Do you want to get married, but don’t have a lot of money to spend? Do you have less than $500 to spend on a wedding? Is a courthouse wedding in general, or one without a reception, out of the question? We have a solution for you! Here are tips and tricks to having a wedding for under $500, and if you follow even the extreme cost-cutting strategies, pull off an almost a FREE wedding!
Venue: Have the wedding in your backyard, a family member or friend’s backyard, or in a public park. All 3 of these choices are FREE! Be sure to contact the city where the public park is however, sometimes they charge up to $200 for a licence for an event, or have specific rules about noise, alcohol and tents. You can also look into having your wedding in a school auditorium, which rarely charges you. Another option is your church! If you are regular church-goers or close with a priest/reverend, they may not charge you, or just charge you a small fee to use their basement or yard as a reception area.
Dress: Use your mother’s, a friend’s or a family member’s wedding dress. Same goes for the groom’s suit! You can also buy used, even a white prom dress from a young adult. If you are really low-budget, browse the dress section of Goodwill and/or the Salvation Army.
Flowers: Pick wildflowers in local fields for free! You can also make your own DIY paper or tissue paper flowers. This can be made from computer paper, newspaper, coffee filters, almost anything! Pinterest is a great source for making DIY flowers.
Food: Potluck! Have each person invited bring their favorite drink or dish to the wedding so everyone else can try, instead of a wedding gift. You can make a list of what everyone is bringing so not everyone brings the same thing, and you can also make a list of what you would need and assign or have people sign up for what to bring so you get what you need! Example, someone can bring punch, another the wine, another champagne, another appetizers, another hors d’oeuvres, another main dish meat, another a side dish, another brings another side dish, another brings salad, another brings veggies and dip, etc. If this seems tacky to you, mention that it’s to share different cultures, traditions, tastes and recipes, as well as to bring everyone together and making them part of your special day.
Cake: Make it yourself! Not much of a baker? Have a friend or family member do it for you. There are cupcake and cake decorating tools you can buy at the dollar store, amazon, Michael’s or walmart that can have you make a beautiful cake and/or cupcakes. Get a cake mix to guarentee great taste. What someone suggested is that you make a single small tiered cake for cutting, and for the guests you have cupcakes. Easy and cost-effective!
Chairs and Tables: Why bother with these? Have a picnic-style reception where you have blankets on the grassy earth. Add a few pillows for comfort. This also saves you on centerpieces!
Favors: Skip these altogether, unless you have a few extra dollars. Add 1 cup of sugar to 1/4th cup of olive oil and about 3 drops of floral essential oil and mix for a feminine exfoliating sugar scrub, and a musky essential oil for a manly hand scrub for when they get those hands in mud, grease, motor oil or anything else. Get small pots at the dollar store and add your creations in there and voila!
Officiant: If you are religious, you may already know an officiant. They usually charge a fee of $50 to $100. You can also ask a friend to become a temporary officiant or a permanent one to marry you. This is a great way to make the ceremony meaningful, as well as save money!
Photographer: Have a friend or family member photograph the wedding, someone with photography experience. This way you don’t have to spend a fortune on a wedding photographer for just one day!
Rings: There are plenty of places that sell rings that are inexpensive yet don’t turn your finger green. Wal-Mart and Ebay are popular low-budget choices. Stick to stainless steel, tucson, sterling silver and/or white gold. Many couples also don’t have rings at all, so you can forgo this altogether as well.
Invitations: Dollar stores sell DIY invitation kits. You can also make a facebook event for your wedding, or a wedding website people can RSVP to.
Music: Have a portable battery-operated radio and play CDs you have burned for the occasion. Assign someone to the radio to make sure it’s always playing. If you have speakers, you can hook up your iPod and put your playlist on shuffle. If you know any musicians, you can have them play at your wedding too!
Decorations: Take anything white (curtains, cloth, paper) and DIY! You can make paper snowflakes for a winter wedding, paper hearts garlands, streamers, and more, all for a few dollars! Also, do NOT be afraid to look into dollar stores for decorations!
Honeymoon: Rent a motel or hotel room for a night and enjoy each other’s company and being married. Explore a new town, take a road trip, see a movie, whatever you want that won’t break the bank. A charming bed and breakfast can be a sweet option as well!