When you are planning your wedding, you may face the dilemma of many couples: how to reconcile your visions of a dream wedding with your own financial reality. If you don't have a lot of money to spend on tying the knot, you can make some simple changes to still have a nice wedding with little money. The actual act of getting married can cost hardly anything at all, so you can manage an inexpensive wedding by avoiding pricey add-ons.
Visit city hall. In a legal sense, you don't need to rent out a venue or pay for a religious service to get married. Your local justice of the peace can perform a quick ceremony for you for little to no expense. By avoiding the pomp and circumstance of a religious or destination wedding, you won't have to spend any money on the venue or on flowers or musicians for the ceremony.
Host the event in a public or backyard venue. Most municipalities will allow weddings or receptions in public parks, although you may have to fill out some paperwork or get a permit. Ask a friend if he is willing to open up his home or yard for your event, or host it yourself if you have the space. Keep the event location local to bring transportation costs down to close to zero.
Write out your budget. No matter small the amount of money you have to spend on your wedding, writing out and categorizing your wedding budget will help you allocate the funds you do have and prioritize the things you want.
Make, borrow or rent your wedding clothing. You don't need to spend a lot of money to purchase clothes you will most likely wear only once. Making or borrowing your wedding-day garb will cost you little, if anything, while renting from secondhand shops can be inexpensive.
Enlist friends and family for services. Ask your talented friends and family to contribute their skills to your event as a wedding gift. For example, if you have a relative who is a musician, ask her to perform at your wedding and/or ceremony. Friends who are photographers can save you a lot of money and may even do a better job than some professionals since they know your tastes and preferences.
Create your own invitations and decorations. Even with sparse artistic skills, you can design your own invitations, RSVP cards and thank-you notes with templates on a computer. Craft simple floral arrangements and centerpieces from garden flowers and greens mixed with small citrus fruit, for example.
Skip dinner. Since food can be a large part of a wedding budget, consider serving your guests lunch, appetizers or dessert only. If your budget doesn't call for providing your own food, ask guests if they can bring food for a potluck celebration, possibly in lieu of gifts.
After receiving a Bachelor of Arts in English from UCLA, John Csiszar earned a Certified Financial Planner designation and served 18 years as an investment adviser. Csiszar has served as a technical writer for various financial firms and has extensive experience writing for online publications.