How to Actually Build Your Dream Wedding on a Budget

November 21, 2020

So you’ve been dreaming about your wedding day for like… ever. You have this ethereal vision of you bathed in crisp white fabrics, stark black suits, and sunlight pouring through linens and stone window sills. Or maybe something completely different! The point is, no matter how extravagant you envision your wedding day, it IS within reach – even on a budget! Here is how you can plan your perfect day without selling your kidneys to afford it.

Unconventional Venue

desert boho elopement

The best way to save money on a venue space is to choose a space that isn’t a standard designated “wedding venue”. When you google the phrase “wedding venues in city/state“, you get a list of designated spots that expect brides and grooms to pay top dollar for a place that caters to brides and grooms. More often than not, these places lock you in to using their preferred vendors or offered services that come with their packages. More often than not the services that the venue offers can be… more than the expected rate.

The best way to avoid this pickle – and have a space everyone you know and their mother haven’t been married in – is to look at spaces that match your vision that aren’t marketed as venue spots. Maybe a museum, park, or small vineyard? Maybe a university library or charming balcony cafe? For more suggestions on locations, head over to this post for a venue list for every kind of couple! Then you can compare costs, negotiate deals, and maybe get a stellar deal by planning your wedding a few hours before or after their working hours! You could even ask around and see if any friends have a property with a scenic area. With all the money you could save from your venue, you could afford a second wedding!

The “Wedding Tax”

utah wedding photography

The wedding world is full of fantastic “deals”, aren’t they? ….aren’t they? Unfortunately there are so many companies that take advantage of the demand that the wedding world brings. Venues, bakeries, and florists have separate pricing set aside for weddings that remain up to double or triple above their normal rates. For example, a couple ran a test while planning their wedding and told a bakery that they wanted a white cake for a “party”, then ordered a white wedding cake for the same amount of people and the same design. The cost was cut in more than half for the party cake in comparison to the wedding cake. That’s wild!

Whenever possible when interacting with vendors, avoid the term wedding and surrounding words surrounding weddings – bouquet, bridal, bride, groom, wedding party, etc. Order any items you can for a “party” or “event” instead! There will, of course be some vendors that need to know that it’s a wedding, for example your wedding planner and venue. But aside from needing to know what you need, if you feel comfortable setting it up, your food, cake, and florals don’t really need to have any idea what kind of event it is. Those are some of your target wedding expenses that’ll be cut in half or more!

DIY Projects

You don’t have to be a DIY all-star to DIY aspects of your wedding. Do you love decorating your house? Play with tables capes and see if you can figure out a beautiful way to style centerpieces by only paying for or renting the items! Do you like cooking? What could you prep in mass-amounts in the days leading up to your wedding! Try your hand at making signs and an arch. ANYTHING in a wedding can be a do-it-yourself project. If you don’t think you’re capable of any projects – talk to friends and family! Chances are, you’ll have one or two people who love decorating, baking, or cooking. However, there are some aspects you shouldn’t skimp on…

What NOT to Skimp On

white wedding details

As a photographer, I am a bit biased, however there are three aspects of a wedding I have never in my life seen a couple regret spending money on: a good photographer, YOUR perks, and the honeymoon.

Your photographer is how you’ll get to show off, remember, and carry your wedding for the rest of your life. These are photos your children will see and you two will look back on forever. Having a photographer who has an editing style you love and a personality you click with can make not only your big day more special, but also the post wedding blues so much sweeter when you get to relive the day all over again and see parts you might’ve missed.

Your wedding should be all about you. You’re throwing a party to literally celebrate your love. So don’t forget to give yourself the day too – not just your guests! Get the nice champagne, order the fillet, book the nice night-of hotel room, get some new comfy Mr. and Mrs. (or any other Mr./Mrs. variation) pajamas and ENJOY YOUR WEDDING DAY!

Speaking of celebrating your love, spoil yourself for the honeymoon. There are ways to save money while traveling, but after you leave for your trip, don’t give it a second thought. Have a honeymoon fund set aside with more money than you’ll think you need so money isn’t even on your mind while you’re living it up with your new spouse!

So there you have it! Your dream wedding actually IS possible – even on a budget! You don’t need to sell your soul to have that Pinterest-worthy wedding, just a solid plan to achieve that goal by spending time rather than dollars and keeping the event type on the down low. I hope these tips help you plan your dream wedding. If it did, share your day with us on Instagram @jimmysongweddings and let us know how you achieved your dream wedding on a budget!