wedding couple

Studies show that couples who spend a lot of money on their wedding have a higher likelihood of divorce, plain and simple. Needless to say this does not mean that everyone who has an expensive wedding is on the road to Splitsville, or that everyone who has a backyard picnic wedding will enjoy a long and fulfilling relationship; but it does spark curiosity. How does a low budget wedding lead to a happier marriage?

While research is not definitive on the answers to this question, it suggests factors such as decreased financial burden and debt post-wedding and couples who opt for a budget wedding being a better match for each other. Specifically, this research found that those who spent $20,000 or more on their wedding had a 1.6 times higher rate of divorce than those couples who spent between $5,000 and $10,000. What’s more, couples who spent under $1,000 had even lower rates of divorce.

What Money Says About Your Wedding

The fact of the matter is that you don’t need a lot of money to declare love and commitment to your partner, or to commemorate the day when you do so in the company of loved ones.

Some theories suggest that couples might be using expensive weddings to impress their family and friends, which is probably not the best strategy. I conducted a social media poll, and as one low-budget wedding planner and advocate shared, “If your friends and family are not already impressed by your choice of life partner, the curry shrimp kebabs and Pinterest-perfect wedding arrangements aren’t likely to push them over the edge.”

low budget wedding

Furthermore, money and stress definitely go hand in hand for many couples, and beginning a marriage with unnecessary debt is not a recipe for success (logistically and spiritually). When it comes to finances, being able to openly communicate about what you are coming to the table with financially and your common vision for the wedding are key in making good decisions. Being able to say, “We can’t afford that,” or (perhaps more importantly), “We don’t value that enough to pay for it,” is an important practice for any couple.

A low budget wedding might require a bit more creativity, dedication, and support from family and friends. Here are eight ways you can have the wedding of your dreams without spending a fortune (and perhaps placing your bets on the statistical odds of having a more successful marriage):

Enlist the Help of Family and Friends

Planning a wedding where your family and friends truly participate in making it happen will make the day even more special (and less expensive). From photos and food to music and decorations, accept any and all help from family and friends who are happy to do so. Involving your loved ones in making your wedding beautiful is a lovely way for everyone to celebrate not only your special day, but their love for you.

Hire a Culinary School to Cater

wedding catering

Look into if there is a culinary school in your area that caters events. If so, this can be an excellent way to seriously cut down the cost of a caterer, while still serving delicious food that you don’t have to cook yourself. You might not get the same level of professionalism as a full price caterer, but it could be well worth the sacrifice.

Buy Your Own Booze

Choosing a venue that allows you to bring your own booze can hugely cut costs. Head to Costco and stock up on whatever alcohol you choose to provide, and have a friend bartend.

Choose an Outdoor Venue

Eliminating the expensive venue is another way to bring your wedding costs way down. Choosing an outdoor venue such as a park, public university, your own backyard, or a special place that you and your fiance have shared can make for a gorgeous and simple wedding venue. If you don’t plan on getting married in a church or other religious venue, your outdoor location works well for both the ceremony and reception. 

Consider a Destination Wedding

low budget wedding

Believe it or not, a destination wedding can actually be much cheaper. Especially if you choose a country where the dollar stretches, you can afford some luxuries you might not normally spring for in the United States. This option probably isn’t the best fit for those with huge families and/or guest lists, but another perk of the destination wedding is that those who can make it generally use it as an excuse for a vacation, meaning you get to spend far more time with an intimate group of loved ones.

Dont Go Crazy on the Guest List

Getting swept up in wedding politics can spike your budget, so be conscious about who you invite. Remember, this is your day, and it’s okay to want to share it with people who really matter to you. If you’re paying, don’t be afraid to tell your mom she can’t invite her four best friends, and maybe people you haven’t talked to in years simply won’t make the cut.

You could also consider doing an A and B list of invitees. If people on the A list respond that they can’t attend, move on to your B list. And don’t be afraid to be open and honest with certain people about your budgetary constraints. (For example, do a separate celebration with your work colleagues.)

Buy Your Dress Off the Rack

wedding dress

Off-the-rack dresses are often discounted anywhere from 25 to 75%, and you can bring it home with you that day. Or, you could opt for a bridesmaid dress, depending on how fancy you’d like your dress to be.

Save Your Money for Other Expenses

Wedding day is just day number one of a (hopefully) long and loving relationship. Consciously deciding with your partner that you would rather save money for important things like a honeymoon that is just for you, pre-marital counseling, future children, etc. says a lot about your relationship and your priorities.

If you’ve always dreamed of an extravagant wedding day and have the money to spend on it without becoming overly stressed, maybe these ideas don’t apply to you. But if you are like many couples who don’t want to go into serious debt celebrating their love, consider why a low budget wedding might be the perfect start to your happily ever after.