Off the Shoulder Long Sleeve Boho Wedding Dress with Slit
April 16, 2024

Intimate Celebrations: Small Wedding Ideas On A Budget

Looks like you are getting married, and we’re so excited to help you along this journey! We bet your mind is racing through all the things that need to be planned. What photographer will you book? Should you send invitations? What does your dream wedding dress look like?

But don’t worry, because we're here to discuss the most effective small wedding ideas on a budget. Let's dive into some strategies to make your intimate celebration both memorable and affordable.

When planning a small wedding on a budget, one of the most important tasks is managing your finances wisely. A small wedding reception does not make it any easier (sorry), but we have the tips to make your small wedding planning process a lot easier, so let’s get started.

Colorful Wedding Dress with Flowers and Ball Gown Silhouette

Photo: @taytesvichphoto of Esther 123108

There are many guidelines available online on how to allocate your small wedding budget, some may suggest:

  • 50% Venue, catering, rentals

  • 12% Photographer/videographer

  • 9% Attire, hair, makeup

  • 8% Decor

  • 7% Entertainment

  • 3% Planner

  • Stationery 2%

  • Officiant 2%

  • Transportation 2%

  • Wedding bands 2%

  • Goodies and favors for guests 2%

While this is perfect for some couples, others (specifically those hosting small weddings) can scrap that ‘traditional’ budget breakdown. When hosting a small wedding, your priorities tend to stray a little from the traditional. Once you’ve chosen your ‘why’ (the element driving all your important decisions), your budget allocation will change drastically and quickly. Hosting a small wedding on a budget doesn't mean sacrificing style or sentimentality.

In fact, it offers you the opportunity for a more intimate and personalized celebration. With careful planning and creative thinking, you can create a magical wedding reception without breaking the bank. Instead of following the traditional setup, consider these beneficial tips and guidelines for your small wedding budget! Below are the best small wedding ideas on a budget!


Look at that; you’re having a small wedding with fewer guests. You’re already nailing this. Congrats! (This might be easier than you thought). Consider embracing the intimacy of a small wedding by trimming down your guest list.

By keeping the guest count low, you not only save on catering and venue costs but also create a more meaningful experience for you and your closest loved ones.


Limo’s are an excellent choice for wedding day transportation, but they’re also expensive! Consider evaluating your options. Have you thought about whether a different type of vehicle might be more your style – less formal perhaps?

Look into smaller sized options for your ride, such as a town car, or pair down the number of vehicles you may have initially dreamt of – one for you and your boo should do the trick. There are plenty of stylish ways to arrive at your small wedding venue without breaking the bank.

TIP #1: Be realistic when it comes to your dreams and your budget. 

 124103 mermaid long sleeve wedding dress with lace and removable choker3  BACK TO LIST Gloria Style No. 124103 Mermaid Long Sleeve Wedding Dress with Lace and Removable Choker

Photo: @rickybailliephotography of Gloria 124103


You could opt for email invitations to completely cut the costs involved. However, we get it if you’re the couple that wants to hold onto their invitations as memorabilia from their wedding too! When selecting your invitations for your small wedding, keep in mind that costs start to add up quickly the more elements and specializations you add. Even the tiniest embellishment or number of colors chosen can quickly turn $2 invitations into $12 invitations (per person).


Sure, a premium package with an engagement session, bridal session, and a secondary photographer for the day would be the ideal choice. However, not everyone can afford that option (especially when looking for ways to save). Instead, grab the basic package; you’re still set to walk away with incredibly professional photos and stellar memories from your big day. You can even consider taking bridal pictures or engagement photos solo, DIY style.


Florals are a beautiful addition to a wedding, but they can consume a sizeable chunk of your small budget. While there are many substitutes, if you choose to incorporate real blooms, opt for ones  in season and local to your climate. They will be less expensive. Or just remove the florals altogether, totally up to you and your wedding reception style!

TIP #2: Track your budget! Create a system to track your expenses throughout the planning process. 


If you were planning an extravagant dinner spread at your wedding reception, it might be wise to dial it back. Instead of five courses, try three. Instead of expensive dishes, try meals that are more casual and easily accessible from your local region. Know that your meals can still appear high class without spending the extra money.


We like to think for small weddings, less means more (value). When looking for your dream cake, try searching for bakeries that might specialize in smaller wedding cakes (one to two tiers). A smaller cake means less waste, budget friendly, and yet delighted guests enjoying some yummy cake!

TIP #3: Make your big day specialized to you as a couple; your inspirations, memories, and interests. It will assist in the decision-making process, ensuring you stick to what matters most. 

 Fitted Sparkly Wedding Dress with Detachable Sleeves and Straight Neckline

Photo: @jennymartinphoto of Halsey LA23105


If you’re looking for ways to save on your alcohol budget, you may want to consider having a bar with limited drinks. Guests shouldn’t be highly intoxicated; you want them to enjoy your wedding reception experience along with you, after all. Another option may be to strategically serve beverages.

Consider saving quality drinks (such as expensive champagne) for the most monumental moments, such as toasts. You can serve other types of beverages for the rest of the evening or lesser quality champagne – chances are no one will notice.


When it comes to choosing a venue for your small wedding reception, intimate wedding spaces offer charm and coziness that larger venues simply can't match. Consider quaint restaurants or picturesque gardens for a memorable and budget-friendly wedding celebration. These small wedding venues provide the perfect backdrop for your special day while accommodating your small guest list with ease. Plus, with less guests to accommodate, you may find that small wedding venues offer more flexibility and affordability in terms of price and package options.

Charming Backyard Weddings:

One of the most budget friendly ideas for a small wedding is to host it in your own backyard. A small backyard wedding offers a unique and personal setting where you can exchange vows surrounded by the beauty of nature. With a little creativity and DIY flair, you can transform your backyard into a stunning small wedding venue.

Decorate with fairy lights, floral arrangements, and elegant seating to create a magical atmosphere. Not only does a small backyard wedding save on venue costs, but it also allows for greater flexibility in terms of catering and entertainment options. Whether you're exchanging vows under a canopy of trees or dancing under the stars, a small backyard wedding promises to be a memorable and budget-friendly reception.

Beaded Short Wedding Dress with Sleeves and Sweetheart Neckline

Photo: @marycostaphoto of Alison AA2307

Depending on what’s most important to you, these are some great ways to start saving money throughout your wedding planning process. With these tips and tricks in mind, you're well-equipped to host a beautiful and budget-friendly small wedding reception that reflects your love story and values. Remember, it's not about the size of the celebration or the amount spent but the moments shared with your loved ones that truly matter.

By prioritizing what's important to you, thinking creatively, and involving friends and family, you can create an unforgettable day without breaking the bank. After all, love is priceless, but your wedding doesn't have to be!