has an option where guests from your wedding can put payments towards your honeymoon costs as a gift to you.


If you are having a Hens night and or bridal shower, ask your guests to contribute to your wishing well to help out with the costs of your wedding.


Be mindful of what you purchase and hire.  And don’t buy things that you do not need.  You will only end up spending more money and cluttering up your wardrobe.

There are many ways that you can plan your wedding on even the tightest budget.

Remember, the day is to celebrate your love for one another with those who mean the most to you.

And it is your day so you can have it look however you want it to look, there is no need to impress friends and family, it is just about you both making that incredible commitment to each other and starting your new journey in life as a married couple.

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