Everyone wants to have their dream wedding. From the perfect dress to the vows, getting married is an experience with a lifetime of buildup. It can also be extremely expensive, which has some couples wondering how to plan a wedding for under $5000 to fit their budget.
Most importantly, your wedding represents crossing the threshold into a lifelong partnership with the person you love. The amount you spend on your big day does not matter. It’s totally possible to spend less than $5000 on your wedding and still have a beautiful day!
Not everyone can or wants to break the bank. In fact, the average wedding in the U.S. in 2019 cost $33,900, with the highest average in New Jersey, where it was $53,400. Even the lowest average, Utah, cost a pretty penny, at $19,700, according to this website.
However, that doesn’t mean that it has to be this way. In this article, we break down how to plan a wedding under $5000.
Planning a Wedding For Less Than $5000
The first thing to keep in mind in planning your $5k wedding is the timeline. Above is a standard 12-month wedding planning timeline, indicating when you should plan each facet of the day. You can also check out our recommended timeline for planning a wedding.
If you are hoping to do a wedding with a budget like this, it is recommended that you take at least a year or longer to plan, so as to weigh all of your most affordable options.
This also give you time to create a detailed, item-by-item budget, so that you know how much you have left to spend on smaller things like decor and entertainment.
How To Save on Large Wedding Costs
The first place to start when you want to keep things affordable is the large aspects of your wedding, which are usually the most expensive. This includes things like venue, travel, and guest list.
These are usually the most important things, and the first to be planned and booked. Also, the further out you book vendors and such, the more likely you are to get a cheaper price than if you’re planning and booking at the last minute.
These are things that should be tackled first, and then smaller items can come later, depending on how much of your budget remains.
The best way to avoid a very expensive wedding is to invite as few people as you possibly can. This will help you cut down on every single one of your costs– you can use a smaller venue, need less food and drinks, and need to keep fewer people entertained during the reception.
A small guest list is the key to keeping your budget down. If you can, try to cut down to at least 50 people or fewer to keep your budget under $5000.
The cheapest weddings have the fewest people, so even though some feelings may be hurt, you should make a point to only invite the most important people in your life.
Once you have your limited guest list, the next item on the list is venue. Thankfully, if your wedding is small, your venue options are open much wider than they would be if you are limited to venues specifically used for weddings, which are generally much more expensive, contributing to a large amount of that average wedding cost.
One of the cheapest wedding venues is your own backyard! A lot of people may look down upon a backyard wedding, but it actually can be really nice. Click here for more ideas about backyard weddings! If that’s not your speed, you can read more about unique and nontraditional wedding venues as well.
If you decide to book a venue, they may have different prices for different times of the week and year. For example, most people get married on a Saturday. However, if you choose Friday evening, Sunday, or even a weekday, it will likely be at a cheaper rate.
Further, there are months and seasons that are cheaper to get married in than others. According to this website, January, March, April, and November are the cheapest months to get married in, because they are generally colder and don’t have any major holidays.
Food and Drink
Once you’ve cut down on guests, you can start thinking about ways to cut down on food costs. One of the best ways to reduce your food cost is to forgo catering in favor of something like pizza, barbecue, or even a potluck. When you’re feeding fewer people, the cost is less, especially if they’re the ones making the food!
You could also instate a BYOB policy to get the drinks flowing. This means that guests bring their own alcohol, whatever they’d like to enjoy. Further, you could even try a keg! However, if you want to keep it classy, hiring a freelance bartender shouldn’t break the bank too much.
It is also important to have enough water handy for everyone. Don’t forget to accommodate guests who do not drink alcohol and children, if you’re allowing them at your wedding reception.
Small, Penny-Pinching Adjustments To Your Wedding Budget
Once you have established all of the large expenses, you can determine how much room you have for the rest of the following expenses. If half of your $5000 has been spent on the above things, then you need to divide the remainder among the rest of your planning so that you have a budget when purchasing.
Further, you can forgo pretty much any of these categories if you really want to. However, things like flowers and a wedding dress seem important to most weddings, so keep reading for ways to incorporate them on a budget.
Instead of hiring a florist for your wedding under $5k, collect some old vases from thrift stores and buy bouquets at the supermarket. Seriously– a lot of supermarkets have floral arrangements to die for, and they’re not ridiculously expensive or anything. These can make great centerpieces and bouquets.
If you have enough time ahead of the big day, you can even cultivate your own flower garden and use those in your wedding! That would be a lovely personal touch for the big day. Plus, you can then decide exactly which flowers you want, instead of what someone else has to offer!
Obviously, one of the largest expenses for a lot of brides is the wedding dress. Thankfully, there are actually a lot of wedding dresses that are not insanely expensive.
For example, you can always thrift a used or vintage wedding dress. Further, there are online brands that sell wedding dresses for relatively cheap, most notably ASOS Bridal and Azazie.
For the groom, he should look into renting a suit or a tux, though a suit is usually cheaper. This is pretty accessible– there are usually men’s stores that rent these items out in most locations and in most reasonable budgets.
Not sure if you want a suit or a tux? Click here to learn the differences in each outfit.
Instead of hiring someone for your wedding’s music, like a band or a DJ, save money by using Spotify and a nice speaker. As long as the music is flowing, your guests are not going to care if there’s someone up there playing it or if it’s on your phone.
Another good option is to get in touch with musicians that you know or that may be local to your area. This is a great opportunity to get friends or neighbors as a part of your wedding, likely for a pretty low fee. It’s especially good if they can play a string instrument for the ceremony!
One of the best ways to decorate your wedding on a budget is to go DIY! Plenty of brides love to totally DIY their entire wedding, top to bottom! Decor is often in the little things, such as signs, table settings, and the walls of the venue.
If you want to make your own wedding table numbers, we have a lot of DIY options here. If your ceremony is at a church (another low-cost venue!), find some church decor inspiration.
Essentially, there are tons of options for decorating your wedding without breaking the bank, as you can read about here!
Another big spend for a lot of people is a world-class photographer. Wedding photos are a big deal for some couples, and so they hire someone pricey to take a bunch of their pictures. However, this can be avoided by asking a friend or even guests to bring their own cameras and take candids of each other! This can also be a fun way to bond.
One way to do this and compile all of the photos is with a polaroid wedding guestbook. This is an opportunity to keep photos of all of your loved ones in a single place where you can remember the wedding fondly, for a low price tag.
If you want a more detailed breakdown of what you should be spending on each thing, this infographic is applicable for pretty much any budget.
Following this guide, you’d be spending $2500 on the large things listed earlier in the article, and between 250-500 on all of the smaller things above. However, if you follow some of this advice, you might find yourself with some extra to spare! Check out our budget breakdown by percentages to help create your budget.
More About Wedding Planning
Here at Yeah Weddings, we’re here to help with all of your budgeting needs. From planning a rehearsal dinner on a dime to registry ideas for any price tag, keep reading for everything you need to plan your big day!
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