How to Plan a Wedding for $10,000 or Less

In this article, we want to share with you 12 Tips to make it possible to have the wedding of your dreams with a budget of ten thousand dollars or less. The key term here “Your Dreams”.

In this age of minimalist thinking, and becoming more aware of how money is wasted, not to mention increasing wedding cost & emotions, planning a wedding within a budget can be a challenge. Emotions everywhere are running high pre-wedding. It is like a cold war with family, friends, culture and society but you must embrace the fact IT IS YOUR WEDDING.

You can go to the justice of the peace, get a marriage license and hitchhike for less than 200 bucks if that is what you choose to do.

This is about you and your future spouse, and NO ONE ELSE. Having the guts and resolve to understand that and make decisions that make the most sense for you and your spouse is really what this article is all about.

The first major mistake many young people have let society talk them into is you must go to college if you expect to live a successful life. I have been saying this for years, but at this point, I don’t think it is debatable. Many people predict that student loans are going to create a major economic downturn when it is all said and done.

Of course, people will blame the Universities, the Government, and anybody and everybody other than taking personal responsibility.  Unfortunately, many who spend far too much on weddings fall into the same trap and end up playing the blame game.  Many times the couple blames each other and that is no way to start a marriage, is it?

The 2nd major mistake many young couples make is thinking they must have an elaborate wedding and honeymoon. If you are a person that can define your success in all aspects of your life by your own rules then this information will be encouraging for you. If you have the guts to stand against the show-off, look at me, give me 15 minutes of fame culture the world has diminished into, then I hope the information we are going to cover will be beneficial to you.

If you have no idea what I am attempting to communicate and your ultimate goal is to make sure your wedding guest gets plenty of great pictures so they can share your wedding on Instagram or whatever social media website is in vogue, please click away now. If you continue reading, I can pretty much guarantee you are going to get pissed off.


According to the data at the time of this writing, the average amount spent on a wedding in the United States is $33,000. This data has been collected from married couples, wedding planners, event venues and others throughout the United States.

$33,000 is the average. Keep in mind, this data came from all over America from couples having different backgrounds, budgets, locations and guest headcounts at their wedding.

Overall cost varies depending on location. Couples spent on average $76,900 on their wedding in New York and Alabama $19,203.

With the right attitude and goals, it is possible to plan your wedding in the United States for $10,000 or less. You can have a dream wedding that you and your spouse will remember fondly for the rest of your life. The secret is you must agree, and you both must understand that ultimately the wedding is about you both, your future together, and nothing, or nobody else. Not getting solid with these emotions from the beginning is the reason many couples go head over heels in debt and put themselves far behind the 8 balls before their marriage ever starts.

If you set a budget and together decide to meet the budget you can. The most important attitude you can have before you start your planning is this is our day, it is about us, and our future.

How elaborate a wedding is or isn’t has no relationship to your future and the growth of your relationship. When you look at the big picture, the wedding itself is no indication of the future success of your life and marriage. I am going to share a dozen tips that when used in part or in combination can help you meet your wedding budget.

Yes, it is easy to just not think about it or take the time to plan out these details and just overpay for everything. Since you are reading this article, I feel that is not the mindset you are in and I hope the one dozen tips we share here help you.

The Venue 

There is no need to overpay for the Venue or pay at all if you choose not to. The popularity of wedding venues is constantly changing and when it is all said it done, it sincerely doesn’t matter. Many times couples overpay for the newest, trendiest wedding location in their area.  Why?  Is that necessary to experience a wonderful wedding?  Is it your responsibility to make sure your great aunt Martha which you see once every five years has the opportunity to go to the beauty shop and tell all her friends what a beautiful wedding her niece had at the swankiest location in town?

We both know she will be bragging at the beauty shop about the beautiful wedding she attended no matter the venue.

