Our Mountain Nuptials + 10 Tips To Help You Plan a Low-Budget Wedding!


I often think about our wedding day and can’t help but smile. We had 65 of our closest friends + family up on a mountain with beer-a-plenty and the sound of music and laughter everywhere. I was never the little girl who dreamed of her big, elaborate wedding, though. The formalities, traditions, etc. just weren’t for me (which is kind of funny since I happen to be a wedding/event coordinator!) and I am so glad I found someone who shared the same wedding day vision with me. What I did know is that I wanted to wear a pretty dress, be out in the middle of nowhere with all of my favorite humans, and not have to spend a freaking fortune.

If you’ve planned a wedding or you’re in the midst of doing so now – you know that the budget can easily exceed your expectations. But have no fear! I’ve put together some tips on how to keep your wedding budget low without selling your soul for a plate of tri-tip and a 3 tiered cake.

But First – Take a peek at our magical day! June 21st, 2014:




  • Check for photographers outside of your area. There are a lot of really great photographers out there who may just be starting their business. Chances are they would like to expand their portfolio and would be willing to travel for the experience and could cost less than local, more-known photographers. But! Always check their work first! Be sure to check out their social media pages and ask for examples.
  • Think about choosing a lower priced menu. So yes, wedding food is important but that does not mean you need to spend your entire budget on buying Atlantic salmon. From my experience, chefs are really awesome and will be happy to work with you. Ask if you can tweak the seasonings or maybe you have a special sauce that your grandma makes. Most likey – you can add some flare to a lower priced item to make it tastier and more personal for your guests. You can also check into food trucks and taquerias as they tend to be a little lower on price.
  • DIY UNTIL YOU CAN’T ANYMORE.  This was HUGE for me as I was able to DIY jut about every detail (save for some Etsy signs and my mother-in-law’s sewing skills). Not the craftiest person? Enlist your closest friends and relatives to help you. I wanted to cover an arch with paper windmills and flowers (as seen above) and I knew that doing it alone would’ve been a struggle, so I hosted a paper party. Supply some beer, wine and snacks and your loved ones will come running. DIYing was seriously my best friend for this wedding.
  • Forgo the wedding party. This was really tough because we (well, I) wanted to have our closest friends standing by our side. It went from 1 bridesmaid to 3 to 6 very quickly and soon enough we would’ve just had our entire guest list standing up there with us. Obviously, our friends were totally ok with it because they didn’t have to spend the money on dresses and slacks either! That’s a win-win in my book.
  • Keep the guest list low. If you need to, do an ABC list. The A-listers are your best friends and closest family members, the B-listers are your kind-of-good friends and second cousins, and the C-listers are your elementary school teachers and co-workers from 8 years ago. If you’re finding that the guests from list A can’t make it, start taking people from list B and so on. Don’t feel like you have to invite everyone! Remember – this is about you and your soon-to-be spouse.
  • Beer & Wine only. We don’t need to see Great Aunt Carol throwing back too many gin & tonics now, do we? Keep it simple with the basics. Hosting an open bar can get pretty out of hand, as I’ve seen in my experience. Or, you can do what we did and open up the limited-option hard alcohol later in the evening.
  • Personalize your “cake”. Pick a dessert that is special to you both. Maybe it’s milk and cookies, or a variety of Hostess cakes. We chose to have a pie bar instead and it was a big hit!
  • Find an outside source to alter your dress. Bridal boutiques tend to overprice their alteration services. Ask around and you can probably find an experienced, sweet ol’ lady to do it for half the cost.
  • Ask someone you know to officiate the ceremony. Officiants aren’t typically expensive, but you can save a few dollars by asking a relative or friend. It is free to get ordained through several online websites and it adds a special touch when someone you know is up there with you on this very special day.
  • Keep your centerpieces simple. We opted for a variety of wildflowers as it seemed fitting for our theme and it was cost effective during the summer season. Our florist put together the bouquet and boutonnieres, but we had to trim the flowers for the tables ourselves as it saved us money to do so. Remember to keep in mind that not all flowers bloom year long so work with your florist on what is seasonally available!

The most important thing to remember when planning a wedding is to HAVE FUN! Don’t let anyone tell you how you should celebrate this day. Do you have any other tips on planning a wedding? I’d love to hear them!




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