8 Steps to a Successful Low-Budget DIY Wedding

It’s almost every bride’s dilemma: You need to keep costs for the wedding down, but you also want your guests to have a fabulous time. Achieve the low cost wedding of your dreams by following a few simple steps to rein your budget in – and have some fun with do-it-yourself craft projects while you’re at it!

wedding table with white and green linens

1) Limt your guest list

The biggest cost to your wedding will almost undoubtedly be the number of attendees. Most venues or catering services charge per person, so every single guest makes your wedding budget go up significantly. If you’re on the fence with someone about whether or not to invite them imagine running into them after the wedding – how would you feel if you hadn’t invited them? Mortified, or just a tiny pang of guilt? Let that reaction guide your decision.

2) Get married on a Friday or Sunday

Venues and vendors are much more likely to charge less for a wedding that’s on an “off” day. You could choose a Sunday on a long weekend, like Columbus Day Weekend or Memorial Day Weekend, so it “feels” like a Saturday.

3) Use music from an iPod or laptop instead of a DJ or a band

Controlling the music yourself will save substantially with the wedding costs. However, amplification matters – it will be worth it to invest in a professional amplification system (which will still be cheaper than hiring a DJ or band). Set up the playlist to cross-fade so there is never any dead air.

4) Email save the dates and invitations, and have guests RSVP online

It’s customary when sending out invitations to also include a self-addressed stamped envelope for the RSVPs. Between the save the dates, invitations, and RSVPs, that’s a lot of postage! Save money and time by doing it online.

Bonus tip: Create a free wedding website through a service like TheKnot.com, WeddingWire.com, or MyWedding.com and avoid paying for a domain. All three sites allow guests to RSVP through your wedding website.

5) Make your own decorations

Nothing says DIY like crafting your own wedding decorations. Obviously, exact decorations will vary depending on your tastes and wedding theme, but one great way to decorate is with pictures of you and your fiance. Have a posterboard or bunting of photos of you and your sweetie – not only from throughout your relationship, but include pictures of you both as kids as well. Guests will love it!

6) Create your own centerpieces

Much as with decorations, you can save a bundle with inexpensive, DIY centerpieces instead of flowers. Here are just a few ideas: vases or mason jars filled with marbles, bouncy balls, or gumballs; a bowl or crate of fruit like lemons or apples, or even small fishbowls. You could also get really creative with candles. The possibilities are endless! Let your wedding theme guide you.

7) Serve a signature cocktail (or no cocktails)

Alcohol is expensive! You can cut costs by serving one or two signature drinks in lieu of a full bar. This is also a fun way to get creative as you personalize the drink to you and your partner. Or, another option would be to forgo liquor and mixed drinks altogether and just serve beer and wine.

Bonus tip: Skip the champagne toast. Have guests toast with whatever drink is in their hands!

8) Choose a location with a reception site

Avoid paying for chairs, linens, cutlery, and more by getting married at a hotel, club, or restaurant, or at least having the reception there. It might be temping to save money by getting married in someone’s backyard, but tents (you must plan for rain!) and other rentals can really add up quickly.

Take these suggestions into consideration and you can have a fantastic wedding your guests will remember fondly for years – without you going into debt.


  • BuzzFeed: 37 Things to DIY Instead of Buy For Your Wedding
  • A Practical Wedding: How to DJ Your Wedding with an iPod
  • The Wedding Book: The Big Book for Your Big Day by Mindy Weiss with Lisbeth Levine


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