Wedding Ideas
July 18, 2018

15 Tips for Planning a Kickass Summer Wedding on a Budget

Girls Just Want to Have Funds: The Budget Bride’s Guide to an Affordable Wedding

minute read

The time for expensive weddings has passed. More and more couples of our generation struggle to scrounge up all that extra cash that has long been required when planning a wedding. Whether it’s going towards endless student loans, overpriced rent, or awesome travel plans, either way, millennials have been coming up short. So does that mean we’ve seen the end of extravagant weddings? Heck no! Romantic, fun, and crazy weddings continue to go on full speed ahead, so hop on board with everyone else who wants all the glitz without wasting all the cheddar. We now welcome you to our affordable summer wedding guide, where you can plan your perfect day at half the cost and at double the fun.

1.Nix Your Myspace Top 8

wedding gathering

It’s probably been a while since you talked to certain friends and family members, and you might feel pressure to include everyone in your guest list so there are no cold shoulders. Unfortunately, one of the easiest ways for a bride to shave off costs in her wedding is by only inviting those who you really need there. A smaller guest list will make the event more intimate and special! Still finding it hard to whittle that list away? Try using a percentage amount to decrease your list by, like 20%, and see if that helps.

2. The Right Venue

wedding sign outside building

You might have an image already of where you want your wedding to be, whether it’s by the beach, at a country club, or in a rustic barn. This is one of the best places to save some dough. By altering your idea for your venue, you can make some huge savings. Parents have a barn of their own? Ask if you can have your reception there. Know a local park that will offer a stunning view? See if you can work something out there. In addition to saving cash by seeking out these alternative venue options, you also add an aura of authenticity, uniqueness, and love.

3. Seasons of Love


Summer is the season of love! It is an extremely popular time for weddings, and you can get a lot of added benefits just by committing to this lovely time of year. One of these bonuses is that flowers are in season. Floral arrangements for weddings often come stamped with a huge price tag on them but ensuring that you are getting the flowers when they are blooming in the summer sun versus in the middle of the winter, can definitely help you out!

4. The Gift That Keeps on Giving

wicker heart basket with flowers

Wedding registries began from the traditional notion that couples would start a home together once they were married. Guests would celebrate and bless their marriage by gifting them with household items that would come together to make a loving home. Nowadays, we know how likely it is for engaged couples to already have been living together for a prolonged period of time, so items like pans and dishes don’t really come as much use anymore. If this sounds like your relationship, an alternative to having a wedding registry is asking guests wedding help rather than wedding gifts. This is better than asking straight up for cash, and it made creative a more intimate and interactive experience for all guest-goers. An example of what we mean? Ask Aunt Lynda if she would brush off her old harp for the ceremony, if your girlfriend who loves pics to be your official photographer, etc.

5. Your Bridesmaids Know You Love Them

wooden letters decorated that say love

It’s a popular trend for wedding parties now to be gifted with items like matching robes, monogrammed necklaces, and themed T-shirts. While this new trend may be all the rave, giving gifts to your wedding party can be easy to nix. Whatever happened to the idea that your presence is a gift? At the end of the day, your bridesmaids love you and know that you love them. If you still feel obligated to thank them for their involvement with something material, try one of these cute DIY bridesmaids’ gifts that you can make right at home while still portraying a special message.

6. Pass the Aux

Picture of wedding attire and casual shoes

Hiring a DJ is always a risk in itself. You want to make sure that your guests have great tunes that will keep them dancing all night, but you always want a variety so that your Grandma doesn’t feel left out when the DJ decides to play “Scorpion” on repeat. Instead of being faced with making passive-aggressive recommendations to a DJ who has gone off on her own tangent, take it a step further by being your own music muse. If you’ve already crafted the perfect party playlist for you and all of your guests to enjoy, bring your aux cord and no one will be the wiser. You can ask the vendor if they have equipment that you can use or bring your own stereo equipment from home.

7. Catering

Wedding Treats

Unless you are a chef or know one who is willing to give you a major discount, food is likely a money vacuum that you cannot avoid. While you can try alternatives like serving salad instead of Lobster, the best thing you can do to ensure a solid deal is by hiring an affordable caterer. Catering services often offer different package deals so that you can make sure you are picking the best bundle for your wedding guests. Specific types of foods may also give you more bang for your buck, like this affordable wedding caterer that serves barbecue in Maryland, DE, and D.C. Their smokey BBQ plates hit both the quantity and quality checkboxes. It’s affordable, highly recommended, and offers specific food packages for wedding parties.

