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How to Stretch Your Wedding Budget

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Bride on a budget? Don’t miss these quick tips on how to stretch your wedding budget, to make your big day feel chic for less.

Jessica Bishop Headshot

One of the biggest hardships of being a budget bride (beyond the stress of planning everything and sticking to your monetary restrictions) is wrestling with the feeling that people will think you’re a big cheapo. Finding ways to stretch your wedding budget will not only give you peace of mind by bringing you in under your maximum allowance, but it will also allow you to give the illusion of a luxe look while spending less.

Ways to Stretch Your Wedding Budget (without your guests knowing!)

Here are a few quick tips for cutting costs but not corners, to make your wedding day feel chic on a budget.

Paper Goods + Invitations

  • Skip the mailed save the date and go for a digital save the date instead that you can send via email. It’s free and does the trick- saving you the cost of printed paper goods and postage!
  • Go for a simple, one-color design for your invitations and add your own embellishments to save money. Check out printable invitations from our friends at Download and Print! A little DIY goes a long way!


  • Serving heavy hors d’oeuvres instead of a full meal often seems like a more budget-friendly option but extra wait staff is required which raises your cost. It can be easier on the wallet to go for a buffet-style meal. (Consider local restaurants instead of traditional caterers to bring costs down even more!)
  • Have a small decorative cake for you and your new spouse to cut for photos, but serve guests sheet cakes which cost less because less decoration time is needed, and it is also easier to cut and portion out.

Wedding Dress + Attire

  • Want a glam designer gown that is totally out of your budget? Consider renting a dress from RentTheRunway (check out our post about the site + service here) or check out pre-owned sites for designer gowns for less!
  • You need “something borrowed” per longstanding bridal tradition, so consider borrowing your wedding day accessories like jewelry, veil, shoes, etc to save a few bucks. Your great Aunt Sally probably has some gorgeous vintage pieces or if you could wear your BFF’s veil it would be so special (and budget-savvy!)


  • Cutting down your guest list and having a more intimate affair will allow you to create a more glamorous atmosphere for the guests who are in attendance. Each additional guest multiplies the cost exponentially, so keep that in mind when deciding who to add to your list!
  • Be creative when it comes to decor – upcycle, recycle, repurpose and re-use items to create a glamorous look on a budget. Check out our post with some great ideas: 5 Tips to create a Glamorous Wedding on a small budget.

Cut Non-Essentials

  • Favors are unnecessary. Your guests do not need a trinket with your names and wedding date on them. If you want to give them a token of your appreciation, try for a homemade edible treat to take with them on the road.
  • Other items you can skip: open bar, extravagant floral centerpieces (opt for vases, candles or anything else that can be sold, repurposed, or re-used!), a live band or DJ (a good iPod playlist and a friend to oversee it can save you hundreds if not thousands!) and lastly…


  • A good photographer is something that you definitely shouldn’t skimp on, but there are ways to bring your bill down. Opt for a disc of the digital images instead of paying upfront for a fancy package with a hefty wedding album to cut your cost.
  • Consider hiring a newbie photog who is just starting out and trying to build his portfolio. Be sure to thoroughly check out their work, get references, and ask plenty of questions about their equipment to ensure they are the right fit for the job.

The truth is, stretching your wedding budget and creating a luxe for less wedding takes dedication and great attention to detail, but it CAN be done! Need more ideas? Check out our DIY projects section for inspiration for projects you can do yourself.

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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. You can learn more about Jessica on her personal blog and professional website.