How to plan a wedding for $400 or LESS

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Let’s just face the facts here, weddings nowadays are expensive. I have great news for you though, they don’t have to be!

Our wedding day was intimate, beautiful, and special and we spent less than $400!

Here’s the breakdown of our expenses:

Invitations & Postage: $30
We skipped Save The Dates all together because we planned our wedding super last minute but I still don’t think they’re necessary! We used Snapfish and they often run 75% off sales so we got them for extremely cheap. We saved a ton on postage because we hand delivered them to family and close friends. If you want to save even more, e-cards have been growing in popularity. Email your invitations and skip the postage altogether!

Officiating: $200
Officiating was actually our most expensive purchase. If you want to cut this cost altogether, a friend or family member can get ordained online and be the one to marry you!

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Decorations: $20
I went to the dollar store and picked out some picture frames. Behind each chair was a photo of either the bride or groom with said family member and that was used as the seating chart. They found their photo and that’s where they sat. That was also used as our wedding favor. We used votivesย with candles which I found at a rummage sale for $5 and we only used about 10 out of the 70 that we got! I was able to use pumpkins from my uncles garden and spray painted them a cream color. I picked leaves from my favorite tree in my front yard and used them to line the aisle, so no need for an aisle runner! Any way that you can incorporate nature, the better, because it’s free! Whether you use flowers, twigs, branches, leaves, berries, rocks. Use your creativity!

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Rings: $25
For my wedding band, I actually used my promise ring which I had been wearing since junior year in high school anyways! As for my husband, he works with his hands for his job so we got him a silicone wedding band from Qualo.

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Photography: $0
My maid of honor paid for our photographer as our wedding gift! If that’s not an option for you, you could ask a friend or you could find someone who is just starting out or trying to build their portfolio. Often times they will offer you their services for cheap or even free, just so they can get the extra experience.

Dress: $0
My dress was a gift from my mom! Thankfully it didn’t need a single alteration and it was only a couple hundred bucks. If you have family members asking you what you’d like or need for a wedding gift, you could always suggest they help pay towards something that you need for the wedding. If that’s not an option, thrift stores often times have gorgeous wedding dresses and cost next to nothing!

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My shoes: $15
I found my shoes on sale, but you could always use a pair you already own. Better yet, go shoe-less. Have an outdoor wedding and feel the grass between your toes!

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Hair, nails, makeup: $0
I did them all myself! Chances are, you know your favorite hairstyles and makeup looks already. If you want to try something new, just give it a few practice tries before the big day!

Jewelry: $0
I used some jewelry that I already had and borrowed some from my mom. You could always borrow some from a family member or friend. It’s not a big request and I’m sure they’d be more than happy to help you look and feel beautiful on your big day!

Bouquets: $16
I made my own bouquet and had my bridesmaids carry a single white rose. All the flowers were fake and from Michaels! You could keep your bouquet forever if you wanted!

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Cake & cutlery: $0
My mom and dad paid for our cake which we got from a local bakery. We didn’t request a “wedding cake” and in fact, we went the morning of, picked two pretty ones out and they were a hit! The guests got to choose between a lemon blueberry or a chocolate raspberry. You could always make your own cupcakes. You’d be surprised at how easy it is to do when you’ve got the correct frosting tip!

Tables & chairs: $0
We only needed 12 chairs because we had a very small wedding but many churches or banquet halls will rent out their chairs for cheap or free. We got ours from a local church for free as long as we were able to pick them up and drop them back off when we were finished with them. We only needed a few card tables for eating cake which we borrowed from family members.

Groom’s outfit: $50
My husband insisted that he needed new shoes, belt, and shirt. This also included the price of his tie. The groom and his groomsmen were required to wear a white long sleeve button down, khakis, and a tie that we had them purchase. We shopped at Kohl’s and got everything on sale. Avoiding a bridal shop is your best bet for inexpensive attire.

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Guest book: $3
We chose to have guests sign a wooden letter purchased on sale at Michaels, rather than have the traditional book. We did this so we could display it in our house forever! Another fun option I saw was to have each guest sign a stone that you can put in a decorative jar or bowl to display in your home.

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Venue: $0
We actually got married in my parents garage! We purchased some inexpensive fabric from Walmart to drape behind a trellis that my husband made from trees he cut down! If a family member or friend has a nice piece of land or a garage that’s not so “garage-y” you could always ask them if you could have your wedding there! Having your wedding outside is a great option because nature is beautiful so you need less decorations, it’s a win-win!

Reception: $0
We skipped out on a reception and went out to eat instead. My husband’s parents bought everyone dinner and we were able to sit and talk and enjoy each other’s company. By doing this we skipped out on some HUGE expenses such as a DJ, catering, venue rental, decor, centerpieces, tables, chairs, transportation, alcohol, the list goes on!

Extras $20
There will always be some “extras.” We bought a dress for our daughter from eBay, got little gifts for each other before walking, and had to pay for one of our groomsmen’s ties. Thankfully, we didn’t have too many unexpected expenses either but it should always be planned for just in case.

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In my opinion, weddings should be less about putting on an extravagant show and more about communal celebration.

Remember – your wedding day is about you and your husband! Celebrate how you want to, even if that means eloping or getting married in your back yard.

xxoo Kate

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