Cheap Weddings That Look Great

 The average U.S. wedding cost $ 28000.  No, I didn’t add an extra 0.  That number is a entry level salary for some people and a 20% down payment on a house.  In today’s economy, people don’t want to(or can’t) spend that amount of money to get married.  With the divorce rate what it is these days, the bills could last longer than the wedding.  In fact I’ve worked with people who were in this exact situation.  And who wants to start their married life deep in a hole? There are so many other things to worry about.  My wedding in 2007 cost  $ 5000.  That’s for everything, cake, reception, dress, decorations, food – everything. And there were 150 people, so it wasn’t a tiny wedding. How did I do it?

Frugal Weddings Depend on Friends

I enlisted the help of a lot of my friends and family.  One of my friends grew roses and my father in law grew all kinds of flowers, so I used flowers from their gardens.  My aunt is a flower arranger so she did the arrangements, but you can learn how to do it yourself pretty simply.  The decorations were arranged by my friends, the centerpieces were sheets of music (my fiance and I are both musicians) with clear vases from a thrift store.  They were filled with “glass rocks” and then with flowers.  The cost was $ 5 per centerpiece.  A musician friend was the D.J. If you go to church, so much the better, we had a lot of help from our church with setup and logistics.  We didn’t ask anybody really, they ll were eager to help.  Our minister volunteered to perform the service for free, we gave him a $ 50 gift card.  A friend took all our engagement pictures at the Botanical Gardens of the local college.

Be Creative to Save Money on Your Wedding Budget

The cake was actually black and white cookies from a local supermarket.  These are cake-like cookies with two different colors of frosting.  They did mine in my wedding colors and they were stacked in tiers.  My mother made a cake for us to cut, and then we served the cookies to the guests who thought it was a pretty cool idea.   Many supermarkets do really nice cakes at good prices.  The dress was actually a prom/bridesmaid dress, from an outlet store.  I bought a crinoline to spread out the skirt and used ribbon to trim it myself. The shoes were from a closeout store.  For the reception we used the ballroom of the local university.  Almost every university has a formal ballroom, there’s a university in our area that used to be a hotel, and it’s famous for weddings, it’s always booked well in advance.  Some have really good rates, some don’t so shop around.

Food and Alcohol are the Biggest Wedding Expenses

If you’re going to feed your guests a full meal, then you’re going to be spending a lot of money.  In that case you’ll have to invite less guests.  But if you want a lot of people without a huge food budget why not have an afternoon wedding with hors d’ouerves?  That’s what we did, we didn’t need to have a whole meal, but people still got to eat. This was the biggest part of our wedding at $ 1500.  There was a lot of food though, and it was enough for everybody to eat until they were full. We didn’t use alcohol even for the toast because we would have had to hire a bartender.  Be wary about using your own alcohol to save money, many venues will not allow you to bring your own because of liability reasons.  You’ll need a bartender or caterer that has a liquor license in many cases.  

With just a little planning and asking around you can save on some of your big budget items for your wedding. Friends usually want to help and many of them have some special skills you could use. What makes a good wedding is people who care about you not some overdone spectacle. Being creative helps you have a cheap wedding and many times makes it more memorable than the some tired traditions you’ve seen a thousand times before.