Ideas for a Frugal Wedding

We are getting married on February 20th, 2010. I have almost no budget. Our colors are burgundy, champagne, and ivory. We will be doing all of the decorations, food, etc. ourselves. Please help.


By Katie from MN


Ideas for a Frugal Wedding

I had a frugal wedding. It was at a University in front of a memorial water fountain (with the University's permission of course). We borrowed chairs from the music department; friends and family set them up. We used a boom box for the music and had made a CD with the music we wanted to play in the order we wanted it played (can't mess that up).
The pastor was a friend of the bride's family and did the service for a small donation to the church.

The reception afterward was in the University cafeteria. They didn't charge much since all they had to make was the punch and they had to clean up afterward. Paper plates and plastic ware rule, especially when you can buy them in bulk off the internet in whatever color you want.


My mother made the cake. She actually made two cakes, cut them down into the shape of bells, put their tops next to each other like wedding bells and frosted them up. They looked and tasted good.

Just be creative on the location, it doesn't have to be a church. Of course being your wedding is in February unless you're in Florida or Southern Cally you need to be indoors.

Oh yeah, we bought invitations in bulk and wrote in every one to personalize them for the family they were sent to. We didn't pay for personalizing the cards with our names and the wedding details. But on wedding details you could order up some mail return labels to stick on the inside of the invitation with the date and location. The wedding dress was rented and the bridesmaids were coordinated with off the shelf dresses. I don't remember the details about the flowers. (11/14/2009)


By Suntydt

Ideas for a Frugal Wedding

Let a J P marry you all then have the reception at home. Good luck. (11/14/2009)

By kffrmw88

Ideas for a Frugal Wedding

My nephew got married at sunset, on the beach, by the Hermosa Beach pier. There were a couple of small flower arrangements on top of posts. She had a beautiful white dress and he was in black; both were classy, but not crazy fancy. Most guests had cameras so no photographer fees. Not sure where the minister was from, but she was more unique, less whistles and bells. Then we all went to a decent restaurant (probably the most expensive part of the whole thing). They timed it just right and it was awesome. (11/14/2009)

By totally frustrated

Ideas for a Frugal Wedding

Congratulations on a winter wedding and on getting married! These are some ideas as a wedding is intensely personal some of these you may find unusable. Here goes:



  • Buy wedding dress and tux online/thrift store.
  • Rent wedding dress and tux at store.
  • If you are handy with the sewing machine buy white dress and embellish/alter yourself.
  • Buy a pant or skirt suit that you can wear for other special occasions after the wedding (white suit can be a wardrobe staple).

Pick color/length of dress to coordinate with wedding and let the bridesmaids dress themselves (eliminates expenses for them = better gifts for you:)

Bridesmaids/Best Men:
Provide same color boutonnieres to further coordinate the look of your wedding party for pictures and such.

Use carnations they come in all sorts of colors = easy to coordinate and baby's breath (bridal white...) OR use fake flowers that color coordinate.


Look online for easy instructions on how to make your own boutonnieres if so inclined.

Get married by a justice of the peace (inside, do not have to rent church or hall saves $$$) and just have reception afterward. Pass the word around to your friends/relatives that you are looking for a minister (we have a friend whose father is a minister and he can marry people) who can marry people.

Having wedding in your home can save a lot of money just have the person marrying you come to the house.
To save money on a reception hall just have the wedding and reception in same place. Have people come in and seat themselves at the already set up tables and get married on the platform by the minister who came to location already. (saves people some travel time, etc) Festivities start right after.


Having wedding at your church's hall can save you money or even be free (you can try volunteering for some church activities in exchange for some/all money off the hall rental price).

Have wedding at a friends/relatives whose house is bigger than yours tell him/her that could be his/ her wedding gift to you. (If it is cheaper than a hall pay for a cleaning service to come after the party or have people in your bridal party clean up and let them keep the decorations.)

Rent (borrow from friends) fold out card tables as long as they are trimmed in the same color shape of table will not matter (white is always easy to find and then you can have the trim color be fabric dyed or etc. below)
Buy dollar store tablecloths.
Rent table cloths.
Buy lengths of canvas/cotton (sometimes 99cents/yd or below) in white/ tan (tan and champagne go well together because yellow base). You can also tea dye white cotton to antique it (awesome for romantic wedding lace).

If the card tables are long and rectangular and same height they can be covered in bedsheets (cheap white bedsheets) and the seams covered with lace.
Paper is cheap and can be found in huge rolls at a significant discount (buy tan/white and use red as accent- colored paper is more expensive).

In the case above tables may be made into two big long ones (saves materials).

Chairs can be rented at significant discounts from schools/churches-see above.

Table decor:

Use white glass vases from the thrift store (white is not see through and you don't have to put anything in for color. It can also be spray painted champagne). With red carnations and baby's breath, ivy is also good trim as it fills space and stays green. (Find someone with an overgrown garden and it is free.)

