Thrifty Thursday – Wedding on a Budget

We’re down to the wire, only a little over 2 weeks to go until the big day. We got engaged on May 2nd, so we pulled this together in under three months. If you’re also considering a quick, budget wedding, maybe you can get some ideas.
I know they sell big wedding planning notebooks and stuff, but this is my master list. I went on all of those ‘everything you need to take care of’ lists online and wrote down everything that applied to us.

The important thing while planning an event like this is to focus on what is important to you. If you really want a DJ, a bunch of real flowers or fine china, plan accordingly. If all those don’t matter to you, find the parts that do.

For me, the venue and the dress were the most important. I didn’t want to spend a load of money on the small details that no one would remember later. My cousin got married in 2012, and I remember running around the day before for flowers, and I remember setting up (and falling on my face at her rehearsal), but I don’t remember a single thing about the decor now.

  • Budget – we never had an official budget. We found deals, paid for what was important, and skimped on what we could.
  • Theme and colors – My themes were always ‘simple’ and ‘elegant’ from the start. My colors are silver and aqua with yellow accents.
  • Guest list – This is the second page of my notepad. We ended up with 35 people being invited but only about 17 RSVPing. We’re planning for the possibility that a few might show up anyway. A few were sent invitations as a courtesy, like grandparents that are out of state and unable to travel.
  • Venue – I wanted a chapel, that was my one dream. Luckily we found a beautiful one that isn’t far from us. I was expecting it to cost around $1000, but it ended up being under $600.
  • Date – Our anniversary is July 30th, so when July 25th was a possibility, it worked out great.
  • Photographer – My best friend went to photography school and has always said she’d do my pictures, so we’re saving a load of money there. There will be no videotaping at the wedding, much to my dad’s disappointment.
  • Flowers – I’m doing fake flowers for the decor because they’re cheaper and less stress. I’ll be buying flowers from the grocery store or Trader Joe’s the day before and making my own bouquet. I might want to practice beforehand.
  • Dress – David’s Bridal was unfortunately the best option for budget-friendly and fast. I didn’t have that ‘wow’ moment, but I do like my dress a lot. It was $199, but the alterations bumped the total price up to $400. Isn’t that lovely. Luckily my parents offered to buy my dress.
  • Food – We’ll be putting together a fresh sandwich bar ourselves with help from our parents. I’m planning on going to Costco for deli stuff and finding trays to arrange them on at a dollar store or something.
  • Music – We’re making a music playlist to play off of my fiance’s phone, we’re going to find a dock with a speaker to put it in.
  • Officiant – This was one of the last things we completed, but we found a nice Justice of the Peace in our area to do it. His fee is about $125.
  • Cake – My aunt is making my cake, another way we lucked out. I have high hopes that it is going to be beautiful and delicious, a pound cake with Italian buttercream and fresh berries.
  • Hair/Makeup – I’m going to a local stylist to do my hair the morning of for around $30. I’ll be doing my own makeup.
  • Rings – After going to Zales where the saleslady was pushing expensive rings on us, we found our matching rings at Kay. I believe together they were under $300.
  • Invitations – They weren’t entirely necessary for such a small wedding, but I liked the idea of them. I found a DIY kit of 40 at Michaels on sale, normally $45 but I got them for around $10.
  • Gifts – We registered at Target and Bed Bath and Beyond, just so hopefully no one would buy us things we don’t need.
  • Marriage License – $45 for the license, a necessary expense.
  • Paperwork – For all my name changing stuff later.
  • Thank You Notes – I actually bought some a little while ago when I worked at Michaels, plain white cards with silver lettering. Hopefully I’ll have enough.

Total so far: about $1500. Adding it all up was a bit of a “yikes!” moment, but that’s a fraction of some people’s dress budget. (I’m looking at you Say Yes to the Dress)


After all that, decor is going to be super simple. Plain silver tablecloths, aqua plates and napkins, and my adorable silverware rolls. I bought some cheap paper doilies, yellow ribbon and a big pack of plastic silverware that looks like ‘silver’ware. Total for all tablecloths, tableware and glasses was $50.

These are my centerpieces. Small vases and silk flowers. The vases were about $3 each, and the tulips were on sale. 6 tulips and 6 daisies were around $2 each.

And each table with a vase will have a few candles. Fake candles because the venue doesn’t allow real ones. I got a pack of 16 candles, 16 small holders, and crushed glass in silver and aqua. Everything was half off except for the crushed glass, which was on major discount.

Guest book
For the guest book, I’m planning on grabbing a big calendar like this, I love this idea.

People do all sorts of things for their weddings, from giant parties to just standing at city hall, just the two of them. It’s always important to remember the reason behind the day is just to get married, not to entertain or impress anyone else. It’s a day for the two of you to remember forever.

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