How to Plan a Wedding for $1,000


When you focus your wedding vision on your authentic personalities and budget, the possibilities are endless! In other words, your ideal wedding day is possible on any budget.

If you’ve decided your budget is $1,000 (or less!), you’re in the right place. From a backyard barbecue to a wedding-turned-roadtrip, we’re sharing seven ways to celebrate your wedding day for less than $1,000. Of course all of these ideas are just examples, as costs vary from city to city and state to state. But we promise, you’ll leave this article inspired to make your wedding happen, your way, on your budget!

How to elope for around $1,000


In the last few years, elopements have grown in popularity. And for good reason — eloping is exciting and sexy. Eloping doesn’t conform to usual wedding rules — you get to focus it entirely on what you two want. And, you can limit any invitees to just your closest family and/or friends. You can elope in Vegas, of course, but there are plenty of other ideas too: your backyard, in front of a house of worship, in a park, at your favorite travel destination…the list truly goes on.

If you’re envisioning inviting close family and friends, you may want to choose a place with seating (parks, small open-air stadiums, etc). Or have guests stand and just bring a few chairs from home for anyone requiring it. In terms of flowers, you can order a DIY bouquet and boutonniere kit from Etsy and add fresh flowers purchased from a local market. If you want to cut a cake and enjoy the sweet treat together, find a gourmet grocery near you with a bakery and order a $60 cake, topped with some of your fresh flowers. You can pick up some nice hors d’oeuvres while you’re there.

Think of this type of elopement as a mostly DIY, relaxed and very small gathering with your favorite people.

Example Elopement Budget: $820-$940 for 8 people

  • Marriage License: $100
  • Officiant: $150 for a Vegas-style service. $30 when a family member or friend acts as your officiant and becomes ordained through online services, like Universal Life Church.
  • Flowers: $150 for a bouquet and boutonniere
  • Attire: $300 for grooms duds and this gorgeous $47 dress (Or borrow, rent or buy a second-hand dress.)
  • Cake: $60 from the local bakery or market
  • Hors d’oeuvres: $100 from local market
  • Beverages for 8 people: $80 from local market

How to host a backyard wedding for $1,000


When you’re deciding where to host your wedding, a backyard will likely come to mind. It’s one of the most intimate settings for a wedding because you will be celebrating at home. With that, you will also likely feel your most comfortable and relaxed.

To keep costs in check, consider either ordering catering from your favorite barbecue spot or mexican restaurant — or appoint a culinary friend or family member as head chef to cook at home. After walking down the aisle and reciting your vows, enjoy lunch or dinner by bringing some tables and chairs outside, or renting a set and providing your own linens. Then get everyone’s competitive juices flowing by playing backyard games, like Jenga, cornhole, or Connect 4. If the backyard where you will wed has a pool, don’t shy away from jumping in!

Example Backyard Wedding Budget: $1,105 for 20 people

  • Marriage License: $100
  • Officiant: $30 when your ceremony is officiated by a family member or friend.
  • Flowers: $100 – DIY bouquet and boutonniere
  • Attire:$300 for grooms duds and this gorgeous $47 dress (Or borrow, rent or buy a second-hand dress.)
  • Food & Alcohol: $500 for 20 people at $25 pp
  • Cake: Ask mother of bride or groom, or a friend to bake for you
  • Backyard Games: $50 for a set
  • Rentals chairs and table for 10: $75 (you provide add’l seating for 10)

How to host a wedding at a restaurant for about $1,000


Do you have a favorite local restaurant? What about an eatery that holds meaning as a result of moments spent there, like your first date or even your engagement? Celebrate your wedding at a restaurant!

Hold a short standing ceremony at the restaurant (you’ll want to ask permission first), then enjoy dinner together with your immediate family and even a few friends. Because your group will be small, your meal and time spent together will feel intentional, which is a wonderful way to start your marriage together. With help from a speaker and a playlist, you might even be able to share a first dance and dances with your parents!

Example Restaurant Wedding Budget: $1180 (for 10 people)

  • Marriage License: $100
  • Officiant: $30 when your ceremony is officiated by a family member or friend who is ordained through Universal Life Church.
  • Flowers: $150 – DIY bouquet and boutonniere
  • Attire:$250 for grooms duds and this gorgeous $47 dress (Or borrow, rent or buy a second-hand dress.)
  • Food & Alcohol: $650 including tax and gratuity at $25 per person
  • Dessert: Negotiate in the per person price with the restaurant

How to host a destination wedding for up to $1,000:

When you think of a destination wedding, a far-off resort likely comes to mind. But, there are many more budget-friendly ways to host a destination wedding. To keep costs at $1,000 or less, turn to a larger family home, a friend’s home, or a vacation rental and make it a fun staycation for you and a few close friends and family!

If you rent from a site like VRBO, look for properties located near your favorite destination: in the mountains, at the beach, or even on a farm. We’ve also spotted tree houses available to rent! Before booking, make sure the owner is open to you hosting a family gathering, even if you’re only inviting a small group. Look for a property with an outdoor space perfect for the ceremony, and you can enjoy a post-ceremony dinner together on a deck or tucked inside by a fireplace.

One of the best parts about this type of celebration is you will get to spend more than one day soaking up time with your most loved crew. It’s a wedding, friendly-moon and staycation all wrapped into one!

Example Destination Wedding Budget: $370-$970 for 8 people

  • Destination Home: $0-600 Friend/family members home or rental at $300/night for 2 nights
  • Marriage License: $100
  • Officiant: $30 as long as your ceremony is performed by a family member or friend who is ordained online.
  • Flowers: $0 if you pick wildflowers or re-purpose gently used flowers from a church or wedding venue
  • Attire: $0 Wear something you already own, or borrow a dress. If you must, try this gorgeous $47 wedding dress.
  • Cake: $60 from the local bakery or market, topped with local greenery or wildflowers
  • Hors d’oeuvres $100 from local market
  • Beverages for 8 people: $80 from local market
  • Food and drinks for the rest of your stay: Ask each guest to provide a meal and drinks for the house. You can even turn it into a fun cooking competition to see which family member or friend creates the best dish!

How to host a wedding experience for up to $1,000:

What if your wedding wasn’t the traditional ceremony with music, food and drinks after? What if it was a totally different kind of experience?

Imagine taking your intimate wedding party to a medieval dinner and tournament, a mystery dinner theater, a comedy show, concert or circus performance. Or, opt for an afternoon of fun with a family baseball game, a DIY game show, or an evening of song. There are so many possibilities!

We like to think of wedding experiences as a reception alternative following a small standing ceremony. It definitely allows for an unforgettable night!

If your experience tickets don’t include a meal, make sure your event happens in between meal times or after dinner, so you can focus your budget on the fun and not on food.

Example Experience Wedding Budget: $1000 for 8 people at Medieval Times

  • Marriage License: $100
  • Officiant: $30 when your ceremony is officiated by a family member or friend
  • Flowers: $100 – DIY bouquet and boutonniere
  • Attire: $250 to rent two medieval costumes
  • Dinner and tournament tickets: $520 ($65 per person for 8 people)

How do you imagine hosting your wedding for up to $1,000? Chime in with your ideas below.

Researching weddings on a variety of budgets? Read our other “Weddings For Any Budget” articles.

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