Just be willing to search multiple locations and be willing to negotiate and you can save an enormous amount of money as it relates to your venue. Believe it or not, free venues are available in your location if you simply look for them

The easy thing is to overpay for whatever the hot wedding venue is in your area this year. Finding a free Venue may be difficult but not impossible.

Without question, in most areas, the most economical venue will be a church.  A traditional church wedding makes sense for many reasons.

Parents, Grandparents, family members or relatives may be a member of a country club. Most country club memberships include family event benefits. It is worth investigating and speaking to family members about. Having your wedding at a country club can also help you with catering and other services that can be done by existing on-site staff.

Wineries are popping up all over the United States. Many offer beautiful outdoor wedding facilities. Some new wineries offer their venues free for weddings, simply for the foot traffic and exposure to their winery.

The Food 

Without question, this is the budget-buster for most weddings. This is something you and your future spouse want to decide early in your wedding planning process.

The real budget buster is Alcohol cost. Alcohol has ruined many weddings in multiple ways, not just cost. Is serving alcohol really necessary? Wait, don’t answer that question too quickly.

Are the people that are attending your wedding just to get drunk at the reception your concern? Let them stay home on the couch with a bottle of wine or six-pack. The people that you care about understand the day is about you and your future spouse, not about them getting free booze.

If you are going to serve alcohol at your wedding, make sure to negotiate a cost-per-person deal, INCLUDING alcohol

Another option is a self-paid mini bar, which may make the most sense.  Let your guest drink all they want, they can just pay for it.

Is food necessary at the reception?

I recently attended a wedding that was one I will never forget. It was a beautiful church wedding. The reception was also at the church in a large well-decorated fellowship hall. 

There was no alcohol, no DJ, just a wedding cake. Everyone was seated and the dads of the father and bride spoke. The best man and maid of honor spoke, and then they asked if anyone in attendance would like to say anything. Four or five people spoke up and shared heartfelt thoughts about the couple.  

Many people laughed, cried, we all shared wedding cake and punch, threw rice when the couple left the church and EVERYONE who attended will never forget the emotionally moving afternoon celebrating the newly married couple.

Isn’t that really what a wedding should be?

Wedding Ring

The standard rule for years has been that three months of the groom’s monthly salary should be spent on a wedding ring. Where did this standard come from?

Let’s get real. The purpose of an engagement ring is to provide the bride something they can show off with before the wedding. She can show her ring and hear a billion times, “Oh what a beautiful ring”, while the groom puffs out his chest. This whole process is such insincere, habitual, scripts.

I am not necessarily saying this is right or wrong, I am just saying let’s get real about what is going on with engagement rings. The reality is 99% of people are going to give you the standard “Oh what a beautiful ring” response even if they know nothing about rings, jewelry, or think the design is crap.

The size of a wedding ring has nothing to do with the success of a wedding or marriage. Let’s be honest, you could buy a 2 ct cubic zirconium engagement ring and 99.999% of the people on the planet couldn’t tell the difference between that and the real thing. You can buy a tiny diamond with love. Again, it is about you, your future spouse and what the entire marriage experience means for you both.

Don’t bend to social pressures. You can have a wonderful wedding on a budget of $10,000 or less, again it is a matter of attitude and goals, not money.

No Gifts for the Wedding Guests  

Honestly, this idea had to come from someone who had more money than common sense. My guess is during the busy summer wedding season, where guests may have multiple choices of weddings to attend, someone with a terrible self-image felt they could bribe people with token gifts to attend their wedding instead of other couples.

The idea of giving guest favors is not understood or appreciated. Many times the couple is already giving them food, booze and entertainment for hours and have spent a lot on the guests who attend their marriage. They are invited to be part of the ceremony and to celebrate the wedding couple. It is not your responsibility to make sure your attendees have a good time, and plenty of photo ops to post on their Instagram account.

Guest gifts are a terrible idea, and you giving away trinkets that will end up on a table at the next community yard sale is a terrible idea.

