How to Plan a Wedding Under $1,000

by Kate Folsom ; Updated September 28, 2017

Have a perfect day that costs less.

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With the average U.S. wedding costing about $30,000, the idea of planning a budget wedding can be daunting. When your wedding budget is only $1000, you may have to put some effort into doing things in an unconventional way. You may find that you have talented friends who are willing to help. By using some creativity, your special day will be all the more memorable for the time and effort you put in.

Save on Food and Drink

Instead of having an elaborate and expensive catered dinner, make food yourself or enlist the help of friends. You can offer snacks or a potluck, inviting people to bring their favorite dish. Many grocery stores and delis have a fine selection of items that can be served buffet-style. Bake the cake yourself or buy one from a store that does cake decorating instead of paying hundreds of dollars for a wedding cake. Bring beverages from home, have a bring-your-own beverage policy or simply decide not to serve alcohol.

Invite and Decorate

You can design invitations at home and print them on stationery, or have them made at a local print shop on card stock. Many wedding sites let you create a simple wedding webpage that allows guests to RSVP. Instead of ordering elaborate bouquets, buy cut flowers and arrange them yourself. Dollar and discount stores often have a fair selection of lovely wedding decorations, or if you're crafty, make decorations yourself. If you're booking a venue for your reception, ask if place settings, tablecloths and decorations are included in the price.

Wedding Dresses, Suits and Tuxedoes

Search resale shops and websites for deals, or borrow a dress from a relative. Bridesmaid and prom dresses tend to be cheaper than wedding dresses and often come in white. Look for end-of season formal-wear sales at department stores and wedding outlets. It generally costs more than $100 to rent a tuxedo, but many men already own suits or other nice clothing that would be suitable for a groom. Men's suits can also be purchased inexpensively if you're a savvy resale shopper. It doesn't cost much to have something tailored to fit perfectly.

Wedding Venues and Officiants

Public parks and churches often offer inexpensive or free wedding and reception sites, sometimes with the officiant included in the cost. A justice of the peace will cost at least $50, so figure this into your budget as soon as you start planning. City hall and backyard weddings are the cheapest way to go, but restaurants and hotels often have private banquet rooms for rent. Have the wedding and reception at the same site to save even more money. Create a playlist of significant songs instead of hiring a DJ or band.

Photo Credits

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About the Author

Kate Folsom has written professionally about Arts and Culture for the Monterey County Weekly in California, The PSU Vanguard in Portland, Oregon, and other publications and sites including a brief stint as a paid reviewer for Yelp.