Five Ideas for Weddings Under $500

So you’ve worked through your budget on the 1-Page Wedding Plan and figured out you’ve got $500. Awesome! Keep reading as we share six ideas to inspire you to get married, with a wedding party, in front of wedding guests (or not!) for $500 or less.

How to elope for up to $500


Whether you have always dreamed of it, or you’re now reimagining your wedding day with fewer guests, eloping a super affordable option.

A classic spot is City Hall, but there are plenty of others, too. Think about eloping in front of, or inside, a house of worship. Walk down an aisle in the backyard at your childhood home. Tie the knot in a local park or even a National Park in front of an officiant. Or head to Vegas, baby.

To keep your budget in check, purchase flowers from a grocery store or pick up a bouquet at a farmer’s market (they have built in variety!) and tie with ribbon from a craft store. You can also borrow a dress from a friend or family member, or wear something you already own and love. The bonus of wearing what you already have is your outfit will now have even more happy memories tied to it.

The key thing to keep in mind is nearly any location that comes to mind can likely serve as a spot for you to officially become married, and there are plenty of ways to keep costs low. Just make sure to obtain a permit if you need one and don’t forget a marriage license!

Want to get married with family and friends looking on? Set up a live stream with Zoom or another streaming service. Appoint a tech-savvy family member or friend to make sure the stream is rolling, and let them know to be prepared to offer support for anyone having trouble logging on.

Example Budget to Elope: $330-$450

  • Officiant: $150 for a Vegas-style elopement, $84 for City Hall, or $30 if you ask a friend or family member and have them become ordained through Universal Life Church. Make sure to check your city or state’s guidelines, too.
  • Marriage License: $100
  • Bouquet: $50 – Think about creating your own bouquet with flowers from the grocery store.
  • Drinks & Cake: $50 – Toast to your new marriage while enjoying something sweet.

How to host a wedding at a park for up to $500:


In order to keep costs low, consider hosting your wedding at a local park.
As long as you receive permission from your local parks and recreation department , you will be able to host a small gathering. Invite guests to gather in one of the park’s pavilions. Most are complete with picnic tables, so tables are chairs are covered for no additional charge! Plan to grill or ask each guest to bring a dish – potluck style. Don’t forget to end the day with cake! Note: Most parks do not permit alcohol, so make sure to research your park’s policy.

Example Budget for a Park Wedding: $500

  • Officiant: $30 as long as a family member or friend becomes ordained through Universal Life Church and acts as your officiant.
  • Marriage License: $100
  • Bouquet: $50 – Think about creating your own bouquet with flowers from the grocery store.
  • Pavilion Rental: $100
  • Food: $50 – To keep costs at a minimum, ask guests to bring their favorite dish to share. Buy some apps and drinks to share.
  • Cake: $50 – You can also think about baking a cake for less
  • Attire: $120 – Rent a dress and/or tux or borrow from a friend

How to host a car parade wedding for up to $500:


When weddings first began to look different in the spring of 2020, one of the fun trends to emerge was car parades. They have now been viewed and enjoyed plenty of times, and it’s for a great reason. Car parades are a way to make couples feel celebrated while still remaining socially distant!

Think about asking guests to drive by a house of worship, a home, or even through a parking lot (make sure to ask permission or obtain a permit) just after your wedding ceremony. They will likely honk and shout as they pass by, and some may even decorate their cars in your honor. Also, consider placing a table near the path the cars will drive because loved ones may want to drop off gifts as they pass.

Cost to Host a Car Parade Wedding: $330

  • Officiant: $30 as long as a family member or friend becomes ordained through Universal Life Church and acts as your officiant.
  • Marriage License: $100
  • Bouquet: $50 – Think about creating your own bouquet with flowers from the grocery store.
  • Drinks & Cake: $50 – Toast to your new marriage while enjoying something sweet.
  • Parking Lot Rental: $100 – To eliminate this cost, have family and friends drive past your house.

How to host a drive-in wedding for up to $500:


Your wedding ceremony is one of the moments during your celebration your guests look forward to seeing the most. So, film it!

Instead of sharing your wedding ceremony over a streaming service, rent space in a parking lot with one key detail – a movie screen! You can use your screen in different ways.

One option is to get married live. Guests can sit in their cars like they would at a drive-in movie, while they view your ceremony in real time on the screen.

Another option is to film your wedding ceremony. Then host a screening of it for guests to watch as the spotlight film for the night.

Either way, a movie screen in a parking lot can go a long way. After the wedding, you can show a fun movie or other entertainment on the big screen to make it a fun night to remember.

  • Example Budget for a Drive-In Wedding: $500
  • Officiant: $30 as long as a family member or friend becomes ordained through Universal Life Church and acts as your officiant.
  • Marriage License: $100
  • Parking Lot Rental: $100
  • Movie Screen & Projector Rental: $250
  • Bouquet: $20
  • Attire: $0 to borrow or wear what you own

How to host a tailgate wedding for up to $500:


Beyond a car parade, if you’re hoping to spend more time with those you love most, obtain permission to gather together in a parking lot for a distanced tailgate. Guests can prep their own tailgate menus and sit in popped trunks or at tables in front of their cars.

The great news is this plan will allow your wedding day to take on a less formal, far more relaxed feel, which we think you and your partner will welcome.

  • Example Budget for a Tailgate Wedding: $480
  • Marriage License: $100
  • Bouquet: $50
  • Ordained family member or friend: $30
  • Attire: $150
  • Parking Lot: $100
  • Food: $50 – Because your guests will prepare and bring their own meals, your only cost will be for the meal for you and your new spouse.

How do you imagine hosting your wedding for up to $500? Chime in with your ideas in the comments, below.

Researching weddings on a variety of budgets? Read our article on How to Plan a Wedding for $1,000.

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