When planning a small wedding, it’s understandable that you want to stick to a modest budget without sacrificing quality. And, though wedding costs can quickly add up – from decorations, to venue, to food – there are ways to balance your spending so the money you do spend is spent on important parts of the wedding, and not expenses that will quickly be forgotten or thrown away.
I’ve put together this guide on what to skip and what to savor to help you decide which parts of your wedding are most important to spend money on, and which parts you can go without, DIY, or order for cheaper in order to save money in the long run.
SKIP: Expensive invitations
There is an abundance of options when it comes to invitations for a small wedding. There is no reason to spend hundreds on special paper and printing for invitations that your guests will likely toss out as soon as they mark your date in their calendar. Instead, you can DIY your invitations using a photo printing program from a drugstore, complete with envelopes from a craft store, or even send invites via email or phone. Professional language and a few dollars spent to make sure the invites look good (if they are digital or on paper) will go a long way in ensuring your invites don’t seem cheap or quickly thrown together.
SAVOR: A great photographer
If there is a must when it comes to quality, it is a great photographer. Don’t be afraid to spend a good portion of your budget on a highly-rated and recommended photographer, as photos will be how you remember your special day for the rest of your lives. Skipping out on an experienced and professional photographer will make it difficult to capture beautiful wedding memories, which are a must regardless of the size or extravagance of your wedding.
SKIP: An expensive indoor venue
If you are planning a small wedding, one of the easiest ways to cut down on costs without looking tacky is to use an inexpensive outdoor venue such as a beach or mountainside instead of renting a large indoor venue that can cost thousands. For many outdoor wedding sites, such as a beach, the only thing you need to purchase is a permit. This will allow you to have a beautiful, natural wedding without spending a cent on a building rental. Not to mention, outdoor photos often turn out better than those taken indoors, regardless of venue.
SAVOR: Tasty, high-quality snacks
Instead of serving a large, low-quality/inexpensive meal, opt instead for a smaller assortment of high-quality snacks such as fruits, desserts, and cheeses to keep your guests satisfied without breaking the bank. (Keep in mind that, if you decide to serve snacks instead of a full meal, you should let your guests know ahead of time or host your wedding reception at a time that is not traditionally mealtime.) This will allow you to feed guests more expensive foods without using a large portion of your budget on a buffet or large dinner.
Of course, what to skip and what to savor ultimately boils down to your priority list. If you haven’t done our “Setting your priorities” activity, connect with me as I’m creating a FREE simple course/activity for how to set your priorities and stick with them throughout your planning. This activity will help you to determine what to skip and what to savor according to your vision.
UPDATE: Planning a "Simple" Backyard Wedding
Backyard weddings were popular even BEFORE Covid-19 forced many couples to scale-back their larger celebrations due to venue closures and capacity restrictions. As simple as they may seem, there are some logistics, preparations, and details you need to consider before your (or your family's home) become the site to hot and event. Isabella Caprario wrote and excellent article for Porch.com titled "The Ultimate Guide to Planning a Backyard Wedding". I encourage you to to consider all the elements before committing your abode to a venue. We've done many weddings either at a vacation rental property, backyards at private homes, or even family ranches. So, with careful consideration and preparation, it can be done!
By Wendee Vezzetti
Mother, student, planner, gardener, mountain biker, entrepreneur, librarian, hiker, snowboarder, reader, dork, chocoholic, trail runner and creative.