Wedding planning is so expensive that its a challenge to keep your total costs under $10k. On average, American weddings cost $25,000. The following items with their expected percentages are included in the wedding budget:
- Attire – 7%
- Cake -2%
- Reception Venue-18%
- Wedding Planner-3%
- Wedding Rings-2%
- Extra Fee/Emergency Fund-5%
Consider These Alternatives to keep your Wedding Under $10K
Attire- Shop the sales rack and order offline. Order in advance and offseason. If you have a summer wedding. Buy your outfits for your Bridal Engagement Party, Bridal Shower, Bachelorette/Bachelor Party and Honeymoon months in advance if you can help it. If you’re serious about keeping your wedding under $10K, shopping offseason will be better for your budget.
If you’re concerned about any dramatic weight loss or weight gain then shop last-minute sales and coupon up as much as you can. If you have gift cards you haven’t used from Christmas and your birthday or rewards points that transfer into cash, use that before reaching in your wallet.
Cake- Consider a cake top only for the bridal party and another dessert for guests. Some people are doing donut bars (like us) or dessert tables that have cake pops, candies and/or cupcakes. This way you don’t have to worry about cake going to waste or costing you hundreds of dollars. You can pay for an approximate amount of dessert and once it runs out it runs out.
Drinks- Don’t feel obligated to host a bar all night. Some venues are flexible and will allow you to bring in your own alcohol, host only the first hour or serve drinks with dinner. Do what feels comfortable for your budget and don’t even worry about if your guests will understand. No one should be coming to your wedding to get drunk. It’s not that serious. If you decide to do a cash bar, do it if that will help you sleep peacefully at night and not go broke. Remember the goal is to keep the wedding under $10K.
Favors/Gifts- I think it’s important to gift the wedding party because they’re apart of what makes the experience. A good wedding party is pretty much at the beck and call of the bride and groom and that should be rewarded. I do not feel an obligation to provide favors for every single guest that shows up. They’re already getting a free meal, entertainment and possibly free drinks on your tab. Some people even end up taking the centerpieces from the reception.
That is enough. I’m sure you’ve equally supported them during important moments in their lives. If you do decide to do favors, keep it as simple and inexpensive as possible.
Flowers/Decor- Utilize your network. Are there people that can help you out with decor as a gift? Flowers are expensive. Opt for fake flowers if necessary because what are you going to do with all those flowers afterward? People would probably be more than happy to take some of them off your hands but at that point, you just volunteered to buy other people flowers.
See my point in not wasting time on favors? Try to mix fake flowers with real to save money and see who can help with arrangements if you don’t want to hire a florist. There are people who want to help but can’t afford to dish out money. I’d reach out to those people first to help with flower arranging and decor in general. Even if you’re able to DIY everything, you won’t be able to help set up the day of so you need to have people in place that are willing to help.
Food- See if you can find a venue that includes food in your overall costs. If not, see if someone will sponsor your wedding that’s trying to get their catering business off the ground. A lot of times up and coming businesses will sponsor for free or a small fee. Try to stay away from a la carting everything.
Invites/Paper- Save time and have people RSVP online. We sent out Save the Dates and had the website to RSVP online on the back of the Save the Dates. People in the past have complained about people not sending their RSVPs back. This resulted in them wasting hundreds of dollars on saving the dates, invites, envelopes, and stamps just for people not to use them. Skip the headache and make everything as digital as you can. The older generation typically likes paper in hand so consider sending save the dates to those people but that’s it.
Music- Opt for a DJ that has professional equipment but is trying to build his portfolio. They’ll offer you a better deal. The minute you mention Wedding, the price goes up and that’s the case for most things. I use the Thumbtack app to find great deals on anything service-based.
Photos/Video- Photos and videos are the only things that I say don’t go cheap on but don’t break the bank either. Consider hiring a photographer/videographer for a shorter period of time to cut costs instead of all day costs. Hire someone you know, they may offer you a better deal. If you have your own camera equipment, see if you can get someone to record your nuptials with your own camera.
Thumbtack also has lots of photographers offering great deals specifically to people who book through Thumbtack.
Ceremony/Reception Venue- See if you can have it in the same place. Doing this often gets you a discount especially if you know someone that works there. Trying to pay for a wedding ceremony/reception can get very expensive. Also, consider eloping and just having a reception later. If wedding planning isn’t something you want to be bothered with.
Many people do destination weddings for this reason. They’d rather travel somewhere with a few close friends and family members than waste their time or energy on having a big wedding. Las Vegas is a really inexpensive place to get married depending on what you’re looking for. Initially, we were looking at Vegas and honestly, it would have cost us just under $2000 to have a nice wedding. The cheapest I saw was $300.
Completely skip everything in this post and head to Las Vegas. Marrying in Vegas will surely keep your wedding under $10K.
Considering all that I know now, I would have rather done that and kept the rest of my money in my pocket. We could be saving for a home right now. In the end, they say its all worth it but I will post another post and let you know in August 2020. LOL.
Transportation- If you’re getting married locally and drive SUVs, I would opt for using your own vehicles. If not, check to see if you can get a discount through your job on rentals on if someone in your wedding party can. Unless, you can budget in a limo or horse and carriage, or someone is gifting it, don’t do it.
Wedding Planner- Many brides opt for this to minimize stress but its not necessary if you’re an extremely detailed and organized person. Allow your friends to chip in and assist you with any ideas they may have and hey, if you’re lucky, someone(a more detailed/type A gal-pal) may volunteer to be your Wedding Planner.
Wedding Rings- Opt for inexpensive rings starting out. You can always upgrade later. Don’t shy away from lab-created diamonds which tend to be more inexpensive or other gemstones all-together. Do what your budget allows and don’t worry about trying to impress people. The ring itself doesn’t matter but the fact that you have a ring(proposal) matters more.
Extra Fees/Emergency Fund- Have a buffer. Things will come up so you best be prepared.
Honeymoon- Opt for a honeymoon fund instead of a registry. Doing this could help you to significantly cut costs overall. Many wedding website providers like Theknot.com have this already built into the site.
Think About What’s Most Important to your Marriage and Budget
My best advice is to not go broke trying to plan an extravagant wedding. Going into your marriage with unnecessary debt on top of debt that you both probably already have is going to create issues in the long run. They say the first year of marriage is the hardest. Marriage.com recently published an article called 20 Most common reasons for divorce and the Money was #2. Don’t be the couple that gets divorced before the marriage even starts due to the failure of setting boundaries when it comes to money.
Have a Wedding under $10K By Trimming Your Invite List
How big does your invite list need to be? This is what ultimately drives the price of your ceremony and reception. You are literally paying for your guests to be there. So, ask yourself do you really need 150 at your wedding. Consider 60 and under. Also, make sure that whoever you invite is truly happy for you and your spouse. No one wants people there that really can’t be happy for you, see my post How to not take it personally when you notice people being distant.
Here comes the guide has a comprehensive wedding planning checklist that has these same wedding category breakdowns if you’re looking for a free checklist. To help with planning a wedding under $10k, you can also purchase the same Wedding Planning Guide by Jessica Bishop that I purchased from Amazon below. While everything wasn’t applicable to my situation, she gives you more than enough info to guide you in making a decision on how to spend and save for your wedding.