Money Talk: Planning A Wedding Under 10K

With only 5 months left until I get married, I've been wanting to get this "wedding on a budget" series out on my YouTube as quick as I could! First things first, let's talk money & all things financial.

When John & I got engaged in April, we were both college students with no yearly incomes whatsoever. I just got a part-time job in March and was set to graduate in May. John, on the other hand, was working a part-time job and was set to graduate next year May (which is the week before our wedding!). Thankfully, me being the silly planner that I am, I had a few thousands saved up - something I was ready to put all into our wedding fund (hello, this is for us!). So then comes the planning...

First, we set the earliest date we could get married: the week after John's graduation. And from there, I calculated how much money we could saved up by the end of April. This is how we figured out our wedding budget.

Obviously this will vary for each couple as there are several factors that will influence the budget like:

  • Family members who want to contribute to the wedding
  • How long your engagement is (for saving money & bargaining on decorations/discounts/etc)
  • Whether you live on your own (having more outside expenses to pay) or whether you live with your parents (being able to save up more)
  • Outside expenses - these can be things like buying birthday gifts/Christmas presents/doctor visits/personal expenses/etc
  • What you're willing to sacrifice in order to stay within the budget
  • Cultural Considerations (Are you willing to break them or will you stick with them? Ex: In Korean cultures, it's a given to provide meals after the wedding ceremony as guest never come in empty handed.) 

So now that that's out of the way, I wanted to share some of my tips for staying in the budget!

Disclaimer: What worked for me, may not necessarily work for you, so take it with a grain of salt.

1. What are your top 3 priorities (or less, less is better) for your wedding day? These are the areas you should be on the look out for & be willing to spend some bucks for. My top 3 was finding a wedding photographer that fit my style, having a decent wedding dress budget (this was super important to me as it would *complete* feeling like a fairy princess on my wedding day), and lastly, the honeymoon budget. For John, he didn't have any and just agreed on the honeymoon trip as well. Yay for traveling!

2. Research! Research! Now that you figured out what is most important for you wedding day, besides the person you are marrying, research the vendors/venues/boutiques/websites all around and get pricing estimates & narrow who down to who won't blow your budget. I would start with the things on your priority list and work you way down to the other stuff. This is a stage that can get seriously OVERWHELMING, because everything seems so expensive and your "dream wedding" may be falling apart. BUT IT'LL ALL BE OKAY. 

Just keep on researching. At the end of the day (and the beginning), it's not about finding the perfect venue, a delicious 3 course meal for your guest, fresh flowers all around, or having the new stuff you suddenly need to have. It's about the beautiful union of two imperfect people to come together to showcase at the One who is Love. 

The Christian Perspective: The month after I got engaged, the dental hygienist was cleaning my teeth & shared a valuable wedding planning tip: pray before you plan. It helped immensely to pray before I planned. The moment I left it fall on my hands was the very moment when stress would capture me & make me it's prisoner. 
Planning Tip: To make sure all your wedding inquiries & e-mails are in a one cohesive place, make a "wedding" folder. Organization will be a big helper, especially if you're planning a bigger wedding.
Money saving tip: Having a wedding on an off day (like the weekday) or low wedding season, may help you cut costs. Venues and some services may be discounted if it's during the weekday - always ask!

3. The Budget Sheet. I looked online for the best wedding budget spreadsheet, found one, and edited it to how I found it useful (you can find my edited one at the bottom of the post & edit it to fit your needs as well). Honestly, I don't know what I would do if I were to lose my spreadsheet, because it has helped me keep track of ALL my expenses. Go through each column and estimate how much everything will cost (go online and find actual prices to things to get a more realistic idea). I highly recommend this as you will see how little costs start to add up. Everything from the wedding ribbons to the stamps you may need. 

Money saving tip: I found out the best way to cut costs is either to get things for free or borrowing things for free! Politely ask friends if they may have the decorations you're looking for & don't be afraid to make the most of "Facebook Recommendations." But with that all being said, ask in moderation. Nobody wants to feel like their being used.

4. The Money. Now where is the money coming from? This is different for everyone, so again, take it with a grain of salt. I figured out my budget after knowing how much I would be able to put into my savings by the end of April. 

The Christian Perspective: Although I knew what my stable monthly savings could add up to, I certainly did not want to be bound by money. You guys, even with pulling a tight budget, don't forget to always give 10% to God of what your net earnings. And don't lose hope about not having your "dream wedding." This is an area that I had to teach myself not to get caught up in because everything is so darn expensive. Even by pulling a tight budget, don't forget to still seek God first & never let money stand in the way. God surely does provide. In moments when I caught myself looking at the numbers too much, I had to sit back and go back to my focus. Remind yourself to do that.

5. Managing the money. When it comes to managing your money, keep track of the money so you know where it's all going to. Where will your money be? As for me, I had a wedding savings account. I did this mainly because if I put it all in my checking account, I would spend it on little purchases that would add up later. So to make the most of my 13 month long engagement, I spend the first couple of months envisioning my special day & then divided up my wedding purchases quarterly (taking out money from savings account have a limit & mine was 3 times per calendar quarter). So to break it down even more, I got engaged in April. I daydreamed & envisioned most of the Summer. Then I broke down what I knew what I was going to buy: October/November/December, January/February/March, and lastly April/May/Married. I made sure to include all the outside expenses as well so there were no surprises.

Money Tip: Always be prepared for money surprises. It won't be the end of the world. There's only so much we can plan for, the rest are all preparations. :)

And those were the couple of things I wanted to share about budgeting for a wedding. Along with that here's a few resources that has helped me saved some big bucks!


  • Tablecloths: I found that it is cheaper to buy your tablecloth linens than to rent them. It costs around $10 to $50 to rent tablecloths, but I found out you could buy quality tablecloths for $4 bucks! 
  • Candles: This is a site one of my bride friends has recommended for me and I found that it actually may be the cheapest out there! 
  • Goodwill/Hobby Lobby sales/dollar tree/after holiday sales has become my friend for scoring great deals on decorations. Find what you want & hit those places up!
  • Also take advantage of the "IBOTTA" app has helped me earn up to %5 cashback on my bulk item purchases! I highly recommend using this app for grocery shopping as well! If you use my app referral code, we both get 5 bucks so I'll leave it right here: nukvpxx. All you have to do is download the app, put my referral code in & bought one of the items eligible for cashback and CHA-CHING! (totally not sponsored by them. I just love the app!)
  • Another thing to take advantage of is your credit card! Some credit cards, like Discover, have cashback deals and that can be a great way to buy the things you'll need for your wedding day & make some cash as well~

And that's all for now~ I'll add more as I find more resources! Happy Planning!

p.s. i'm horrible about proofreading this suckers, so please excuse any errors you may find on here!

Download the budget spreadsheet here!


Thumbnail image from: MILLAY Vintage