Get Married for Under $10K The DIY Wedding vs Package Wedding vs Hybrid Wedding
Edited by Rebecca Kelsey Sampson, Eng
You're getting married! That's so exciting! But now for the tough talk... How are you going to pay for it? Weddings are startlingly expensive, with weddings in my state (Florida) averaging at over $30,000. While this may be the most exciting and romantic day of your life, you don't want it to be something that takes you over 10 years to pay off.
Below I'm going to share with you two different methods for keeping wedding costs down so that you can have a beautiful intimate ceremony without losing your head.
- To have a wedding for $10,000 or less, you are going to need help from your family and friends. Make sure you are all on the same page, they are going to be your assistants throughout this process.
- Be willing to negotiate and compromise on what you initially thought you wanted. Your wedding will be stunning and memorable, even if your initial plan doesn't work out.
- No matter what, for budget weddings you'll need to get used to having a small guest list. One way to get around not offending people is to send a wedding announcement postcard before the wedding, stating that you and your husband will be getting married in an intimate ceremony. This way extended friends and family members don't expect to be invited but also feel included.
Method 1: The DIY Wedding
The DIY method takes much more planning but in the end, you will end up with a completely custom wedding that no one will ever have and dozens of memories about how you and your family put it together. This is perfect for intimate occasions and those that are creative and handy with tools.
- 1First things first, who do you know? What options do you have?Advertisement
- Make a list of people that are good at making things, have a skill, or an item that you can use at your wedding.
- What apps can you use? You'd be surprised how many apps can help you plan and put together your wedding. Buy one month of Spotify premium, set up a wedding playlist, and plug your phone or computer into a speaker. Boom, DJ for the reception!
- Research on sites like Pinterest. You'd be incredibly surprised how many wedding ideas and tutorials, especially for DIY weddings, you can find on this platform.
- 2Once you have all of this research under your belt, formulate it into a list of what you can do yourself and with the help of others and then what you still need to figure out.Advertisement
- 3Once you have this list, look at the things you've yet to figure out. If some of these things are products, can you buy or rent them used? My wedding dress was actually used. It cost only $60 at the Goodwill and I then spent $200 getting it altered. While $260 is a lot in general, for a wedding dress that is a huge bargain.
- 4Think about whether you want to get married in the same place as your reception or if you want two different locations. You could get married in a courtroom for a small amount of money and then have a party afterwards, get married where you have the party (have a friend get ordained online, it's fairly easy), or you could pay a small donation to the church (the amount you have to donate depends on the church) to get married there and then have a backyard reception. There are many inexpensive options.
- 5The most expensive parts of a reception are the alcohol and food.
- 6Florals are also a big money cruncher, so I recommend keeping the arrangements minimal (sometimes one lily in a small vase can make just as big of an impact).
- 7As for makeup and hair, do you know a friend that is really talented in those categories? Hire her to do it! the makeup I wore to my wedding if you need some inspiration.
- 8Lastly, for the DIY wedding you'll need to keep a relatively small guest list. I recommend having less than 30 people attend to keep the costs down.
Method 2: The Package Wedding
For those that find the DIY method too stressful and/or time consuming, the package wedding is perfect for you.
- 1Start by figuring out your budget. Deciding on a number and sticking to it is the most important part of a package wedding because whoever you end up going with will have a base package and then dozen of possible additions that will rack up the past. Consider what wAdvertisement
- 2Then it's research time. Start with a simple Google search of something similar to "wedding package in MY CITY" or "budget wedding package in MY CITY." Be prepared to search page after page until you find something that sounds like the wedding you envisioned. For me, finding a package took a long time because most of the budget options in Miami involve beach weddings - which just isn't out scene. Don't forget to also talk to your friends and family during this research time as many of them may have taken advantage of packages as well.
- 4Be prepared to keep it small!
- 5Whatever is not included in the package, like the officiant, they typically have a list of people to recommend to you in different price points. This is helpful to have, but be careful not to say yes to everything. While I loved how fun the dessert bar looked in the wedding package additions offered to me, I knew it would be more of a frivolous expense. People expect one piece of cake at weddings, anything extra isn't a budget necessity.
- 6Now all you have to do is find items that would not be included or provided for an extra cost, like your wedding dress, hair and makeup, tux rentals, and other bridal and groom party essentials.
- 7Most likely, you're done planning! I chose my wedding package in February, was done planning and adding additional DIY elements by late April, and was married by November that same year.
Method 3: The Hybrid Wedding
A combination of the above two methods, for brides and grooms that like to have a little more control but less stress overall. Once you have a package set, you can add dozens of other elements yourself to make your day special. Here are a few examples of different DIYs you can add to your special day to make it a slightly more custom occasion.
- 1Small intimate items can make your wedding all the more special. Giving handkerchiefs as wedding party gifts and favors is a great idea, especially if you know a lot of people that will cry, and they cost very little to purchase a lot of them on Etsy or eBay.
There are dozens of ideas out there to add small DIY elements to your wedding, once you start researching you'll be able to see exactly the tone you want to set.
Now you are ready! These are the tips I followed to keep my wedding under $10,000 and I hope they help you as well. Your wedding is one of the most important days of your life and I full-heartedly believe it can be special even on a budget. I know I'll never forget my special day.
- Backyard wedding from Story Board Weddings.
- Wedding drinks image from Kara's Party Ideas
- Chalkboard sign credited to Elegant Wedding Invites.
- Disney inspired wedding shoes from Instagram.
- All other images are from my intimate wedding of 50 guests.