wedding planning on a budget

Alrighty – as most of you know, I will be getting married soon (in about six-and-a-half months !!!) and Bradley and I are funding most of our wedding ourselves – because, well, we are adults and our parents aren’t made out of money. And neither are Bradley and I, to be honest, so we decided to keep our budget under tight reigns and only pay for what we could afford to pay up front. Everything we are purchasing is coming out of pocket! Therefore, we have had to make compromises here and there to be able to put on a wedding we can afford.

Keeping things under budget isn’t very hard when you have your priorities in check with your future spouse – communicate these priorities VERY clearly. Bradley and I had some differing views at first on where the larger sums of our money should go, but we easily found solutions to help keep our ideas in check.

My top three priorities went something like:

  1. Honeymoon
  2. Photographs
  3. Venue

Bradley’s went something along the lines of:

  1. Honeymoon
  2. Booze
  3. Food

Well, at least we had the most important thing in common, right? Hehe – but honestly, we wanted to spend the largest amount of our budget on the honeymoon. We truly want to enjoy fun, quality time with each other (at a beach :D) after over a year and a half of being long-distance straight into a wedding.

After some chats over our other priorities, we came to the conclusion that a cash bar would satisfy both of our wants (his wanting to have plenty of alcohol for everyone and my wanting to keep the budget within reach). Unfortunately, photographs are hard to compromise price when it comes to quality. We both agreed that we wanted photos that would last a lifetime – so we are trusting the wonderful Caroline Elizabeth out of Oklahoma City with these precious memories for us! Check out her artwork on instagram: @carolinelizaphoto

Here’s a look at a few photos she took for our engagement sesh!

While Pinterest is great for getting amazing DIY ideas for just about everything, it can also be a little brainwashing when it comes to wanting to have the perfect “Pinterest-worthy” wedding. Things being advertised that are not, I repeat – ARE NOT – a necessity take over my timeline when I get into that never-ending Wedding search blackhole. So I thought I would make a list of the things we are tossing to save money – and because, well, they aren’t on our “necessities” list.

Things to toss:

Ceremony Programs

Reason #1 being they are a waste of paper (save the trees!) Reason #2 being that people can handle 30-40 minutes of spontaneity in their lives. Most people seem  to know how a wedding ceremony goes, or at least have an idea, so it just isn’t really something you need to spend your money on. If you really want to make sure your guests are in the loop, try putting a chalkboard easel near the guestbook with the order of events.

Wedding Favors

I’m not really sure why these are a thing, but personally, I’m over them. You creating a beautiful space for fun memories, which are more meaningful than a koozy or a small tub of bubbles could ever be. Plus, you are feeding your guests – I mean, most people look forward to the free food and wedding cake more than anything anyway.


If you are really trying to go DIY and don’t have the money for a caterer, find an easy meal that can be easily prepared in large quantities by your friends and family. It isn’t impossible and can actually be more memorable for guests having a buffet of homemade foods! For a summer wedding, think grilled hotdogs and picnic foods, and for a winter wedding, soups and baked potatoes for a large group of people could do the trick. Just make sure your menu is one that is easy for feeding a big crowd and won’t take ages to prepare.


Again, more paper + postage… ugh. No thanks. Did you know that there are websites available now that will help you send out virtual event invites like Save The Dates via email to your guests!? Bradley and I used for ours and paid approximately $0.40 per Save-The-Date! Talk about a life-saver.

RSVP Cards

Not only are there websites to send out Save-The-Dates, but you can build your own wedding website for FREE at places like! Instead of having your guests send back physical RSVP cards, you can put your website link at the bottom of your invitation so your guests can RSVP from their mobile phones! So easy. These websites are also great for keeping your guests informed on where you are registered, hotels nearby the venue, or any information that is too complicated to put on a piece of paper.

Bradley and I are cutting corners everywhere we can – having friends and family members help with decorations, using decor and utensils second-hand from other friends’ and family members’ weddings, and finding budget-friendly tableware for the reception – thanks, Amazon/! Weddings don’t have to be a fifty-thousand dollar affair – creating a memorable time for you and yours can be as simple as a backyard garden wedding for 50 people with finger foods and fun music. All in all, it’s a celebration of love and unity – a vow of forever between two individuals. That alone is special enough. ❤

S/O to my Mom & Donald and Bradley’s parents for helping in every way they can and to my Grandma for her craftiness in the decor department – thank y’all from the bottom of our hearts! xoxo

Did you toss anything else from your wedding day that made you and your budget happy? What is some advice you would give to soon-to-be newly-weds for their wedding day?

a s h e l l a  x o

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