How To Plan a Beautiful Wedding on a $5000 Budget

Blog, Wedding Advice

Your partner just popped the big question, you’ve got a new shiny rock on your finger…now what?? If you’re like most brides, you most likely fall into the category of “super pumped to get married, not super pumped to plan a wedding.” Planning a wedding can feel really daunting and overwhelming. You want your day to be beautiful & special and yet you don’t want to drop thousands upon thousands on one single day. After all, there are so many exciting things that lie beyond that day…saving for a house, vacations, kids, etc.

If you’re like most couples, you want to be smart with your money and not break the bank for your wedding. Enter in Wedfuly and the wedding budget of $5000. In this article we will look at how you can plan an incredible wedding for $5000 and not feel like you are missing out any of the magic or the celebration.

Decide on Your Top Priorities That Will Fit in Your $5000 Wedding Budget

If you plan on having a wedding that stays within a $5000 budget, you are going to need to be decisive. Early on in the planning process it will be smart for you to sit down with your fiance and decide on your priorities. It will be important to defer back to these throughout the whole process so you don’t get pulled in by the glitz and glam of the wedding industry. Is it important to you to have a beautiful designer wedding dress? Would you prefer to spend a large chunk of your budget on the food? Are you really into flowers and decor? These are all things to nail down early on, so that you can best structure your budget around them.

Opt for a Virtual Wedding To Stay Within Your $5000 Wedding Budget

The number one expense when planning a wedding is the guest list. The larger the guest list, the more money you can expect to spend. In fact, the average cost per guest ranges from $127/guest (Alabama average) all the way to $263/guest (Connecticut average). Want to avoid this obstacle completely? Opt for a virtual wedding and you will immediately eliminate the stress of figuring out the guest list. 

Having a small guest list=BIG amounts of fun.

By having a virtual wedding, you can include your immediate family + closest few friends and invite the rest of the guests virtually. You also won’t have to spend a lot of time asking “should I invite this long lost cousin or not?” You can simply send them an E-vite and all will be well. Additionally, another budget friendly move is to select a low-cost (or FREE!) wedding venue. Think beautiful backyard, local park or even your living room! Check out this blog post for a more in depth look at how to decide on your perfect venue spot. **Wedfuly pro tip: IF you do decide to opt for a more traditional wedding venue, consider choosing a Friday or Sunday, as this will save you money.

Total Cost: Wedfuly Techy package (AKA wedding planner + virtual wedding) + free venue=$1,200

Be Savvy With Your Food + Drink + Alcohol Choice

One way that wedding venues can easily rack up the cost is through food + alcohol charges. Many venues will require that you use their caterers or bartenders, which can get very pricey. If you decide to have your wedding at a personal spot (aka friend or family member’s backyard) you can save money this way. This is one major way to stay within your $5000 wedding budget. Listed below are some different routes you could take for food + drinks:

  • Cater in from a local restaurant. Support your favorite local restaurant by checking to see if they do catering for small events. Given the fact that you will most likely have between 20-30 guests, this is a doable request. According to thumbtack.com the average cost for up to 20 people would fall around $540 and the average cost for up to 30 people would be around $960.
  • Hire a private chef. If delicious food is a high priority for you and your honey–consider this route. Treat your guests to a weekend of hand cooked delights from a professional chef. If you have a small guest list, this is possible to include and not go over budget.
  • Pizza + tacos never disappoint. Let’s be real. How many weddings have you been to where the food is tiny portions of super fancy food & you’re still starving afterwards?? No fun. Instead, try opting for dozens of pizzas from your favorite pizza place or endless burrito bowls from Chipotle. Your guests will leave full and happy, guaranteed. 

Stay In Your $5000 Wedding Budget With Drinks + Cake

In addition to saving money on food, it is also important to consider how you can be savvy when purchasing alcohol. The best way to save money when purchasing alcohol is to buy in bulk from wholesale places such as Sam’s Club or Costco. There are locations that will even let you return any unopened bottles of booze to the store for a refund. Lastly, consider how you can get creative when it comes to your wedding cake. Traditional wedding cakes can be very expensive. Consider opting for a cupcake tower, sheet cakes from Costco or enlisting the help of a talented baker friend. 

Total Cost: Food + alcohol + cake= $900

Consider enlisting the help of a talented friend who can bake a wedding cake for you.
Toby and Marissa opted for some delicious pastries for their wedding. Budget friendly & delicious!

Think Outside of the Box When It Comes to Your Dress

Ahhh–wedding dresses. While most girls grow up dreaming what their wedding dress will look like, they don’t necessarily dream about the price tag that comes along with it. Wedding dresses are another thing on the list that can majorly rack up the price of your wedding. According to the Knot, the average cost in 2019 for a dress was $1600, and that’s not even including alterations. Add in alterations and a veil and you’re looking at over $2000 for just your outfit alone. (That’s almost half of your $5000 wedding budget–yikes!) Listed below are some tips to save you some cash when you’re looking to say yes to the dress:

  • Buy off the rack. Purchasing a sample dress will not only save you time, but will also save you money. This will allow you to buy the dress of your dreams, but not have to pay the full price for it.
  • Consider buying gently worn. Let’s face it, you most likely only wear your wedding dress for one day of your life. If it is well cleaned by a professional, it can look as good as new. Many brides list their dresses on sites such as nearlynewlywed.com or stillwhite.com and you can purchase them for a really low price. Another option is to rent a beautiful gown from a site like renttherunway.com. 
  • Buy a white gown or white dress. There’s something about the word wedding that seems to just add a few extra $$$ next to it. Many budget conscious brides have purchased white dresses that aren’t technically wedding dresses….and totally rock it.
  • Consider looking at white dresses from places such as lulus.com, Etsy.com, BHLDN.com or even looking at bridesmaids dresses that come in white.

Total cost: $220 for dress + $100 for alterations= $320

Who says you have to wear a dress on your wedding day? We are loving this fresh take on ‘bridal’.
Another lovely Wedfuly bride opted for this fab ‘retro take’ on wedding!

Good Photography is Worth The Money In Your $5000 Wedding Budget

Most couples agree that capturing their wedding day and having those photos are worth it. And we fully agree. In our opinion, hiring a professional photographer is well worth the investment. However, we’ve compiled some tips that should help you get the most bang for your buck.

  • Book  your photographer for a shorter amount of time. According to https://theeverygirl.com/how-to-throw-a-wedding-thats-under-5000-dollars/ consider booking your photographer for a shorter window of time, to save some money. Put your bridal party to work snapping photos before the ceremony and then hire your photographer for the ceremony + short piece of the reception. Some photographers may offer this as an elopement package or half day shoot.
  • Consider seeking out college/grad students. Many aspiring photographers do phenomenal work, they just haven’t had a chance to acquire a clientele base. Consider reaching out to a local university and see if they have any students that would be willing to shoot your wedding for some extra money. This gal put an ad on Craiglist and was able to get a PHD student that did an amazing job taking the photos for her wedding.

Total cost: $1,000 for photography