How to Plan a Wedding for $5,000

 

One of our favorite things about weddings is how creative a couple gets to be. Some choose to get married in front of all their people — some celebrate “under the radar” with just two. Either way, your wedding day should be exactly what YOU want it to be, in that moment and for years to come. And we believe that’s only possible when you calculate your budget based on your authentic situation (use our 1-Page Wedding Plan). Here’s the next installment of our “Weddings for Every Budget” series with five ideas to inspire you to plan a wedding for less than $5,000!

How to elope (with a mini-moon!) for $5,000

 

Since the start of Covid-19, elopements have grown in popularity. We love them for a few reasons. First, eloping is a wonderful opportunity to get married at a destination you have loved for years. Second, because the guest list for an elopement is relatively small, this type of event allows you to be completely intentional with your time and budget. Third, eloping in a beautiful spot makes for one of the easiest transitions into a mini-moon – simply stay put!

Example Elopement Turned Mini-moon Budget ($5,000)

 

  • Hotel or Home Rental: $250/night for 4 nights – $1,000
  • Marriage License: $100
  • Officiant: $150 for a Vegas-style officiant.
  • Photographer: $1,500 – Consider asking your photographer to capture your wedding and an additional session while you’re exploring your destination on your mini-moon.
  • Flowers: $150 for a bouquet and boutonniere
  • Attire: $1,250 – splurge on the dress of your dreams!
  • Cake and Champagne: $100 – Purchase a cake from a local bakery and toast with champagne post-vows!
  • Food & Drinks – $500 – Plan to budget at least $100/day to enjoy meals out around town.
  • Excursions – $250 – Make sure to sightsee or relax and enjoy a massage!

How to host a virtual wedding for $5,000

 

None of us ever expected to experience a pandemic that placed limits on gatherings, but the last couple of years have taught us all how to use technology in new ways! Zoom weddings are one of the biggest trends of weddings now, and one of the best things they have given us is a way to celebrate with those who mean the most, no matter where they reside.

To enhance your virtual wedding and create a celebration that feels a little more like what you had originally planned, get married at a house of worship. You will still get to experience the thrill of walking down the aisle and seeing your love waiting for you at the top, reciting your vows, and even having your photographer capture you leaving your church or synagogue as your guest list of your immediate family cheers. Post ceremony, return home to continue the Zoom fun as you stream your first dance, parent dances, and even your cake cutting.

Example Virtual Wedding Budget ($3,565)

 

  • Zoom Subscription: $15
  • Marriage License: $100
  • Place of Worship: $500
  • Officiant: $250 – It is recommended to offer a donation to your place of worship as a way to honor your officiant, in addition to the fees paid to rent the space.
  • Photographer: $1,500
  • Flowers: $150 for a bouquet and boutonniere
  • Attire: $750
  • Cake & Champagne: $150
  • Music: $0 – Create a playlist on Spotify and ask a friend or family member to press play when you’re ready to share your first and parent dances.

How to host a backyard wedding for $5,000

 

A backyard can become as lush as any garden-inspired venue space when you adorn it with flowers! Host an intimate gathering with friends and family in a backyard where you can celebrate your ceremony and keep the fun going over lunch or dinner post-vows. Think about having games on hand too to introduce a little friendly competition.

Example Backyard Wedding Budget: $4,930 for 20 people

 

  • Marriage License: $100
  • Officiant: $30 when your ceremony is officiated by a family member or friend.
  • Photographer: $1,500
  • Flowers: $1,200 for a bouquet, boutonniere, altar arrangement, and two centerpieces
  • Attire: $750
  • Food & Alcohol: $1,000 for 20 people at $50/person
  • Cake: $150
  • Backyard Games: $50 for a set
  • Rentals chairs and table for 25: $150
  • Music: $0 – Create a playlist on Spotify and ask a friend or family member to press play when you’re ready to share your first and parent dances.

How to host a wedding at a venue for $5,000

When we think of weddings, most often we envision them happening at a venue. Micro and intimate weddings have become one of the most popular ways to celebrate with guests this season, and one of the biggest advantages of them is they open the door to celebrate in smaller spaces. So, consider enjoying your wedding day in the courtyard at a bed and breakfast or inside in a private room at a restaurant.

Example Restaurant Wedding Budget: $5,005 (for 15 people)

 

  • Marriage License: $100
  • Officiant: $30 when your ceremony is officiated by a family member or friend who is ordained through Universal Life Church.
  • Photographer: $1,500
  • Flowers: $500 for a bouquet, boutonniere, and centerpieces
  • Attire: $1250
  • Food & Alcohol: $1,500 including tax and gratuity, at $100/person
  • Dessert: $125
  • Music: $0 – Create a playlist on Spotify and ask a friend or family member to press play when you’re ready to share your first and parent dances.

How to host a flash wedding for $5,000

 

Shock your guests by inviting them to an intimate engagement, birthday, or “just because” party only to reveal they’re actually attending your wedding! To keep everyone’s Covid-risk comfort levels in mind, we’re detailing how to host a flash wedding tailgate outside (where social distancing is a breeze) AND at a restaurant:

Example Outdoor Flash Wedding Budget: $4,180

 

  • Invitations: $50 – To keep your cover, make sure to send an invitation to your engagement or birthday party! Rather than splurging for traditional invites, send online invitations through Paperless Post.
  • Marriage License: $100
  • Officiant: $30 when your ceremony is officiated by a family member or friend who is ordained through Universal Life Church.
  • Parking Lot or Park Rental: $150
  • Photographer: $1,500
  • Flowers: $150 for a bouquet and boutonniere
  • Attire: $750
  • Food Truck for Dinner: $600
  • Food Truck for Dessert (think: ice cream truck!): $600
  • Drinks: $250 – Because you’ll be outside and likely in a public space, you may want to skip alcohol.
  • Tables & Chairs: $0 – Ask guests to bring their own beach chairs and blankets to keep sanitation in mind.
  • Music: $0 – Create a playlist on Spotify and ask a friend or family member to press play when you’re ready to share your first and parent dances.

Example Restaurant Flash Wedding Budget: $4,805 (for 15 people)

 

  • Invitations: $50 – To keep your cover, make sure to send an invitation to your engagement or birthday party! Rather than splurging for traditional invites, send online invitations through Paperless Post.
  • Marriage License: $100
  • Officiant: $30 when your ceremony is officiated by a family member or friend who is ordained through Universal Life Church.
  • Photographer: $1,500
  • Flowers: $750 for a bouquet, boutonniere, and centerpieces
  • Attire: $750
  • Food & Alcohol: $1,500, including tax and gratuity, at $100/person
  • Dessert: $125
  • Music: $0 – Create a playlist on Spotify and ask a friend or family member to press play when you’re ready to share your first and parent dances.

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

About the author:

Carly Totten is a wedding planner and sometimes florist for couples and a copywriter for creatives primarily serving the wedding industry. She is based outside of Philadelphia, but she travels often, especially to Charleston, South Carolina. Her work has been featured online with Brides, Every Last Detail, The Huffington Post, The Spruce, and more and in print with Philadelphia Weddings Magazine and Modern Luxury Weddings Philadelphia.

Carly Totten

Carly Totten is a wedding planner and sometimes florist for couples and a copywriter for creatives primarily serving the wedding industry. She is based outside of Philadelphia, but she travels often, especially to Charleston, South Carolina. Her work has been featured online with Brides, Every Last Detail, The Huffington Post, The Spruce, and more and in print with Philadelphia Weddings Magazine and Modern Luxury Weddings Philadelphia.

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