Weddings are a special time, but they can be a very expensive event for you to plan & implement.

With a little savvy thinking you can create a beautiful day without spending over your budget.

The first thing you need is a BUDGET…

Weddings on a shoestring blog

Realistically go through your everyday expenses and see what is left over for you to fund your wedding. 

Questions to ask yourselves:

  • Is there anything we can stop paying for that we are willing to forgo for our wedding costs? 
  • Can we put a $$ dollar value away each week?
  • Can we stick to that $$ dollar value each week?

 If you have answered YES to any of these questions, then you are on the right track to saving money for your event. If your answer is NO, is there another way around this? Keep reading and see if any other suggestions work for you.

NOTE: Using a credit card or taking out a loan are not sensible options. Unless you are feasibly able to pay it all back in a very short time, don’t put yourself into any more debt than is manageable prior to your marriage as it can create stress that you don’t need to start off your marriage well.

How do I work with my budget amount?

Make a guest list of everyone you would like to invite.

Use three columns numbered 1 – 3 & write everyone’s name in a column with Number 1 (one) being the most important people you wish to invite and number 3 being those you would remove from your list if needed.

There will be some people that you are torn about not being in your number 1 column, put them in the no 2 column. This will give you a baseline of your guest total numbers. Don’t forget to add plus one guests  or children (if you’re inviting them) in your numbers. Once you’ve sorted all your finances & wedding requirements see if you can accommodate guests from your number 2 or 3 columns onto your final  guest list.

I quite like using the column method to tidy up the list and make it clear which group the guests are in.

Next, make a list of everything you would like for your wedding, then give each item that you desire a $$ dollar value. You may need to research online for approx. $$ value of the items.

Stand back and look at that bottom $$ line, ask yourself is it within my total budget?

You may find all your dream items in total will be over your budget amount, this is when you will need to start to cull items or guests numbered 3 on your list &/or you can start to think creatively.

Often the minute you say the word “Wedding” the price doubles and even triples with suppliers. This is where your creative thinking comes into play.



Look at what is on the list that you can realistically create & make yourself. i.e. Decorations, Wedding cake, Invitations, Favours & Gifts, posies & floral decorations.

Do you have family / friends that may have items you can borrow? Items such as vases, wishing wells, decorations, cutlery.

Is there a local hall or venue that you can hire or make a donation to for use for your wedding? There are many group halls & venues that are suitable for a wedding and they often back onto a park or reserve. Don’t forget to think about wet day alternatives.They will often have chairs & tables as well as cutlery & crockery that you can use or hire for the event.

What can I repurpose from somewhere or someone else?  Wedding dress, table decorations, tablecloths, bridesmaid dresses etc.

Does everything need to match perfectly? Search through Op-shops, cupboards, borrow from others. 

Do your bridesmaids need to match? I quite like the look of individual Bridesmaid dresses because they often suit their body shape well and it has a bit of uniqueness to it, not so off the rack looking.

Do we have time to buy items on sale and store them away? Many items can be bought on sale i.e. drinks, clothes, silk flowers. Keep an eye out for specials in your area & online. Check the use by dates on perishable food items, to ensure that they will be ok for your dates.

Can you ask for monetary gifts rather than items? Many guests are looking for gift ideas and they aren’t aware of your situation. Two important rules are:

  • Don’t be greedy or become so unrealistic so your guests become disgruntled and back out. 
  • Don’t overspend just because the cash is coming through -use it for what it was gifted for. 

Wishing wells can be used in a number of ways:

  • Add a request to your invitations for cash instead of unwanted gifts and provide a box for them to be deposited into on the day.
  • Send a pre-wedding wishing well request to your guests with your “save the date notification” for cash gifts that will help with the ongoing costs ahead of the wedding. This could be done by nominating a dollar amount to an item that you would like paid for i.e. the cake or invitations or a dollar value gift.

Do you want a sit-down reception or a cocktail party? Factors that may affect the pricing of your reception menu:

  • The type of food and formality of the reception can make a huge difference to the costs.
  • Waiters and bar staff costs 
  • Alternative dietary menus can add extra costs – some venues will add individual chefs to deal with creating these specialised food items & charge extra for this service.

Ask for a few quotes from companies, event venues that you are interested in using. Do they fall into your budget allocation?

Do any of your family and friends have talents & skills

who you can ask to help you out?

i.e. cake bakers, singers, crafters. You may have a family member or friend

that can do some items for you if you don’t feel confident enough.

Have a look at your guest list & start thinking about what your guests may be able to help you with.

Things to think about when you are asking for help:

Be aware that not everyone will be confident to do exactly what you would like. You may find compromise may need to occur i.e.:

  • i.e. Auntie Jane may be a great baker and is happy to make your wedding cake, but she might not have ever made a stackable mud cake. Ask her what she would feel comfortable about making and work with her to get a mutual design that you are both happy with.
  • Mary and Jane sing together often, but don’t know the songs you have chosen and think some of them are too difficult for their vocal range. Work out which songs they can do and ask for suggestions from their repertoire to find easier alternatives. 

Look at what is left on the list that you can do yourselves and make a plan with an achievable timeframe to complete them.

I have many friends and family that have created wonderful weddings on a shoe-string budget, it just takes a little creative thinking and forward planning to pull it all together.

Check out my FREEBIE Basic Guest List Template at to help you with this OR if you prefer a more comprehensive Guest list & budget template, I have a comprehensive  Wedding Budget & Guest Planner  available in the Garter Blue Shop for $9.95.

Example of wedding budget planner:

Start Creating & Planning towards your wonderful event. I look forward to hearing how your planning & events go.


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