Tips for Planning a Budget-Friendly Small Wedding | Southern Bride
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Planning the most important event of your life can be very exciting, but we all know that weddings are expensive. In 2022, the national average cost of a wedding was around $30,000, not including the engagement ring. For most people, this is a lot of money to spend on one day of celebrations – so it’s no wonder why small weddings are trending right now. However, it is possible to throw the wedding you always dreamed of, even during tough economic times. The key to achieving this: sticking to a few essential guidelines.

Decide on a Budget and Set Your Priorities

First things first, when planning a wedding, you need to have a clear idea of how much you are willing to spend. Working with limited funds makes you think twice about what (or who) is actually important for you as a couple. Besides the venue, the number of vendors you hire for your big day is probably the most important factor that will determine the total cost of your event. Make sure you and your partner are on the same page regarding your wedding budget, the things you are willing to splurge on and where you can save some cash. If you are both foodies, you might want to allocate a larger part of your overall budget to food and catering and go easy on the decorations. If you are not keen on having a live band, hire a DJ instead for less than half the price.

Choose a Low-Cost Venue

It is no surprise that the largest part of your wedding budget will go to the venue. According to statistics, around 40% of the overall event budget typically goes to the venue. The more guests you have, the larger the space you will need. If you decide to organize a micro wedding (an intimate event with up to 50 guests), you will have plenty of low-cost options to choose from. Your local parks, gardens, and beaches are beautiful spaces that come with natural decor. Just make sure to check if you need a permit for your event, as some locations don’t allow weddings. Another great option would be to host a backyard wedding in your family home. If that is not an option for you, a gorgeous Airbnb or vacation rental with a large garden can be a great alternative. Libraries and museums may be ideal locations for small weddings, if you’re looking for something a bit different than your typical venue – and a farm is perfect for a natural wedding setting with a rustic vibe.

Consider Renting the Wedding Attire

Wedding dress prices vary based on different factors such as the brand, fabric, dress style, embellishments or customization. While you can find a beautiful wedding gown somewhere between $1,800 to $2,500 (the average national cost), the typical bride spends somewhere between $2,000 and $5,000 on her wedding dress. When you consider the fact that you will only wear that dress one time, that cost just doesn’t seem worth it. Instead of spending thousands of dollars on a dress, opt for renting – an affordable alternative that allows you to save a lot of money while still giving you the opportunity to wear a beautiful dress on your big day. The cost varies somewhere between $50 and $600, but designer dress prices can go up to $2000, and there are plenty of online wedding rental services that offer a variety of wedding dress styles and designs to choose from.

Opt for Alternative Catering Service Styles

According to a study conducted on real couples in 2022, the average cost of catering per person is $75. That means that you would be spending $7500 on catering for 100 wedding guests. If you are working with limited funds and a limited guest list, opt for alternative catering services. Buffets are typically the cheapest, while family style comes in at a close second. For a more unique approach, you could opt for hiring a food truck.

Depending on the type of food you choose and your location, you will have to pay between $10 to $35 per person, which means that you will be saving a lot of money.

Trim Your Guest List

One of the biggest factors in determining how much you’ll spend on your wedding is your guest list. The more you are willing to trim down your list, the more you will be able to save. After all, your main priority should be having your closest friends and family there to celebrate the most important day of your life. If you’re planning a small wedding, don’t invite old friends to whom you haven’t spoken in years, or work colleagues that are nothing more than just that, colleagues. You don’t owe them anything.

Get Married on a Weekday

While Saturday has always been the most in-demand day for a wedding, there’s nothing stopping you from considering a weekday soirée. Venue rates are cheaper Monday through Thursday, but you could also consider Fridays and Sundays as these days will typically be more affordable than Saturdays. If you are working with a limited budget and a micro guest list, a non-Saturday reception makes a lot of sense. Plus, vendors are more likely to give you a great deal, as weekdays are not guaranteed to bring in business.

Final Thoughts

You won’t need to break the bank to pull off your dream wedding. You just have to get a bit creative and be open to non-traditional alternatives that can help you save money on your reception.


Monica Selvi is a content writer and regular contributor to The Pearl Source, leading pearl jewelry retailer.  With a passion for fashion, health & nutrition and photography, Monica loves to combine her creative side with analytical skills, to deliver high-quality and relevant content.

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