DIY weddings - where to spend and where to save money

Trisha Miller • March 27, 2017
DIY weddings - where to spend and where to save money - WeddingWise Articles

It’s no mystery that weddings are expensive. In fact, the average wedding costs around $30,000. Although most of us wish we could spare no expense on the happiest day of our lives, it’s just not always a reality. So, the question is, how do you achieve a DIY, budget-friendly wedding that is still the wedding of your dreams? Let’s dive into the basics of what you need to know in order to do this at a fraction of the traditional wedding price.


This will often vary wildly depending on where you live, but if your perfect wedding involves an outdoor ceremony, check with local parks, beaches, and recreation areas to see if a wedding ceremony is allowed. It may be a matter of paying a small fee for a permit to use the space. This could potentially save heaps compared to a fancy venue.

Do you know a friend or family member with a house or bach in that perfect seaside or rural setting? Organise a less formal wedding in that space instead of a commercial wedding venue. Even a barn will do. We’ve seen some amazing rustic barn weddings!

If you’re dead set on having the reception indoors, check with the venue manager to see if they might allow a partial day rental. If you book far enough in advance, many venues will let you get away with a few hours rental or possibly a half day instead of the full priced reservation.


If there is one thing I highly suggest spending a little bit extra on, it’s a photographer. Unless you happen to know someone who is a professional photographer, it’s definitely worth considering.

You want someone who has experience not only taking photographs, but with strong lighting, posing, and editing skills to guarantee that your pictures come out exactly how you wanted them. Even if your wedding takes place on the perfect day, lighting issues can always be a problem. You don’t want to have to throw away half of your prints just because your photographer doesn’t know how to bring out the best in every photo. A true professional is worth every dollar in this case.

If full package pricing is just not in your budget, talk with your photographer about a smaller package deal. You might be able to work out a half-day shoot or a package without videography included in order to bring down the total price of your photographer. Find someone who will tailor their services to your ideal experience. A small amount of time from a world-class photographer is better than a full day from an amateur.


The best part about decor is the fact that you can go as big or small as you want! From simple DIY tassels, streamers, bunting, and signs to full on glitz & glam, you don’t have to hold back when you’re doing it all yourself - for a fraction of the price. I highly suggest that you start this portion of your planning as far in advance as possible, especially if you have big plans for your decor. You’ll have to be willing to put in the time it takes to DIY everything you ever dreamed of.  Our WeddingWise Lookbook and Pinterest are now your new best friends.

What’s more, when you’re saving so much on other aspects of your DIY wedding, you’ll probably have a little bit more budget for the custom guestbooks, centrepieces, photo stations, lighting options, and menu cards. Just make sure you talk with your venue provider about all of your plans.


If you’re interested in the idea of a DIY wedding, chances are you’re not 100% set on a traditional wedding. If that’s the case, it might be a good idea to re-think exactly what is “required” at a wedding. There are no rules that say the bride and groom are obligated to feed their guests. If catering just seems like too much of a stretch, but you still want to have something for your guests to nibble on, consider bite size treats instead. Cupcakes, cake pops, or just about anything that will fit into a small cup or plate would work just fine.

If you hold you wedding reception outside of normal mealtimes, it helps break those expectations. There’s nothing wrong with a mid-morning or mid-afternoon wedding that doesn’t include a sit-down meal.

Of course, if you’d rather have a menu, but simplify it a little bit, you still have some options. First, you can always choose to have a banquet or family-style dining experience, even a potluck. Tell your guests exactly what type of food you’d like to see at the wedding and have everyone bring one dish. Or better yet, assign willing friends, family, or bridesmaids a phase of the meal (appetiser, entree, or dessert) to be in charge or preparing.

There you have it. Now you have a good idea about which items on your list you might want to spring a little bit for, and others that are much easier to DIY. All in all, a do-it-yourself wedding doesn’t have to be as difficult as can sound. Not to mention, it can save heaps of cash for when you need it most - like your honeymoon!

Trisha Miller
Trisha Miller

Trisha is a writer from Boise, ID. She loves all things creative and beautiful including painting, writing, shooting video & editing, gaming, and even dabbling in SFX makeup.


  • Paperless Wedding 7 years ago

    You could also send out FREE save the dates via us at Paperless Wedding. Our wedding website and digital invitations are also very cost effective and perfect for a destination wedding!

  • facebook297274700697564 7 years ago

    great tips

  • DabbyG 7 years ago

    This is a very helpful post. Thanks for sharing. For me to make a seating plan was a real headache. I recalled how I spent weeks on it. My wedding was in a beautiful Alexandra Park, New Zealand. I have accidentally stumbled accross it here . The place was really gorgeous.+ We hired the local photograph. Thus, my wedding went without a hitch smile

  • Hillary Floer 6 years ago

    All solid tips

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