If your heart is set on clear vases (thrift/dollar store) you can use food dye in the water to give color.

For flowers visit a flower shop and ask for day-old flowers/throwaways = significant discount/free.
Spray painted twigs (free from garden you can also use evergreen) white/gold with tissue paper flowers (or paper punched ones-real ones). Make a nice centerpiece around a mirror tile with a candle on it. The instructions with pictures are online to make all of this.

Glittered candles on top of a mirror (thrift store) also work with a champagne glow.
Pine cones are also free and you can spray paint them to match if a winter decor is desired.

Shop after Christmas sales to get all sorts of things for favors (red/white/gold are Christmas/New Year's colors) at significant discounts (including wine or champagne)

Some ideas:

  • candles (goes with candle centerpieces above)
  • candy treat bags
  • see through ornaments with glitter and ground Styrofoam inside with your names and the date handwritten with colored/metallic permanent marker on it
  • paperpunch butterflies/hearts/or favorite shapes out of paper and scatter like confetti between waxed paper sheets with wax sides facing each other and iron on low over a sheet = placemats (more details in Martha Stewart)
  • cupcakes
  • use favors as place markers write guest name on it

There is a great book called "Trash to Treasures Christmas" ISBN 1574860941. It has lots of tips on making decorations out of cardboard tubes, milk jugs, etc.

Use bulk plastic/paper dishes and cups.
If small wedding buy china a thrift store and make sure that it is white or coordinating color.
Use paper sheet as place mat (bonus, children can draw on it).

Guest book:
Use several spray painted twigs and provide guests with strips of paper and ornament hooks so they can write write wishes on it and hang on tree. Same as above only a white pillow (other item can be subbed here) people get to sign and then you display.
A pack of note cards "blank" used for wish and "lined" used for address = instant address book.


  • email invites = free
  • Postcards (2 invites printed on a piece of cardstock then cut in half w/guillotine) cheap + half the postage.
  • RSVP by phone/email = less paper used cheap+save time.
  • Use regular computer paper printed invites stuffed in envelopes. There is no extra postage for extra bulk.
  • Print/design your own invites on cardstock (or choice paper). This is still cheaper than store bought kits and customized.

Buffet style is cheap.


  • popcorn, white and can be drizzled for effect with food dyed white chocolate (easy recipe online)
  • pretzles with french onion dip
  • dollar store peanuts
  • tortilla chips and salsa
  • cherry tomatoes, green peppers, celery, and radishes for tray
  • cheap cheese bought in chunks, cubed by hand
  • mini microwaveable meatballs w/Alfredo and marinara sauces
  • mini sausages
  • buy cheap turkey/ham at Thanksgiving cook and cube it for meat tray before reception
  • deviled eggs


  • chicken tenders
  • Swiss steak
  • pasta

Use Boston lettuce instead of romaine, red vinegar and oil can be cheaply bought in bulk and mixed with herbs before for vinaigrette.

Rolls can be baked a few days before and frozen or bought at significant discount and frozen then refreshed the day of.

Chicken/ham/egg salad like someone suggested on here.

Soup or anything that can be made in a large crockpot is your friend (it saves time). Chili is red and coordinates. LOL


  • mini cupcakes
  • mini anything- cookies, cupcakes, strudels, pieces of cake
  • fruit tray with chocolate fondue

The Cake:

Get a small cake decorated with what you want (cake topper, too ). However you want, this is the showpiece.
Get an iced sheetcake with no decorations in the same flavor/icing as your wedding cake and keep in the back. This is the one distributed to guests after showpiece is cut into (this saves up to 85% off the traditional 3 tiered cake or more if someone makes both at home).
Use cupcakes instead of cake.

Okay, this is it. Sorry it is so long. Hope it did help. These tips were gathered over a period of time from different sources (, Martha Stewart, Trash to Treasure Christmas, self and friends who all had weddings). (11/19/2009)

By caeridwen


Add your voice! Click below to comment. ThriftyFun is powered by your wisdom!

In This Article
Couple on their wedding day.
Planning a Frugal Wedding
November 2, 2010
Plant wedding favors.
Giving Plants as Wedding Favors
A married couple in a moutain setting.
Ideas for a "Green" Wedding
Two tiered wedding cake with flowers on top.
Saving Money on a Wedding Cake
Colorful Bridal Bouquets
Choosing Wedding Colors
Halloween Ideas!
Ask a Question
Share a Post
You are viewing the desktop version of this page: View Mobile Site
© 1997-2016 by Cumuli, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Published by . Page generated on October 24, 2016 at 3:14:22 PM on in 3 seconds. Use of this web site constitutes acceptance of ThriftyFun's Disclaimer and Privacy Policy. If you have any problems or suggestions feel free to Contact Us.
Loading Something Awesome!