Expert Tips: How to Plan a Wedding Under $5k

Planning a wedding can be overwhelming, especially when you’re on a tight budget. However, it’s possible to have a beautiful and memorable wedding without breaking the bank. In fact, it’s becoming increasingly popular for couples to plan a wedding under $5,000.

While it may seem impossible to pull off, there are several tips and tricks that can help you plan a wedding that is both affordable and stylish. By prioritizing what’s important and being creative with your choices, you can create a wedding that reflects your personality and love story without sacrificing your financial stability.

One of the most important factors in planning a wedding under $5,000 is to keep your guest list small. The more people you invite, the more expensive your wedding will be. By limiting your guest list to close family and friends, you can save money on food, venue, and other expenses. Additionally, choosing a non-traditional venue such as a public park or backyard can also help you cut costs.

Setting a Budget

Setting a budget is the first step in planning a wedding under 5k. It is important to determine how much money you have to spend and how much you are willing to spend for your special day. This will help you prioritize your expenses and avoid overspending.

One way to set a budget is to use a wedding budget calculator. This tool can help you estimate the cost of each item and give you an idea of how much you should allocate for each expense. You can find many free wedding budget calculators online, such as the one provided by The Knot.

Another way to set a budget is to determine your must-haves and nice-to-haves. Must-haves are the things that you absolutely need for your wedding, while nice-to-haves are the things that you would like to have but can live without. This will help you prioritize your expenses and allocate your budget accordingly.

When setting a budget, it is important to be realistic and flexible. You may need to make some compromises and adjustments along the way to stay within your budget. Remember that a wedding under 5k is possible with careful planning and creativity.

Venue and Decor

Choosing the right venue and decor can make a big difference in the overall cost of a wedding. One way to save money is to look for non-traditional venues, such as parks or community centers, which may have lower rental fees compared to traditional wedding venues. Another option is to have the wedding at a family member or friend’s backyard or home.

When it comes to decor, DIY projects can save a lot of money. Consider making your own centerpieces, bouquets, and other decorations. Thrift stores and garage sales can also be great places to find affordable decor items.

Another way to save money on decor is to opt for a minimalist approach. Simple, elegant decor can be just as beautiful as more elaborate decorations, and it can save a lot of money in the process.

Food and Beverages

When planning a wedding under 5k, it’s important to be mindful of the food and beverage budget. According to BridalGuide, one way to cut costs is to serve a selection of frittatas, salads, and a variety of breads and pastries. Another option is to consider a coffee or tea bar.

It’s also important to keep the guest list in mind when planning the menu. Hosting a wedding with less than 50 people is the easiest way to spend less than $5,000. This means that the couple can focus on quality over quantity and provide a memorable dining experience for their guests.

When it comes to beverages, it’s best to stick to white wine or prosecco instead of champagne. Prosecco is a sparkling wine that comes at a fraction of the price as champagne. Sparkling water with slices of lemon or lime and juices are also great non-alcoholic options.

For those who want to serve alcohol, it’s best to provide beer and wine only. According to Kyloot, couples can save money by purchasing the alcohol themselves and hiring a bartender to serve it. This way, they can take advantage of sales and discounts and avoid the markup that comes with purchasing alcohol through a venue.

Attire and Accessories

When it comes to the wedding attire, there are a few ways to save money without sacrificing style. One option is to consider buying a pre-owned wedding dress or renting a dress instead of purchasing a brand new one. Websites like Rent the Runway and Nearly Newlywed offer a variety of designer dresses for rent or purchase at a fraction of the cost.

Another way to save on attire is to look for sales and discounts at bridal shops. Some shops offer discounts on sample dresses or discontinued styles. It’s also worth considering non-traditional options, such as a white cocktail dress or a jumpsuit, which can be found at a lower price point than a traditional wedding gown.

For accessories, it’s important to keep in mind that less is often more. Opt for simple, elegant pieces that can be worn again, such as pearl studs or a delicate necklace. Consider borrowing accessories from friends or family members, or shopping at discount retailers like Target or Forever 21.

Photography and Videography

When planning a wedding under $5,000, photography and videography can be a significant expense. However, capturing the memories of your special day is essential. It is possible to save money on these services without sacrificing quality.

One option is to hire a student or amateur photographer or videographer. They may be willing to offer their services at a lower rate in exchange for the opportunity to build their portfolio. Another option is to ask a friend or family member with photography or videography skills to capture your wedding day.

If you decide to hire a professional, consider booking them for a shorter amount of time. Instead of having them cover the entire day, you can opt to have them capture the ceremony and a few key moments during the reception. This can significantly reduce the cost while still allowing you to have high-quality photos and videos.

