Believing these seven things will hold you back from your dream wedding on a budget

a bride and groom posing on a chair with orange and red bouquet
Budgeting in style

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Are you planning a wedding on a budget and think that you need to make major sacrifices in style or comfort? Think again! There are plenty of ways to get the experience of a lifetime affordably. You just need to stop believing these seven myths about budget weddings.

1. You can’t have a destination wedding

If you live in a high cost of living area, planning your wedding in a lower cost of living location can actually save you money. A small estate wedding a few hours outside of New York City is going to be a fraction of the cost of a Manhattan hotel wedding. So you can have the wedding of your dreams…just in a different place.

If you’ve always wanted to get married in a certain exotic locale, try these hacks – looking a few hours outside of that location, finding a similar style in a less popular location (e.g. a less popular beach a little further away), or booking it during the off season or on an off-peak day.

Scared of the idea of having your wedding on a weekday? Check out this article for Weekday Wedding Tips to ensure your guests will attend.

2. You need to sacrifice the guest experience 

The best way to maximize your guests’ comfort and guarantee they have a great time to strategically plan your budget around the guest experience. If your wedding guests are having a blast and well fed, they’ll be raving about the weekend for years to come.

But certain things can sabotage how the guests experience your day if you’re not paying attention. For example, if there’s a long wait between the ceremony and reception and you haven’t given them ideas on what to do in between, that could cause some head scratching. Or if you’ve spent your money on a designer dress instead of an open bar, it will be very noticeable where you scrimped. Or how about if you don’t allow plus ones because you’re hoping to serve filet mignon? Well now you’re really giving your guests reasons to complain. 

3. You need to send paper invitations 

This may be a controversial one but if you think you need to spend hundreds or thousands of dollars on paper that people are just going to throw away in a few weeks let me give you some alternatives.

You can send a mobile save the date via email or text message. This can save you a ton on the least formal round of communication and postage.

If that’s too casual for you, find a do-it-yourself invitation template on a site like Etsy. It’s fast, easy and just as stylish and modern as the ones you see on Instagram stationers or Minted. You can print it at home if you have a photo printer or other high quality printer. Or you can take it to your local kinkos or staples to print. 

We have a full comparison for you of the cheapest ways to do wedding invitations and tips for how to make your own wedding invitations.

4. You need to invite a lot of people

Micro weddings are IN these days. Invite just your besties and close family and splurge on the rest. Inviting less people means you can up the luxury on things like the venue, stationary, photographer, favors and more. Or keep it modest and put your money towards a downpayment on a house or your student debt. 

The amount of guests you have is the biggest contributing factor to how expensive your wedding is going to be. In fact, 40% of the cost of a wedding is directly affected by how many people you invite. Don’t believe me? Check out this article on how much weddings cost per person.

5. You need to have a three course meal

Buffet all the way. It tastes better than rubbery cold chicken that’s been steaming under a cloche waiting to make its way to the table. No one will go home hungry. And you save yourself from having to collect information about people’s dietary restrictions as part of your wedding planning.

To make the dining experience really fun consider having something special catered from a favorite restaurant or take out place. Your guests will be talking about the barbecue, donuts, burgers, or pizza for ages. 

If you’re not sure what kind of wedding dinner you’d like to have, here’s a list of pros and cons for each type of wedding dinner from plated, to family-style, to buffet.

6. Your dress needs to be custom made  

You can save a lot of the wedding budget by finding a dress close to your size that’s already finished and tailoring it down. Instead of paying for a designer dress that needs tailoring anyway, you’ll save some money and time. Most bridal shops don’t automatically work this way so you’ll need to find a store that sells dresses off the rack or go to a sample sale. We took a look at how much an off-the-rack dress can typically save you in both time and money here.

And don’t worry about the fabric. A polyester dress looks just like silk or satin in photographs. And no one but you will know the difference. I promise. 

If you think you’ll be able to recoup some of the money by selling your dress afterwords, think again. It’s very difficult to sell a wedding dress secondhand unless you can get a consignment or thrift shop to take it off your hands. Most brides want to try on a dress before they purchase it. Which is difficult to do via Facebook Market Place with strangers. And while you’re waiting for a buyer, the cost to clean and preserve your dress can be several hundred dollars, making it unlikely that you’ll recoup your investment.

7. Your bridesmaids need to hold bouquets

An easy place to save money without anyone noticing is in the floral department. A statement flower for each bridesmaid is a vibe. While you’re at it consider the same for yourself. Or you can have them hold a candle, wear a small corsage, a balloon, or nothing at all. When the flowers are tossed on the floor during the reception never to be thought of again you won’t be picturing hundreds of dollars being flushed down the toilet. 

bride and groom kissing with guests surrounding them with phones
Sunflower corsages instead of a bouquet

And those are seven things that could hold you back from having your dream wedding on a budget. What did you think of these tips for modern brides? Too radical or just loud enough? Let me know in the comments or in the free Facebook group – Bold On A Budget Weddings. 

You can check out my free budget guide if you sign up for my newsletter. It automatically calculates what you should spend where based on your budget and guest count and helps you stay on track. It’s like the fairy godmother of numbers.


Jaime is the owner of Loud Bride and Coast Designs LLC. She got married in 2017 in Geneseo, NY and designed her own wedding invitations and programs for the occasion. Now, she designs bespoke wedding stationery and affordable templates for other couples. She lives in New York city with her husband and two children.

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