How to Plan on a Wedding on a Budget

Recently my younger sister got engaged, and of course has come to me to help her plan her wedding. Not having a big budget to work off of, she knows that my frugal skills will be able to stretch it far. This has been an interesting challenge for me, and I thought I would share with you a few tips.

Of course nothing is simple. The groom hails from Canada, and the wedding is going to take place there. This may have made things a little more expensive for us, but the money saving ideas I picked up will work if you are planning on getting married in the next country or in your own backyard.

The Guest List

The first thing I realized was that if you want to save money on a wedding, you are going to have to trim the fat. This means the relatives you haven’t talked to in years, business associates you hate, and that BFF from first grade whom you only now exchange the occasional comment with on Facebook.

Guests should only be people who are an important part of your everyday life. Immediate family and your closest of friends only. This will save you a ton of money at the reception.

The Dresses

Being frugal means that everyone saves, even the bridesmaids. Pick a color and then let them choose a gown, with you having final veto power. So long as everyone is wearing the same color your bridal party will still look put together and the bridesmaids won’t be forced to spend hundreds on a dress they will never wear again.


You should do your dress shopping off season if possible. I have learned that the prices for wedding gowns has become ridiculous. Forget designer and just look for the dress that makes you look and feel like a princess, but not one that will make you into a pauper.


This is where I gave myself a huge pat on the back. An iPod is the perfect solution to reception music if you don’t want to spend thousands on a DJ or band. Just create a playlist of all of your favorites in the order you want, and assign DJ duty to a younger guest. There are announcements here and there he will have to make, but mostly it is running itself.

The One Thing You Shouldn’t Skimp On

The photography. This is the biggest day of your life, and if you let Uncle Herb take the shots, you will regret it. We were lucky and found Calgary wedding photographers who were very reasonable. They also handled the videography and engagement pictures which was a big plus. Using this professional team of wedding photographers in Calgary was worth every single cent.

This turned out to be an amazing wedding that our family is still talking about. Without a huge guest list, it felt intimate and more like a family get together where two new families got to actually get to know one another. The dresses were lovely, the music a big hit, and of course we have hundreds of shots to prove it. This just may be a new business venture for me.