The average wedding in DFW is around $28,000, some might even argue the average is a bit higher. Although we would never say that this (hopefully) once in a life time celebration is not worthy of that $28,000 expense, the truth is, to most couples on a budget that number is not even remotely tangible. In fact, seeing that number is just a sobering reminder that as their two hearts consolidate into one, so do their college loans.
Too often, the magic of being engaged is eclipsed by the realization that having a wedding is so expensive. *See our description of the Pinterest wedding Friday night drink and delete.
Well to this we’ve decided to say “STOP, in the name of love!”, because we have seen some dreamy weddings come together for far less than $28,000.
So, grab your notebook (or hit print) budget bride, Denton Bridal Show is on your side. *yes, I sang that to the tune of the nationwide commercial.
We have come up with several tips and tricks with a $5,000 or less budget in mind, just to show you that it can be done, but not without a little sacrifice, vision and focus!
First things first...
The budget bride must prioritize. We suggest you use the following list as a guide to choose the top three priority items that you do not want to compromise on. And then choose the three items that are of least priority, these are the items you want to make sure you get a deal on.
Determine the amount of guests
This part may be the hardest for budget couples, often because family bureaucracies come into play. We know, your mom wants everyone to see her baby get married and grandma will be embarrassed if her entire church congregation can’t be invited. But you need to let the budget make the hard calls here, the best possible way to save money is to limit guests. On a budget of $5,000 try to stick to 100 guests or less.
Check your resources
Make a list of your resources answering the following questions, who do you know and what resources do you already have at your fingertips? Restaurant managers, cake bakers, college DJ friends, local universities, write them all down! Psst … this is where grandma’s uninvited church congregation can come into play. We are surrounded with resources and often don’t realize it.
*Go read our blog Little Known Local Wedding Planning Secret- That's Free
Have some possibilities come to your mind? Make. The. Phone. calls. Not asking will be a big hitch in the budget plan. So, let us remind you, people love to do what they are good at and people love to help people they love. So, try not to steal someone’s “yes”, with your make believe “no”. You actually don’t know until you ask, right?
Think out of the box
There are so many suggestions for this one, don’t worry none of them include just finding an open field, however you may want to consider that.
Are you a member of a church? Often times either the ceremony or reception space is offered free to members. Does your city have a local courthouse? Denton does, and they only require you to put down a deposit that will be returned as long as there is no damage done.
Score the courthouse and need a reception site? Look at booking a restaurant for your reception. Restaurants often have event rooms that can be reserved in advance free of charge. For instance, Barley and Board offers a private event room upstairs for free.
Booking a wedding venue. Look for the ones that allow you to book the space including tables and linens, but bring in your own vendors for the catering, DJ, wedding cake etc.
Don’t forget, the day of the week does matter! Weekend receptions often cost more to book than weekdays, don’t forget to take this into consideration when planning. Always ask for Friday, Sunday or day time wedding discounts.
The seasons matter. Make sure the flowers you decide on are in season and order your florals wholesale. Costco and Sam’s both offer a wholesale floral department. Also consider a different kind of bouquet all together, using herbs or more greenery in your bouquet will drastically reduce the cost. Full greenery bouquets are really in right now!
Don’t want to skip the color, that’s okay, order those Ranunculus you love, but choose cheaper flowers to pair them with, this will not only save money, but it’ll make sure the Ranunculus will stand out!
Food and Drinks
This can be a tricky subject for the budget couple, but there are a lot of ways to think outside the box! First, make sure you have thought about the time of day for your wedding. This will determine whether a full meal will be expected. For instance, book an afternoon wedding and simply provide cake, you have saved a ton of money right there and probably received a daytime discount from your wedding venue.
Absolutely have to have a full- meal? Make sure the foods you choose are in season, the price difference will be huge.
Consider serving a non-traditional cake such as a croquembouche (a French wedding cake tower) or a cupcake tower. Or throw out the cake altogether for chocolate covered strawberries, pie, donuts, custom cookies, popcorn or dessert bars. All of these options can save your budget and often times someone on your resource list can make at least one of these items!
Alcohol is expensive. Besides limiting your guest list, not paying for your alcohol is the easiest way to stay on budget. Can’t see your big day without fancy libations, it is socially acceptable to have a cash bar. You can prepare your guests ahead of time on your wedding website or invite.
Skipping the tradition of invitations can easily save $200 or more on a tight budget. In 2018 technology is everything and everywhere- so utilize it! You don’t have to send and traditional invite- make your event special by personally calling every guest on your small list. Direct guests to a wedding website for details and all they need to know about your day. Don’t want to make phone calls, send an evite and call guests who aren’t as email friendly.
Let’s be real, this is one of the hardest places to talk about getting a deal. We know everyone dreams of the dress, but remember you are likely going to wear it once. We strongly encourage you to look into online sites that offer gorgeous gently used designer gowns, as well as dress rental sites. After all, the part no one talks about is what to do with your dress after the wedding… if you think it may end up at Goodwill you really don’t need a big budget for it. You can still look amazing in your rental dress and save $500 extra dollars that will go towards a photographer that can capture video of you in it.
This one really depends on whether you put it in your top three priorities or not. If it isn’t in your top three, call up your local university and see if there are any top of the class photographer or videographers for hire. Often times there are very talented upcoming professionals completely willing to shoot your special day to build their portfolio, even if they aren’t top notch wedding photographers you can be certain they’ll be better than Aunt Theresa aka. family nickname “snapper.”
You. Yes, you. Most often with a budget of $5,000 or less you are going to need to become the planner. Although there will be some stress, it will be worth it to have that money go toward your top three priorities.
You don’t have to do it alone! Ask a family member or bridesmaid to become your assistant and ask a family friend to help coordinate the ceremony. You can walk them through exactly what you want it to look like, you would have to do this with a planner anyway, and the truth is people in your life know you better.
Register for it! Websites like Honeyfund will help your guests fund your trip.
Booking a DJ for the wedding? Cash dances are a fun way to allow guests to help pay for the honeymoon. Not into that create a money tree or a honeymoon suitcase that allows guests to add cash discretely as they wish!
There are so many other ways to save when it comes to a small budget, like attending Bridal Shows! Ours isn’t the only one in the DFW metroplex, sign up for them all! The odds of winning something free are in your favor, and your budget's.
We have included a few very simple sample budgets for $5,000.
Super DIY Budget:
Don’t ignore stores like the Dollar Tree. They have glassware, vases, hurricanes, tea lights, ribbon, wrapping paper, jute, chargers, other seasonal items like wedding favors, glitter and bubbles for the exit, sparklers, and more!
Budget 1: A Venue Focus
$1000 cake and drinks
Free hair and makeup
Budget 2: A Photographer Focus
$1500 Restaurant Reception with meal
$150 Hair and Makeup
No DJ needed at restaurant, often they will let you plug in your iPhone
Budget 3: A Floral Focus
Use a friend's house or property for wedding
$1500 rent tables, chairs, linens
$2000 Flowers and lights
$1000 cake, drinks, fruit, cheese, veggies
Borrow a dress
Have a Friend man your iTunes Playlist as DJ
Budget 4: A Honeymoon Focus (elopement 50p or less)
Free Ceremony at Courthouse or Church
$1000 dinner or lunch at restaurant
$150 small cake
A friend takes the pictures