Frugal wedding ideas: you can afford the day of your dreams!

The average cost of a wedding in the United States last year was $27021. If you do not want to spend that kind of money on your wedding, here are some frugal wedding ideas to consider for cutting expenses and still have a beautiful and memorable day.

Have you planned a wedding on a budget? Share your frugal wedding ideas here!

One important thing to remember when planning your wedding is to only change things that are not crucial to you. If you have always dreamed of a summer wedding outdoors, don't plan one in the winter just to save money.

Learn to cut costs on the things that won't leave you feeling deprived - you may regret your choices for the rest of your life! Having said that, here are some frugal wedding ideas for lowering expenses:

1. Season: In some situations you can save money by having the wedding during the off-season. The most popular wedding months are generally April through August. Planning a wedding in a different month will save you money mainly if you plan to rent a wedding reception hall for your reception or hire a caterer.

If you are having the wedding in your back yard and your grandmother is doing the food, the season won't really matter. If your choice of flowers is important to you, try to choose a date when those flowers are in season (and less expensive).

2. Time of Day: Having a morning or afternoon wedding will be less expensive than an evening wedding for several reasons. The time of day of the wedding dictates the level of formality which has an impact on the cost of your attire and wedding reception food.

Daytime weddings are much more casual, and serving brunch or afternoon tea is much less expensive than a full dinner. A cocktail hour reception (5 - 6:00 pm) is another option - you can serve cocktails (or champagne) and appetizers only. Also, if you are going to use one, wedding reception halls cost more in the evening.

3. Location: Consider some less traditional and cheap wedding venues to save serious money. If you are renting a hall for your reception, consider a nearby city or town that may be significantly cheaper - check around.

If you are up for an outdoor reception, this is a great frugal wedding idea. Look into using a park or the lawn of a friend or family member. If you go this route, I recommend reading The Complete Outdoor Wedding Planner: From Rustic Settings to Elegant Garden Parties, Everything You Need to Know to Make Your Day Special by Sharon Naylor. This book was extremely helpful to me when planning my outdoor wedding since there are things to consider when planning an outdoor wedding that you would not care about otherwise.

4. Wedding Dress: Be practical. Remember that the wedding dress will only be worn once and only for a few hours, so be realistic before spending thousands on a dress. Look for discounts; allow yourself plenty of time to find the right dress so you are not put in a position of settling for the first thing you see.

Consider checking consignment or vintage shops for a pre-owned dress. While it is important to have a dress you love and that suits your style, there are many lovely budget wedding gown options available at lower prices.

5. Flowers: Whether you use a florist or do your own flowers, using flowers that are in season will save you a lot of money. Having rare orchids shipped in costs a fortune for the shipping. Seasonal flowers that can be grown locally are a much better deal.

A good frugal wedding idea is to buy loose flowers and arrange them yourself. To save even more, use flowers that you or someone you know has grown or pick wildflowers!

frugal wedding ideas

6. Wedding Cake: There are many options for cheap wedding cakes. For example, if you are having a lot of guests, instead of a large wedding cake, you can have a smaller wedding cake and a sheet cake back in the kitchen from which to serve guests.

7. Wedding Favors: Homemade wedding favors can be made by you, your family, or your friends. This is a frugal wedding idea that can save you a lot of money! It might even be a fun activity for a bridal shower or a craft day with your girlfriends.

Choose something that is simple but meaningful to your relationship or family or something that has to do with the theme of your wedding.

8. Wedding Invitations: I was shocked when I was browsing wedding magazines and saw invitations that sold for as much as $30. EACH!! Of course you can get them for much less. If you really want to save money you can make your own homemade wedding invitations I made mine myself and it was a lot of fun! Also, when you make them yourself, you can be sure that they are just what you want.

9. Keep the guest list small. Estimates are that it costs $80 per guest (invitations, food, drinks, cake, favors), so keeping the number of guests down helps cut costs.

10. Skip the alcohol. Alcohol for a crowd can be very expensive! Then there is the problem of a few guests that insist on overindulging... We chose to not serve alcohol at our reception for several reasons, one of them being the cost.

11. Save on music. The most expensive option is a live band; cheaper is a DJ. Cheaper still is a stereo. It is so easy to choose and play music in these days of MP3 players - I hand-selected every song for my wedding and reception and put it on CDs which my brother played during the ceremony and afterward.

12. Keep the wedding party small. Another frugal wedding idea is to choose only one or two attendants (or none at all). Let other people who are important to you help in other ways - as ushers, greeters, or let them help with the planning and preparation.

13. Get your family and friends involved. Many of your friends may have special talents: A florist, a seamstress, or even a baker! Sometimes people are just waiting for a chance to offer their services as their wedding gift to you! And when it comes to getting things done, why not get your loved ones involved?

Instead of hiring a caterer, my mother and sister-in-law helped me to make the food. Since we had a simple afternoon tea menu, it was not difficult, and most of it we did the night before.

14. Do your own hair, makeup, nails, etc. You will be surprised at the beauty spa treatments that you can do very frugally at home with supplies you probably already have on hand!

15. Don't forget frugal wedding planning. It is important to have a checklist where you can keep track of the hundreds of things that need to be done to pull a wedding off smoothly.

You can use mine as a starting point and then add or remove items as needed.

16. Stay Simple!

Use loose bouquets of flowers- wired, and exotic bouquets and arrangements can be much more expensive. Simple decorations are also much cheaper and can make more of an impact!

Decorating with tulle is one of my favorite frugal wedding ideas. It is so easy to get creative with it! You can buy yards of tulle for only a few dollars, and create an airy atmosphere by draping it everywhere. It can also be used to make bows, placed over plain table cloths to dress them up, and much more.

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Wedding Reception Food

Frugal Wedding Planning

Cheap Wedding Venues

Finding a Budget Wedding Gown

Wedding Photography on a Budget

Homemade Wedding Favors

Making Homemade Wedding Invitations

Beauty Spa Treatments

Frugal Wedding Ideas back to Frugal Living Now

Have you planned a wedding on a budget? What was your biggest challenge?

Have you planned a great wedding on a budget? What was your biggest challenge, and how did you handle it? Share your ideas to help other brides-to-be make their wedding day dreams come true!

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