How to Plan an Amazing Wedding on a Budget of $5000

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You’ve found the love of your life, and you’re ready to tie the knot. But you don’t want to spend a fortune on your wedding day. You want to have a beautiful and memorable celebration without breaking the bank. Is that possible? The answer is yes! A wedding on a budget of $5000 or less is nothing out of reach if you plan carefully and creatively. In this article from Viva Wedding Photography, we’ll show you how to get the best bang for your buck and save money on every aspect of your wedding.

Overall wedding budget breakdown

When you analyze each of the wedding expenses and calculate their respective percentages, the breakdown appears as follows:

Venue, cake, and catering50%  
Photography or videography15.5%  
Music and other entertainment activities10.5%  
Wedding flowers, decorations, and favors9.7%
Outfit, hair, and makeup8.5%  
Miscellaneous costs4%  

Now, our task is to allocate these percentages so that they align with your budget of $5,000. Certainly, it may be necessary to make some adjustments. The cost of your venue might potentially account for 60% of your budget, while your wedding dress might consume 10% of it. However, that’s okay since you can reduce other expenses to make up for it.

How to plan a wedding on a budget of $5000

Inexpensive wedding venues for your nuptials
Inexpensive wedding venues for your nuptials – Photo by: Dailybrisk

It may appear difficult to plan your dream wedding on a limited budget. Still, with the correct strategy, having a beautiful and memorable party is possible without costing you a fortune. Here are some wedding ideas under 5000 dollars that can help you arrange your dream nuptials while staying within your financial comfort zone.

1. Wedding guest list

Before we delve into the other details, let’s discuss guest lists. The truth is, organizing a $5000 wedding becomes much easier when you reduce the number of invitees. Micro weddings will be incredibly beneficial when you’re on a tight budget. It typically has a maximum of 50 guests, including only your closest friends and family members.

If you have a large family or many friends, how can you effectively narrow down the list? Begin by creating a list of individuals who must be invited, followed by a second list of potential guests for whom you are uncertain about inviting.

Keep the guest list small when planning a wedding under 5000 dollars
Keep the guest list small when planning a wedding under 5000 dollars – Photo by: Lanka.Tax

To determine the final recipient of the invitation, you and your partner can consider asking yourselves:

  • Have we had any communication with this person in the past year?
  • Are we inviting this person because we genuinely want to spend time with them, or do we feel obligated to extend the invitation?
  • Would it be inconvenient for this person to attend the wedding?
  • If we extend an invitation to this person, do we have an obligation to invite someone else as well?

If you are receiving financial assistance from your parents or another relative for your wedding, seeking their input regarding the guest list is appropriate. However, it is not strictly necessary if you are covering all the expenses on your own. Once you have finalized the guest list, you can focus on other aspects of the $5000 wedding budget.

2. Wedding Venue

The beach is an affordable venue for a $5000 wedding
The beach is an affordable venue for a $5000 wedding – Photo by: Florent Vital

Choosing a non-traditional wedding venue can help you save money while adding a unique touch to your big day. Here are some modern and inexpensive wedding venues:

  • City hall: The cost of a basic city hall ceremony can range from $25 to $100.
  • A church or religious organization: If you or your partner are members of a church, mosque, or synagogue, you may have the opportunity to use their space either for free or for a small fee.
  • Colleges and universities: If you or your partner are alumni, you may be eligible for free or discounted access to event spaces at your school.
  • A private club: A local club may let you utilize their event space for little or no cost if you’re a member.
  • Parks: Many national parks are completely free, and it’s also possible to rent a pavilion within the park for a reasonable fee ranging from $50 to $200.
  • Beaches: Many public beaches offer free wedding ceremonies. The cost of a beach wedding permit, however, may range from $100 to $150 in various regions.
  • A backyard or garden: If you have access to a large backyard or garden, either of your own or someone else, congratulations, the venue would cost you nothing.

For instance, if you are planning a 7-hour wedding, the average cost of a wedding venue would be $1,050, based on an hourly rate of $150 (additional charges may apply for cleaning fees). Believe it or not, that is more than enough time to have a memorable ceremony and reception.

Estimated cost: Let’s put $1,200 aside for a venue.

>>> Recommend reading: 30 Outdoor Wedding Ideas On A Budget To Realized Your Dream Day

3. Catering

Catering ideas for a wedding on a 5k budget
Catering ideas for a wedding on a 5k budget – Photo by: Green Wedding Shoes

Catering alone could cost you nearly $4,000, with an average of $75 per person. What should you do if you are unable to spend a significant amount of money? Please note that this price is for traditional full-service catering, which includes wait staff and offers a more upscale experience. If you are not concerned about formality, there are some wedding ideas under 5000 dollars to provide food for a large group, such as:

  • Drop-off catering – $600 on average for 50 guests:

Consider arranging for a local restaurant to deliver food orders directly to your reception venue. Every individual has the freedom to select their own meal, which means there is no need to be concerned about picky eaters.

