50 years down the road, my husband and I will look back at our wedding and honeymoon, and agree that we would not have changed a thing. The entire day was perfect and afterwards, we got on a plane and crossed the globe on the most epic adventure together. The best part was that we did all of this on a VERY tight budget. In fact, we ended up making money when it was all said and done. Keep scrolling to see my 12 tips on how to afford your dream wedding and honeymoon!
My husband is a cinematographer, so we get to attend a good number of weddings and see the behind-the-scenes thoughts and emotions. It is quite common that couples tell us they are putting off their honeymoon because they spent their budget on their wedding day. Yes, there are plenty of couples that have their dream day and even honeymoon right after—I am not saying we are the only ones who did or that there is a right way to have a wedding. (It should all reflect you two as a couple.)
But I WILL say that a honeymoon is an important aspect of the start of marriage. It is a time for you two to rejoice in this new adventure together, relax from the previous wedding planning season, and be excited about what is to come for your life together.
That being said, I think that knowing how to plan a wedding on a budget so you can know how to afford your dream honeymoon is important. I mean, if my sweetheart and I could afford to do both, then I promise you can too.
We were far from “well off” and went into the wedding planning process with the mindset of, “If we cannot afford it ourselves, then we will not do it.” Yes, we knew our families would help us out if needed, but the above mentality was a huge stress relief for us during the entire wedding planning process.
How to plan a budget wedding and still get everything you want
Like I said before though, there is no right way to do your wedding—as long as you both love it and it is everything you dreamed of. But if you want some tips on how to afford your dream wedding and honeymoon, keep reading! Some of these tips may or may not pertain to you. This is just what worked for us and what we wanted!
I love getting to capture moments like this alongside my husband. After proposing in a beautiful snow scene, they shared some biblical scripture together and celebrated their new life chapter together. All my future brides, men looking to propose, couples, families, or for any occasion you want documented for future stories need to reach out to @clayton.made ..with the start of the year comes great deals with bookings for 2018 also, hint hint. But for real, you won’t regret it! I love sharing this lifestyle with him. #bookingnow
1. Prioritize what is most important to you
Before starting any of the planning process, we sat down and made a list of our top 5 priorities between the wedding and honeymoon. We each chose 1 that mattered the most to us. This way we each had a say in something, and we would not skimp on the budget for those desires either. For me, it was the dress. I knew I would not go way overboard but I also wanted to know I was wearing the perfect dress for me (p.s. my Maggie Sottero wedding gown made me feel like a total queen).
For Adam, it was the photography and video work. Since it’s what he does for a living, it was fair to let him splurge on our special day. The rest we left as ordered priorities that if it came down to it, we would sacrifice some to save the money.
2. Use your connections to keep costs low
Everyone knows someone, so use this to your benefit. For example, we have close friends that play in a local band so we asked them to play at our large audience reception. Live music is also just so much fun! A lot of couples do dance lessons but once we looked into it, we realized it was not in our budget. Adam’s mom has been a cheer coach in the past and is good at choreography so we asked her to give us some lessons for our first dance. It was also fun quality time spent with family. P.S. Support local vendors if you can. It is cheaper and a way to give back to the community.
3. Don’t hesitate! Pick your destination and just book the flights
Now on to how to afford your dream honeymoon. We knew what our dream honeymoon was. We really wanted to go to Bali, Indonesia. We booked the tickets before we even picked a wedding date. In fact, we chose the date based off our tickets. We saved so much money by booking months out in advance for our honeymoon, and then we got married the Sunday before we flew out. Hesitating and waiting will only cause your flights to go up in price and give you a chance to back out. My advice is to just go for it as soon as you know. The rest will fall into place. And don’t forget to check out these top affordable honeymoon destinations for 2020!
4. You don’t have to get married on a Friday or Saturday
Have you seen how much cheaper a venue is on a weekday or even a Sunday compared to Friday and Saturday? We got married on Sunday and no joke saved over $2,000 on the reception venue because of it. I understand wanting everyone to make it in town, but you have to remember it is not about them. And it’s OK if not everyone can come.
