How I planned an elegant wedding for under $5,000

Since Tony and I just celebrated our first anniversary, and my sister-in-law is in the process of planning her own wedding, I’ve been thinking about wedding planning a lot lately. Before I started planning my own wedding, I believed that it had to be all or nothing: either an all out, extravagant affair or a quick run to the court house followed by a backyard barbecue. That isn’t the case, though. If you prioritize and plan carefully, it’s possible to get everything you want out of your wedding on a very limited budget.

I never thought I was the type of girl who wanted a big fuss on my wedding day. Looking back, though, I’m so glad we had a traditional wedding. It really was the most special day of my life.

Last year I wrote a series of posts on how I planned my wedding on a budget. If you’re in the middle of planning a wedding for you or someone you love, I hope you’ll get some useful information from my experience.

Getting your priorities straight.

Make a plan and set a wedding budget.

Planning a beautiful wedding ceremony on a budget.

Hosting an elegant reception without spending a fortune.

Dressing your wedding on a dime.

Minimize your wedding flower budget.

Do it yourself wedding ideas to save money.

It’s okay to spend more on what’s important to you.

How to buy wedding bands online without getting ripped off.

Planning a budget honeymoon.

As I planned my wedding, I also found a lot of great tips from one of my favorite frugal bloggers, Kacie at Sense to Save. She recently rounded up all of her frugal wedding planning ideas and reposted them. Check it out for some more tips!

Honestly, though, my advice for planning the wedding of your dreams on a budget comes down to this: Set your priorities, use the bulk of your budget on what’s really important to you, and don’t spend money on something just because wedding etiquette rules say you should. It drives me crazy when I hear people paining over how much they’re spending on things they don’t really care about just because they don’t want to be “tacky.” The wedding industry makes millions of dollars a year off these so-called etiquette rules. It’s no wonder they keep them alive.

This is your wedding. It should be a celebration of you, your relationship, and the people who love you most. Saving money on your wedding is the same as saving money on anything else — you have to do what’s right for you, and you can’t worry about what people will think of you. The most important people in your lives won’t care a bit how you choose to celebrate your wedding, and they’ll never ever think you’re tacky for saving money. They’ll just be happy to be there with you no matter how you choose to celebrate.

2 thoughts on “How I planned an elegant wedding for under $5,000

  1. Sharon

    This is a timely post as I just went to a wedding, (was suppose to go to two but hubby was incapacitated with back issues).
    The first of the two weddings was the one we did not attend. It was my bosses daughter’s wedding and no expenses were spared. Daddy paid for it, so the bride had no worries…It’s venue was a golf resort with ceremony and reception at the same place. There was a cocktail hour, open bar, and sit down dinner. I believe there were lobster cocktails as one of the appetizers! I know he spared no expense as I saw most of the wedding bills! There were over 150 people in attendance, and the bill came to over $280/a person.

    Next wedding we were able to attend. This was a family friend, my daughters best friend since they were in kindergarten. Their wedding’s venue was at a converted barn and put on by the Knights of Columbus. The barn was charming, and room for a wonderful dance floor. The food, on the other hand, was bad. The bride and groom picked out appetizers. There was no sit down dinner, which was fine, but the wedding started at 12:00 noon and the reception started at 2:00 p.m. so this was, in essence, lunch for everyone. They had chicken fingers (my daughter hurt her jaw when she bit into one), soggy caesar salad, crackers and cheese, roast beef (looked old) and stale bread. The DJ played the same songs over and over, so there was minimal dancing. I’m not sure what this wedding cost, but I hope they did not pay very much. The bride’s parents footed this bill, but I’m not sure I would have been inclined to hand over a check after tasting the food.

    Your reception sounded beautiful. When I married for the second time, my husband and I picked a venue that could only house 60 people. It made everything less expensive. We supplied the wine, beer and soda, which saved us a lot of money.

    I have three daughters, two of which are nearing the “wedding” age. I have taken notes from your postings, and hopefully I can convince the girls to stay within a budget, and to know that a beautiful wedding does not have to be an expensive one!

    Sharon’s last blog post..The "No Spend" Experiment, Con’t.

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