How to plan and throw a low-budget wedding (Plus free wedding planning budget template)

Planning a low-budget wedding doesn't mean you have to settle for less. With a bit of creativity and some thrifty tips, you can throw a beautiful wedding that won't cost a fortune. You may wonder how. Keep scrolling to find out.

Image showing wedding guests and an officiating priest at a destination wedding held in front of a beach

Planning a wedding can be expensive, even in developing countries like Nigeria, where the cost of living has drastically increased. It's no surprise that many couples struggle to stick to their budget when planning their wedding.

But does a low-budget wedding have to be void of fun, beautiful memories, and stylishness? Not at all. With a little creativity and planning, you can have a beautiful and memorable wedding without breaking the bank. 

In this blog post, we'll provide you with actionable tips on planning and throwing a low-budget wedding. We'll show you how to prioritize and find creative ways to save money on everything from food and drink to decorations. 

But first, what is a low-budget wedding? Let's quickly answer this question in the next section before we proceed.

What is a low-budget wedding?

In Nigeria, what constitutes a low budget might vary based on an individual's financial condition, spending goals, and location.

For example, someone living in a major city, such as Lagos, may consider a low budget for a wedding to be N2 million, whereas someone living in a smaller city or rural area may consider a low budget to be N1 million. 

What constitutes a modest or high budget is subjective and may differ depending on an individual's income, spending priorities, and other factors. 

It is vital to note that "low budget" does not imply "low quality," and "high budget" does not always imply "luxurious." Instead, a budget should be developed based on the individual's requirements and priorities.

16 Actionable tips on how to plan and throw a low-budget wedding

Planning a wedding on a low budget may be overwhelming, but worry not. With some clever planning and a sprinkle of creativity, you can create a memorable party without breaking the bank.

Below are tips on how to plan and throw a low-budget wedding:

1. Determine your budget

First, determine how much you can reasonably spend on your wedding. This includes everything, from the location to the cake and decorations. 

Remember, simplicity can be charming, and creating a budget from the start enables informed decisions and selections.

2. Create a priority list

Another important tip on how to plan and throw a low-budget wedding is to create a priority list. 

While you cannot have everything, consider prioritizing what is most important to you. Create a priority list ranking the aspects of your wedding that are non-negotiable.

For example, if having a live band is essential, devote a percentage of your budget towards it. Prioritizing guarantees that you invest in what is most important to you, making every naira count.

3. Find an affordable venue

While venues might be costly, there are affordable solutions available. Consider outside areas such as the beach, park, or garden, especially if the weather is friendly. 

Outdoor settings sometimes require less decor because of their natural beauty, saving you both money and time. But make sure you have a simple backup plan in case of unforeseen weather changes.

4. Create a smaller guest list

Reducing your guest list can significantly cut costs. Opt for an intimate gathering with close family and friends rather than a grand affair. 

Smaller guest lists imply fewer people to cater for, less food, a more intimate setting and ultimately, more money saved. Concentrate on the individuals that matter to you and your partner.

5. DIY your wedding cake

If you or a loved one has baking skills, consider making your cake or asking them to bake it for you. Keep in mind that you are only asking for a favour, and don’t ask with an entitlement mindset.

If you get a positive response, good for you! This will help you cut costs, as you will only have to buy the materials for the cake, which may not cost you more than N25,000 to N30,000. 

Apart from cutting costs, baking your wedding cake may be a fun project, and there are numerous simple yet exquisite cake designs you can opt for.

These DIY projects save money while also adding a personal touch to your big day.

6. Have a friend do your hair or makeup

If you have a friend who is a talented makeup artist or hair stylist, you can consider asking them to do you a favour by doing your makeup and styling your hair.

It could be their special present to you, bringing a personal touch to your wedding. Not only does this save you money, but it also enhances your friendship, making the occasion even more memorable.

On the other hand, if you don't have a talented make-up artist or stylist friend, you can style your hair and do a simple make-up by yourself (if you are good at it) to cut costs.

7. Rent a wedding dress instead of buying

Wedding dresses can be expensive, but here’s what you can do: consider renting instead of buying a dress that you may only wear once. 

Many websites rent out a range of designs and sizes, allowing you to locate the perfect dress without paying a high price. Examples of reputable rental websites you can check out are Hadassah bridals and Yes I Do Bridal Gowns.