  • Buffet – $1,250 on average for 50 persons:
How to plan a wedding on a budget of $5000 with buffet
How to plan a wedding on a budget of $5000 with buffet – Photo by: I Do Rentals

Buffets can be a great option for a low-cost wedding as they allow guests to serve themselves and eliminate the need for servers. Besides, consider choosing simple and hearty dishes like pasta, roasted vegetables, and salads to save money.

  • Food truck – $800 on average for 50 persons:

Food trucks are essentially mobile caterers that can be easily rented for outdoor events. Additionally, imagine how lovely it would be to capture nuptial photographs alongside one. Choosing a retro trailer for your wedding, especially if it is vintage-inspired, would be a great idea.

Estimated cost: Let’s allocate a budget of $800 to provide food for 50 guests using a food truck.

4. Wedding cake

The typical cost of a wedding cake from a bakery is $500. It is actually quite feasible to accomplish with a $5,000 wedding budget! However, there is still a chance to save some extra money here. The actual cost of a wedding cake can vary depending on several factors, including the number of tiers, the complexity of decorations, and the baker’s experience level. To reduce this expense, consider opting for a simpler design or fewer layers since you have a smaller guest list.

Cake ideas for a wedding on a budget of $5000
Cake ideas for a wedding on a budget of $5000 – Photo by: Wedding Hashers Blog

Also, who says you have to have a cake at your wedding? Purchasing single-serving desserts from a bakery can be a more cost-effective option. There are several options that you may want to consider:

  • Cupcakes – anywhere from $20 to $50 per dozen.
  • Donuts – range in price from $8 to $30 per dozen.
  • Cream puffs – cost between $15 and $33 per dozen.

In addition to providing you with more affordable wedding sweets, these solutions also allow you to get a one-of-a-kind centerpiece for your celebration.

Estimated cost: Set aside $300 for cake or any other dessert of your choice.

5. Photography

On average, professional wedding photographers charge around $2,400 for their services. This cost can quickly consume nearly half of your $5000 wedding budget. However, let’s examine that number in greater detail.

Normally, photographers will accompany you throughout your entire wedding day, starting from the moment you begin getting ready until you joyfully dance out of the reception. Some of them may provide more basic packages that simply cover a limited number of hours of shooting as a more cost-effective alternative, letting you catch the crucial shots without going over budget.

Limite photography time when planning a wedding under 5000 dollars
Limite photography time when planning a wedding under 5000 dollars- Photo by: Zola

Besides, no one says you have to hire a professional. Student photographers can also excel in their work. Typically, their services are priced at a range of $50 to $120 per hour, which is relatively affordable. If you are able to locate a student photographer who charges $100 per hour, you could secure a full 8 hours of coverage for a total cost of $800. That sounds like an ideal solution!

Estimated cost: Planning to spend $800 on a student photographer or a simple package from a pro.

6. Wedding attire

In a typical wedding, approximately 8.5% of the budget is allocated towards your wardrobe expenses. We are making a slight adjustment by increasing it to 12%, which will provide you with $600 to purchase new clothes when having a wedding on a 5k budget.

$5000 wedding budget breakdown when buying secondhand apparel
$5000 wedding budget breakdown when buying secondhand apparel – Photo by: Wolf & Stag

If you divide that amount in half, you would have $300 each to spend on outfits for both yourself and your fiancé for the day. Many department stores offer a wide selection of ready-to-wear formal dresses in the color white. Consider exploring secondhand websites for wedding gowns as they offer high-quality gowns at a more affordable price compared to purchasing ones brand new.

Another option? Consider renting your wedding gown or suit instead of purchasing a new one. This can save you significant money, especially if you only intend to wear the outfit once.

Estimated cost: Set a budget of $600 for either purchasing or renting new attire.

7. Wedding hair & makeup

Forgo hair and makeup artists when planning a wedding under 5000 dollars
Forgo hair and makeup artists when planning a wedding under 5000 dollars – Photo by: Brides

After you’ve decided on your clothing for your $5000 wedding, it’s time to finish your look with hair and makeup. A professional stylist would generally charge you $250 to style you for the day. If it’s your priority, you can definitely make it happen! If it isn’t, there’s a chance to save money by doing your own hair and makeup for the big day.

Estimated cost: Let’s allocate $100 for purchasing new items, such as a new eyeshadow palette or curling iron.

8. Flowers

Wedding ideas under 5000 dollars with faux roses
Wedding ideas under 5000 dollars with faux roses – Photo by: The Budget Savvy Bride

The average cost of nuptial flowers is $2,300. But it doesn’t mean you have to buy your flowers from a florist. Why not take advantage of faux blooms when planning a wedding under 5000 dollars?

Faux roses are typically priced at one-fourth the cost of real roses. Additionally, artificial flowers offer the advantage of do-it-yourself (DIY) projects. You don’t have to hire someone else to do the work for you. Instead, you can keep that money and use it to purchase more DIY materials to fuel your creativity.

