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How To Plan a Wedding on a Tight Budget

With some imagination and creativity, you can plan an amazing, memorable event that honors your new marriage and stays within a tight budget.


  • Step 1: Call local photography schools to find a talented, reasonably priced photographer. If you have an amateur photographer friend, ask them to provide their services in lieu of a wedding present.
  • Step 2: Use a computer or iPod to shuffle your favorite tunes at the reception and ask a friend to serve as DJ. Or consider hiring music students from your local college if you have your heart set on live music.
  • Step 3: Visit vintage clothing stores or consignment stores for wedding attire at a reasonable price. Learn when your local bridal store has its next big sale and select a non-designer dress. Now enjoy your big day and think of all the money you've saved.
  • FACT: Roman Emperor Maximilian I presented Mary of Burgundy with a diamond ring as an engagement present in 1477. This began the tradition of giving engagement rings.
  • Step 4: Work with a home-based catering service to devise a creative, yet inexpensive, menu. Consider serving only finger food or appetizers rather than a full, sit-down dinner. Other budget-friendly options include a potluck or a cake-and-punch reception, and you can always eliminate the open bar.
  • Step 5: Visit a local flower wholesaler for the best price and selection for flowers. Tie long-stemmed flowers into casual bunches for a unique creation. If you're working with a florist, ask for lower-cost alternatives of popular flowers that still work with your color scheme.
  • TIP: Don't feel bad asking for help; you'll encounter many loved ones who will want to put their talents to good use. Remember to send a thank-you note to those who assisted you when the wedding is over.
  • Step 6: Use your computer to scout out parks, museums, and vineyards for a wedding locale with beautiful scenery to minimize the decorations needed. Or consider having both the ceremony and reception at your local church, which eliminates the reception hall fee.
  • TIP: Hold your wedding on a Friday evening or Sunday afternoon. Many ballrooms or reception halls offer reductions for weddings that take place on a non-standard day.
  • Step 7: Pare your guest list as a small wedding costs less. Try to keep it to under 200 guests. You may have to make some tough choices, but always invite the family and friends you most want there to witness your special day.

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