Published on may 23, 2017

7 Thrifty Tips to Throwing a Wedding on a Budget

written by Team thredUP

It might be a once-in-a-lifetime event but you definitely don’t want to spend your entire life savings on it. So, how do you get the fantasy wedding without the out-of-this-world price tag? We teamed up with wedding expert Silvana Di Franco of Silvana Di Franco Photography to supply some fresh ideas for brides working within a budget (basically all of us). “Today’s brides don’t want a super traditional wedding like their parents had, so a more DIY-style approach is appealing for reasons beyond just financial,” she tells us. Below, seven tips to follow that will have you saying yes to all of it.

1. Pare down the guest list.
Not everyone has to come. Only close friends and family. This will make the biggest difference to the overall cost of the wedding. You truly can have the wedding of your dreams if you only invite your besties. One good rule of thumb: Focus on people who are in your life today. A wedding is not the time to gather up everyone who’s ever been a part of your life. You have a limited amount of precious wedding hours (and dollars), use them wisely.

2. Utilize your pool of friends for help.
Are any of them musicians? Florists? Or just have a knack for organizing (hello, wedding planner!). We guarantee your wedding will feel more intimate and special if a few of your friends are contributing to it. And while some things are better left to the experts, any help you can get to keep costs down (and the specialness factor high) is pretty awesome.

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3. Get creative with your venue.
Cheap wedding venues, anyone? That might be one of the biggest oxymoron’s we’ve ever heard. This is one area where you really have to think outside the box. Your best bets are venues without the word “wedding” in them. A family home, pretty park, Airbnb rental property, or camping site. It’s a little more DIY but can save you money and provide a beautiful, unique backdrop for your nuptials.

4. Forgo the catering company and opt for a family-owned restaurant.
Family-owned restaurants should always be the first places you check. They offer local, authentic food that is outside of the wedding norm and they will almost always go the extra mile to make your event special. They also have more flexibility when it comes to costs and will work hard to stick to your budget. Also, a good option for a casual affair—food trucks!

5. Stock the bar yourself.
This one’s a no-brainer. The markup on alcohol especially at weddings is huge. Don’t be afraid to buy all the booze at Costco and hire a bartender (friend) to mix your own specialty cocktails. Sparkling wine and beer also goes a long way to keeping costs down (and guests behaving themselves).

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6. Go minimal with one-flower bouquets.
Bunches of single variety stems in the same color makes a statement without spending hundreds or even thousands of dollars on expensive arrangements. Consider flying in your flowers straight from the farm. This might sound exotic and expensive but it’s actually not. The night before, just ask a friend to arrange them simply in vases. Bridesmaids can carry a bouquet of the same flowers with a ribbon or twine tied around them. Farmgirl Flowers is an amazing resource for finding wholesale flower growers.

7. Say yes to secondhand bridesmaid dresses.
Cookie-cutter styles, see ya. $300 wear-it-once dress, we can’t even. thredUP’s just-launched bridesmaid shop is for bridechillas who get it. You pick the palette. They pick the dress. Let your squad shine in dresses that suit their style, for a wedding party that’s truly one-of-kind.

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The thredUP Bridal Shop includes four distinct bridesmaid dress curations catering specifically to the eclectic bridal party, sorted by of-the-moment color and style combinations including blush, navy blue, floral, polka dots and ruffles. Some of thredUP’s most sought-after brands are included in the shop—from BCBGMAXAZRIA to Diane von Furstenberg to J.Crew, with prices starting at just $10.