According to a 2019 study, the average cost of a wedding was $33,900. In a post-coronavirus world, this number will probably start to look a bit different. And let’s be real, many of us would like to plan a wedding that’s not so close to the average American annual income ($48,672) either way.

Thankfully, you don’t have to sacrifice quality or settle for an underwhelming event to plan your wedding on a budget. Keeping your wedding budget under control gives you peace of mind, makes you feel empowered, keeps you on track for other financial goals, and it can even be fun, too. It’s time to plan your memorable and beautiful celebration on a budget that works for you.

Planning your Wedding on a Budget

If you are looking to plan an event this summer or in the coming months, you may need to get a bit creative. With venues closing and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently releasing new guidelines for weddings and other widely-attended events, brides and grooms may need to really think out of the box. And we’re happy to provide some suggestions to help you play it safe and limit the risk of contamination for you and others. Check out our tips later in this article for a coronavirus-friendly wedding.

On the other hand, if you are planning a wedding for the post-coronavirus world, then we hope that these upcoming tips will help you plan the wedding of your dreams without breaking the bank.

Consider the vibe rather than the details

What are your hopes for the mood at your wedding? Are you going for a casual, laid-back vibe? Or a high-class, fancy soiree vibe? Planning for a fun or goofy casual wedding is probably a little more budget-friendly than a fancy one, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be done. Consider the mood you want to set before you get into what it takes to create it.

Talk about the budget

With the mood in mind, talk to everyone involved in paying for the wedding. This would likely be you and your partner, but may also include a parent or two (or four, if you’re lucky)! Once you have a realistic idea of how much you want to (or can) spend and how much help you’re getting, you can break it down into categories accordingly. That’s where you’ll start hammering out the details. The key categories for your wedding budget should include:

  • Venue and catering (this includes food and beverages, including alcohol)
  • Photography
  • Music
  • Flowers
  • Decor
  • Attire
  • Transportation
  • Accomodations (Hotel or Airbnb)
  • Stationary (invitations)
  • Guest Favors
  • Cake or dessert

Figure out where you’re flexible

When you’re planning any kind of wedding, Pinterest is your friend. It’ll help you nail down your vision, figure out what’s the most important to you, and determine what you can leave out. Whether you’re going for fun or fancy, there are plenty of ideas and instructions for do-it-yourself decorations, invitations, gorgeous fake flower bouquets (some of them are so beautiful, you can’t even tell the difference!), guest favors, and more. Enlist the help of a few friends and turn it into a fun night of food, drinks, and DIY projects. You can save a ton of money this way.

Look at alternative venues

When you’re planning a wedding, the venue is one of the biggest costs. Many of them come at a massive markup and it’s hard to find ones that are both budget-friendly and align with your vision. But what if you took all of the details of your wedding day – the people you love, your dream dress or suit, delicious meals, music, and your theme – and moved them somewhere more affordable? Budget-conscious brides and grooms have saved thousands of dollars by celebrating their love in a relative’s beautiful backyard (or their own), a park, or another affordable space. And if you’re looking to plan a last-minute wedding in the time of coronavirus, a backyard setting is perfect to enable social distancing.

Planning a Wedding on a Budget During a Pandemic

You’ll definitely need to get creative if you want to move forward with your wedding in the coming months. The CDC has provided guidelines regarding public gatherings, intended to keep us safe so that we can continue to lower the risk of spread of COVID-19. Thus, it is important to start by understanding what the CDC considers to be a gathering. And the traditional wedding certainly fits into the definition that the CDC has provided. Further, the more people that we interact with during this time, the higher the risk becomes that we might become infected with COVID-19, or risk the spread of COVID-19 to others.

Before you choose to cancel or postpone your wedding, know that there are ways to help limit your risk of exposure to the virus, help you create the memorable day you have dreamed of, and keep your pocketbook in check. If you want to move forward with your wedding during the pandemic, check out some of the ideas below.

Think outside the box

Planning a wedding on a budget during a pandemic involves a few additional complications. Each of the items listed above applies here too, but there are some other factors to consider. There are a lot of different ways that you can stick to your budget, still have your wedding, and keep everyone safe and healthy, too. You just have to get creative. For years, weddings only occurred on weekends, and though there has been a trend to move wedding dates to the workweek, the coronavirus has made this even more of a reality. Weekday weddings are more affordable, it’s easier to follow social distancing rules, and you can add a fun theme to make it more interesting!

Some couples are having fun with it and creating occasions like Taco Tuesday weddings, enjoying the perks of snagging a dream venue at a much more affordable price, and naturally cutting down the guest list without having to feel guilty about it. With all of the cancelations and postponements this year, late 2020 and all of 2021 is getting booked up pretty quickly. Your vendors are more likely to be available and to give you an incredible deal if you opt for a weekday instead. And everyone will remember your Taco Tuesday or Thirsty Thursday themed celebration! Add in some fun DIY decor and a signature cocktail and it’ll be a wedding to remember.

Keep social distancing in mind

Speaking of social distancing, if you don’t want to throw a weekday wedding and let the guest list work itself out, you may have to make a few cuts yourself. Until we know it’s safe, the days of 150-guest weddings may have to be put on hold. Current CDC guidelines are still suggesting masking up, frequent hand-washing, and maintaining a distance of six feet. Talk to your soon-to-be spouse to see who you both agree can be (gently) let down. Distant relatives and college friends you haven’t talked to in years will likely understand that things aren’t what they were a year ago.

For everyone that is attending the wedding, ask the venue (or your friends if you’re setting up in a decked-out backyard) to keep six feet between tables. Set out hand sanitizer and masks for those who may be looking for them throughout the night. Both of these items can be decorated according to your theme – another fun DIY night with your bridal party! For everyone that can’t make it or got cut to keep to the budget and enforce social distancing, consider adding a virtual component. You can set up a laptop for Zoom, record the ceremony on an action camera such as a GoPro to share later, or ask your friends and family to take videos.