I married my high school sweetheart this summer. As many of my past posts suggested, we had a budget wedding. We ended up spending less than $1000 on a beautiful wedding day. My hope in posting our story is to encourage other brides-to-be to not feel the pressure to spend huge money on one day (especially if it is just not in your budget). I absolutely feel that you should splurge where necessary in making your big-day a special one, but there are so many “traditions” that others feel the need to impose on people getting married. We had a beautiful day while throwing many traditions out of the window. Enjoy our story!
I purchased this dress online (see my top cheap dresses blog), and ended up altering it myself because of fit difficulties from my pectus excavatum. I was very happy with the dress quality I purchased. It was made from my own measurements, which is not rare in online dress shopping. I would have had to also alter a dress I purchased in a store (I have a special medical issue with my body causing this) and I am happy I did not spend the $600 on dress and alterations through a company like David’s Bridal, like several of my budget bride friends. I had a better experience with my dress purchasing online than my reception dress I bought in a store. I saved a ton of money and got the widest selection. I would absolutely encourage a bride on a budget to shop online for her dress(es).
The outfit details turned out perfect for me. I picked rose buds right from my grandma’s 40 year old rose bush the morning of the wedding to add to my hair. I did my hair in an updo I practiced once before the wedding (I wear my hair up a lot, so I am good at that sort of thing). It is also practical to ask a sister, friend, or cousin who is good at hair to do yours for free. I gave those people that helped a simple thank you gift, but saved much more than hiring someone.
I did my own makeup, also. I got together with my bridesmaids and a couple friends to do nails and pre-wedding pampering a couple days before the wedding for under $20 (this is where my inexpensive “will you be my bridesmaid?” gift came in handy).
My jewelry matched our wedding day style also, being only $10 from an antique shop. I especially love the brooch that I asked if I could borrow from my step mother (which was her grandmother’s in world war II) that matched my garter, which I added to the middle of my gown.
Our bridesmaids dresses were also a fun and cheap detail we had at our wedding. Who says those need to be from a bridal shop, where they are usually upwards of $80 for an ugly dress? We got ours for $20 from AX Paris. Many stores have cute dresses that can be used for semi-formal bridesmaids looks; some suggestions I like are Forever21, Maurices, Macy’s, JCPenney, and Target. I would suggest to browse the website before heading to stores to save energy, since dress shopping can be exhausting.
Our overall budget for clothing (between groom, bridesmaids, and myself) came to about $200.
Enough about looks…
We had a backyard wedding at my in-law’s house. For seating, we used chairs from back yards, we borrowed from the church, and used hay bales for overflow seating that my father had on the farm. Our overall budget for seating came to $0. To add to our laid back feel, we had random seating. We also used some of our chairs for dinner, which cut down the amount we needed.
For ceremony decorations, we used burlap strips (about $5 a roll at the craft store) to line the aisle and used rocks from the property to hold it down. We used white light, white stringed Christmas lights I collected from thrift stores all year as lighting. Price for this came to about $15.
Our reception was the most expensive part of our big day. Our biggest money savers included not renting a venue (since we had a backyard wedding), catering from a local italian restaurant rather than a wedding caterer, and not serving alcohol. Decorations included mason jars with twine from my grandmother and dismissal-for-dinner picture frames that I purchased at a thrift store which my sister/bridesmaid printed lyrics of songs for.
One of my favorite parts of our wedding was our cookie and milk toasts that stood in for alcohol. Milk and cookies are cheaper than alcohol, and we used mismatched stemware I searched around at thrift stores for.
I loved our guestbook. We chose something that we already had that meant something to us in order to both save money. We met during worship and music is still a big part of our lives, so we used one of our guitars, and grabbed some colorful sharpies for our guests to sign it with. I guarantee I like this idea more that a book that we most likely would not see for decades. We see it all the time and can even use it to play.
This is not nearly everything from our wedding day, but these were a few ways we made the day our own while saving money. I hope to at least inspire a few budget brides out there to stick to what they want on their wedding day while saving money.