8 Truths About Planning a Wedding on a Budget

Jessica Bishop
October 30th, 2021 | 9 mins
Nathan Dumlao
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This post about planning a wedding on a budget first appeared on The Budget Savvy Bride, and is shared here on The Money Date to provide some helpful information to our Zeta couples who are planning weddings!

Choosing to plan a wedding is not for the faint of heart, and planning a wedding on a budget can feel extra challenging. Though the end goal of celebrating with your friends and family will be a focus the entire time, there are also plenty of decisions you will need to make in order for your goal to become a reality. One of the decisions you will make very early in your planning process is setting your wedding budget. Deciding how much you and your partner (and anyone else contributing financially toward your wedding day) are comfortable spending can be a challenge.

While some couples choose to spend thousands, there are many who opt to be more conservative with their wedding dollars. This choice is made for a complete litany of reasons. Some couples have their eyes on meeting a savings goal for travel, a home, or life in general. Other couples have simply never envisioned throwing a celebration with every bell and whistle. If you fall into any of the scenarios we mentioned (or perhaps one we haven’t!), we thought we would share painful truths (and plenty of positives!) about hosting a soiree for less. We’re here to celebrate your decision to plan and host a wedding on a budget, so keep reading below!

The Painful Truths of Planning a Wedding on a Budget

Whether a couple is planning a wedding on a seemingly never-ending budget fit for Kim Kardashian or choosing details for a celebration that has more financial confines surrounding it, there are truths. So, let’s dive into the “painful” truths of choosing to be mindful with your wedding money. Keep in mind: at the end of your wedding day, no matter how much you have spent, you will be married.

1. You will have to make compromises.

The saying “you can’t have it all” is definitely true when you’re planning a wedding on a budget. But, we think that’s okay! In order to keep your budget in check, you might choose a venue that wasn’t initially on your radar, and you might opt for a buffet or stations rather than plated meals. You might carefully design your own stationery or DIY your flowers. Your dress may be borrowed or preowned. Your playlist for the night might be one you craft yourself, or you might choose to work with a DJ instead of a multiple piece band. But, to us, none of those compromises will make your wedding any less beautiful or less fun. In fact, we think many of your favorite memories will be because of the compromises you make!

2. You may not be able to afford everything you want.

While the list of things you would love to have on your wedding day may be lengthy, we have a feeling if you switch gears and prioritize instead you will be just as happy. Think about choosing 3-5 details or services you think will enhance your experience and the experience of your guests. Then keep your eyes (and your budget!) trained on them. While your wedding might not have every bell and whistle, you likely can swing the things that matter most to you and your love.

3. You may have to leave people out.

While you’re piecing together your guest list, you might see and feel the number becoming smaller before your eyes. That’s okay! Throughout 2020, elopements, intimate, and micro weddings were trending, and they are definitely here to stay. The couples who celebrated with smaller guest counts loved their experience, and that has only influenced many other couples to plan their weddings with fewer people. Less guests means you will be able to interact with everyone, and you will also celebrate knowing you’re surrounded by an intimate group of family and friends who truly adore you and your partner.

4. You may have people who will judge your decisions.

People don’t only judge weddings that are planned on a budget. Instead, people judge weddings that are planned on any budget. Whether someone supports or likes your wedding day is irrelevant. The fact of the matter is your wedding is your day to enjoy with your love! The most important people who must like your wedding day are the two of you.

The Positive Truths of Planning a Wedding on a Budget

As you can likely tell, we think even the painful truths about planning a wedding on a budget can be turned into positives! Below, we’re shining a light on the true pluses that make spending less a real bonus.

1. You will keep yourself out of debt.

There are things in our lives that require us to go into debt, and going into debt for a wedding is definitely not one of them. In fact, we highly suggest avoiding it altogether! When you choose to be mindful with your wedding money, you will avoid writing checks and paying credit card bills that make you uncomfortable. That is worth a celebration on its own!

2. You will start your marriage out on the right financial footing.

With mindfulness comes freedom, so think about the other ways in which you can use your money that will benefit you more than a party. Maybe you imagine traveling, perhaps you want to pay down your student loans, or maybe you’re dreaming of buying a house or expanding your family – whatever you have in mind, knowing you can (or will!) is a great place to begin your marriage together.

3. You will likely have a stronger marriage.

Not seeing eye-to-eye on finances or starting your union under a mountain of debt will place strain on even the best relationships. While a wedding with perfect details might seem worth it in the moment, we can assure you starting your marriage off in a great place financially will set you up much better in the long run.

4. You will know you planned your wedding your way.

Like we mentioned above when we were chatting about the “painful” truths of planning a wedding on a budget, one of the biggest benefits is you will know you listened to your own intuition and let your values guide your decisions. While you might experience moments of wistfulness that you have to prioritize your wish list rather than saying yes to everything, you will get to enjoy your wedding day knowing the most important things to you are, in fact, on display. While friends and family might be in attendance, this is a day for you and your partner. Make sure it’s a day you’re proud to enjoy.

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