The decor of the Wedding Venue

Many wedding planners suggest 10% – 15% of the wedding budget to be used for décor. Décor flowering, decoration and bridesmaids. You can reduce it by arranging the venue in the countryside as the green area is great for photography.

In today’s Do-It-Yourself world must couples have friends that would love to pick wildflowers design handmade, low-cost décor.

Don’t Purchase an Expensive Wedding Dress

Does spending hundreds, even thousands of dollars for a wedding dress make any financial sense? I didn’t say emotional or traditional sense, I said financial sense.  

Every year brides across the United States wear stunning wedding dresses that they did not purchase brand new. If the bride can avoid the emotions around purchasing a new wedding dress, it is possible to wear a very expensive wedding dress at a fraction of the cost. After the ceremony the wedding dress is going in the closet, never to be worn again.

Renting a dress can make sense although you cannot make alterations. Another idea is to wear wedding dresses of your married siblings or mom, this can take your cost to zero.

This goes for the groom’s tux as well.

One of the best ideas is to buy your wedding dress for pennies on the dollar on eBay.  You can find unique, gorgeous, designer wedding dresses that you are free to have altered as you wish because you own the dress.


Limi Your Wedding Guests

Some couples make the mistake of viewing the number of guests they have attended their wedding as some type of popularity contest. Again this an emotion, and really makes no financial sense if you are trying to stick to a tight wedding budget, does it?

Invite your family, close friends, next-door neighbors, there is no need to invite those whose wedding you didn’t personally attend.

Invite those who are important to you and who can make your ceremony more memorable for YOU! If you are inviting someone because you hang out occasionally, maybe you should reconsider and save your cash. The more people attending your wedding the more it is going to cost. You and your future spouse should make a list together of all potential guests and then eliminate as many people as possible. 

More people does not mean more meaning to your day, in fact, many will tell you the fewer people the better your wedding day will be when you are surrounded by the people that really mean the most to you.

Save Money on Your Wedding Cake

The best option for a wedding cake is to arrange for a smaller wedding cake with cupcakes for the guests. It can reduce your wedding cake expense almost in half.

\Thankfully these cupcake designs are trending in popularity. They are easier on the pocketbook and make it easier to serve guests.  

Don’t Hire Wedding Planner

Involve all your friends and family members and pick one of them as your wedding planner. The right friend would love to support you on your special day.

No Wedding Invitation Cards Needed

Lots of money is wasted on fancy invitation cards and the worst thing is most people read them, mark their calendars, and throw them away.

In this era of technology, you can easily design your invitation cards yourself or ask a friend to do it for you. There are many tools available on the internet to design invitation cards or you can install any invitation card designing app from the Apple play store.

After designing your card send it to guests through WhatsApp, email or any other app they use to communicate with you or others.  No cost on invitations at all!

No Need to Hire Wedding Photographers

With the quality of cameras available today, if you plan ahead and involve friends and family there is really no reason to hire a wedding photographer today. 

You simply ask a couple of friends to take pictures during certain parts of your wedding.  By dividing the wedding event shoots among friends wedding photography will become totally free of cost.

Music – Saving Money on Wedding Music

If you plan ahead, you can totally remove the majority of costs by arranging solo singers, a friend that has DJ ambitions.

You can play a playlist by attaching your smartphone to a rented speaker system.  Many venues have sound systems you can use to make this process simple. From your smartphone, you can choose the songs of your own choice or use a compiled wedding song playlist which are available in the market. Most couples put together their own playlist prior to the wedding and reception.

We hope these twelve tips will help you meet your wedding budget. You can do it if you make a solid decision and do it together. There are many emotions and social pressures around weddings, just remember the day is about you, not those who attend. They have had their day or may in the future so enjoy yours.

Other Articles You May Enjoy Reading

The 7 Fastest Ways to Make Money in 24 Hours or Less

How to sell on Facebook Marketplace and Make Money Immediately