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Wedding Hacks: Afford Your Dream Wedding on a Budget

Updated: Apr 18

11 simple #lifehacks to plan your dream wedding while getting the most bang for your buck on your wedding budget

Wedding cake with dollar sign

After your ‘gram-worthy wedding proposal, celebratory drinks and kicking off dress shopping, reality sets in: Weddings (can) cost a fortune. Lucky for you, we’re in the Pinterest and #lifehacker era where fairytale weddings really can come true...on a budget. All that to say: planning a wedding on a budget is totally possible. And we can help!

Now we’re not saying we have the power to magically turn a pumpkin into a sparkling carriage for you to ride into your wedding ceremony, but we do have some hacks that will help you cut down the cost of some major wedding expenses.

Getting started on your wedding planning

First step? Download Pocketnest to get your finances in order.

Now’s a time to set goals and realistic expectations about your dream day. Begin the “money talk” with your fiance (and maybe even include both of your parents) early. Take 20 minutes and set your wedding budget now.

Is your budget set? Okay, let’s get started.

Getting a wedding dress on a budget

Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue. When looking for a wedding dress, consider going the “something old” or “something borrowed” route. See if your mom (or mom-in-law-to-be or aunt or sister or bestie—you get the picture) has a dress you could rewear (same is to be said about jewelry and other accessories). Bonus if it incorporates something blue!

If you aren’t loving the puff sleeves on your mother’s wedding dress from the 80s, alterations are a smart way to save money while staying on trend. Don’t have one you can borrow? Not to worry! There are other less pricey options for wedding dresses like a trunk show, sample sale or a thrift store find. You can even choose to rent one! (This is also a great option for those in need of a tuxedo.)

Setting the date for your dream wedding

See if your venue will host a reception on a Friday or Sunday. Many times, an “off day” will be less expensive—as long as it’s not a holiday weekend. But, be mindful of guests who may have to use vacation days to make your wedding.

You may even want to think about choosing a date during the wedding “off season” between November-March. Yes, there is a higher risk of inclement weather during this time but as long as you have a back up plan in case of an unexpected storm the savings could be well worth it!

How to save money on wedding invitations

Ever consider paperless invitations? Sure, the intricate, vellum-wrapped, 8-piece, butterflies-flying-out-at-your-guest invitations are lovely. But they’re not realistic for most of us. Explore online options like Green Envelope or Paperless Post. They’ll track your RSVPs for you, removing a big ‘ol pre-wedding task from your Wedding To-Do List. They’ll remove waste, while cutting down on paper, printing and mailing fees. Both the planet and your wallet will thank you even if Great Aunt Mildred does not.

Picking your bridal party for a budget wedding

Keep your entourage small. Big bridal parties are overrated. By keeping yours small you can save on hair and make-up, bouquets, boutonnieres and other related costs for you and your besties.

A guest list on a budget

Limit the guest list. Make every individual at your wedding a VIP by keeping the guest list small. We aren't saying you can only invite 5 of your closest friends, but aim to keep your party below 100-150 people. Also note that you do not need to offer a plus-one to everyone invited. This way you can spend less money while getting to spend more quality time with your guests.

How to save money on wedding flowers and bouquets

One word: greenery. Focus on the beautiful, less expensive greenery to fill your bouquet. And when searching for flowers to incorporate into the arrangements, stick to those that are in season. (In season = less expensive.) Mix in a couple single-stem faux flowers with your natural flowers, too, to get extra-big blooms that won’t wilt as the day goes on.

Is your wedding date set for the spring or summertime? You may even want to find a local farm where you can pick your own flowers for a DIY bouquet. This outdoor activity could save you hundreds of dollars by offering a fun and unique alternative to professional arrangements.

Upcycling your wedding flowers to save money

Don't just toss those suckers after photos and the ceremony! Reuse your bridal party bouquets! Still want extra flair throughout your venue? Drop your bridesmaids bouquets into vases immediately after pictures and reuse them at your venue—at the bar, at your head table, wherever!

Low-cost wedding centerpieces #FTW

Say it with us: DIY centerpieces. Skip the flowers, get crafty. Flex your DIY muscles and shop around Michael’s or Hobby Lobby for components to create your own centerpieces. (#Protip: don’t forget the coupon!) Call on your bridesmaids and have a girls’ night while you sip wine, watch Friends reruns and knock another item off your wedding planning list.

Picking a wedding cake on a budget

Two words: fondant-less cake. First of all, have you tasted fondant lately? Yep, it tastes like clay. And, it can cost $1-2 more per slice! While bakeries love to push fondant for wedding cakes, you can create elegant, simple beauty that actually tastes amazing with buttercream frosting. Or, if you’re not into frosting, try a naked cake. Naked cakes are kind of big trend these days, anyway, so it’s a win-win!

Alternate options for wedding cakes to save money

Want to save money on your wedding cake? Or, simply don't like sweets? Why not ditch the cake all together?! We know it may sound extreme. But you may want to think about ditching your wedding cake all together. Instead, to save money on your wedding budget, you can replace your cake for a dessert buffet complete with cake pops and cookies (maybe even a chocolate fountain 😏). This is a fun money-saving alternative your guests will love! If you still want that special cake cutting moment for your wedding photo album you could always just get one small cake for the cutting ceremony.

Picking the music for your wedding on a budget

DJ or Band? Finding a quality DJ will trim your costs, while still keeping your party going strong. Get to know your DJ first. Set up a quick meeting to discuss what songs and style you like and don’t like, how your ideal entrance should go, etc.

In general, opting for the DIY approach will save you lots of money at any venue, whether it’s a backyard wedding or at the Ritz. You can still have your Pinterest-worthy dream wedding on a budget. We just recommend getting on the same page with your partner first. Turns out, you can have your wedding cake and eat it, too!

Great news! The Pocketnest app is available! Download Pocketnest and get your finances in order—in just 3 minutes a week! No jargony finance-speak, pricey fees or in-person meetings required.


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