Planning A Frugal Wedding Quickly?

My fiance and I are trying to get married this August. As far as we know we have no financial support coming from our families and we are stuck going at it alone. I'm in college so I do not make much money and he is the only one working full time but we still don't have a lot of extra cash to spare.


We have talked about eloping to Niagara Falls but our families want us to marry here so they can attend. Is there anything I can do so a wedding could even be pulled off?

Erin from Syracuse, NY

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April 16, 20080 found this helpful

The first thing you have to do is ask yourself what do YOU TWO want. What will make the day special and memorable for you? Set aside what you think your family/his family want and think about yourselves.

That said, the next thing you will need to do, should you decide to stay near home, is secure a place for the wedding, and reception, if you decide to have one. If you have a church, that is a good place to start. College chapels, parks, a nice back yard, township buildings, fire halls, churches other than your own. There are a million possibilities. Don't be afraid to ask the price up front; and ask if there is any way to cut the cost. Also, don't be afraid to ask family or friends to use their yard. You can offer to help mow, weed, and plant, and tell them that the use of their yard can be their wedding gift to you.


You can use a minister, or local official for the ceremony. (Although most churches will want a minister, but not necessarily one of their own--ask.)

Your reception could be anything from simple punch and cake to a potluck supper, to hors d'oevers and cake, to chili or pizza, or whatever will make for a fun party for you. The point of the reception is to have the opportunity to enjoy the presence of family and friends and give them the opportunity to wish you well. The whole, overblown notion that it has to be some grand, $100 per plate function is simply that--a notion. For some, that is the way to go; but it is no less a wedding and reception in a back yard with simple fare.

If you know someone who is a good baker, ask if they would make their gift to you a cake--it doesn't have to be a 5-tiered bunch of frill; it can be a sheet cake with some real (edible) flowers on it. Ask friends with digital cameras to take photos.


You have the time to find a reasonably priced dress, or borrow one. You have time to plant some flowers. You have time to plan a make-ahead menu. Party tents can be rented (reserve soon, you can always cancel later) to safeguard against rain. Visit AC Moore or Michael's for some pretty touches you can put together. For a pretty reasonable price, you can make your own invitations and favors. You can buy a white, lit arch and drape inexpensive tulle fabric over it.

Decide what YOU want, set a budget and STICK TO IT. And please, please, please don't be hesitant to ask friends and family to do things/make things to contribute. Most would be thrilled to be asked!
And remember, in five years you can renew your vows with a bigger party, if you crave it!

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By (Guest Post)
April 17, 20080 found this helpful

The above ideas are great but why not just go to Niagara Falls, and if the family wants to come on their own, welcome them to join you at the ceremony and then bid everyone adieu as you go on your honeymoon by yourselves. If they want to plan a welcome reception upon your return that would be great, but if they haven't offered anything and you can live without one, don't sweat it.


Buy yourself a dress you feel beautiful in, it doesn't have to be a "bridal" gown. It is YOUR day!

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April 17, 20080 found this helpful

How about a back yard combination family reunion/wedding ask guests to bring a pot luck dish.
Go to outlet stores for decorations, use Christmas lights white or colors or candles, use a trellis draped in curtain sheers with flowers, get silk flowers for bouquets.
Ask family for input and help.

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April 17, 20080 found this helpful

Sweetie, it is you and your fiance's special day, and you know what you can afford. If nobody is offering to pitch in for anything, go do what you both like the best and can afford.


If others want to join you, they can be welcome to do so. Make it memorable for the both of you!

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By Barbara J Snyder (Guest Post)
April 17, 20080 found this helpful

Honey I did it first I went to the JC Penney outlet upstairs and found my wedding dress and found my bridesmaid dress for 20. She hemmed it up. For the cake went to grocery store ask for a large sheet cake in our colors. My sister in law said we could use her basement we helped painted it for her in blue. Nieces in law wanted to help out I gave them full range for decorating the basement it was fantastic. We went to k-mart cause they had soda cases on sale got a lot. Went to a cheap store brought bags of snacks my mom had old potato chip cans, washed them out and put the snacks in them.


