Plan Your Wedding on a Budget

Get creative tips from real-life brides on how to plan an unforgettable wedding while still saving money.

Frugal and Fabulous Wedding

The Couple: Linsie Burris and Jonathan Jonas
The Location: King's Gap State Park, Carlisle, Pa.

Mom's Story: "My name is Lori Burris and I helped my daughter, Linsie, plan her beautiful wedding on a budget of $3,500. My daughter and her fiancee were stationed in Germany and serving in the Air Force when they became engaged, which meant that I, Mom, was left to do the wedding planning back home in Pennsylvania. To say that my daughter and I are frugal is an understatement! Linsie asked me what I had spent on my wedding 10 years earlier and I told her $3,500 for the entire wedding: dress, dinner, flowers and honeymoon. She then set that as her budget and with careful planning, we were able to pull it off."

Her Tips:

For a beautiful location at very little cost, check out your state parks: "Linsie wanted an outdoor ceremony, after much searching, I found King's Gap, a beautiful state park on the top of a mountain with breathtaking panoramic views of the entire valley below. But this posed a problem with finding a location for a great but affordable location for the reception. King's Gap does offer reception facilities, but they're a little pricey, luckily I found a hall at the base of the mountain which offered home-cooked Pennsylvania-style food and at just $9 a plate, the price couldn't be beat."

Instead of buying a new dress, consider altering Mom's wedding dress: "Linsie originally wanted to wear my wedding dress, but we thought that it might be too out of style. After much searching and finally finding one that she liked, I realized that with just a few alterations my wedding dress would actually work just as well. So, that's what we did — huge savings and incredibly sentimental."

For your flowers, go with what's in bloom: "I was a florist for 20 years, so creating the arrangements was easy. I knew that peonies would be in full bloom around her wedding day, so we decided to use them as the main flower. We hoped to be able to gather them from all of the family members' gardens, unfortunately, we had a hot spring and most of the peonies were bloomed out. In a panic, I drove north to my sister's house in search of still-fresh peonies. Luckily, her neighbor was willing to relinquish all of her beautiful white peonies for such a good cause and my sister had lots of hot pink ones, together they made the bouquets absolutely beautiful. We just added a few other flowers and tied the bouquets together with ribbons."

More advice from Mom: "Setting a strict budget isn't impossible if you're willing to do some of the work yourself and really do your research. Honestly girls, $75 per plate for a chicken dinner is absurd! When Linsie and I found out that most girls are spending $20,000 and up on their weddings when they could be putting that down on a home, we just shook our heads."

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