How to have a wedding for under 1000 dollars

How to have a wedding for under 1000 dollars

You might think that it’s crazy to have a wedding for under 1000 dollars. However, believe it or not, many people want to do this, and a few even manage to make it happen! We’ll take a look at some real life examples of very affordable weddings and help you plan you own sub-$1000 wedding.

Is it possible to have a wedding for under 1000 dollars?

Yes, it is! Before we continue, we want to point out that a wedding can be whatever you and your loved one want. If you want a million dollar party and can afford it, go for it. If you want a courtroom or Vegas wedding, that’s up to you. Different cultures also have different wedding traditions. You decide together what you both want.

Let’s take a look at the major costs of a wedding and what you do to achieve a wedding for under 1000 dollars. We’re not counting a paper-only courtroom wedding, because, while that is valid, that’s too easy. What does it take to have a cheap wedding that is still recognizable as a “wedding”?

Number of guests

number of wedding guests

Getting a handle on the number of guests is one of the most important parts of keeping your wedding cost low. Many low cost weddings restrict the wedding ceremony and reception to nuclear or close family and friends only. For more introverted brides and grooms, this is actually more comfortable and fun.

You can still invite a large number of people if you are willing to have a slightly nontraditional wedding, such as a casual potluck barbecue or other bring-your-own-food setup. While you can also ask your guests to help pay for your wedding, pushing the wedding cost onto the guests may not be well received. It depends on the culture, such as in Japan, where guests are expected to bring a set amount of cash to the wedding.

Besides catering, the number of guests also affects the choice of venue. Again, if your wedding is outdoors and free, this might not matter. However, if you hold the wedding in your backyard, it’s going to be hard to cram too many people in there. You’ll just have to find creative economical solutions if you want a large number of guests.

Choice of venue

wedding venue

Ideally, your wedding venue should be free or nearly free. Many public parks will let you host a wedding for free on their land, perhaps for a minor $20 registration fee. Check your city’s regulations, but you can usually host weddings at most public parks, beaches, campgrounds, and other areas.

For small wedding groups, you can host at your home, or a friend with a nice property could lend his land. If you are an active member of a church or civic club, you might be able to use their building for free as well. Don’t be afraid to use your connections.

Your choice of venue also affects the style of wedding and maybe even perhaps the date. If you pick a farm as the wedding venue, you might want to opt for a more casual wedding. Plus, you will want to schedule your wedding for good weather – not too hot and not too cold. Keep these points in mind when picking an indoor or outdoor locations.

Wedding dress

Unless you are fashionistas, it’s usually not too hard to dress up the groom in a suit and tie for very low cost. It’s the bridegroom’s wedding dress that can cost a hefty sum.

These days, you can buy plenty of wedding-style dresses in department stores or even online for $50-$200. Here are some examples of wedding dresses from Amazon about $100.

Click on the pictures to see the prices for that dress, or click here to see a list of wedding dresses on Amazon. You probably already own some shoes, accessories, and makeup that you can use for your wedding day.


wedding catering

Food and drinks are the other major wedding cost. If you keep your wedding party size small, the cost will of course be lower. You can also make conscious choices, like not serving alcohol or making it a bring-your-own-beer event. For a more family atmosphere, you can have a potluck where guests each bring a dish. Barbecues are another fun and cheap way to feed a crowd. You might also consider having tea time instead of a full meal.

Also consider going with ethnic or other cuisine choices, and cater from nontraditional wedding food providers. Five hundred dollars worth of decent Mexican or Chinese food can feed a good-sized crowd and be delicious. On the other hand, $500 worth of chicken breasts and asparagus from some wedding caterer will not go very far. If you want to be frugal, you have to realize that services raise their price simply by tacking on the label “wedding”. If you go for normal services, prices will be much lower.

Consider going to a affordable restaurant with your wedding party instead of catering. In some cities, you can even find great all-you-can-eat buffets for only $20.

Wedding cake

wedding cake

There’s no reason you have to buy an expensive wedding cake when any other cake will do. You can also switch it up and serve cupcakes instead, or some other dessert. It shouldn’t be hard to find a great cake at a bakery for under $100.


wedding officiant

In many states, you can have a friend or relative serve as the officiant for a small registration fee. If you are religious, you could ask your pastor, rabbi, or other clergy member to officiate for free.

If all else fails, a friend can become ordained for free by a charitable organization such as the American Marriage Ministries. This gives them the legal right to officiate a wedding for you.

Wedding Rings

You can buy a pair of 10K gold wedding bands from Amazon for under $100. For example, Tesori sells affordable versions of the wedding ring below in rose-gold, white-gold, and yellow-gold.

If you are the practical type, you can buy a titanium wedding ring for about $10 each. For a more nature-themed alternative, you can buy a wood-inlayed wedding ring for about $30 or so.

Buying an low-cost but attractive wedding ring should not be a problem. It’s usually the engagement ring that’s pricey, but you can also get a wooden engagement ring if frugality and eco-friendly concerns are important to you.

Wedding Photographer

wedding photographer

In this day and age, every uncle with a DSLR styles himself a photographer. Plus, everyone has the newest smartphone with a digital camera. It’s not that hard to get photos of your wedding, and you don’t need to pay a photographer a large sum of money if you are fine with everyone else’s casual wedding photos. Just make sure to set aside time for proper portraits and selfies.

Other expenses

You may have other expenses, like disposable cutlery, decorations, renting chairs or tables, and so on. However, by being creative and frugal, keeping the total bill to under $1000 should be more than possible.

3 examples of real weddings for under 1000 dollars

If you don’t believe us that a cheap yet tasteful wedding is possible for under 1000 dollars, check out these real accounts of hyper-affordable weddings.

Irena’s wedding cost $1000 and is a simple (and vegan!) outdoors ceremony and party.

Jessica’s wedding is another casual outdoor event that comes in at $1000.

Anna Beth is the winner so far with a $500 (!) full-feature wedding with all the works.

Further reading

Don’t want to have a wedding for under $1000? You can read our slightly tongue-in-cheek, slightly serious take on how to marry a rich man.


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