Your Wedding-on-a-Shoestring Budget Guide.

Wedding budgets are stressful enough.

A wedding on a shoestring budget can put a happy bride into a deep dark state of depression. Have no fear! We talked to over 50 brides who made the most out of a small-ish budget and had the time of their lives at their weddings.

Learn what they learned. Here are some tips to stretch your budget out without sacrificing what means the most to you.

1. Book with short notice.

Wedding venues with availability are more likely to come down on price within three months, if your date is free. If your date is not free, consider a different day if you truly love the wedding venue. (Wedding Shoestring Budget Guide savings: $2,000)

2. Consider a weekday wedding or a Friday or Sunday.

People like an excuse to take off work for a festive occasion like a wedding. The cost comes down considerably for venues, photographers, DJs and bands, florist and caterers because they want the weekday business. (Wedding Shoestring Budget Guide savings: $1,500)

3. Brunch or BBQ?

As far as catering, brunch weddings are less expensive and who doesn’t love a brunch? Plus, there’s less expectation to serve alcohol which saves you money. For evening weddings, you can consider doing a BBQ buffet and use beautiful plastic or recycled cutlery for that rustic and southern feel. (Wedding Shoestring Budget Guide savings: $1,750)

4. Make your own Centerpieces.

With so many cool artsy ideas online, if you plan ahead, you can make your own beautiful centerpieces that have a unique charm that’s all your own. Some florists charge hundreds of dollars for centerpieces so you can save a lot if you make your own. [CAVEAT: Have someone else set them up for you. The last thing you need is to be running around dressing tables when you should be dressing yourself. This is a great job for a mother-in-law.] (Wedding Shoestring Budget Guide savings: $800)


5. Have a Friend Officiate.

Asking someone who is important to you and your future-spouse to lead the ceremony is both meaningful and budget-savvy. Your special someone will feel he or she had a significant role in your big day, and you can save money on this line item. Make sure to ask someone who is comfortable speaking in front of a crowd and a great sense of humor never hurt. They can get ordained as a minister online. (Wedding Shoestring Budget Guide savings: $650)

6. Use your Venue’s Economy of Scale.

Ask your venue to make the initial contact with their approved vendors to get you the best deal. They service dozens of weddings a year, and have relationships with vendors at rates you could never negotiate as a single event customer. Wedding planners also have relationships like these – leverage them to save you money. (Wedding Shoestring Budget Guide savings: $500)

7. Negotiate, negotiate, negotiate.

Everything in life is negotiable. Screw your courage to the sticking place, and tell your vendors what they can do to win your business. You are the customer and you can usually be getting a better deal. You know you got a good deal if both parties walk away feeling screwed. So get out there and negotiate a price that works for your budget. (Wedding Shoestring Budget Guide savings: $500)

With these 7 steps, you just saved yourself at least $7,700 on your wedding. Now, let’s get budgeting and see how much more you can save.