Got invitations from the dollar store. A friend made rice and beans and chicken and some made potato salad and mac salad and I brought stuff and hubby was on the grill and I helped serve and it was the best wedding ever. P.S. didn't do any thing fancy never dreamed of a big wedding. Oh I brought clothes too to change out of the dress (it really was a long skirt and ivory top) Hey I was in a size 14 when I got married and that was cool and outfit was about 80.00 and still had to use some pins.

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April 17, 20080 found this helpful

This is what my brother did when he and his to-be-wife got married. The dress was handsewn, not fancy, but nice. She had a hand bouquet and hair flowers. They rented palms from a florist in town (for a 4-hour period) and had the ceremony at the house with family and a few special friends (25 total). This was followed by a pot-luck lunch. That evening they had, also at the house, a couple kegs of beer, punch, nibbles, and live music and taped music (friends did this). This was the big blast-out or reception and was open to all their friends and family. It worked out very well, and as far as I know, no one felt it was "on the cheap".

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By CArol in PA (Guest Post)
April 18, 20080 found this helpful

I can't think of a worse way to spend money than to waste it on a wedding. I am so proud of you for not planning to do that.

I suggest you pretend you eloped to Niagara Falls but do it at home. Can you figure out ways to do that? I am thinking you can wear whatever you might have worn at Niagara Falls and eat whatever you would have eaten after your wedding. I'm sure if you put your mind to it, you'll come up with some creative ways to do this.

Kudos to you for continuing your education. You will do well in life as you have your head screwed on right.

Best wishes for happiness always.

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April 18, 20080 found this helpful

i agree with others. this is YOUR day...i would focus less on what your family wants and more on what you want ESPECIALLY since you are footing the bill. if niagara falls is your thing then go for it! you can always have it taped so family can watch and then have a reception or vow renewal later. the first thing that should be decided is how many people have to be there. if you want a small wedding with just grandparents, parents, siblings, and one or two best friends, then the sky is the limit for places to have the wedding. the next thing to consider is the dress. i have seen so many beautiful dresses out right now that would be perfect for a summer wedding that aren't your typical bridal gown. As far as food goes you can really save money if you make the food yourself and can enlist a few friends to help. Some people even choose to have just coffee and cake or whatever. If you want it to have a more formal feel then do appetizers. Just remember that your wedding day is about the two of you being MARRIED and not about the wedding itself. good luck and have fun with it!

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By suzi_homemaker01 (Guest Post)
April 23, 20080 found this helpful

Don't feel bad about asking family for help since they want you to get married close by if that is what you decide to do. The ladies will be more than grateful to help you with the food for the reception. Put one person in charge and let them delegate who will do what. Parks and back yards are great wedding places. Any kind of scenery is better than none. Good luck on whatever you decide!

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April 23, 20080 found this helpful

First of all, it's not "Your day". Unless you have a very loose connection to your family and his, you should try to please and appease them without ruining too many of your plans. You're going to be attached to both families for a long time.If you alienate them now, you will never get them back. People have long memories when it comes to wedding situations. I speak from experience.

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By Pam (Guest Post)
April 28, 20080 found this helpful

The best wedding I ever attended was my daughter's. She didn't want a big production. She got married by a justice of the peace in Toronto Canada in a very lovely room at the City Office. We had a private dining room at a great Italian Restaurant for 25 very close family members and friends and a brunch the following morning. Very nice, lots of love and under $3000 including the brunch!

Want some other tips?

1. Don't get married on week-ends or evenings. You can have a lovely reception for significantly less if you book the reception Mon-Thur.

2. Keep it Sweetly Simple: If you are members of a church you could have the wedding ceremony and a reception with tea, coffee, and wedding cake for $1000 or even much less! A month after the wedding you could have a very casual gathering, BBQ or pot luck and show wedding and honeymoon pictures.

3. Who said you had to feed the guests dinner? Have a morning wedding and serve a brunch. Or an afternoon wedding with a happy hour type reception. (I'm thinking a signature cocktail, beer, wine and nice nibbles) OR have a wedding at 7 pm and serve champagne and desserts.

