How to Plan a Wedding on a Budget of $1000

This post originally appeared on The Financially Independent Millennial.

If you’re like thousands of American couples each year, you might ask yourself how to plan a wedding on a budget of $1000. Weddings are often the second-most costly expense a family will pay for, after the home. Fortunately, weddings can be affordable. This article will cover ways for budgeting a wedding under $1000!

But before I begin, you might be wondering, what do I know about cheap weddings? Well, I’m proud to say that I’ve taken part in several $1000 (or less) inexpensive weddings. And, when I got married, even my own wedding ceremony cost much less than $1000. We had a small ceremony in a church where a friend of ours was the priest. And everything got finished in under an hour. Then, we went for lunch and called it a day. Now, ours was certainly minimalist. But, we could have done more.

Let’s get started!

Planning a Wedding on a Budget of $1000

Do you have plans to get married? If so, congratulations on your big day’s event to start a new life. A wedding is one of life’s most memorable moments. With that in mind, you have got to make it the best event ever. And planning a wedding on a budget of $1,000 or $100,000 needs a solid plan. The best thing is, you don’t have to spend all your savings on your wedding day.

The problem with expensive weddings is that it can come back to haunt you if you can’t afford it. As a result, planning wisely for your wedding is one of the best financial decisions the bride and groom can make.

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    The best way to plan a wedding on a budget of $1000 is to get help. Those closest to you will often be more than happy to pitch in to help out with the festivities. And saving on labor costs is the single best way to have a wedding on a budget. 

    Start with a Wedding Budget

    First and foremost, when planning a wedding, consider starting a wedding budget. It can be in the form of a spreadsheet or a notebook. As long as you can keep it updated and organized, you’ll be good to go. The spreadsheet can also work as a checklist for things-to-do.

    There are many things to include in a wedding budget, such as music, makeup, wedding dress, photography, food, gifts, and invitations. The list goes on and on. Once you’ve got a good idea of the items needed for the wedding, don’t stop there! You’ll need to enter an approximate amount for each item.

    Also, remember to consult your family and friends to get some suggestions. With a budget, you can sleep better at night knowing that you won’t break the bank on your big day.   

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    Locating Inexpensive and Free Wedding Venues

    In general, the most expensive item on the wedding budget is the venue. Therefore, to keep the budget under $1000, you’ll need to pay special attention to it. The venue should have enough space that you and your guests can enjoy the part. But, choose wisely by finding a venue that fits your budget–ideally, a free venue!

    Depending on the number of guests you’ve invited, consider a small and inexpensive venue that offers everything you need for your big day. Don’t hesitate to discuss the topic with friends and family. The venue you choose should be affordable and comfortable enough to host your wedding guests.

    Church Wedding

    One place for a budget wedding is your local church. Churches across America charge as little $200 for up to 100 guests. And that often includes the organist, the costs to ring the bells, and basic church decoration. 

    These days, it’s also becoming increasingly popular to save on wedding costs by booking the church’s hall as the wedding reception venue. Doing so will save you thousands on the wedding. However, you’ll likely have to find catering, and a DJ or band. 

    Outdoor Wedding

    Another place you can use for a budget wedding is somewhere outside. If you happen to know someone who has a large enough backyard, that could be an option! Otherwise, you can host your wedding at an outdoor park. I’ve only attended one small wedding in a park setting, but it was wonderful. There was even a pop-up pergola set up, just in case of rain. There was no caterer on-site. Instead, we moved on to a hotel room for the reception afterward. Best yet, while I thought a park would be a failed budget planning hack, it worked out well!

    Another idea could be to plan a beach wedding. Contact your local municipality first for information. But if you can pull it off, you could potentially have the best wedding ever! 

    City Hall

    On the other hand, you might agree that you don’t need a lavish wedding venue. As a result, you could also consider booking a venue at City Hall. Often, the city hall will have a beautiful foyer that can act as your photos’ backdrop. Best yet, it won’t cost much. To get started, and for more information, call the mainline at your local city call.


    Another place to get a cheap wedding venue is through Airbnb. Many homes can get rented for one night only and won’t break the bank.

    Be on the lookout for a place that offers a beautiful backyard and spacious indoor area. Best yet, you can leave the cleaning to the homeowners!

    Make Cheap Wedding Decorations

    Wedding decorations can add up very quickly. But, if you do it yourself, you can save a lot of money. The following is a list of items you can grab, without overpaying, all while keeping your wedding plans under the $1000 budget.


    LED lights offer an instant “something special” to any event and it’s outdoor space. They’re also perfect for use in decorating outdoor furniture. Further, colored, dimmable LED lights create a charming ambiance as they offer a bright and bendable design.

