May 18, 2016 Samantha

Getting Married On A Budget

Close up of wedding cake figurines on stacks of coins

There are oftentimes four main items on your to-do list as soon as you say “YES” to forever with your significant other: setting a date, determining the number of people you’ll invite, hiring a wedding planner, and creating a wedding budget. Whether that budget is $1,000, $10,000, or $50,000, getting married on a budget (and sticking to it) can be one of the toughest aspects of tying the knot. Your Denver wedding planner Blue Linden has true insight into creating and staying on budget, insight we hope will help make your dream day a reality.

The Big Number.

Obviously the very first thing you’ll need to determine when creating a wedding budget is what you can afford. Write down a number and then set it aside (we’ll get back to it in a minute). Even if your intention is to have the most grandiose event in your life, this still applies to you. There is no right amount; keep in mind that the cost of a wedding is whatever works for you. If you’re absolutely lost when it comes to what’s normal, the typical American wedding averages around $30,000, with about 40% of that falling around or under $10,000 – this writer’s 2011 wedding cost around $8,000 (honeymoon included). Set a number that’s reasonable, doable, and provides a stress-free goal to make it easy for staying on budget.


What is most important in your wedding day? Don’t worry over what tradition dictates, unless that’s the way you want to do it. If you’re trying to save money, getting back to the basics will make getting married on a budget a breeze. Do you really need that pink-silk canopied tent with chandeliers? Will people really remember that you served them a six-course meal and a huge piece of that 5-tier, sugar rose covered wedding cake? As seen on, Meg Keene says, “Keep asking yourself, If I were not throwing a wedding, would this seem reasonable?” Determine the key factors/services you want included in your nuptials, and organize those things from most to least important. Then decide what percentage of your budget you reasonably feel should be dedicated to each aspect.

Add it up.

Now it’s time for that number you created earlier. Compare it to the percentages you applied to your list and determine what you can spend on each facet of your big day. If you said the photographer was most important and should account for 25% of your $10,000 budget, then you need to find a photographer for at or under $2,500 (and that includes everything from engagement photos, to save-the-dates, to frames and prints). If the numbers you get are way off when compared to typical costs, it’s time to make some sacrifices. Getting married on a budget can be hard, but it’s not impossible. Here are some tips to help alleviate some of the stresses involved with maintaining and staying on budget.

  1. Set a guest list and stick to it. The less people you invite, the less of everything you need.
  2. Pick any day but Saturday and look outside city limits. Get married in the wedding off-season (peak season is April to October) when the cost of wedding-related items/services aren’t over-inflated.
  3. A perk to choosing a beautiful location means you can utilize nature and forgo lots of additional decorations (saving money and time for setting it up). If you do use decor, pick a theme, preferably one that’s easy to fulfill.
    Getting married on a Budget Using Nature to Decorate
  4. Choose a family restaurant to cater, or serve heavy appetizers instead of a full meal; if you’re really brave, you could even prepare it yourself. There’s always the wedding food truck route. And if alcohol is a must for your celebration, choose a venue that allows you to supply your own, buying in bulk, boxes, or kegs.
  5. Hit up the local university! You can find musicians/DJs, photographers/videographers, stylists/make-up artists, and bakers/caterers –  people with just as much talent as any seasoned professional without the price tag that typically comes with.
  6. Go with lower-cost flowers with simple arrangements, assemble the flowers yourself, choose non-flower bouquets/boutonnieres/centerpieces, or put together artificial pieces in place of traditional floral options.
    Getting Married on a Budget Make Your Own Bouquet Marriage on a budget and make your own bouquet Marriage on a budget and make your own boutineers Getting Married on a budget and make paper bouquets
    Musical boutineers for getting married on a budget Getting married on a budget and make superhero boutineers 
  7. Save on a rehearsal dinner by throwing a fun and relaxed backyard barbecue.
  8. Nix fondant and go with a smooth buttercream finish. Or, try cupcakes instead. Heard of “pie cake?” You can design a smaller version of your dream cake, and when it’s time to serve, cut sheet cake from the kitchen to be delivered to guests.
    Married on a Budget Cupcake TowerGetting Married on a Budget Pie CakeGetting Married on a Budget CakepopsMarriage on a Budget No Fondant Cake
  9. Buy off-the-rack (on sale!), or see if you can get your “something old” by wearing a relative’s dress; you’ll simply have to pay for alterations. Consider your “something borrowed” to be filled by friends’ or family’s jewelry instead of buying brand new. Also, think about renting suits at a group rate for your men instead of getting individual tuxes.
  10. DIY! Invites, place cards, menus, favors, etc. can be done with a bridesmaids’ pizza and wine night at your place. Cut costs on favors by skipping tradition and making homemade cookies wrapped in theme-appropriate packaging. To further follow along with getting married on a budget,  go with digital save-the-dates and wedding announcements if you can’t cut them out entirely.

Creating a wedding budget is the smartest way to start off your wedding planning. Staying on budget is all about creativity and compromise. Be willing to scale back and do some of the preparations yourself. Don’t let the cost of a wedding overwhelm you to the point of not enjoying your special day. An event coordinator (like your Denver wedding planner like Blue Linden) may seem an unnecessary expense, but think about utilizing one. We can actually help save you tons of money with our connections and ability to get fabulous deals; make the process a little less stressful for yourself. Ten years from now, getting married on a budget can be something you find pride in, realizing how smart you were to not start off the rest of your lives in debt. Let us know what you think about our tips, tricks, and suggestions! Connect with your Denver wedding planner Blue Linden, share this and your thoughts by using the social media buttons below!

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About the Author

Samantha Sami (to those she knows and loves) holds a BA in English and freelance writes on anything that tickles her fancy, but she holds a special place in her soul for Blue Linden and its owner/operator Wanda. When Samantha is not writing to her little heart’s content, she’s reading (or knitting) like a mad woman, lovin’ on her furbaby Lucy, and soaking up every moment with her as husband as they travel the world together.