8. Go bargain hunting

Another tip on how to plan and throw a low-budget wedding is to hunt for bargains. This simply means looking for cheaper items with good value to purchase instead of the expensive ones.

Your bargain hunting may involve looking for deals, discounts, and clearance products that can significantly reduce costs for wedding décor, dresses, and other needs. 

Keep an eye out for seasonal sales, such as Black Friday deals and special promotions at both online and local retailers. You might find undiscovered jewels that are well within your budget.

9. Opt for an off-peak period

Another great tip for planning and throwing a low-budget wedding is to opt for off-peak times. Choosing off-peak dates, such as weekdays (instead of weekends) or off-festive seasons, can significantly reduce wedding venue prices. 

Because of the lesser demand, venues frequently offer discounted rates at these times. This not only helps you save money but also gives you more freedom in selecting the date for your big day.

10. BYO (bring your own)

If your venue allows it, bring your beverages and food. This can substantially cut costs compared to using in-house services. 

Negotiate with local catering companies for cost-effective solutions, or rely on the culinary skills of family and friends. Remember, a little DIY attitude may go a long way towards making a memorable and inexpensive event.

11. Use digital invitations

Consider using digital invites to reduce paper costs. You can even design the invitation yourself or have a friend do that for you. Numerous internet platforms provide attractive, customizable designs that can be tailored to your wedding theme. 

This not only lowers expenses but also promotes environmentally friendly behaviors. One popular platform for designing digital invitations is Canva.

The good thing about this platform is that you can use many of the features and templates for free, and you don't need to be a graphic designer to use it. They have ready-to-use templates that you can edit and use.

12. Borrow or rent

Consider borrowing or renting instead of purchasing non-reusable items like decor. This is especially handy for items that may be used only once. 

Whether it's table centrepieces, linens, or even ceremony arches, looking into borrowing or renting options can help you have a more affordable wedding.

13. DIY wedding flowers

Wedding flowers might be costly, but there are budget-friendly options for a stunning effect. Choose in-season flowers, which are typically less expensive and more easily available. 

Consider combining greenery and non-floral items to add a fresh and affordable touch. You can even make your bouquets and centrepieces with the help of friends or family.

If you are considering making your own bouquet, then look for local farmers' markets or online flower wholesalers like Regal flowers for more affordable selections.

14. Opt for budget-friendly photography and videography

Wedding photography and videography are not necessarily expensive. Look for aspiring photographers or videographers who will provide their services at a reduced rate in exchange for expanding their portfolio. 

Consider hiring a professional for a limited time, focusing on critical occasions such as the ceremony and formal pictures. Choose digital-only solutions to save on printing costs. 

You can also invite a friend or family member who is skilled in photography to capture candid moments during the day.

15. Use less-costly entertainment options

Creating budget-friendly wedding entertainment options needs creativity. Consider hiring a local band or DJ who offers affordable packages. 

Check with local music schools, like Lee Ellie Music School for excellent student performers who are willing to demonstrate their abilities at a reduced cost. 

If live entertainment isn't an option, create personalized playlists and use a sound system as a DIY solution. 

Plan interactive activities, such as a photo booth or lawn games, to keep guests entertained while remaining within budget.

16. Consider local catering services or family and friends

Consider local customs and dining options. Food can be cooked and served by event vendors. Investigate local catering companies and negotiate package offers that meet your budget. 

Also, using seasonal and locally sourced items can save money while also adding a personal touch to the cuisine.

If you do not have enough money for a local catering service, seek the support of family and friends to handle the cooking while you invest money only in buying the necessary foodstuffs.

Wedding budget planning template

Below is a sample template that will help you get a sense of what to expect when planning your budget-friendly wedding. Remember, the key is to focus on what's important to you and your partner and to be creative and resourceful in your planning. 

A downloadable template of a sample wedding budget list planner

Wrap up

It is entirely possible to plan and throw a stunning, meaningful wedding on a tight budget. 

By focusing on what is genuinely important and devising creative ways to save money, you can have the wedding of your dreams without breaking the bank.

Get right into planning, reach out to friends and family for support, and sprinkle in some creativity, and your wedding day will turn out just as perfect as you want it to be.