Setting your wedding budget is one of the toughest parts of the entire wedding planning process. Contrary to popular belief, not all weddings have to be huge, and not all weddings have to cost thousands of dollars. So if you are thinking about how to plan a wedding on a budget of $1000 then read on…
Firstly, it IS possible to plan a wedding on a budget of $1000. Sure, you may have to cut some corners, and yes you may not be able to include every little thing, but if you want a DIY low-budget wedding then – good news – you do have options!
After all, the most important part of a wedding (which I think brides forget sometimes) is the two of you saying your vows and committing yourselves to the beginning of a new life together, and that alone does not cost too much!
The top tip for planning a wedding on a budget of $1000 is to ask for help. Your closest family and friends will be more than happy to pitch in and help you with certain elements.
Here we will share some cost-saving ideas and savvy options for you to think about for your special day – we’ll work through different categories to help you think outside the box…
The Wedding Dress
Firstly, is there a wedding dress you could borrow? Perhaps there is a gown in the family that someone has kept that could work for you. Or maybe one of your close friends has their dress and would be happy to see it resurrected for your big day?
Many brides keep their old wedding dresses but don’t know what to do with them – so speak to your close friends and family members to see if anyone would be comfortable loaning you their dress.
If this isn’t an option then you can look into getting a pre-loved wedding dress. The good news is that more and more women are donating their dresses, so you can often find some good deals in thrift stores. There are pre-loved wedding dress shops popping up all the time, so have a look at what options there are in your area.
Websites like Brides for a Cause are also great options for second-hand gowns and don’t forget to check out second-hand selling sites like eBay for loads of budget-friendly options!
And lastly, remember you don’t need to buy a “wedding” dress for your big day. It doesn’t need to be white, and it doesn’t need to be specifically “bridal” – you can pick an outfit that you love from your favorite high street store – just without the huge price tag!
The Groom’s Suit
Who said the groom has to be in a new suit? Lots of men already own a good suit that they rarely wear, so how about wearing this for the wedding?
A new shirt, tie, or shoes could be enough to make him feel special on his wedding day.
Or if you are going for a super relaxed wedding vibe, then perhaps it’s no suit at all – just a casual shirt and chinos.
Alternatively, see if your groom could borrow a suit from someone, or again it can be rented.
When thinking about how to plan a wedding on a budget of $1000 picking the right venue is key!
You will most probably have to consider having a backyard wedding in the garden of a friend or family member. This is such a great option for low-budget weddings, and with some creativity, a garden can be transformed into a special wedding venue designed just for you.
If not, is there a private-public area in your ‘hood that would work? In a park or a beach if you’re lucky! You may need to contact your town council about this and determine whether you will need any permits or special permission.
For your wedding ceremony, the cheapest way to do it legally is at City Hall. It’s fairly straightforward and in many cities, the City Hall is a beautiful building.
For church weddings, speak to your local church and get a cost. You’ll be surprised that some of them will charge as little as $200 for a short ceremony – but it’s true.
Alternatively, you could ask a friend or family member to get ordained and be your officiant – it’s all possible!
Feeding your guests may seem impossible on a tight budget – but don’t worry, you have options!
It will depend on your venue and the number of guests, but instead of purchasing food for everyone, you could invite your guests to bring their favorite dish to the wedding. If people have plenty of notice, this shouldn’t be a big problem for anyone.
Alternatively, if you are having a summer garden wedding you could have a BBQ and invite people to bring something to put on the barbie. Then you just need to supply the ketchup and the plates!
Instead of spending money on printing out fancy invites and then paying for stamps, you could use a wedding website.
These are often completely free. I did this for my wedding – it’s a great way to host all the information that guests will need for your wedding in one place.
Not only does this cost nothing, but it’s also better for the environment and saves you time!
Wedding flowers do NOT need to cost the earth.
Think about it; flowers are everywhere. I’m sure you know someone who has a budding garden and if you ask them nicely they may be happy for you to take some blooms for your bouquet on the day.
A DIY wedding bouquet can be beautiful and very personal. Do your research and find out what kind of bouquets you are most drawn to and try to mimic the images as best you can.
Check out our article here on more tips for creating DIY wedding flowers.
You could also speak to your local florist to see if they know of any trainee florists in your area. If you get lucky and find someone who is still learning, they may be happy to help you design your wedding flowers for free, if they can use photos and a testimonial for their website for example.
Wedding decor can be done well on a budget.
If you collect glass jars of all sizes and remove the labels, these can make excellent candle holders or vases for flowers. Your table centerpieces could be wildflowers and some greenery; so simple but truly effective!
Your table plan and name place cards can all be handwritten and look great. Think about whether you have a friend or family member who has lovely handwriting and whether they would mind showing off their calligraphy skills at your wedding… I am guessing they wouldn’t! It could be a really fun evening creating your table plan/ name cards together.
Lighting is really important, so in addition to candles, you could use fairy string lights to bring instant magic to your indoor or outdoor wedding space.
Fairy lights create a warm and glowing ambiance in any area and you can pick them up so cheaply. Place them around trees, fences, and gazebos to add some sparkle after it gets dark!
Please please don’t forego assigning a photographer. This is a day you want to capture and remember forever – you won’t regret it.
Firstly, do you have any friends or family that would be good for the task? Have a think about anyone you know who has a smart SLR camera; they will likely be into photography.
If not, then you could pick five to ten of your most trusted and creative wedding guests and ask them all to take photos on their camera or phone on the day. Then you can pool together their photos and have a gallery of the best ones.
If you do this – make sure you pick one or two of them to specifically focus on the ceremony and permit them into the aisle to capture your entry and exit!
Another idea is to find a photography student or trainee to capture the photos for you. They will most likely be looking for case studies to grow their portfolio and so should be happy to help you!
You can probably guess what I am going to say here…. yep, consider whether there is a keen baker amongst your guests! Surely someone is good in the kitchen?! Hopefully, you’ll find someone happy to bake you a wedding cake.
Of course, you may even be up for the challenge yourself! You can watch video tutorials on how to make tiered cakes and how to create elegant icing and decorations. Have a practice – and remember it doesn’t need to be perfect.
There are other options too – for example, you could have cupcakes made by a few friends – if these are laid out on a tiered cake stand they can look great – and this also means that every guest can have one!
Hair and Makeup
Your bridal hair and makeup are super important as you want to feel your absolute best on your wedding day.
But you don’t need to hire someone for the task – you can teach yourself! With the help of your maid of honor and bridesmaids, you will surely be able to find someone confident with hair styling and make-up.
Watch YouTube tutorials together and once you know the look you want – practice practice practice! Your girl squad will be on hand throughout the day to help pin any fallen curls or fix any makeup smudges.
Just make sure you leave enough time on the wedding morning for your hair and makeup as it often takes longer than you think!
Who knows you and your significant other’s favorite music better than anyone? YOU DO! So spend some time in the run-up to the wedding making your dream playlist.
Have one playlist for the daytime with more chilled, romantic songs, and another playlist packed full of your favorite party anthems and songs that you know will get people dancing.
I have been to many weddings where I thought I could pick better songs than the hired DJ! (Is it just me?).
Just make sure your chosen venue has a good sound system in place, or borrow a good quality speaker from a friend.
Should We Just Elope?
Something else to consider if your wedding budget is small is eloping. Heading off somewhere, just the two of you is a budget-friendly way to get married.
You don’t need to travel anywhere exotic – and some couples have no issues going to their local registry office, grabbing a witness off the street, and getting married that way.
Of course, an elopement is not for everyone, and it is certainly not the only option when thinking about how to plan a wedding on a budget of $1000, as I’ve hopefully shown you!