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The Only Tips You’ll Ever Need to Host A Small Wedding on A Budget

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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? The Only Tips You’ll Ever Need to Host A Small Wedding on A Budget.

Before you can get to all the fun details, we must discuss your budget as it is likely the most stressful part of planning a wedding. A small wedding does not make it any easier (sorry), but we have the tips to make your planning process a lot easier, so let’s get started.

There are many guidelines available online on how to allocate your 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 very quickly. Instead of following the traditional setup, let’s discuss how you can save money; consider these beneficial tips and guidelines for your small wedding budget! Below are The Only Tips You’ll Ever Need to Host A Small Wedding on A Budget!


Trim the Guestlist

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@snapchicphotography Calla Blanche Lilia 121101

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).


Downsize your transportation 

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.


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

Strip the Invitation Options 

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, 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).

Select Simple Photo Packages 

Sure, a premium package with an engagement session, bridal session, and a secondary photographer for the day of 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.

Opt for Less Flowers 

Florals are a beautiful addition to a wedding, but they can take up a sizable chunk of your budget. While you don’t need flowers and there are many substitutes for the colorful arrangements, if you choose to incorporate them, opt for the less expensive options (those in season and local). Or just remove the florals altogether, totally up to you!

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


small wedding

@brookemageephotography and @ryannlindseyphotography Calla Blanche Joanne 19254

Simplify your Menu 

If you were planning an extravagant dinner spread, 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.


Find a Smaller Cake 

We like to think for smaller 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, less cost, 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. 

Allocate your Alcohol Wisely

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 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.

Give your Gown a New Life 

It’s usually preferred to keep your beautiful gown for the memories. Still, as brides rarely give their wedding dress a second wear, you may as well put it into better hands. This could mean passing it down to your children or selling it to another bride who deserves to feel like a princess too. Many rental and second-hand dress shops would love to get your stunning gown (plus, it already comes with a fantastic experience guarantee)!


TIP #4: Ask for help instead of gifts; having everyone pitch in on your budget is a sure way to save and just enjoy the day! 


Depending on what’s most important to you, these are some great ways to start saving money throughout your wedding planning process. You can pick one, or you can pick them all, but at the end of the day, you can rest assured that you’re making decisions to help you enjoy a more affordable wedding. The options are practically endless when hosting a small wedding, so if you’re looking for more tips, visit our post on The Ultimate Guide to Hosting a Small Wedding.


Header Image Credit: @brookemageephotography & @ryannlindseyphotography

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