Another way to save money is to skip the traditional wedding album and opt for digital copies of the photos. You can create your own album or print out your favorite photos at a fraction of the cost.

Overall, it is possible to have beautiful and memorable wedding photos and videos without breaking the bank. By considering alternative options and being strategic with your choices, you can save money while still capturing the essence of your special day.

Entertainment and Music

When it comes to planning a wedding under $5,000, entertainment and music can be a tricky area to navigate. Fortunately, there are a few ways to keep costs down without sacrificing fun and enjoyment.

One option is to create your own playlists and use a speaker system to provide music throughout the event. This can be a cost-effective way to ensure that your guests have something to dance to without having to pay for a DJ or live band.

Another option is to hire a local musician or band to provide live entertainment. This can be a great way to support local talent while also providing a unique and memorable experience for your guests. Be sure to shop around and compare prices to find the best deal.

If you do decide to hire a DJ or live band, consider limiting the amount of time they perform to keep costs down. You can also ask friends or family members to help out by providing music or entertainment for the reception.

Ultimately, the key to keeping entertainment and music costs low is to be creative and open to unconventional ideas. With a little effort and ingenuity, you can create a fun and memorable wedding experience for you and your guests without breaking the bank.

Invitations and Stationery

When planning a wedding under $5,000, it’s important to keep costs low while still maintaining the elegance and style of your special day. One way to do this is by creating your own invitations and stationery. This not only saves money, but also allows you to add a personal touch to your wedding.

There are several options for creating your own invitations and stationery. One option is to use free online templates to design and print your own invitations. Another option is to purchase invitation kits from craft stores, which include all the necessary materials to create your own invitations.

When it comes to stationery, consider using digital options such as email or wedding websites to save on printing and postage costs. If you do decide to use paper stationery, consider using postcards instead of traditional cards and envelopes to save on postage costs.

Remember to keep the design simple and elegant, and to include all necessary information such as the date, time, and location of the wedding. By creating your own invitations and stationery, you can save money and still have beautiful and personalized wedding stationery.

Transportation and Accommodation

Transportation and accommodation can be a significant expense for a wedding, especially if you have guests coming from out of town. To save money, consider booking a hotel block for your guests at a discounted rate. This can also make it easier for guests to coordinate transportation to and from the wedding venue.

If you have guests who will be flying in, consider providing transportation from the airport to the hotel and/or wedding venue. This can be done through a shuttle service or by renting a van or bus. Another option is to encourage guests to carpool or use ride-sharing services like Uber or Lyft.

For the wedding party, consider using your own vehicles or borrowing from friends and family. Another option is to rent a limo or party bus for a few hours to transport the wedding party to and from the ceremony and reception venues.

When it comes to transportation and accommodation, it’s important to consider the needs of your guests. If you have guests with disabilities or special needs, make sure to provide accommodations such as wheelchair-accessible transportation or hotel rooms.

Wedding Favors and Gifts

Wedding favors and gifts are a great way to show appreciation to your guests for their attendance. However, they can also add up quickly to your wedding expenses. Here are some tips to keep your wedding favors and gifts under budget:

  • DIY: Consider making your own wedding favors and gifts. This can be a fun project to do with your partner or bridesmaids. Some ideas include homemade candles, soap, or personalized mason jars.
  • Shop sales: Keep an eye out for sales and discounts on wedding favors and gifts. Many stores offer discounts on bulk orders, so consider buying in bulk to save money.
  • Practical gifts: Consider giving practical gifts that your guests can use, such as small potted plants or seed packets. This way, your guests can remember your wedding day every time they see the plant or flowers.

It’s important to keep in mind that wedding favors and gifts are not a requirement. If you’re on a tight budget, it’s okay to skip them altogether. Your guests will still have a great time celebrating your special day with you.


Planning a wedding under $5,000 may seem daunting, but it is definitely achievable with the right mindset and strategies. By prioritizing what is important to you and your partner, and making smart decisions on where to allocate your budget, you can have a beautiful and memorable wedding without breaking the bank.

Remember that the guest list is one of the biggest factors in determining the cost of your wedding, so keep it small and intimate if possible. Consider non-traditional venues and DIY options for decor and catering to save on expenses. And don’t forget to shop around for the best deals on everything from the dress to the photographer.

It’s important to keep in mind that while a smaller budget may mean making some sacrifices, it doesn’t have to mean sacrificing the quality or beauty of your special day. With some creativity and resourcefulness, you can have a wedding that reflects your unique style and love story.

So take a deep breath, stay organized, and enjoy the process of planning your dream wedding on a budget. With these tips and tricks, you’ll be on your way to creating a magical day that you and your loved ones will cherish for a lifetime.

Subscribe to the Austin Wedding Blog
Join my email list to receive the latest articles directly in your inbox