Making Cheap Weddings Look Expensive

General, Inspiration,
5 min read Sep 23, 2019

Updated March 26, 2024

Congratulations on your engagement! It’s an exciting time as you prepare to join lives with your partner. However, navigating the financial aspect of wedding planning can be daunting. Despite The Beatles’ proclamation that “all you need is love”, the reality of wedding planning proves that love isn’t the only necessity. With the average cost of weddings soaring over $20,000, many couples find themselves stressing over how to cover such a hefty sum. Yet, planning your big day doesn’t have to drain your bank account, nor does the term “cheap” have to compromise the elegance of your celebration.

Discover how to plan a cheap wedding without giving up your dream day’s charm. It’s entirely possible to organize a breathtaking wedding on a small budget. By prioritizing your wedding budget and choosing the right venue, you can create a beautiful event that looks anything but budgeted. Here, we’ll guide you through your wedding planning process to transform a modest budget into an exceptional day, proving that a lavish look doesn’t require a lavish spend. Follow these tips to celebrate your love without letting finances stand in the way of your joy.

Trim The Guest List

Wanting to celebrate your joy with friends and family is natural, but it’s important to remember that the wedding cost increases with every guest you invite due to the necessities of food, drinks, and seating. So, if you keep your guest list short and sweet, you’ll benefit from having a more manageable number of seats to fill, mouths to feed, and hugs to share. You won’t need to settle for searching for venues for weddings on the cheap side. Plus, when you have fewer guests, you can indulge in quality over quantity. This approach alleviates the pressure of hunting for affordable venues and allows for lavish upgrades in other areas. For instance, with a smaller gathering, options like a sophisticated raw bar, bespoke seating arrangements, or custom wedding invitations become feasible, enhancing the uniqueness of your celebration. Opting for a backyard wedding could further personalize the day while significantly cutting costs, offering a charming setting that’s both special and cost-effective.

Location, location, location

Location is key when it comes to planning your wedding, especially if you’re aiming for an affordable yet memorable event. Hosting an intimate ceremony not only allows you to select a venue that’s both significant and stunning, but it’s also typically more cost-effective. With fewer guests, your ceremony will be shorter, reducing the need for a prolonged rental of the venue and, consequently, lowering your wedding expenses.

Opting for a cheap wedding ceremony doesn’t mean compromising on beauty. Consider locations that hold special memories, like that breathtaking waterfall where you exchanged heartfelt “I love yous” or the park that witnessed your early moments together—places like these might cost little to nothing. Planning a destination wedding on a budget is also entirely feasible. Decide with your partner about the places you both love to visit, and then make some calls to figure out some of your best options. Bid farewell to overpriced wedding venues and embrace the charm and savings of a more intimate wedding.

Two For The Price Of One

Consider having your wedding in the exact location as your honeymoon. Why not? It’s a clever strategy to manage your wedding expenses, allowing you to skip the time and cost associated with travel by celebrating your ceremony in the paradise you and your partner cherish. Plus, a destination celebration can significantly reduce the average wedding cost. Typically, such celebrations attract fewer guests, leading to a shorter RSVP list and, consequently, lower overall expenses. This could contribute to a more favorable wedding budget breakdown, offering savings across various categories. Imagine the allure of an intimate gathering on a picturesque beach in Hawaii, where the serene backdrop elevates your special day without straining your finances.

Choose An Intimate Reception

When planning an affordable wedding, having a ceremony location that might not suit your reception may sound like an additional expense, but that’s not necessarily the case. Selecting a cherished restaurant to host your dinner or arranging a cozy gathering in your backyard adorned with string lights can actually lower overall costs. You’ll gain the freedom of affordable food options and be able to spend more quality time with your guests. A personalized reception is even more intimate and meaningful for you and your guests. To have one less space to rent and decorate means one more step towards turning your budgeted celebration into your dream wedding.

Simplify Your Scheme

Seeking an affordable wedding while still dreaming of a stunning celebration? Choose simplicity. From the floral arrangements to the decorations, wedding bands, and even the dress code. Opting for clean, straightforward details not only reduces your wedding expenses but also adds a personal touch, giving you the freedom to focus on what is essential for you. Minimalist ceremonies have gained popularity for those looking for cost-effective ways to tie the knot, proving that simplicity in wedding flowers and decor can lead to an elegantly memorable celebration.

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Something Borrowed, Something Used

Planning a budget wedding doesn’t mean you have to compromise on style or sentimentality. Imagine using your best friend’s stunning sequin handbag or your grandmother’s vintage pearl necklace as part of your ensemble. Decorate your venue with items that tell your story, such as picture frames filled with memories or souvenirs from your travels together.

If your wedding venue already offers a breathtaking background, you can save on expenses by minimizing the need for elaborate aisle decorations or ornate altars. Small, cheap wedding ideas can be incorporated into your planning. When considering wedding favors, consider using what you already have or can borrow. This approach not only helps with managing your budget but also allows for a more personalized and intimate experience with the help of trusted wedding vendors. A good rule of thumb? Hold off on purchasing something brand new if you won’t find a use for it after the ceremony.

Dress For The Occasion

Opting for a smaller celebration can significantly expand your choices for wedding attire, making it easier to match your outfit to the uniqueness of your venue. For instance, a ceremony on the beach means you don’t need to spend hundreds on fancy heels. Perhaps you can skip the veil when saying your I do’s on a mountaintop. But if your heart is set on those pretty little details, consider renting your wedding dress and accessories from numerous online platforms dedicated to bridal attire. This approach not only allows you to get that dream dress without breaking the bank, but also ensures you look picture-perfect for your wedding photographer, capturing the essence of your big day beautifully.

A Bundle Of Love

At Simply Eloped, we’re all about making your wedding planning journey as affordable as possible. We specialize in elevating budget-friendly weddings to look like a lavish affair, focusing on love and happiness over financial worry. Our customizable elopement packages offer three affordable paths to celebrate your union, ensuring you don’t have to compromise on your dream wedding. Contact us to get started planning your ceremony the simple way.

General Inspiration
Written by Tori Ward

Victoria Ward is a writer at Simply Eloped as well as a Keats Marginalia scholar and Storyfort finalist for her fiction and creative nonfiction. When she is not writing about elopements, she writes grants for her research and non-profit work.