How to Spend Less Than 10000 on a Wedding

Have you been searching “how to spend less than 10000 on a wedding?” Yes, it can be done! Is the most important day of your life worth starting your marriage in debt? Check out how to throw a wedding for less than $10,000.

Your wedding day is one of the days you will remember for the rest of your life. After all, it isn’t every day that you dress up in your finest clothes and pledge your love and life to one special person for the rest of your life.

But is starting your life together with a mountain of debt the best possible start? Weddings are a special day and event, but are they more important than your financial future? The beauty of your wedding lies in the promises made and the memories captured. Here at the Budget Diet, we believe you could throw a beautiful wedding for less than $10,000. While it is less than a third of the average wedding in the U.S. it is still more than enough for a wonderful wedding. Here’s how.

Limit the Guest List

Friends toasting the bride and groom
Source: Canva

Many dream of the perfect wedding day surrounded by those they love and who love them. Unfortunately, guest lists oftenget bloated with people who don’t necessarily fall into that list. For every person you invite, your wedding budget increases.

Having a small wedding does not mean that the event is any less special or less important. It simply means that the experience is more intimate. Choosing to invite only those who are truly close friends and family means that you will be able to spend more time with each of your guest and more money. While many well-meaning family members may balk at the idea of not including your cousins or others you are not close to but remember who will be stuck with the bill.

Limited the guest list could also help to quell any wedding nerves. A smaller crowd of familiar faces could mean less anxiety over the long walk down the aisle or reciting of vows.

A smaller guest list could also lend itself to a nicer selection of food and drink, an open bar or a nicer wedding venue. Smaller numbers could mean that you could host your special day at a family home or favorite restaurant rather than a hall. A smaller guest list may mean that you have room in your budget to hire a wedding planner to keep things in order on your big day. A smaller list could mean more of your dream wedding realities are realized on a smaller wedding budget.

Consider your Clothing Budget

Bride wearing a modest wedding dress
Source: Canva

Wedding dress shopping is considered a rite of passage for many women and their female family members. You are all gathered in anticipation of your special day and get to spend time trying on what is likely to be the most expensive and most beautiful garment you will ever wear.

But what if it wasn’t?

Wedding dresses are beautiful and shopping for one is fun. You get to drink champagne and are complimented on how beautiful you look. But once the wedding is over your wedding dress is often just a huge garment bag taking up valuable real estate in your closet. You likely won’t wear it again and selling an altered dress is difficult at best.

Rent Your Perfect Dress

Instead of buying your wedding dress, why not look at better options? Firstly, you could consider renting your wedding dress. Renting a dress is one of the best ways to save in your wedding budget, and you get to return it once your special day is over. However, renting a dress may be cheaper than buying a new one, it can have its own set of drawbacks.

Often you have to purchase insurance on the dress and may not be allowed any alterations. In the days after your wedding when you would rather be packing for your honeymoon, you have to make sure the dress is returned in good condition.

You also may not have as many options and the dress may not be altered for the perfect fit. If you do decide on a rental, opt for one with a corset back for the perfect fit.


Second Time Lucky

Source: Canva

You could consider buying a second-hand dress. Many stores offer secondhand options which are cheaper than a brand new dress and would still allow for alterations. You can still have your dress buying experience at a reduced price. While this may not be offered in all areas, there are also online options available as well.

Many of these stores will also allow you to sell your dress back to them after the ceremony which will further reduce your costs.

Another option to consider is to skip the gown altogether and wear something less formal you may be able to wear again and again. If you are your partner are more the jeans and t-shirt type consider frocks that are slightly less formal to fit into your laid back style.


Consider a Family Heirloom

Another option for your wedding dress is to ask friends or family members if they have bridal attire you could borrow. Perhaps your grandmother has a beautiful antique gown that would be perfect for your occasion or a friend has a beautiful dress just taking up space in their closet? You may be able to look beautiful on your wedding day for only the cost of a dress cleaning.

Food Budget

people serving themselves at a buffet
Source: Canva

One of the biggest wedding budget expenses are the food and drink costs. Again, the larger your guest list, the more you pay for catering. Whether you decide to serve a four-course meal or rent a food truck the meal will make up a large portion of your budget.

