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Credit: Timony Siobhan
Don’t let anybody tell you that if you have a minute budget, you’d be better off getting married in city hall (unless, of course, that’s something you want to do). If you’ve always wanted to have a wedding, you can have a wedding. More importantly, there is absolutely no reason that you can’t have a gorgeous and memorable wedding no matter your budget. Here are some of our favorite tips for creating a wedding that really pops — even if you’re on a super tiny budget.
Even if you don’t have the budget to hire a professional photographer for your wedding, we’re willing to bet you have a friend who is good with a camera (or, at the very least, photography apps and filters). Ask this person to take your photos … and encourage everybody else to take their own photos as well. Set up a site where people can upload their photos (even a simple Dropbox folder is sufficient) so that people can share pictures among themselves as well as with the bride and groom.
While you’re at it, try using some fun props to add some flair to your photos. For example, instead of running through a tunnel of bubbles after your wedding, why not have your guests hold up sparklers? Wedding Sparklers are great because they create fantastic lighting effects for your photos and they’re affordable. Using sparklers for weddings adds a creative touch to the end of the wedding night that often resembles a fairy tale.
There are many ways to have a gorgeous and memorable wedding dress without having to spend a fortune on one that has been specifically designed for you (why is this a trend for wedding dresses anyway?). Save yourself a ton of money by wearing a family member’s wedding dress (if they kept it). You can have it altered to fit you for far less that you’d spend on a brand new dress.
You can also eschew the entire wedding gown tradition altogether. Who says you have to have a fluffy white dress? Spend some time looking through second-hand and vintage shops to find a dress you truly love. You might raise a few eyebrows, but what matters is that you love what you’re wearing.
While you’re at it, skip the tux for the groom. Deck him out in a vintage (or, at least, vintage-looking) suit instead!
And, of course, don’t force your bridesmaids and groomsmen to buy specific wedding attire either. It’s perfectly acceptable to ask them to stick to a color scheme or style guideline, but let them pick their own dresses and suits. The look will definitely be one to remember.
Choosing a Venue
The type of venue you choose is going to depend largely upon the size of your guest list. Keep in mind, though, that if you want to have a big wedding, you’ll likely need to have it outdoors if you’re trying to save money. This isn’t a big deal to many, but if you’d rather be inside consider limiting your wedding to your close friends and family.
There is also something to be said for plain and minimal spaces. Remember: any space can be dressed up with twinkly lights (which you can borrow from your and your friends’ holiday decorations) and paper lanterns. You don’t have to use a bunch of crepe paper and wedding-specific decorations (like those weird folding bells). Keeping the decorations simple also adds elegance to the space. Even school gymnasiums look better when someone strings up the white twinkly lights.
All hail Costco veggie and snack trays. They’re huge and extremely affordable. Setting up a buffet of crudités and other snackables is a great way to feed your guests and encourage them to mingle at the same time. Plus, when you take this approach, you can offer a wide variety of food. Planning a sit-down dinner is fraught with potential disaster: You risk offending the vegans, vegetarians, Paleo people, the gluten-free and your great aunt who swears that nobody with any taste would ever eat [insert exact food you love here].
One of the best ways you can tie all of these tips together is to have your wedding at home (or a close friend or relative’s home). Hold the ceremony inside and the reception outside. Grill out or set it up as a picnic. You’ll save so much money you might even have enough left in your budget for a small honeymoon! And, of course, remember: The wedding is just one day. It’s better to approach it like a big party for everyone you love because somehow that feels less stressful. Perfection is overrated. And subjective.