How to Plan a Wedding for Under $5000

How to Plan a Wedding for Under $5000

How to Plan a Wedding for Under $5000

According to the latest statistics, the average wedding in the United States costs over $30,000. If you're footing the bill yourself or your parents don't have that much cash to spend, this statistic could get you pretty worried. While the average cost is pricey, many people pay a lot less, and you can do the same. It's possible to spend less than $5,000 on a wedding without making the celebration feel cheap.

Shrink Your Guest List

Perhaps one of the simplest ways to slash your wedding budget is to invite fewer people. Each wedding guest costs the couple an average of $268. Every guest you take off the list can save you a significant chunk of change. To have a budget-friendly event, keep the list to family and close friends only. If people ask why they didn't get an invitation, just say you wanted an intimate wedding.

Get Smart About the Venue

In many weddings, the most significant single expense is the venue itself. In fact, it can make up almost half of the total budget. Cut down your budget by going with a less-traditional wedding venue. If someone in your family has a beautiful backyard, you can host a lovely wedding there. Often, churches offer wedding services at a much lower cost than other venues.

If you have your heart set on a particular venue, you can still shave off some costs. Refuse some of the upgrades that the site offers or have your wedding on a day that is less in demand.

DIY When It Makes Sense

Wedding DIY projects aren't limited to mason jar centerpieces and signs made from recycled pallets. You can significantly reduce your wedding budget by doing some things yourself. For example, you can skip hiring a DJ by creating a playlist yourself. Not only will you save serious cash, but you can also ensure you love every song at your reception.

Do you have excellent graphic design skills? Design your own invitations and get them printed at a local shop. You can also write your own vows and ask a close friend or relative to officiate. When you tackle some of these big-ticket items yourself, you can make your wedding more personal as well.

Trim Around the Edges

When you're planning a wedding, the little expenses can add up quickly. Make it your mission to cut costs wherever possible, and ask if something is truly necessary before you buy it. For example, can you live without the Save the Date cards if you send out the invitations early enough? Probably. When you get in a budget-conscious mindset, you can have the wedding of your dreams without going into crippling debt.

Items you will need

  • Wedding dress, $200
  • Veil, $50
  • Bridal shoes, $25
  • Groom's tux and shoe rental, $175
  • Bride's bouquet, $50
  • Groom's boutonniere, $5
  • 2 Bridal party bouquets at $25 each, $50 total
  • 2 Bridal party boutonnieres at $5 each, $10 total
  • 100 Invitations at $1 each, $100 total
  • 100 Place cards at 25 cents each, $25 total
  • 100 Thank you postcards at 50 cents each, $50 total
  • 10 Take-out dinners at $12 each, $120 total
  • 2 Bridesmaid beaded bracelet gifts at $20 each, $40 total
  • 2 Groomsmen pen gifts at $20 each, $40 total
  • Wedding arch, $100
  • 100 Chairs at $2 each, $200 total
  • Chair delivery/set up fee, $50
  • Ceremony officiate, $100
  • Wedding license/certificates (as required), $50
  • Reception room fee/tips, $200
  • 100 Guest meals at $25 each, $2,500 total
  • 100 Cup cakes at 50 cents each, $50 total
  • 3 Graduated size serving dish tiers
  • 25 Bottles of champagne at $7 each, $175 total
  • Pre-recorded wedding music compact discs with music player
  • 100 Disposable cameras at $1.75 each, $175 total
  • Wedding album, $25
  • Guest book with pen, $25
  • 14 Silk flower table centerpieces at $20 each, $280 total
  • 100 Candle favors with ribbons at $1.25 each, $125 total


  • Focus on what you want, then look for trade-offs to fit everything in. If necessary, cut costs in one area so you can spend in another that matters to you.


  • Don't let family, friends or trends dictate what you have to do. Select what pleases the bride and the groom.

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About the Author

Mackenzie Maxwell believes that a well-made budget is a key to a happy household. She starting combining this interest with her passion for writing in 2016. Mackenzie has written for financial sites like The Balance and local financing organizations.