The decision of what to serve your guests is often a personal one. There may be ties to your culture or religion that you want to honor and they may come at a price. For example, many Greek weddings feature roasted lamb or pork, and many Portuguese weddings feature lots of seafood.

While it may be nice to offer such extravagant meals at your wedding, it all comes at a cost. Some couples opt for a cocktail wedding so they can avoid the sit-down meal and offer passed hors d'oeuvres instead. Others may opt for plainer meals and comfort foods such as taco bars or pizza to keep costs low.

Choose a Buffet

In general, buffets are a more cost-conscious option over sit down dinners and also offer lots of food options for those with allergies or picky palates. With this style of catering, there is always the option to make large amounts of food beforehand that can easily be heated up at the event. Many grocery stores can also put together platters of sandwiches, veggies, fruit, and cheese for a reasonable cost.

Keeping the food simple can also lend itself to a laid back affair. A simple menu can lend itself to disposable plates and cutlery, a backyard menu and a casual vibe.

Related: Potluck: The answer to a cheap and easy dinner with friends

Early Risers

overhead shot of a breakfast table
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If you don’t want to cut the guest list but have a limited budget you can always think outside of the box. Instead of an afternoon wedding and an evening reception, why not have an early morning ceremony and a celebration bunch?

Breakfast foods are relatively cheap to cater and you can get away with champagne and orange juice rather than a full bar service. While you need to get up early (you probably won’t sleep anyway) you can get an early start on your honeymoon.



DIY favor boxes
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A great way to personalize your day on a budget is to get creative. With sites like Pinterest, there are so many ways to get inspiration and the how-to make your own special wedding touches.

There are many low-cost options that you can make relatively simply for beautiful decor, favors, or even DIY wedding bouquets.

Many crafty brides and grooms will make their own decor, menus, wedding invitations, centerpieces, wedding favors and even their own dress. By making it yourself, you can help save some of the huge markup found on wedding items and decor.

Considering the wedding industry was worth a reported 72 billion USD in 2017, DIY could save you a huge mark up.

Making your own wedding touches is also a great way to get your wedding party involved and bond together in the weeks leading up to the wedding. There are many ecologically friendly options that are great for the budget too. Mason jars are a popular option to be repurposed as vases, candle holders and favors. They can be found at many local thrift stores for a reasonable price. Some of the most beautiful weddings are the cheap weddings that showcase the personality and lifestyle of the brides and grooms.

Rent Your Decor

Country chic wedding decor
Source: Canva

Many couples plan to rent items like silverware, linens, and napkins, but don’t think about renting items like centerpieces, flower girl baskets or the ring bearer pillow.

While many guests like to take the table centerpieces home, it really is just an unnecessary expense.

Another option is to buy used decor from the many buy-and-sell sites like Craigslist and VarageSale. This is a great way to get beautiful decor at a fraction of the price without the work of DIY. Keep it in good shape and you can sell or donate it to another couple after your celebration.


A Little Help From Your Friends

Bride surrounded by guests
Source: Canva

Many modern couples choose to live together before marriage and already own many of the household items they would be registering for as wedding gifts.

In lieu of gifts, many couples hope to receive money to cover their wedding expenses but feel that asking for it would be tacky.

Instead, why not consider asking friends to share their talents to help with the wedding in lieu of a gift?

Perhaps you have a crafty friend who has basic florist skills or could provide handmade favors, or a talented photographer who would be happy to lend their services? Relying on the talents of others is a great way to lower the cost of your wedding and add personal touches to your special day.


Capture the Day your Way

couple posing for wedding photos
Source: Canva

Another big expense of a traditional wedding is hiring a professional photographer and videographer. While every couple wants to capture the memories and special moments of their wedding, thinking outside of the box for your video and photos can save you lots of room in your budget.

In the past, many couples have opted to give their wedding guests disposable cameras to capture memories of the reception. While this was a fun option before digital photography, it also relied on amateur photographers who were likely enjoying some drinks at the bar in conjunction to snapping their photos. However, it's important to remember that you get one shot at this. Despite how much your closest friends may tout their services, hiring a professional photographer is often well worth the fees.