5. You don’t have to rent a venue
It’s totally fine if you have a dream venue and don’t want to settle for less. But if you are on the fence of where to get married and keep comparing prices, then maybe you should check out alternative options. Nature is a beautiful thing that we have full (or relatively cheap) access to. There are beaches, mountains, lakes, parks, and gardens. . . the destinations are endless! Get out and explore your options. It’s just another simple way of knowing how to afford your dream honeymoon.
6. Keep the ceremony small
We did a small, intimate, family only ceremony, then invited EVERYONE to our reception afterwards. The sharing of our vows was between us and God, so needing 200+ people there was not necessary. Having everyone else join us at our party afterwards still made them feel important to our lives. Let’s face it anyways, when we are guests at a wedding, we look forward to the food and party the most. Also, have you researched how much you can spend on just chairs?! They cost so much for a 20-minute ceremony. I say let’s cut to the chase, be married, then celebrate with our friends and family.
7. Skip the print and mail invites
Another simple way of how to afford your dream wedding and honeymoon is to skip the print invites. Wedding invites are unique and always so beautiful, but how much do you end up paying for them? How time consuming is it trying to reach out to everyone for their address? We did a video invite then created a Facebook page and added those we wanted to attend.
This saved time, paper, much needed money. And we also got more immediate responses without having to wait for people to mail back or hunting down those we had not heard from. This was one of the most useful things we did to afford our dream honeymoon after. And yes, some people might not have Facebook, but a phone call to those select few is personal, and I am sure they would enjoy you reaching out that way.
Also, consider this: Do you really need both save-the-date print outs and invites? Through social media these days, most people will already know it’s coming so nixing one of these expenses will save your wallet.
8. Get creative with DIY décor
Pinterest and YouTube do wonders. You can find ideas and tips for DIY weddings and almost anything in between. Creating your own décor is also fun, saves money, and you can do it with friends or family.
9. Wedding catering can be overrated
We did a pizza bar for our budget wedding and it was a huge hit. Pizza can be simple, vegetarian, meat filled, and even gluten free. There is usually a type for everyone’s taste buds. We fed our party for a third of what other couples have with fewer guests than us, and didn’t have to deal with leftovers.
We did not have to pay for a catering staff either—it was a serve-yourself bar, which in the end made it a more social event. We also did donuts instead of cake. Adam and I are not fans of cake ourselves and, again, donuts are inexpensive and can accommodate so many different tastes. Plus, they can be customized!
10. You don’t need a wedding band right away
An engagement ring is special and exciting to show off. The adoration of it does not wear off anytime soon either. So in my option, it is not a requirement to also buy a wedding band for the day of. If it’s not in your budget, then don’t be ashamed to hold off on it for maybe a one-year anniversary gift or later on down the road. I decided to wait for a band and am still obsessed with my single ring. Just one more tip on how to afford your dream wedding and honeymoon!
11. Instead of staying in a luxury resort, opt for an Airbnb
Staying in an all-inclusive resort might be what works for some people, but we love to experience other cultures and move around a lot. It also is another way of how to afford your dream honeymoon. We decided to book Airbnb’s so we could spend time in different places—plus it was less than half the price per night. There are some extremely nice ones too. Download the app and explore around, because you will be shocked at how great of a deal you can find. The App is also great for looking at check in/ check out times, accommodations, messaging the host, and keeping the details of your trip organized.
12. Create a honeymoon registry
My husband and I usually try to keep our belongings minimal. Adventures and experiences are way more valuable to us. Instead of a wedding registry, we created a honeymoon registry. We told everyone to help us out with our upcoming travels and that we were asking to NOT receive things. We ended up getting most of our dream honeymoon paid for in this way and even our flights we bought so far in advance were reimbursed through everyone’s blessings.
I hope you’ve taken notes on these 12 tips on how to afford your dream wedding and honeymoon! All in all, you do not have to do something because it seems to be the norm for a wedding or honeymoon. There is no right or wrong. Be creative, enjoy the process, and make the start of your marriage something you will always look back on and say you did it the right way.
This is your friendly reminder that wedding expenses are not an excuse to forego your dream honeymoon after. For more tips on how to plan a wedding on a budget while getting the best of both worlds, check out the Love, Maggie blog!
Check out my adventures on Instagram: @des_tiny.lee