How to Plan a Wedding for $10,000 (No, That’s Not a Typo)

Two words that come to mind for brides planning a wedding: sticker shock. Because seriously, who knew that all the little details (like a DJ and place card succulents) could add up to mega bucks? Deep breaths. We found a way to make a wedding happen for 100 people to the tune of $10,000 bucks.

Here’s What a $25K Wedding Budget Might Look Like

wedding venue

The Venue: $0 To $500

A word to the brides: When your total wedding budget is $10K, the venue is a good place to get creative and trim major costs. Rack your brain. Who do you know with an amazing backyard? Or terrace? Or restaurant you can rent out for free as long as you cover the cost of food and drink? (Hint: They might be more likely to close it off to regular customers on a Tuesday versus a Friday night.) Last resort, take a peek at sites like or Airbnb to see if you can snag a venue deal. Just be sure you ping your host to check that they’re cool with (and have insurance to cover) you hosting a party there.

wedding food

Food: $3,500

It’s the crux of the party—and also the component that costs the most. A few work-arounds: Instead of a seated dinner, search for a caterer (or ask your cool friend who owns the restaurant you’re borrowing) who can do a buffet, since having guests serve themselves reduces the cost of on-hand staff. Other ideas: Veggie appetizers are the cheapest or opt for comfort foods, which are traditionally much cheaper. (Trust us, no one will complain if you serve mac and cheese versus steak.)

wedding wine

Drinks: $1,000

You’ll need to hire a bartender, but most caterers are totally cool if you cover the cost of booze yourself. (You’d be amazed at the discounts your local wine shop will come up with if they know you’re buying alcohol in bulk.) Don’t be afraid to limit the options to wine and beer. Another loophole: Most wine shops have a buy-back program for weddings (aka they’ll take back anything unopened and credit you the cost).

wedding dress

Your Dress: $750

Yep, an affordable—and stunning—bridal gown can be found. Shops like BHLDN and Reformation carry inexpensive-ish options that will still make your guests bust out their iPhones and snap a zillion pics. Just be sure you factor in the cost of alterations. (Depending on the intricacy of the design, that can set you back at least $250.)

wedding hair

Hair And Makeup: $500

This is one service your bridesmaids will have to cover themselves to help keep wedding costs low. On the flip side, there’s still plenty of room in your budget to get your own hair and makeup done. (Trial included.)

wedding invitations
Paperless Post

The Invitations: $100

Good news: Thanks to online paper goods services like Paperless Post, this is one of the easiest places to save. Start by picking out a digital design—for example, this chic invite option from Rifle Paper Co., which will set you back two coins (approximately 60 cents) to send. Your guests will love the experience when the invite shows up in their inbox and opens like an actual card. (Plus, digital RSVPs make it a cinch to keep track of who’s coming and who’s not.)

wedding dj

The Music: $150

Rent a mic and a couple of speakers from your local A/V store and splurge on an audio cable (about $10) to connect your iPhone, then cue up a playlist you’ve put together in advance. To keep everything seamless, pick a relative you trust (like your totally chill cousin Austin) to emcee the big moments, like speeches and your first dance.

wedding cupcakes

The Cake: $250

Did we say cake? We meant cupcakes. Pick them up at your local bakery (no need to mention they’re for a wedding since costs skyrocket when you say that word) and set them out right beside the buffet.

wedding flowers

The Flowers: $750

Don’t forget, this needs to cover the cost of your bridal bouquet, the groom’s boutonniere, your bridesmaids’ bouquets and more. As long as you prioritize, $1,000 should be more than enough. For example, you might want to set aside $150 for your bridal bouquet, then ask your florist what he or she can come up with for everyone else using filler blooms (baby’s breath, greenery, herbs). You’d be amazed how creative these pros can get. Just steer clear of floral designers with a set minimum fee.

wedding photog

The Photographer: $2,000

This is another big cost, but it’s also an important one. Still, you can reduce the price if you tell your photographer you need only one shooter (a lot of them come with an assistant to get even more shots) or reduce the number of hours you need them on-hand. (Thanks to the quality of smartphone photography, rely on your bridesmaids to capture shots of everyone getting dressed.)

wedding bands

Wedding Bands: $500

No, the symbol of your union doesn’t have to have bling. But if having a band with diamonds is a must, get creative by peeping the sales. (FYI, jewelry tends to get heavily discounted right before Valentine’s to pave the way for wedding proposals, so make it a point to pick up your wedding rings then.)

Rachel Bowie Headshot

Royal family expert, a cappella alum, mom

Rachel Bowie is Senior Director of Special Projects & Royals at PureWow, where she covers parenting, fashion, wellness and money in addition to overseeing initiatives within...