Let's go Digital

With today’s digital cameras, not to mention the photographic capabilities of cellphones, amateur photographers are able to take many photos to snap that perfect shot. The equipment lends itself capturing beautiful images easily. Asking a few close friends or family members to have their cameras ready to capture your day is less of a risk and more of a reasonable way to save money.

If you don’t feel comfortable asking friends or family to sacrifice their enjoyment at your wedding in order to capture it, you can also look to outside help. You can check with the local art college to find aspiring professional photographers who would be willing to help capture your day for a modest cost. Some may even be willing to do it to add to their portfolio.

Music Budget

Bride and groom dancing
Source: Canva

For many music lovers, having the right song playing while you walk down the aisle or have your first dance as a married couple can truly make your day magical.

Having a friend or family member sing or play an instrument during your wedding or during your wedding reception is an exceptional gift for any newly married couple and a great way to add a special touch to your wedding without an additional expense.

Friends can also be called on to help prepare a great music lineup that can easily be loaded up into programs like iTunes to make your wedding day playlist an easy DIY.

Flower Budget

Flower holding wedding rings
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Flowers are a traditional part of most weddings but can add quite a large expense to your wedding budget. There are many ways to cut the cost of adding beautiful floral touches to your wedding.

A great way to get the flowers you want at a price you can afford is to buy flowers when they are in season. If you love peonies,  consider getting married in early summer when they are readily available.

Many grocery stores offer competitive prices for floral arrangements. You may be able to make your money go farther by staying away from traditional flower shops.

You can also ask friends and family to consider donating some flowers from their gardens to make up your bouquets and centerpieces.

If this is your plan, consult your guests well in advance and plan your wedding for when their gardens will be in full bloom. You can also look for a wedding venue in a natural setting, such as a botanical garden, to drastically cut back your need for florals. By hosting your wedding ceremony somewhere that flowers grow, you don't need to pay a florist for organized bouquets.

You can also consider alternatives to florals, such as repurposed jewelry or candy bouquet and boutonniere.  

Don’t Marry on a Saturday

image of wedding rings
Source: Canva

Getting married on a Friday or a Sunday can save you substantially on your venue. What you gain in savings you may lose in guests who can’t take the time off of work in order to make it to a wedding on a Friday. For those who choose to host their wedding on a Sunday may regret hosting a soiree on a day when people need to turn in early to prepare for an early morning.


couple toasting each other
Source: Canva

Weddings are not only expensive, but they are also often stressful to plan. When there are only two people to consider, you know that your budget and your wishes will be respected.

While this option may be met with some hurt feelings, it could be the happiest way to start your marriage.

Consider a private sunset ceremony on the beach or a fun getaway to Vegas. It’s a private and romantic option to start your life together.


Destination Wedding

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Many couples choose to forego the expensive traditional wedding for a warm vacation and some nuptials by the beach.

The average traditional wedding is over $30,000 USD. Many destination resorts offer wedding packages that vary between no additional cost to a few thousand dollars.

Of course these savings are often passed on as a cost to your guests. In order to attend your nuptials they are forced to pony up the cash to travel with you, which can vary between $1,200 and $3000 plus for a weekly stay.

While it is a fun trip away with those closest to you, it does not come without its own complications. Some countries can only marry you in Spanish. Others may require you to get legally married before entering the country or before getting married on the beach.

Another consideration is that you may have to choose between your dream destination wedding and your guests. Chances are, not everyone will be able to afford to join you on your special day. You may sacrifice having your closest friends and family members present. Paying for everyone will not fit into a modest budget.


What Matters to You?

Planning a wedding on a budget is possible without compromising on your dream day. As long as you consider what matters to you most as a couple and preserve those areas. If you want to serve beautiful food, limit your guest list. If you want to wear your dream dress perhaps you need to purchase it second hand.

No matter what you plan it is always important to keep your budget in mind. The choices you are making will help you start your married life without a mountain of debt. A wedding is just one day, a marriage is meant to last a lifetime. Do you have any tips for how to spend less than 10000 on a wedding? Share them below.

Read next: Saving and splurging for your wedding

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4 years ago

While this list is sensible and quite easy to apply. I would skip some rules, such as getting a second hand wedding dress.
Sis, it’s my wedding and while i wold love to go on a budget, my dress would be an exception. Instead I would make something less expensive but never will wear a second hand dress

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