Planning a Wedding on a $5,000 Budget

I really need help planning my wedding, the date is May 30, 2009. I have a $5,000 budget however I don't want my wedding to look cheap. I have nothing planned, not even a venue. Is there someone that can help me with my budget and such short time? I'm not creative at all.


Vernice from West Palm Beach, FL


Planning a Wedding on a $5,000 Budget

If you are looking for wedding invitations, check out They are having a great sale. (01/06/2009)

By Anita

Planning a Wedding on a $5,000 Budget

My fiance and I are getting married around the same time, just a year later. I would start by calling around to local parks/union halls, and ask them how much they charge to rent for a day. That way, you are only paying for one place/building, a huge money and time saver, since you only have to decorate once. If you opt for a union hall though, ask them about what kinds of decorations you are allowed, and if you can take down any pictures, so long as you put them back up. Make sure to have them quote you a price before you tell them it is for a wedding, one of the halls in my home town quoted us about $50 more when we told them.


Also, a serve yourself buffet is a really good idea. A few different cold meat sandwiches, a couple of crock pots full of soups, veggies/fruit and dip, the wedding cake/sheet cake, and there you go. It is a thrifty, but beautiful idea to use a small cake for you to cut, and then serve sheet cake in the same flavor for everyone else. Also, buy any ham/lunch meat in whole packages, and have the deli slice it for you, it's cheaper, and have family help you make the sandwiches. My family has found that people are hesitant to "build their own" because they don't want to seem greedy. Just wear plastic gloves and make them up the day before. We aren't going to serve any alcohol, because we don't drink, and both sides of our family have beautiful punch bowls that we are going to use. One of my uncles is skilled at baking (he wants to open a store) and is going to be making our cakes as his gift. You will be surprised to see how much stuff your family might have and is willing to lend, if you just ask.


Tulle and Christmas lights look stunning, and some ribbon can really personalize it. As a wedding gift to us, one of my friends is going to be ordained online, which is legal in my state, and will do the ceremony for us. I am making our outfits, since I am very good at sewing, and my dress will be made for under $45. My fiance's outfit is a bit more expensive, since we are going for a very personally themed wedding, and will be around $90. If you have a family member who is very good at sewing, ask them to help you make your dress as a gift, or the thrift stores have some very beautiful dresses, and you can have one altered to fit your tastes. Also, if your aren't too picky about the style of dress your attendants wear, they can find inexpensive dresses at sales, and the groomsmen can wear nice dress suits rather then tuxes.


Use disposable cameras for party favors, and ask for copies when they are developed, on CDs (or e-mailed) so you can pick which ones you want to print. Bowls of floating candles or confetti always look pretty, and are cheaper than flowers, find matching clear bowls at thrift stores or garage sales. We are using fake flowers for our bouquets, and our attendants will be able to keep theirs.

I am getting some very comfortable white slippers-shoes (they can be dyed as well), that way I can dance and walk comfortably all day. We are going to make our own invites, and some of our friends are going to help serve the food and get things moved for us. We are going to make a mixed CD of our music, and just have a stereo.

In all, we have spent $150 so far, and we have all the material for our outfits, all the candles/candle holders for the reception and ceremony, all the serving ware, and some other things, I can't remember at the moment. The only other things we need besides food and actually renting our venue, are our shoes, half the price for the attendant's wear (we are renting the clothes so that I don't have to worry about making them, since it is themed.), tablecloths, and our rings. We found the bands that we wanted, and together they will be $70-90.


Best of luck, and congratulations on your big day! (01/06/2009)

By Krystal

Planning a Wedding on a $5,000 Budget

I planned my own wedding on a $5000 budget as well. I even had to do it on a short time restraint, too. I know your pain! Or should we just say "stress" because OMG was it stressful, but it can be done! I spent the bulk of my money on a caterer. It cost about $2500 dollars. I didn't want a buffet, and wanted a nice meal that everyone would be served sitting down.

I found ways to save on everything else. Our wedding was in August so it was not too hard to find some outdoor venues. We found a gazebo on a beach that the town allowed the public to use. It cost us $25 to reserve it for our wedding day. There was wedding already scheduled for that morning (ours was in the afternoon) so we didn't have to pay for any decorations. Other great ideas are outdoor public gardens and parks, of course, the beach, or even a back yard if you have any friends or family with gorgeous back yards.


I saved on my flowers by buying them a month ahead of time from a florist, buying them in bulk. I recruited a bunch of family and friends to get together the night before and arrange them. We just happened to have a big fridge in the reception venue that was for our use so we kept them in there.

