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How to Plan A Cheap Wedding (That Doesn’t Look Cheap)

It’s happened; you’re engaged. Congratulations! You’ve decided to tie the knot with the person you love, and couldn’t be happier. But while The Beatles may be able to sell “all you need is love,” the wedding industry sings a very different tune. On average, weddings can cost over $20,000, which most couples don’t have just sitting in their back pockets. But money shouldn’t have to hold your I-do’s hostage, and the word “cheap” shouldn’t strike fear into your heart. Let us help you! We know how to plan a cheap wedding while still making it look anything but. Here are some simple steps to pull off a wedding that’s drop-dead gorgeous that will only look like you’ve hit the lotto.  

Trim the guest list.

You want to share your happiness with all of your friends and family – that’s totally understandable! But each guest invited to your day will need food, drinks, and seating, which can add up quickly. 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. Plus, when you have fewer guests, you can indulge in quality over quantity. Adding something like a raw bar, a custom seating chart, or personalized favors might be something fun to consider with all that extra cash!

Location, location, location.

Planning an intimate wedding can allow you to choose a location that is meaningful, beautiful, and often less expensive than a larger, more traditional wedding. With a lower guest count, the length of the ceremony is much quicker, meaning you won’t have to rent your ceremony site for several hours. Remember that gorgeous waterfall hike where you first said “I love you”? Or the park where you strolled hand-in-hand after your first date? You can likely get married there!  Chat with your partner about some of your favorite places to visit, and then make some calls to figure out some of your best options. So long, venues that charge an arm and a leg! 

Two for the price of one.

Consider having your wedding in the same location as your honeymoon. Why not? You can skip the time and cost of traveling for both your wedding and your honeymoon by heading straight to wherever you and your honey call paradise to also tie the knot! Plus, destination weddings typically have a shorter list of confirmed RSVP’s, so this might help you save some cash in more ways than one. Hello, intimate beach soirée in Hawaii! 

Provide intimate entertainment.

Your ceremony location might not necessarily work for a wedding reception. That’s OK! Consider hosting dinner at your favorite restaurant, or hanging some string lights gathering in your own backyard. You’ll gain the freedom of affordable food options, and be able to spend more quality time with your guests. Having one less space to rent and decorate means one more step towards a more affordable wedding.

Simplify your scheme.

From flowers to decor to dress code — clean, simple details can make your wedding day cheaper and more personal while giving you more freedom to focus on the elements most important to you. Borrow necessary items from friends and family or bring items from your own home that have a special meaning. If you’re in a location that already has a breathtaking backdrop, save on elements like aisle decor or altar decorations. If you won’t use it for something after the ceremony, you shouldn’t include it in your big day.

Something borrowed, something used.

From flowers, to décor, to dress code – creating simpler details can make your wedding day cheaper and more personal. Simplifying can also give you more freedom to focus on the elements most important to you. Borrow items from a friend or a family member, like your BFF’s  gorgeous sequin handbag, or your grandmother’s vintage pearl necklace. Bring items from your home to decorate the space, like picture frames filled with memories of you and your partner or your favorite souvenirs from all the places you’ve traveled together. If you’re in a location that already has a breathtaking background, you won’t need to spend much time or money on added elements like aisle decor or an ornate altar. A good rule of thumb? Hold off on purchasing something brand new if you won't find use for it after the ceremony.

Dress for the occasion.

Smaller weddings can open up your options for attire as well. 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, there are plenty of sites where you can rent bridal attire — even your wedding dress, if you were really hoping to save some cash!

A bundle of love.

Shameless plug: at Simply Eloped, we’re all about making things more affordable for our couples. At the end of your wedding day, we want you to feel full of love and happiness, not under the crushing weight of debt. With three customizable elopement bundles to choose from, you can have the wedding of your dreams at a price that will afford you to keep chasing your lifelong dreams. Contact us to get started planning your ceremony the simple way.

Article written by Tori Ward
Victoria Ward is currently a part-time writer at Simply Eloped. Her areas of interest include poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction, and is a two time finalist with Storyfort's prefort undergraduate competition. Having recently finished her baccalaureate, she can be reliably found with pen and book in hand.
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