The important thing is to make it special with the people nearest and dearest.
Best of Everything!

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By Andrea B. (Guest Post)
May 5, 20080 found this helpful

Although I had 6 months to plan my frugal wedding, I lived 3 hours away from the church which was in a city I had never visited very much. I was not familiar with any of the vendors I needed to purchase or rent supplies for the ceremony or reception and yet I was able to plan the whole wedding all by myself for under $5000 for 200 guests.

The first thing I did was register as a member in several wedding websites.There is one really popular one I can't think of at the moment (it will come to me) that lets you make lists of guests and who has accepted the invitations, has calendars for all your plans and will remind you about time frames for making reservations and buying this and that on time. These sites also sell wedding accessories and have clearance items on sale to save money.

What I did to save money was: 1-I chose the rainbow for my color scheme and called it a Spring Garden motif. I wore a silver gown and the groom a matching silver tie.They were both the cheapest we could find. I told my matron of honor who lived in another state that she should wear any shade of pink gown because my daughter, the bridesmaid was wearing burgundy.I mixed the colors of my dishes,napkins and flowers so I could buy whatever was on sale.

I used only silk flowers on sale and made my own centerpiece arrangements and hand made silk flower corsages and boutonnières (spelling?). The flower arrangements for the tables were each different and the women fought over them to take home. I used a rose with fake dew drops on it for the groom and everyone stopped to "sniff" his fake flower!The directions for making anything you need can be found on the computer.

2-I purchased an outdoor, small cast iron garden gazebo to set up on the church stage and draped it with gauzy material and white flowers. My fiance' made a beautiful kneeling bench for our prayers during the ceremony.

3-For music,surprise!, we sang "Household of Faith" as a duet on microphones during the ceremony as our way of including my 14 year old daughter in our marriage.All the guests cried! At the reception, my new husband played the piano and we danced the Hora in a big circle because I had Jewish family at our Seventh-day Adventist church wedding.

4-I skipped favors at the tables and instead found a very inexpensive invitation company that made the most unbelievably stunning invitations that I knew everyone would want to keep with two overlapping hearts and a beautiful Bible verse about the desire of your heart. I can tell you a lot more after I dig out my wedding memorabilia that I saved in my file cabinet. I still have old catalogs and such.

Buy everything on sale, don't get fussy with details, and remember to make a wedding that is fun, lighthearted, and includes everyone you love as guests or attendants.Oh yes, the most fun part was ordering a grooms cake in the shape of a guitar because my husband has a music studio in our home! I ordered our cakes at the cheapest bakery I could find, but they did outstanding work!

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By Milly (Guest Post)
May 6, 20080 found this helpful

My husband and I got married almost two years ago and everyone is still telling us it was the most fun reception they had ever attended. We decided to have a picnic reception with hot dogs, hamburgers, chicken wings, salads, etc. Everyone welcomed the chance to make a dish. We even made our own wedding cake. It was very informal and relaxed. If I had it to do over again, I wouldn't change a thing.

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By Robbie (Guest Post)
May 14, 20080 found this helpful

Depending on what part of the country you live in, you could have your wedding in a public park. Outdoor weddings are very pretty. You can have a plain white dress, street length, and the groom can can wear a vest and a string tie. A friend of mine got married on the courthouse lawn by a justice of the peace. She wore a colorful peasant skirt and white blouse and instead of a bouquet she wore a garland of
yellow roses in her hair. He wore a colorful flowered shirt and jeans. Their rings came from Avery Jewelry and were made of silver; very elegant yet very affordable.

When I married my second husband, he wore his Air Force uniform and I wore a white street length dress I bought off the rack at J.C. Penny's. We were married in our church and had a unity candle and I had a corsage.

We bought a 2 layer small wedding cake, had a punch bowl (with punch - no sherbet in it) and mints and peanut bowls. Later that evening we went to dinner with my family, which they paid for, we spent the night in a nice motel and went back to respective basses the next day. Our pictures were made with a disposable camera.

It doesn't have to cost 1000.00 or even 500.00 dollars. The point is, it is your day and even if it is just the two of you, it will be a day you will never forget. Good luck.

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