8. You Booze, You Lose

pouring champaign

If you are having a dry wedding, then congratulations on saving a bunch of cash, but the rest of us have to find a way to stock the bar without going totally broke. As big of an expense as the food you are serving, providing alcohol for your guests can quickly get out of hand. There are all sorts of bar varieties that you can offer (check out this article that breaks them down). A few of them include stocking the bar yourself, paying for only beer and wine, a cash bar, a free cocktail hour, getting a deal on a liquor package, or having an open bar that ends at a certain time. While there are plenty of ways to skimp on alcohol prices, just make sure you do not break the one rule: running out of booze before the party ends!

9. Say Yes to the Dress on Sale

back of wedding dress

If you mouth hangs open during every Say Yes to the Dress episode, know that normal brides can look as good as the ones on TV with a significantly lower price tag. Buying dresses off the rack, and on sale, can help you find a beautiful dress for less. By staying away from custom dresses and looking at knowingly affordable boutiques or larger department store, you can keep your price range in check. As for bridesmaids, it is not always customary for the bride to provide their dresses. Whether you are a budget bride or not, more and more are choosing to allow their bridesmaids to pick (and pay for) their own dresses (think of that scene from Bridesmaids). Giving your wedding party some sort of formal guideline like style, color, or general theme will give your bridesmaids the opportunity for an informal and independent search for their own dress.

10. She-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named

wedding couple

The infamous “w” word that must be avoided at all costs. When vendors hear the word “wedding”, they are like sharks smelling blood in the water. They are thrown into a frenzy of hiking up prices and marking up their services for no reason other than to profit off of your special day. While certain services have increased fees for wedding events due to circumstances like greater pressure or higher expectations, getting a straightforward quote early on in the conversation can only help. Start early by shopping around at different vendors and services to get an idea of how much you can expect things to cost. That way you can be prepared when you see an extreme price increase when you start saying the “w” word and be prepared to combat their reasons if necessary.

11. DIY Everything

groom placemat

There are plenty of cute crafts you can make to replace expensive décor, and one of the easiest ones to make is DIY invitations. You can make your own professional invitations with a personalized touch to save some extra dough. This is great for the brides who love to be creative, have an artsy side, or just enjoy anything DIY. Office stores like Staples offer a variety of fancy printing services as well as different types of papers, envelopes, and even blank invitation kits. Make your invitations as classy as if they were professionally done, all from the comfort of your home. Certain sites offer discounted wedding invite templates, as well. You’ll be happy you skimped here!

12. Advertise Your Vendors

setting a table

This intelligent wedding hack is a great way to pay it forward on your wedding day. The key is to work some kind of deal out with the vendors that you choose for your wedding services. These businesses can receive some wide-reaching and easy free advertising if they play it out right. By offering the various vendors you are using a display opportunity at your wedding, they may be more inclined to offer you a deal of a reduced rate. It can be as small as placing the florist’s business card next to vases on each table or having a list of used vendors made available to your guests on your wedding blog / wedding site. Many small businesses will be happy to make this exchange in order to gain more traction for their business, so do not be afraid to ask!

13. The Early Bride Gets the Worm

wedding cake

Not in any rush to end the engagement period? You can save great on wedding deals by planning ahead for this special day far in advance. This applies to almost every fundamental piece that makes up a wedding: the dress, the venue, the food, the drinks, the invitations, and saving the date for your guests! Huge discounts can be given to those who books services in the off season, in advance, and during sale periods. Planning ahead of time will also help prepare you with what to expect from wedding vendors, their fluctuating prices, and what you like or don’t like. Happy hunting!

14. Don’t Be Afraid to Ask for Help

two women holding masquarade masks

Weddings can be overwhelming. Most people know this, and can relate to the stress, time, and capital that planning a wedding requires. Instead of trying to tackle this difficult feat totally on your own, use the resources that are available to you, and we guarantee that the experience will get that much easier. The internet is full of informative sites like The Knot and Weddingwire, as well as online encyclopedias like The Budget Bride and Pinterest. Another great resource is your friends and family. It is likely that your loved ones would be more than willing to lend a helping hand when needed, whether it be for advice, recommendations, general support, and maybe even funds. In addition to your personal circle is your community, which is usually one of the most untapped resources available to budget wedding planners. If you are hosting your ceremony at a local church, inquire about the ladies’ auxiliary (more commonly known as “church ladies”). This women’s organization that exists at most churches is usually willing to help out with smaller tasks like decoration or music, all for a wee donation. In addition, if you live nearby a university it is a great idea to contact the school in search of any student musicians, photographers, artists, and more, who would be willing to provide services in exchange for school credit or resume experience.

15. Skip It Entirely

couple under wooden canopy of plants

If after reading this article, you still think you’re going to have trouble affording the wedding you want, just skip it entirely. There’s no shame in saying “I do” in the courthouse with the one who this is all about: your significant other. In a few years, when the time is right and you have the means, you’ll be able to make the leap and have the wedding of your dreams. Enjoy this special time as newlyweds and have this wonderful ceremony to look forward to!

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