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    Updated on May 18, 2020. Posted on Jan 25, 2015

    18 Ways Real People Had Their Dream Weddings For $5,000 Or Less

    You don't need to break the bank to have the best day ever.

    Alice Mongkongllite / BuzzFeed

    What do you do when 8 couples have baller weddings for under $5,000 (one even maxed out at $500!)?

    You ask them to teach you their ways.

    Here are a few little tricks and tips they swear by...

    1. Have a free reception in a national park. / Via

    Couple Tera and Mike applied for a free permit and had their ceremony in the middle of the mountains in Mount Baker in Snoqualmie National Forest, WA.

    2. Set up corn hole!

    Kelly Hood // Jon Stars / Via

    Or Bocci...or beer pong. Games are a cheap gift that keeps on giving (especially as people get drunker).

    3. Look for a liquor store that lets you return unopened booze.

    Jonas Seaman / Via

    In certain states, you can return unopened alcohol to Sam's Club and Costco. Do a little research and see if you can get hooked up.

    4. Go all out on Baby's Breath.

    Keaton Peak for Anna Beth Photography / Via

    Anna Beth of the Hello, Anna Beth blog remembers her moment of floral truth: "I want babies breath,” I told Jennie Ann. “Ok, and what else?” she responded. “Umm…more babies breath?” So that is what I got. Lots of babies breath.

    5. When in doubt: Etsy!

    You can buy rings, stationary, vintage favors, and just about everything else without getting completely sucked into the wedding industry wormhole.

    6. Get creative with paper flowers.

    Love is a Big Deal / Via

    They are perfect for bookworm weddings, they don't need water, and guests can tear off a petal and jot down numbers of potential hook-ups.

    7. Hire music students to play the ceremony.


    Contact the music department at local colleges or universities to see if their students play events. They cost less than professional musicians and will bring some life to the party.

    8. Ask a friend to make a cake instead of giving a gift.

    Keaton Peak for Anna Beth Photography / Via

    Or ask several cousins to bake a simple two-layer cake and frost it with white frosting; then decorate with flowers and call it a day.

    9. Visit estate sales for your seating.

    Keaton Peak for Anna Beth Photography / Via

    "Our ceremony seating was church pews that a church had thrown out and donated," says Anna Beth.

    10. DIY a door menu.

    Christie Graham Photography / Via

    Paint a door with chalkboard paint and write out table numbers and the events of the day. If you're feeling super sentimental, you can put it back on its hinges somewhere in the house.

    11. Make a sawdust runner for practically nothing.

    John Newsome
    John Newsome

    "I dyed sawdust, dried it in the sun for days and bagged it up. On the day of, with the help of my daughter Delilah, we busted it out in a little over an hour with a stencil I handmade," bride Leigh Ann told Green Wedding Shoes.

    12. Get paper tablecloths for an outdoor wedding.

    Kelly Hood // Jon Stars / Via

    Classic checkered tablecloths are great for an outdoorsy, BBQ-inpired reception. And you won't care if you spill beer all over the table.

    13. Turn your books into centerpieces. / Via

    Stack a few books in the center of a table, leaving the top book open. Scatter an air plant or two on top of the pages. All you do is win.

    14. Thrift your dinnerware.

    Keaton Peak for Anna Beth Photography / Via

    "My plates were all thrifted," says Anna Beth. "We ended up paying about $100 for all of the china."

    15. Use curtains as table runners.

    Christie Graham Photography / Via

    "Our table runners were made of cut-up curtains from Ikea, and the tables were purposely left bare as we loved the look of the wood," bride Sarah told Wedding Chicks.

    16. Get cheap snacks that everyone loves.

    Kelly Hood //
    Kelly Hood //

    "Our friends worked shifts at the cotton candy and popcorn machines," bride Kristi told Boho Weddings. They won't mind—it gives the singles an excuse to mingle.

    17. Collect cheap vintage details.

    John Newsome / Via

    Bride Leigh Ann collected vintage postcards for guests to write their well wishes on, according to Green Wedding Shoes. Guests then hung them on twine clotheslines set up around the reception.

    18. Buy your dress on eBay. / Via

    "I had found my dress on ebay years ago, and purchased it because it was such a bargain and too good to resist," bride Pia told Green Wedding Shoes. "It was an original 50s prom dress with beautiful fluffy layers of pink and cream tulle and lace."

    Happy planning!

    And enjoy the ride.

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