Tips for Wedding Planning on a Budget


Last September, Matt & I got married in Sacramento in my mom’s backyard and celebrated with 125 of our closest friends and family. I originally thought we’d be able to coordinate our wedding for $10K…psych! Even having it in my parent’s yard came with its own additional costs: table rentals, linens, lighting, etc. We had to figure out absolutely everything since nothing was included with the venue. While we were able to get our budget down to under $20K, I was shocked by how fast everything adds up.

Still, we were able to come in almost $2,000 under our budget and I was quite happy about that! After months of planning, research and very meticulous attention to my budgeting sheet (I love Excel), I came up with a few tips to help my fellow brides out:

Make a budget spreadsheet. I hear a lot of people say they have no idea what they spent on their wedding. Of course, the goal should be to spend less than your max budget and the only way to know if you’ve accomplished this is to log ALL wedding-related expenses on your spreadsheet throughout the planning process.

Our budget consisted of columns for “budgeted”, “projected” and “actual” costs. “Budgeted” should have very rough estimates and the max you will spend on specific line items in order to fit within your max budget. “Projected” should have more specific estimates and the “actual” column will have the final amount spent. If you are having a DIY wedding, you likely won’t be able to fill out a portion of these until after the wedding, but at least you’ll have an idea beforehand.

Get multiple quotes and rough estimates before setting your budget. I had no idea what certain things would cost, so I collected basic info about various costs and vendors in order to create my “budgeted” column. This gave me a better understanding on what things would cost and where I would need to cut back.

List out what’s most important to least important to you. Determine a few things that are crucial and that’ll be where you splurge or focus more of your budget on. While hand carved nameplates on quartz slabs might be amazing to have at your wedding, it might not be a crucial item, which means it may need to be cut from the decor plan. For me, awesome photos, a huge cheeseboard and good music were most important, and therefore things I didn’t want to skimp on.

Find a venue that allows BYO. Many vendors require you to use their caterer or preferred partners. If you’re lucky, you can find the perfect spot that will let you bring in your own booze and/or your own food. That way, you can get quotes from various catering services and ultimately find something more affordable. To see my list of Orange County venues, what they cost and include, click here. Having more control over your wedding takes more planning, but also saves you money.

Easily find vendors within your budget. Use to set your budget for a specific need and you’ll get quotes back from a few vendors within 24 hours.

Avoid telling vendors it’s for a wedding. A lot of vendors upcharge for weddings. Sometimes you can’t get away with NOT sharing this *tiny* detail, but do your best. “Oh I’m just having a big party…for like 150 people”.

Utilize your resources! A lot of times, your friends or family will be someone or know someone who can help and will do an amazing job. If you’re willing to work with a vendor who doesn’t necessarily do their trade full-time, it’s likely to be a lot more affordable (or free!). My aunt worked on calligraphy, my coworker created our table numbers & printed graphics, my friend’s friend made our bouquets last minute, and a family friend who DJ’s for a lot of charity events became our awesome DJ!

Huge thanks to all of our amazing vendors!

Photographer: Rachelle Photography
Pizza: Paul’s Rustic Oven
Day-of Coordination: Events by Christina
Hair: Meghen Lord
Makeup: Kelli Renault
DJ: Greg Andrews
Florist: Ahnalise Draper
Calligrapher: The Lovely Hue
Graphic Designer: Joy Shows
Videography: My grandad
Dress: Isolde by Anais Anette
Dress Shop & Alterations: Love & Lace Bridal Boutique
Shoes: Betsey Johnson
Jewelry: Kendra Scott



June’s Dope Deals


H&M has a TON of reasonably priced & cute sandals online. I got lucky and found these gems on sale for $7. Not only are they super summery, they’re surprisingly comfortable. They were practically begging me to buy them.


Old Navy

It’s not the hippest place, but I love it. And their sales are amazing! I recently bought this whole outfit during their 40% off sale (minus shoes and jewelry) for under $50!

Shorts – $14.99

Cardigan – $17.99

Tank – $14.99

TJ Maxx

Since we have one only a few minutes from work, I find myself here more often than not. Sometimes I go with something in mind. But again,more often than not I’m finding things I probably don’t need, but are too good of a deal to pass up. Here’s what I’ve scored over the past couple weeks.

Summer Dinner Place Settings

Since Matt and I are super mature (said mut-ooer to be fancy), we can now have a more stylish dinner party with these bright and cheery place settings.


Place mats – $9.99

Napkins – $14.99

Comfy Basics

All women know it’s tough to find a pair of jeans that fits exactly right, so when you do, it’s an absolute necessity to buy them – even if you already have another eight pairs.

Black tank – $9.99

Jeans – $24.99

Dress – $14.99


Where are your favorite places to shop for deals? Comment below – I’d love to hear!







April’s Dope Deals

Cupshe: Swimsuits

Lately, I’ve been recommending this website to everyone I know. All of the swimsuits are $20 or less and you’ve definitely seen some before from name brands. Skeptical? So was I. 

So far I’ve bought three, with the 3rd still en route, and I’ve been very excited about how well they fit and how cute they are. Just keep in mind that these ship from China, so it takes about two months to get them unless you pay a shipping fee. It brings a whole new element of surprise and delight to getting mail. 

Speaking of “Dope”, I just had to get this one.

Cupshe Dope One-Piece Swimsuits

Cupshe Swimsuit – $19.99

Pier 1: Clearance

Pier 1 is usually way too expensive for my tastes, but that doesn’t hold me back from checking out the clearance section when I can. Most recent finds:


Monogrammed Coffee Mug – $1.98

Coasters – $3.94

Joss & Main: Rugs

The main reason I was excited to move to Orange County? REDECORATING TIME! We created a little office nook on the small end end of our L-shaped living room and have been casually looking for a rug. I found one on Joss & Main and immediately knew Matt would be just as crazy about it as I was. Since they’re all about daily deals, it’s not there anymore, but they have tons of amazing rugs for way cheaper than you can get elsewhere.

Please ignore the temporary chair…still looking for the perfect fit! 


Anderson Rug – $69

Cheers Claudette 2