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13 March 2021 (updated)

Easy Tips for a Budget-Friendly or (Even Free) Wedding!

There are plenty of ways to celebrate your marriage with a free wedding, or at least a close-to-free wedding! From backyard venues to do-it-yourself decorations, your best wedding doesn’t have to break the bank!

There's so much excitement that goes along with getting married and planning a wedding. But, a wedding can often cost a small fortune and all the extras required could be a bit overwhelming! According to The Knot, the average American wedding cost $33,900 in 2019. Fortunately, budget-friendly ideas can help you have your special day without spending a fortune. Whether you’re looking for free wedding venues or getting creatively frugal with decorations, there are many ways to keep it simple.

Find Free Wedding Venues

One of the most expensive things associated with the big day is the venue. Whether you're using reception halls, golf clubs, or restaurants, the cost can be significant. However, many venue options might not cost a dime! Whether it’s your parents or a close friend’s backyard, low-key, casual locations can be perfect for a smaller, more intimate ceremony.

These days, some savvy brides and grooms are opting for drive-through weddings, so they can keep everyone at a safe social distance while celebrating the marriage.

You might need to limit the guest count, but it can make for a great celebration among your closest friends! There are also free wedding venues outdoors like local parks that offer picturesque scenery. If you’re a beach-dweller this can be ideal since most beaches are open to the public. It’s just important to keep in mind that an outdoor location may require a backup plan. You won’t want to deal with any unplanned location changes on the wedding day due to inclement weather!

Scale Down the Vendor List

Beyond the venue, there are plenty of things you need to plan a memorable celebration. Instead of expecting gifts, you may want to ask your friends and family if they can help with services. Do you know an aspiring photographer or have a friend with culinary talent? They may be happy to help! Photography and food can be expensive wedding requirements so saving on these will assist with your free wedding goal. However, keep in mind that while your friends and family may be willing to help for free, you may want to consider sending gift cards or thank-you notes.

If you’re looking for a DJ, you could also use your own music playlist and ask a friend to spin. With plenty of fabulous wedding playlists available online, you can find a great set of tunes without hiring help!

If you're trying to cut down your catering budget, you could consider a backyard barbecue. You may even be able to forego catering altogether and make it potluck style.

Downsize on Decor for a Free Wedding

After you decide on the venue and vendor, you still have to think about the wedding decorations. Luckily, there are plenty of great, frugal decor ideas online that will make it easier to plan for your free wedding! Instead of expensive centerpieces, try something unique like a one-of-a-kind vase with handpicked flowers or personal picture centerpieces.

Flowers can be one of the most expensive parts of a wedding so less-is-more is the right approach. And, ensure the flowers you do choose are in season and readily available. You may even want to pick your own wedding bouquet for a stunning, simple look. Or, you could opt for a bouquet of baby's breath or just greenery from Trader Joe's for about $2.99 a bunch! If you want to skip the florist, try ordering from a wholesale store and have your bridesmaids make their own bouquets the day before.

When it comes to decorating walls, do-it-yourself decorative garlands are a great way to go. Whether you use acorns, pinecones, or branches, these can create an elegant, rustic touch.

Free Keepsakes to Commemorate Your Wedding

Whether you offer quiz sheets at every table or have a wedding party dance-off, the reception can be fun and (mostly) free! But, there are special ways to commemorate the event that are also economical. Make your own guestbook so that all of your invitees can write messages of support and cheer. This will be a precious memento of the special day that lasts a lifetime!

You could also try planting a tree or even putting together a time capsule with you and your loved one. Just because you're on a budget doesn't mean you have to skip wedding favors! Instead of an expensive gift, try employing your own do-it-yourself style. Whether you make jams, popcorn, or even wine, this is a unique way to commemorate the special event. One of my favorite favors was a packet of seeds with the label that read, "let love grow."

A wedding can be one of the most expensive events in a person’s life, but there are ways to simplify it! If you have experience throwing your own free wedding, or at least one that was very low-budget, let us know in our comments section. Or ask family members how they could help pitch in on FamilyApp. Whether you choose a backyard barbecue or decide on do-it-yourself decorations, there’s no reason it can’t make for a memorable day!



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