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Planning a Wedding on a Shoestring

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Planning a wedding on a shoestring.   Cutting out what’s NOT important.  Spending wisely.  Sounds easy right?  You just watched the latest “Fairy Wedding” on WE TV and you want those flowers, the ring and that dress and those centerpieces were to die for ahhhhhhhhh!  Why didn’t David Tutera choose ME!  It’s not fair!  I want a fairy wedding!

You can make your wedding the wedding you dreamed of  but let’s be realistic  though there is only so much money to go around and not everyone has an unlimited budget to work with.  In fact I think what makes a great planner is one that can keep you in budget and yet help you create a day to remember.  Sure it’s a breeze with a $100,000 budget but what if you only have $10,000 to spend!  So, what about the real people in the world?   Could you pull off a “Fairy Wedding” on a shoestring!

Well you may not have a huge budget but you do have dreams!  So, how can you make your dreams come true?  Things cost money let’s face it and the more the detail the more the money.

  1. The first thing to do is set a realistic BUDGET.   NOTE : I SAID REALISTIC BUDGET.  You can’t say I only want to spend $10,000 but I want 300 people, plated dinner,  uplighting and a photobooth..NOT!
  • Let’s not panic.  Just look at the bottom dollar and figure out what you can afford.  You can get an idea of costs by checking local websites and get an average cost of things.  For example the average cost per plate at hotel venues or caterers.  Check out the latest Wedding fashions online and look at the cost of the dresses.  (Here is a little secret if you go to our Blogs from December of 2010 you will find a month work of valuable information.  Actually that month was titled, “Plan a Wedding in Thirty Days.”  You can get a great idea of costs but be sure to check for any current increases.  Hey here is another little secret we are going to be doing the same thing this December!  So watch for “Plan a Wedding in Thirty Days 2011.”)
  • Here is a helpful link to give you an idea of how to allocate your funds
  • Here is another little tip this is a great spreadsheet to keep track of what you spend.

2.  Set Priorities

  • List the items and vendors you need.  That you absolutely NEED.  Like food, Dress, photography, reception venue, ….
  • Of those things:  What are the three most important to you?   Is it photography?  The Food?  the Decor?  Pick three things focus on those three first.  This is where your fingers do the walking.  Start doing your homework and compare prices.  Ask questions: What are your Packages (things are cheaper when they are bundled together.)  Are there any other fees like over charges.  Make sure you understand completely what is included and what is not included.  Make sure of the bottom dollar.  Once you have the most important done start on the next three and so on until you are done.  Keep track.
  • How can you take that $350 bouquet that you have to have and make it affordable.  Ask your florist what flowers can you substitute for a similar look.  Do you want rhinestones?  Can you provide them?  Don’t be afraid to ask questions.
  • Numbers!  Numbers!  Numbers!  The more the number of people the more the number of DOLLARS.  Your guest list will be the key to keeping expenses down.  It would be great to have everyone you know and love at the wedding but if you are on a tight budget you cannot invite everyone.  This is where things can get a bit sticky with family.   One way to keep a lid on things  is to set limits, each side will have so many people they can invite.  If they want to invite more that is fine but they will have to help with the costs.

3.  Set up Payment Plans

  • Once you book with a vendor set up your payment plan.  Will it be monthly?  It is so much easier to pay a little at a time then be faced with huge bills the week of the wedding.  Remember many vendors require payment the week or more before the wedding.  No payment, no vendor!

Wouldn’t it be nice if we could all have a “Fairy Wedding’?  Well they may not feature your wedding on WE TV but it will be your day.  It can be gorgeous.  It can be unique.  It can be affordable.  Be realistic, plan, and be willing to make adjustments.

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Want to use this information in your Blog? You can but you must include this statement: Written By: Margaret Moore Senior Planner of Simple Elegance where it is more than just a wedding, it’s your memory. Visit us at So you’re getting married, keep it in perspective. Enjoy the Moment!

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