When we began planning our wedding, we had a relatively small budget. If you are in the process of wedding planning, let me bring your head back down from the clouds. Your wedding day should be a wonderful, special, fun, and memorable day. But it is just that. It is a day. Don’t go overboard on the little things only you will notice. It is true, there is beauty in simplicity.

Let’s face it, we all scroll through social media and see these fantastic, intricate weddings and think I want that! Most of which are celebrity weddings where the couple has the money to spend on something so extravagant. Here are my tips for you to have your dream wedding realistically.

Tip #1 –– Start with & stick to a Budget

Ask friends who have planned weddings how much they spent, if they went over budget, what there budget was, so on…

It is SO important to establish this first, otherwise you never know how much is too much. Take into account your relative location, because that heavily determines costs.

Tip #2 –– Choose Your Top 3

Once the basic budget is mapped out, choose three non-negotiables you would splurge on, and then be more realistic for your other categories. My top three were my photographer, my dress, and the venue. I ended up getting a great deal on my dress, but still chose to be reasonable with a photographer and venue.

Originally I wanted a Chicago wedding, but it wasn’t realistic, so my venue being my top 3 didn’t pan out very well, but it was still a beautiful place to get married! A golf course right on a river leading into Lake Michigan…Yes, please!

Tip #3 –– pick a date & venue

Once you have a budget and your top 3, you should start by looking for venues within your price range. We picked our date first because we had a specific time frame in mind. From there, we looked for venues that had our date open. Our ceremony and reception were in the same place, so travel wasn’t necessary for guests in between, and I would recommend that if you can!

I also want to add that you should look at food prices right away when looking at venues. Sometimes venues look like they’re a steal, then their price per plate is outrageous. Don’t let ’em trick ya!

Tip #4 –– Guest List

We wrote down (or typed in excel) a long list of people we would consider inviting. We took into account each of our friends and families, as well as our parents friends and family. Before you start ordering and sending invitations, finalize a number based on what’s realistic for your budget. Your venue will have a cost for food and beverages, so calculate that for your budget to determine how many people you should invite.

Ultimately, it is up to you to decide what to do if your list has more people than your venue will fit, or your budget will allow. But to be honest, we got pretty cut throat with our list. We wanted something smaller and more personal, so we chose our list based on that. We chose the key people in our relationship, and the people who influenced who we became as young adults.

Tip #5 –– Be Realistic

The theme of this post is basically making your dream wedding a realistic reality. No one will notice if something is skipped, overlooked, or “not how it was supposed to be.” Have fun with it, enjoy the process, and you won’t regret any detail. And remember, Pinterest is your best friend!

For details on my own wedding details and decor, click here!

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