    The budget for this decoration isn’t expensive, and you can make the wedding sparkling with less than $50.

    A Red Carpet without the High Price Tag

    A staple in any wedding is, often, the red carpet. But, it doesn’t have to be expensive. You can get red carpet aisle runners for under $25. And, considering it’ll only get used for one day, it doesn’t need to be anything more than red.

    To get a cheap aisle runner, you don’t have to break your bank account. Cheap aisle runners work well on various events, such as graduation parties and weddings. Also, they make your wedding guests feel special, all while being on a budget.

    Free (or nearly free) Wedding Flowers

    DIY wedding projects will lower your financial burden after getting married. For example, flowers from a florist can cost thousands of dollars, but it doesn’t have to be that way!

    Think outside the box, and look at getting free flowers! Yes, you can find flowers just about anywhere, on the side of the road, in the forest, or a field. Get help from a friend to organize and tie the flowers into bundles. The bouquet will look fantastic, and no one will ever know you made it for free!

    If you’’re getting married in a church, ask if you can use the church’s flowers. Sure, it might mean that you’ll have to plan the wedding date around the time that the church has flowers. But if it’ll save you thousands on the budget, so why not?

    Preparing Food by Yourself

    A wedding that costs less than $1000 might sound weird, especially since the food alone can easily break the budget. However, saving money by preparing the food is possible, and no one will mind! 

    Moreover, if you have some excellent cooks in the family, don’t hesitate to ask them. They’ll likely be happy to help you out! When discussing the menu, ask the friends and family members what they would love to cook. You can then build the menu accordingly, all while splitting up the work among the family members.

    The wedding cake will also be something to consider. While you might have to buy one, consider visiting your local bakery and be upfront about what you want to spend if you have a small budget. It’s a certainty that the bakery will work with you!

    Preparing food can be among the easiest frugal wedding ideas for a budget event. The good thing is that food prepared at home tends to be healthy and delicious. You only thing you have to worry about is the cost of purchasing food that gets cooked. 

    Purchase an Elegant Wedding Dress–Cheap

    The average cost of a wedding dress is $1631, including alterations.

    Clearly, buying a new wedding dress won’t work with a budget of $1000. 


    Ask your friends and family if any of them have a wedding dress you can borrow for your big day. It’s almost certain that you’ll find someone who knows someone who kept their dress. Then, you can have it tailored to fit you perfectly, and at the end of the day, bring it back in one piece.

    Second hand

    Second hand and vintage wedding dresses can cost around $200-$300. For example, did you know you could go dress shopping on Craigslist? And then, after the wedding, you can sell it to someone else, potentially making the total price of the wedding dress almost free.

    Last Resort: Rent the Dress

    If you can’t find someone to lend you a dress, many wedding shops will rent you a wedding gown. While not the cheapest option, this will be the second-easiest way to get a cheap wedding dress after buying one. And the wedding shop will tailor it to your exact measurements.

    Do It Yourself on Hair and Makeup

    If you or one of your friends can do the hair and makeup, you could save $1000’s on your DIY wedding budget.

    On the other hand, if you can’t do it yourself or don’t know anyone, why not ask your regular hairdresser for help? They will likely be happy to do it for you, affordably. And, if you extend an invite to the wedding, they will surely be even happier!

    Don’t Hire a Photographer

    Hiring a professional wedding photographer will almost certainly be out of your budget, as they can cost as much as $10,000! It can even cost more than the wedding venue. So, to keep things under budget, look over your guest list and consider asking a friend or family member to help out with the photography.

    In your circle of friends and family, there will undoubtedly be one person who’s passionate about photography, and perhaps even videography. And for those budding photographers who are starting, it could be a welcome opportunity for that person to show off their skills and give him/her a chance.

    Of course, I could certainly understand if you were a little hesitant with the photos. Sure, you want the photos to be amazing! If there’s two or more people you know who want to help, let them! Then, after the ceremony, have the photos stored in a centralized online folder. That way, you can print them at a later time.

    Band / DJ

    Will you have some older teenagers at your wedding party? If so, why not ask them to help out and be the DJ? Often, wedding DJ’s cost around $1000, so this alone would break the budget. One thing to note: While you might get the wedding DJ for free, you’ll need some stereo equipment to play the music. Home theatres will often do the trick. Commercial equipment would work, but the biggest difference between commercial AV and residential home theatre is in the warranty. Commercial stereo equipment is made to get beaten up. And, home theatre equipment is designed to stay put, at home. So, if you use the home theatre, be careful!

    The Final Word: How to Plan a Wedding on a Budget of $1000

    As you can see, with help from friends and family, it’s certainly possible to plan a wedding on a budget of $1000. So, how will you be planning your wedding?

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