Planning a wedding is already exhausting. Planning a wedding on a budget is like running a marathon through peanut butter, uphill, in January…when you’re a turtle. If that seems like an over-exaggeration, well, you’re stronger than many. If you are just getting started on your wedding planning, don’t let that deter you or dampen your excitement. It’s still an amazing day, and you’re going to remember your wedding forever.
First, toss out everything you know about other people’s weddings.
Stop looking at Pinterest. Put down the burlap and lace and listen up. It’s not a competition. You don’t need to have the most memorable cocktail stirrers you’ve ever seen. No one is going to remember that you had real rose petals strewn in front of you rather than having your flower girl toss down mass produced polyester petals. They’re all looking at the bride who is walking over them, not at the ground in front of her. The details that are over the top are beautiful and stunning, but they aren’t the most memorable part. You can leave them out and your wedding will still be amazing.
Editor’s Note: I literally could not decide which of these over the top pictures was more over the top: The truly ridiculous amount of flowers on the six-tier cake and table (left) or the fireworks behind an almost equally ridiculous amount of flowers on a four tier cake that they’re cutting with a sword (right). So I chose both.
Second, go into planning your wedding with a sense of fun and remember what brought the two of you together.
Planning a stunning vision of a white wedding that is perfect for a romance novel (and maybe makes your mom happy) can be great. But not if it shows nothing of your individual video-game-playing, paint-balling, wand-waving, volleyball-spiking, tail-gating, wonderful and wacky selves. If it’s not about you, who is it about? The magic white wedding, let me assure you, is WAY more expensive than planning a wedding that is centered on the two of you and your interests.
Third, you don’t NEED to do anything.
Traditions weren’t created with the dawn of time. They got started, once upon a time, because ONE person said “Hmm, I think I’ll send cards to my friends inviting them to my wedding, rather than posting a sheet of paper on the church door.” Stop thinking that you MUST have certain things for your wedding because “it’s traditional”. Do what works for you and your budget. If a backyard wedding with plastic cutlery and compostable plates works for you, then you DO YOU. If a blue or red or grey or mauve wedding dress – or any color at all – makes you feel beautiful and bridal, then by all means, wear whatever you like. We are lucky enough to live in a time where rules are ‘made to be broken’ and yet everyone walks on eggshells when it comes to weddings. Don’t! Have fun with your wedding!
Fourth, figure out what it is you want from the wedding and then focus on Just That.
Make a list of things that are important to you both to have on your wedding day. If it doesn’t feel like a wedding without a pretty dress – then a dress needs to go on your list of things to include in your budget. If your betrothed has always wanted to get married in the family’s church, mark that on the list too. Go over a wedding budget checklist(pdf) and only write down the ones you don’t feel like your wedding day would be the same without. Then allocate your wedding budget to just those items and the rest is rubbish!
This is all you need to know to start planning a wedding on a budget!