My Wedding Cost $8,700 And Had 125 Guests; Here Are 14 Tips And Tricks I Used To Plan It

    Classy, not trashy.

    Editor's note: This wedding occurred in 2015, prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. While big weddings may be on hold for now, we hope this serves as inspiration for the future.

    When my husband proposed, I had no idea how involved planning a wedding could get.

    This is how I planned mine for less than $10,000:

    Breakdown of wedding costs by category

    1. First thing's first: I started by writing the guest list so I could estimate how big a venue I'd need.

    2. I dedicated most of my planning time to finding the right venue and caterer.

    Blank potential vendor template

    Here's what I ended up picking:

    3. We had our wedding on a Sunday.

    4. Sadly, we had a cash bar.

    Not getting married until I can afford an open bar.... I’m not disrespecting my friends like that

    Twitter: @twbell96

    The cost of alcohol would've tipped me way over $10,000 for the entire wedding. Since we didn't want to cut out guests, we ended up just doing a cash bar. But I'll admit it: If we're talking about wedding regret, I regret this decision. I wish I had at least supplied some wine and beer or something. Luckily, since we got married at 21, an open bar definitely wasn't expected.

    If you decide to go the cash bar route, just make sure to tell your guests ahead of time.

    5. I bought my wedding dress online.

    My bridesmaids helping me put on my wedding dress

    6. And my husband bought cheap groom attire.

    My husband in his suit during our first look

    7. In the name of efficiency, I opted to do a first look.

    Me and my husband during our first look

    8. For each purchase, asked myself, Will this be noticed?

    White chair covers with blue ribbon and flowers

    9. I decided not to include wedding traditions I didn't care about.

    10. I used a fake cake for ~the look~ but served Costco cake.

    Fake wedding cake

    11. When possible, I borrowed things instead of buying things.

    Centerpiece with flowers and candles

    12. We hired a photographer from Craigslist and the videographer was a friend's coworker.

    Vintage camera and a wedding photo book

    13. I sent online invitations instead of mailing them out.

    Simple wedding invitation made on Paperless Post

    14. Ultimately, I focused on the most important things I wanted to remember.

    Me and my husband standing in front of a trellis

    Do have any tips for planning a wedding on a budget? Let us know in the comments below! And don't forget to check out more of our personal finance posts.