Estimated cost: Save $560 for DIY artificial flowers, greenery, and other decoration materials.

>>> Maybe you’re interested in How to Save Money on Wedding Flowers? Here are 18 Best Tips

9. Stationary

We have previously mentioned e-vites, which allow you to create and send wedding invitations online without any cost. However, when planning a wedding on a 5k budget, you can still opt for the traditional method of sending invitations through postal mail.

Get your do-it-yourself abilities back to full swing and print off an online invitation template instead of paying $530 to have them made and sent by a professional. There are many free websites where you can download and personalize printable invitation templates.

Wedding ideas under 5000 dollars with stationery
Wedding ideas under 5000 dollars with stationery – Photo by: Polina Perri

Find your preferred invitations and print them on high-quality cardstock paper. You can typically purchase a pack of fifty 8×10 cardstock sheets at a craft store for approximately $6. Also, you may be able to create RSVP cards from the same sheet of paper, depending on the size of your invitations and how your printer is centered. Don’t forget to purchase two packs of cardstock, just in case the printer accidentally damages an invitation.

Regarding postage, the current cost for a standard envelope is usually $0.58. However, if you plan to include return postage for RSVPs, you will need to double that amount. Plus, you may have to stop by the post office to get the weight of your invites if they’re made of extra heavy cardstock. Just to ensure they do not exceed the weight restriction.

Estimated cost: Expect to spend around $90 on paper, stamps, envelopes, and any extra accessories you choose to include, like ribbons.

10. Music

On average, you can expect to pay about $1,400 for the night to have a professional DJ provide the tunes and ambiance for your reception. However, it is always more cost-effective to do things yourself, especially when you’re within the limit of a $5000 wedding budget.

Forgo a nuptial band when planning a wedding under 5000 dollars
Forgo a nuptial band when planning a wedding under 5000 dollars – Photo by: Reverent Wedding Films

The cost of DJ equipment rentals can vary depending on the package. Basic packages can start as low as $125 per hour, while more advanced packages may cost a few hundred dollars. To successfully manage the turntables or laptop, all you have to do is enlist the help of a skilled friend or family member. Alternatively, you could choose to forgo using equipment and instead rely on the assistance of DJ Spotify.

More simple choice? You can easily curate a wedding playlist on your phone and then connect it to either a few Bluetooth speakers or your venue’s sound system.

Estimated cost: Allot around $250 for a two-hour rental that includes basic DJ equipment. However, if you prefer a Bluetooth speaker, you can choose to forgo this expense.

>>> Recommend Reading: 30 Fun Wedding Reception Activities To Make Your Day Special

11. Other miscellaneous expenses

Now that we have taken care of most of the main parts of the ceremony and reception let’s discuss the miscellaneous details.

Obtaining a marriage license is an absolute must before you can even begin planning your big day. The cost varies by state, with an average nationwide cost of approximately $60. You’ll also need an officiant for the ceremony.

Way to save on nuptial officiant fees when throwing a wedding on a 5k budget
Way to save on nuptial officiant fees when throwing a wedding on a 5k budget – Photo by: Risa James Events

The average fees for an ordained officiant are typically around $300. However, it is worth noting that in certain states, an officiant is not required to be ordained in order to officiate a ceremony. This means that one of your family members or friends could perform the ceremony without any cost involved. It is also possible to become ordained online at no cost or for a small fee, normally about $50.

In addition, you may come across various miscellaneous expenses that arise throughout the day, including:

  • Taxes 
  • Table and chair rentals 
  • Delivery fees 
  • Travel expenses 

Estimated cost: Set aside $300 to cover the cost of your wedding license, the officiant’s fee, and any additional fees that may arise.

Final $5000 wedding budget breakdown

Venue + Catering + Cake$2,300 (46%) 
Photography$800 (16%) 
Attire$600 (12%) 
Flowers + Decorations$560 (11.2%) 
Entertainment$250 (5%) 
Hair + Makeup$100 (2%)
Stationary $90 (1.8%)
Other costs$300 (6%)

As a result, a total of $5,000 is right on the nose. Remember that this is merely an example budget. And hey, no one says you have to stick to the percentage formula here.

If music isn’t your priority, use a Bluetooth speaker instead of hiring DJ equipment. This way, you can allocate the saved funds towards something that holds greater importance to you, such as your wedding dress. Conversely, if you can save money by donning a family heirloom wedding dress, you might be able to afford the professional DJ or fresh flower decorations of your dreams.

>>> Read More:

Planning a wedding on a budget of $5000 or less is not impossible. You can have a beautiful and memorable day without spending a fortune. You just need to be smart, flexible, and resourceful. By following tips from Viva Wedding Photography, you can save money on every aspect of your wedding and still have a great time. Remember, your big day is about celebrating your love and happiness, not about how much money you spend. So don’t stress over the details, and enjoy your nuptial day.

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