Which brings me to the reception. We rented a hall through a family friend who worked there. It wasn't the prettiest place in the world, but it was close to the ceremony location and inexpensive. We decorated it with white Christmas lights, flowers, velvet, and lots of candles. By the time we were done it was beautiful. I even decorated the bathrooms. I draped velvet, brought in my own mirrors and propped them up on a long table to make a place for the ladies to freshen up. I put out baskets with hairspray, lotion, towelettes, and baby wipes, mints, etc. Finished it all of with the right lighting and more flowers.

I saved on a wedding dress by shopping in boutiques for a dress that could pass off as a wedding dress, but wasn't intended to be. I had to do a lot of shopping to find it, but I ended up with the perfect dress. I am not the type to wear a crazy princess wedding dress anyways. If your looking for a deal on a wedding dress, or just want something unique, or inexpensive, try

I also made my own wedding invitations and all other stationery needs. Check out There's a lot of tips and ideas for help to make them yourself without going crazy or breaking the bank.

Oh, and the cake, I found a woman in town who makes them right from her own kitchen. The cake was only $200 and it was beautiful and tasty!

And then there was the DJ who was a well known local talent. He was more of a wedding singer, but also DJ. He owed a favor to a family friend so he agreed to do our wedding. I wasn't very familiar with him, but he ended up being the big hit of the wedding. People are still talking about it to this day (our wedding was in 06) about how much fun it was.

Just check around locally and do a lot of research. Try to enlist the help of those around you to sniff out deals and discounts. It can be pulled off and done tastefully. Just remember to keep it fun. For you and your guests. (01/07/2009)

By Delilah

Planning a Wedding on a $5,000 Budget

As a wedding photographer, I've attended many weddings and I know for sure that you can have a beautiful wedding on a small budget. If you are planning a traditional ceremony with formal reception or hiring a professional for any services, you can save a ton of money by moving your wedding date to an "off season" Friday or Saturday or even a weekday. Most vendors will give steep discounts during these times.

Choose a scenic outdoor location (like the beach) for your ceremony. If its already breathtaking, you won't need to spend much on decorations. To save even more money on your reception, I suggest limiting the number of invites to include only an intimate group of close family and friends and reserve a room at a restaurant. The money you've saved may get you and upgrade from a cash bar and fried chicken buffet to fillet Mignon and fine wine.

For your dress, David's Bridal has great dresses as low as $100, and consider a resale shop or even a rental. Overall, I suggest a non-traditional approach to planning the day, do what makes you feel comfortable and you'll be happy with the results. Best of luck! (01/07/2009)

By Carrie

Planning a Wedding on a $5,000 Budget

May 30th is a great day to get married. My husband and I were married on May 30, 2002. First of all, congratulations! We also had to work with about a $5000 budget. My mom made my dress, so we only ended up paying about $100 for the material. The place we got married had a hall for the reception and allowed us to bring in our own food and alcohol. This saved us a bundle.

My father-in-law dabbles in photography, so he took pictures for us. The DJ cut us a deal because our wedding was on a Thursday (and who gets married on a Thursday anyway?). Our local supermarket made, delivered, and set up the cake for $180. Good luck and congratulations! (01/07/2009)

By Lindsey

Planning a Wedding on a $5,000 Budget

First, felicitations to you, and congrats to the groom! May 30 is an excellent day for a wedding, but I might be prejudiced, since that's my birthday.

My first husband and I had an even tighter budget than yours, and managed all right. My traditional sheath-style wedding dress was a "lucky find" at our local consignment shop for $25. I was much thinner then (size 10,) so needed no alterations. My mother-in-law picked some tiger lilies from her garden for my bouquet.

Our reception was actually a couple of days after the wedding, which doesn't work for everyone. Again, my mother-in-law's doing: she talked to her pastor, and he let us use their fellowship hall free. Everyone pitched in food for a pot-luck dinner, and the cake also came from my mother-in-law, a woman of much energy and many talents!

