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How to Plan a Minimalist Wedding

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All you really need is the two of you, the rest is just extra. Check out this minimalist wedding advice and inspiration to have a wedding that keeps the focus on what matters.

How to Plan a Minimalist Wedding
Jessica Bishop Headshot

In the last decade or so, weddings have become something practically unrecognizable from their original form. What started out as a modest ceremony uniting two people in matrimony and typically followed by a simple cake and punch reception has morphed into a completely different beast. (Thanks, social media! ? )

The good news is that planning a wedding doesn’t have to be as complicated as popular culture has made it out to be. In fact, it doesn’t have to cost as much, either.

If you’re hoping to be more of a Bridechilla than a Bridezilla, you can start by simplifying your plans for your big day. Let’s get one thing straight here– just like I always say that being budget-savvy isn’t about being cheap, it’s important to also note that planning a minimalist wedding doesn’t mean plain, boring, or drab. In my opinion, simple is both chic and savvy!

So if you’re thinking about that epic list of tasks on your wedding planning checklist and feeling overwhelmed, allow us to help you simplify.

B$B Founder Jessica discusses minimalist wedding planning on The Minimalists podcast!
Minimalist wedding reception ideas

How to Take a Minimalist Approach to Wedding Planning

Channel your inner Marie Kondo and get ready to simplify your wedding plans with these minimalist wedding tips!

Get Clear on Your Priorities

Have you and your partner sat down and had a chat about what each of you defines as your core values, goals, or priorities in life? If not, um, you definitely should before you tie the knot. Those same values and priorities can be applied to the choices you make while wedding planning. So if you consider yourselves introverts with a close-knit circle of loved ones, don’t feel like you have to have a large wedding out of obligation to extended family members you don’t actually talk to or like. (Sorry, not sorry, Aunt Karen.)

Need help facilitating the values/priorities convo with your partner? Check out Chapter 1 of The Budget-Savvy Wedding Planner & Organizer!

Cut Anything That Doesn’t Spark Joy

When it comes to tackling your wedding planning to-do list, look at all the traditional aspects of a wedding, and feel free to attack that list with a red pen. Cross out all the crap you can’t get behind or that feels inauthentic. Don’t have a great relationship with your dad? Skip the father-daughter dance. Can’t stand cake? Have a doughnut tower instead. Think the bouquet/garter toss ritual is anti-feminist or chauvinistic? Strike them from your reception plans. This is *your* day. Make it look and feel like you!

Minimalist wedding reception table

Keep Decor Sleek, Chic, and Clutter-Free

If you want to make your wedding look classy and chic while sticking to a budget, a minimalist wedding look is ideal. There are so many bonuses to keeping your wedding decor simple. For one thing, opting for white items for your decorations can give off a clean, high-end vibe. Just think about all the celebrities who have all-white affairs– so bougie, right?! Best of all, sticking with white items like linens is often a savvy choice as most catering halls or venues have basic whites included in their price, with colors or specialty linens available for added fees. Keeping things simple is a great way to save money on your wedding decor.

Ask Yourself, Is this Meaningful or Necessary?

Do monogrammed cocktail napkins actually spark joy? I’m guessing not. Remove items from the list that don’t serve a true purpose, enhance the guests’ experience, or add meaning to your celebration. Is a personalized tchotchke really something that your guests will love and treasure forever or is it likely to end in the trash? (Hint: they’re probably gonna toss them.)

Debbie Draws Funny - Markie Kondo Card - Spark Joy

You Spark Joy Card

By DebbieDrawsFunny

Include an Intimate Number of Guests

Before you go sending out save-the-dates to everyone you know and love, take a beat to consider the size of your ideal wedding. One of the fastest ways to cut costs is by cutting your guest list. Ironically, it’s typically one of the most difficult tasks to do– usually because of the emotional toll of navigating potentially hurt feelings. Remember, your wedding day is just one day, and it’s about you and your partner. So many couples have been forced to slash their guest lists due to restrictions caused by COVID-19. If you were forced to hold your wedding with a guest count of 50, 20, or even 10… who would make the cut? In the end, will you be just as happy with a microwedding than with a big raucous party?

Focus on the Feelings

When it comes to investing in the areas that matter, choose to think about spending in the areas that enhance your guests’ experience, such as food and entertainment. Think about the parts of a wedding that you’ll be most likely to remember– sharing a toast with your closest loved ones, dancing with your new spouse, and the moment you both say “I do!” If you can focus on how you want your day to feel vs what the day will look like, it will help you avoid the pressure to overspend in areas that are all about appearances.

The Life-Changing Magic of Selling Old Stuff

If you’ve found yourself feeling strapped for the funds you need to bring together the stylish day of your dreams, consider how you can use the life-changing magic of tidying up to turn your extra clutter into cash!

One bride-to-be’s trash is another bride’s treasure! Consider cleaning out your closets and selling unused items around your home to make some extra money to put towards the wedding fund.

Where to Sell Your Stuff:

  • Got a wedding dress to sell? Try out StillWhite
  • An old cell phone or tablet in your drawer? Try Gazelle
  • Last season’s clothing? Sell it on Poshmark
  • Computers, cameras, video games? Try eBay
  • Purses, shoes, (unopened) makeup, etc? Check out Mercari.
  • Unwanted CDs, DVDs, Blu-rays, games & books? Try Decluttr.

Free yourself from the weight of stuff and make space in your life for what actually matters to you. Perhaps you can use the money you earn to buy the perfect minimalist wedding dress of your dreams!

Napa elopement - minimalist wedding style
See the full wedding: Intimate and Non-traditional Napa Elopement

Planning a Minimalist Wedding Helps Keep the Focus on What Matters

I hope you’ve found this minimalist wedding guide to be inspirational for your big day. As I always love to say, less is more. Let LOVE shine through and take center stage on your big day! After all of this, you may even find that the right choice for you and your soon-to-be spouse is an intimate elopement.

When you remove all the excess from your life or the wedding, you’re able to focus on what actually matters. Clearing the clutter both physically and mentally allows what’s truly important to become crystal clear. And if that’s not a metaphor for the year 2020, I don’t know what is.

More minimalism resources

Looking for more resources to help you get started on a journey towards clearing the clutter? Check out these books from our friends at The Minimalists:

Are you considering planning a minimalist wedding? Join us in the community to chat all things wedding planning!

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PapaLlama - Marie Kondo - You Spark Joy in My Life Card

You Spark Joy in My Life Card

By PapaLlama

Jessica Bishop Headshot

Jessica Bishop is the founder of TheBudgetSavvyBride.com, and has worked in various areas and roles within the wedding industry since 2007. She is the author of the best-selling book,The Budget-Savvy Wedding Planner & Organizer and also hosts The Bouquet Toss Wedding Planning Podcast. Jessica's expert wedding advice and savvy savings tips have been featured by Good Morning America, COSMOPOLITAN, Glamour, and more.