How These 10 Beautiful Weddings Came in Under $10,000

updated May 3, 2019
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(Image credit: Sawyer Baird)

Planning a wedding can bring about conflicting emotions. On the one hand, your romantic side finds warmth in the idea of being surrounded by the people you love, on a truly beautiful day that appeals to all your stylistic sensibilities. But your practical side remains firmly rooted in the grit, reminding you that it’s just one night of your life and not worth taking out a loan the size of a luxury vehicle.

But you can have both. And these ten couples will prove it to you. They’ve each put on the wedding of their dreams, making a few sacrifices along the way to ensure that they start their marriage with happy hearts and full wallets.

In most cases, the couples met their $10,000 budget goal by trimming the guest list and going without (more on that below). But the wedding from Wedding Chicks pictured above (shot by Sawyer Baird) really surprised me: The bride DIY’d so much of it on her own, becoming her own florist and stationer in the process. And all of it–from the hand-painted signage to dip-dyed napkins–came together in less than 3 months on a $6,000 budget! The bride said it best herself:

Through this I learned just how far I could stretch a dollar, as well as the silliness of buying all new things when you can probably find many of them gently loved or available to borrow.

Check it out, plus nine more in the gallery below.

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The Ultimate DIY Wedding on Wedding Chicks; Budget: $5,600 (Image credit: Sawyer Baird)

How to Plan a Wedding on a $10,000 Budget

Wondering how to make a four-digit budget work for your big day? By checking out what these beautiful weddings all have in common, you can glean some helpful advice for your own budget planning.

Slim Down the Guest List

It’s not always an option–especially if you’re blessed with a big family or a massive and amazing group of friends–but trimming the invite list is the easiest way to bring down the cost of a wedding. Many of these sub-$10k bashes have guest lists of just around 30 people.

Pick an Off-Peak Day, Time and Season

A Saturday evening wedding in September sounds lovely, but you can swing some great deals by going against the wedding grain. A few of these couples made their tight budgets work by going with weekday parties and early brunch receptions.

Cut Out Vendors

Rather than spreading out an already thin budget, many of these couples cut out some “essential” wedding partners entirely. Instead of a DJ, “hire” a Spotify playlist for after-dinner dancing. Instead of a florist, have mom arrange baby’s breath in mason jars for the tables.

Enlist “Friendors”

A recurring theme in each of these budget bashes is outsourcing. When there was a talented friend or family member in their circle, these couples asked them to jump in and offer their talent–usually, it’s noted, in lieu of a wedding gift. In one case, a graphic designer brother designed the invitations. In another, the bride’s aunt, a fashion designer, designed and made the bride’s gown.

Take on Ballsy DIY Projects

Never crafted a bouquet in your life? People might try to talk you out of it, but a lot of really spectacular low-budget weddings were made possible by brazen craftiness. Here are the caveats: Don’t DIY anything that’s truly important to you, and know what you’re getting into. If flowers aren’t a high priority for your day, by all means, make your own bouquet with grocery blooms. But know that you might be doing it at 2 a.m. the night before your wedding.

The complete guide to modern weddings.