5 low-cost wedding tips to avoid going bankrupt before the honeymoon

Jenny and I have been married for (counts on fingers then gives up) a few years now. Our wedding was about as minimal as it can get without going to a courthouse. A low-cost wedding was the most practical thing for us. We didn’t have many people to invite. Some of the ones we did ask to come didn’t even show up. Attendance was lacking yet the love remains strong. You don’t need a lavish wedding to make it abundantly clear you two belong together.

The idea of a dream wedding is one of those parts of life perpetuated by film, television, and maybe a few books. The only book I know of with a wedding scene is one of the Game of Thrones. Everyone gets slaughtered there.

Our bank account is lucky Jenny never had any of those big wedding dreams. Otherwise, we would have been bankrupt before we went on a honeymoon.

Instead, we kept it simple, affordable, and most of all, practical. Here’s five tips from our own low-cost wedding.

1) Low-cost wedding tip: Only pay for what you need and really want

There are some needs at a wedding. You need an officiant. You need a place to have it done. You need witnesses. That’s about it. Rings are not required but greatly appreciated. We weren’t that cheap with our low-cost wedding to the point where we did something silly like exchange puka necklaces. We have real wedding rings. They’re round!

On your wedding day, giving into wants is perfectly fine. You’re hoping to only do this once unless you’re a black widow. Things like a photographer or videographer are nice, but usually you’ll already know someone with a device good enough to do these things. Chances are, that person is also the spouse of someone you know. He’ll be bored at your wedding anyway. Give him something to do.

Nobody seems more out of place at a wedding than the photographer.

2) Low-cost wedding tip: Choose the most affordable venue you can

Our wedding took place in a hotel room. We slept there the morning before and the night of. How’s that for practical?  It wasn’t even a gigantic one you’d see in a Home Alone movie. It was sizable and probably about three times bigger than the ones we normally get whenever we go on a trip. We needed some space for people to spread out and not know what the other ate for breakfast without asking.

Not everybody will want to or need to get married in the same place they slept the night before. You should still choose whatever’s the most affordable venue you can find that meets your needs. Where we chose for our wedding and sleep quarters fit the needs.

3) Low-cost wedding tip: Invite the people you care about most

How many people you invite will determine immensely whether or not you have a low-cost wedding or one with a massive bill at the end. You might have to hurt some feelings along the way. The best strategy is to keep it very close-knit. Coworkers don’t need to come to your wedding. In fact, many will be relieved to find out they weren’t invited. I always am.

With bigger families, this might be tougher. This wasn’t an issue for Jenny and I as her family was in another country. As for mine, we don’t breed like rabbits.

They don’t even know each other’s names!

4) Low-cost wedding tip: Rent instead of buy whenever possible

It was expensive enough to rent a tuxedo for my wedding. I don’t remember the actual cost. It’s one of those necessities you just roll with. Actually purchasing it would have been a mistake. Other than maybe for a Halloween costume, I can’t imagine when I would ever wear a tuxedo again. I’ve never been James Bond or a Reservoir Dog on October 31st anyway.

Jenny did buy her wedding dress and shoes. That’s a little different. There is a sentimentality to owning those things even if you never do wear them again.It’s a bride thing. Some people might save a piece of their wedding cake and freeze it. For us, who had two wedding cakes at our ceremony, I’m not sure either lasted more than a week.

5) Low-cost wedding tip: Do whatever you can yourself or have someone else do it for free

A common tactic people will take at weddings is to have an officiant they are friendly with perform the ceremony for free or at a much lower cost. I didn’t know anyone who could officiate. We did find someone online and the cost wasn’t outrageous. For about 30-45 minutes of his time, we paid for the things we needed like legal stamps and knowing where to put our initials on a piece of paper.

Other wedding expenses can be diverted by doing it yourself. Paying a decorator seems foolish to me. A wedding planner is just a control freak who couldn’t cut it in the fashion industry; usually. Keeping the wedding decorations simple is a must in order to make this budget-friendly. We didn’t spend a whole lot on decorations. We just wanted to make it feel a little less like a hotel room and a little more like a wedding venue. We were happy with the results even if it meant staying up late the night before.

Below are affiliate links to products we use and recommend. By using those links, we may receive a small commission from your purchase. Using these links does not affect the price.

The book that convinced us to start investing and being more proactive with our money and lives: The Only Investment Guide You’ll Ever Need by Andrew Tobias

The gear we use to make our YouTube videos at the Practically Humans YouTube Channel

• Sony ZVE10 Camera
• Sony Retractable Zoom Lens
• MOVO Shotgun Microphone
• Audio Cable
• Memory Card
• RGB Lights
• Studio Light

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