Planning a Wedding on a Budget

Can you believe it is almost spring? The beginning of spring means summer is right around the corner and summer is the time many couples choose to have their wedding. And who could blame them? Warmer weather, sunny skies, and gentle breezes make a wonderful setting for the perfect wedding. The problem is, according to The Wedding Report, the average wedding cost is approximately $21,000, and with finances being a major concern for many couples, not every couple can stomach this price tag. Think about it – wedding dress, getting primped and pampered, accessories – before you know it, money will be flying out of your wedding account at light speed. This does not even take into account some of the more expensive details, namely the wedding venue and the cost of food and entertainment. Check out the average costs of a wedding, broken down by category:

Approximate Wedding Cost for 125 Guests
Ceremony $515.00
Reception $9,300.00
Attire $2,530.00
Flowers $1,075.00
Entertainment $3,600.00
Transportation & Lodging $540.00
SUBTOTAL $17,560.00

Have we scared you yet?

Fortunately, your dream wedding can be just as perfect as you imagined, even if you are watching what you spend. Just because you are on a budget does not mean your wedding needs to be cheap and drab. It is all about doing your research and planning a wedding that does not break the bank.

You can start planning your budget-friendly wedding by shopping at your favorite retailers through and earning cash back on all of your purchases. For instance, by shopping at to purchase flowers for your wedding, you can earn up to 10% cash back. Referencing the above chart, if your total floral expenses were $1,075, you can earn $107.50 cash back. When you shop at top retailers, such as and Macy’s, through FatWallet you can save money:

Type Avg. Cost
Dress & Alterations $1,400.00
Bride’s Accessories $160.00
Groom’s Attire $115.00
Groom’s Accessories $50.00
TOTAL $1,725.00
Fatwallet Cash Back 6%
You Save $103.50  
Type Avg. Cost
Bride’s Bouquet $200.00
Bridesmaid Bouquets (3) $180.00
Groomsmen Boutonnieres (3) $30.00
Flower Girl’s Flowers $25.00
Centerpieces $525.00
Ceremony Site Decorations $115.00
TOTAL $1,075.00
Fatwallet Cash Back 10%
You Save $107.50

With FatWallet you can save on wedding essentials, while shopping at reputable, trustworthy retailers.

Other tips to consider when planning your wedding on a budget:
Cut the guest list in half. This will cut your costs on catering and invitations, which can be expensive. You’ll also save on decorations and centerpieces, which can be costly as well.
Have your wedding at a friend or family member’s house. Having your wedding at a resort, hotel, or even a church can be VERY expensive. Not to mention you’ll have to worry about booking fees and possible scheduling problems. A good friend or a family member would be more than happy to accommodate you on your big day, and you can’t beat the cost: FREE!
Read wedding books and magazines instead of hiring a wedding planner. Hiring a wedding planner can be awfully expensive. According to Cost Helper, the average cost of hiring a wedding planner is $3,262. Don’t open your wallet – open some books and magazines instead and take notes on how to plan your perfect wedding on a budget.
Have a friend do your hair and makeup. Getting your hair and makeup done professionally can make a sizeable dent in your wedding budget. Instead of going to a salon or hiring a professional makeup artist, have your friends help you with your hair and makeup. They will be more than happy to do so, and again, you can’t beat the cost!
Don’t get too fancy with the food and photography. You do not have to serve a sit down dinner at your wedding. Setup a wedding buffet and let your guests serve themselves. In addition, hiring a professional photographer can set you back thousands of dollars. A good idea would be to ask someone you know that is skilled with a camera to shoot your wedding for you – this can be done in lieu of a wedding gift. Or, you could put out a bunch of disposable cameras and let your wedding guests shoot the wedding and reception.

As you can see, the path to having the wedding of your dreams does not have to be an expensive one. When it comes to planning your wedding on a tight budget, it is all about doing your research and using your creativity. Ask for help when you need it. You’d be surprised at the connections certain friends and family members have in the service and entertainment industry.

Other wedding resources

How to Avoid Going Bankrupt from Your Wedding
Consider These Gift Bag Ideas for Wedding Guests
4 Creative Ways to Save Money on a Wedding

About the Author:
Kathryn Katz is a Certified Personal Finance Counselor and works for Consolidated Credit Counseling Services.

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