Money Talks, So Should You

Saving's Grace: Planning a wedding on a shoestring budget

Dennis Doblado
by Dennis Doblado, Dimespring Staff

My fiancé and I had our wedding unexpectedly moved up 6 months because of a sudden surprise. (Do I have to tell you?) OK, it was an unexpected bundle of joy.

We’re on a shoestring budget, especially since we have to save for our little one, so here are some ways we were able to have a wedding on a tight budget.

Some people have the luxury (read: finances) to be able to spare no expense on a wedding. Some are in that position by virtue of their great financial situation and some because of patience and great planning.

For the rest of us, cutting wedding costs involves a little creativity and a lot of luck. Here are some ways we kept the costs of our big day down:

Invitations: Obviously, if we wanted a special wedding we would have to invite friends and family. That means invitations. So, I started doing some research for affordable invitations and then it hit me —

I found some pretty cool and simple invitations that were perfect for my fiancé and me. Most importantly, they were inexpensive. We ordered 100 invitations for about $75. Not too bad, right?

READ: Saving's Grace: A wedding on a budget, faith and help (lots of it) 

I thought to myself, “OK, I can deal with paying that amount for invitations.” Then the first blessing was bestowed upon us.  A church member by the name of Mareth and her daughter Sheila offered to pay for the invitations. God is good.

Money spent on invitations: $0

Wedding ceremony and reception venues: Then my fiancé and I asked our pastor if he would do us the honor of marrying us. He said that he would be glad to. We asked how much he would charge us in order to have the wedding ceremony in our church (the expenses of lighting and heating/AC do not come cheap). He told us that all we have to pay is an offering that God puts in our heart.

We decided to offer $150 to our pastor to be able to use our church for about an hour.

Next it was time to look for a reception hall. Unfortunately, our church does not have the best venue or lighting, so we had to choose another location. We had to look for alternatives and that would surely cost a good amount of money. My fiancé suggested the reception hall where her cousin had her wedding reception. We talked to the pastor of the church and he agreed to charge us $350 because, as it turned out, my brother put in a good word for us because he knew the pastor. God is good.

Money spent on ceremony and reception hall: $500

READ: How much wedding will $20,000 buy? 

Wedding attire: The wedding was becoming more of a reality for me once the plans started getting more defined and time-sensitive. I quickly looked through my closet in the hopes of finding a suit because I wasn’t in the position to spend money on a new suit or tux. Luckily, I found something I thought would be perfect.

Then I tried it on.

My love of food had betrayed me yet again. I thought that I would be able to lose some extra pounds before my wedding day. But instead, this was a perfect excuse for my fiancé to take me shopping for a new suit. I didn’t want to spend money, but I reluctantly agreed. We went to purchase a suit and when I went to pay my fiancé told me that her cousin was paying for my suit as an early wedding gift. I was thrilled that the suit situation was taken care of. Then reality struck.

My fiancé needed a wedding dress. Surely, this would break the budget. I just pictured my fiancé telling me how much she planned on spending for the wedding dress of her dreams. There are times when the budget has to be flexible — and the wedding dress definitely calls for some financial flexibility. I couldn’t — no, I wouldn’t — deny her a chance to get the wedding dress she wanted.

Then, she told me something that made me shed tears of joy. Apparently, her boss bought her a wedding dress, months before, which she conveniently failed to mention.  Wow, God is good, I thought to myself. Substantial financial bullet dodged.

Money spent on wedding attire: $400

READ: White dress, green wedding 

I realize that the stars seemed to align for us and there’s a very good chance that others are not going to be in the same position. However, it is important to go into any situation with a positive attitude and with faith that everything is going to work out, regardless of your financial situation.

With that being said, these expenses focused on pre-wedding costs and I realized that we had only dealt with the tip of the iceberg when it came to planning the wedding and the ensuing expenses.

Stay tuned.


How did you save money on your big day? In what ways were you blessed?


Dennis Doblado is a member of the  Dimespring 30, a group of bloggers sharing their thoughts, experiences and perspectives on personal finance.