To make a long story short, I'd give you one word: delegate. Find someone whose judgment you *really* trust, and let him or her take the bulk of the burden off your shoulders. Or, at least, as much as you can stand to let go of. There's no need to turn into a "Bride-zilla" from stressing out over every detail! (01/10/2009)

By Lelia Jo Cordell

Planning a Wedding on a $5,000 Budget

I did a champagne brunch. got married at the site, open bar, and dancing for 5 hours. It only cost $2000. The place decorated all the tables including flowers. They had a gazebo already decorated. They provided all the chairs. We got married @ 10:30 and brunch started @ 11:00, because it was early people didn't drink as much as they would have in the evening. (01/11/2009)

By kathy

Planning a Wedding on a $5,000 Budget

I only have one word for you and all brides on a budget , eBay! I found our napkins on there and got 250 in four different colors (fall wedding) and imprinted and shipped to my house for less than $30. My wedding dress only cost $136 and that included shipping.

Do your own wedding cake. Hobby and craft stores like Michael's and Hobby Lobby and Garden Ridge all have the everything you need to do it. Hobby Lobby even has online coupons every week. Dollar Mart (Tree, Zone) has some items for weddings, check clearance sales. We ordered our wedding invitations online at and got a 3 day 2 night honeymoon for only $25. Ladies if you are on a budget and you don't know how or where to start I suggest

Online wedding planning is great. No papers to keep up with and you can download your guest list right to word and print off your address labels. It's great. I too was on a small budget. (01/13/2009)

By Kellie Maggard

Planning a Wedding on a $5,000 Budget

My wedding was a $5000 wedding too, planned in only 5 months, well in reality it turned into $7000 so modify as you want. You must limit the wedding size. Emphasize this to your fiance and parents strongly every time you talk about it. I wasn't able to invite friends/coworkers until I knew some of the relatives couldn't make it. Prioritize what you're willing to spend on. Vendors will find ways to make their services work for you if you give them a budget.

Wedding invites, $80. We saved hundreds by doing the wedding invites ourselves. My sister works at Office Max and used Photoshop. We didn't do any fancy ribbons or bows, but used a nice heavy gold shimmery paper. This included invites, response postcards, cards for the motel, envelopes, and Thank you cards for 50 people.

Professional photographer, $1600. I hired one and his wife for only 4 hours and bought the complete CD with full liberties to use as I want ($275 per hour, $375 CD). In my area, below $2000 is a deal.

Catering, $2000. My honey desperately wanted great food, he took care of the catering. Limited to 50 people, everyone raved. Plus the caterer worked at the location so all the food was prepared fresh on site and linens, tableware, water/coffee, and clean-up were included!

Flowers, $100. For flowers I went all baby's breath, even the bouquets. It was beautiful, delicate, and an elegant surprise. Only $100 for 10 bunches and we had too much. Then around $100-$200 for additional decor.

Dress, $500 after tax, and it was on sale from $800. You can find nice and cheaper. I would have bought a used one or from Craigslist, but my honey was passionately against it (possible bad luck). It cost $100 to alter and bustle. Make your own veil. I bought my shoes at the thrift store $5.00 and spray painted them silver. I would do white if given the chance again, but they were still very nice. I found my jewelry at Claire's in the mall $20.00 and used a $10.00 coupon. The last week I found opera length gloves for $16.00, but otherwise I never would have bought them as they're normally $30+. My honey wanted professional hair/make-up so he paid $300 for the professional, which included a pre-wedding consultation and she came to the location on the wedding day to do everything.

My bridesmaids found and bought their dress themselves. I specified color and limits (no cleavage). They were $60 each from Dillard's. Shoes and hair was up to them individually.

DJ, $675. I found a DJ through recommendations. For all day and the ceremony.

Cake, $350. It had to be lactose-free or we would have got it much cheaper through Safeway or Costco. We didn't do all the extras like groom cake, etc.

Officiant, $150. Which was cheapest we could find and at that price he doesn't come to the rehearsal dinner. That was okay because we didn't do one anyways! You might know someone in your family who can do it for free.

Location, $1100. Not great, but low-average for my area. Wedding and reception same place. We just drove ourselves away afterward and didn't need to hire a fancy limo or anything. Check out parks for better prices.

By lisa

Planning a Wedding on a $5,000 Budget

Check out for some really good, but inexpensive decorations.

Dollar Tree! I know it may sound cheap, but it doesn't have to look it. Check online and look for the link to the bulk ordering page. You can literally buy serving sets: plates, bowls, wine/champagne glasses cheaper than you could rent them.

Also, venues. Check college campuses in the area. A lot of times they may have really nice spots or buildings that they usually rent. We reserved ours that way. We paid $300 for a 2 story lake house that seats 80. It can be done. Or does a friend or family member have a nice house/yard? Maybe you can do something more casual like that.

Remember, think "Simple Elegance". (01/17/2009)

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