How To Plan An Affordable At Home Wedding | A Practical Wedding (2022)

How To Plan An Affordable At Home Wedding | A Practical Wedding (1)

First, I was so flattered and thrilled when Meg asked me to write a little on how to plan an at home wedding. I’m excited to share Jeremy and my wedding with you all. Here is what worked for us and what I would’ve done differently, and some funny stories while we’re at it.

But before I get started, a disclaimer. This was a second wedding and marriage for both Jeremy and me. I had already had the big white wedding in the backyard of a mansion surrounded by twinkle lights and white cake. I was kind of embarrassed about making a big to-do about my second time to say “I do.” I asked Jeremy if we could elope at the courthouse and from there live happily ever after, but he felt strongly about making this commitment to each other in front of our nearest and dearest. He felt like our love deserved a celebration. And he was right.

{Yes, it was 2009 and yes I had a yellow balloon bouquet. I still love it.}

Jeremy and I had spent the summer prior to our wedding remodeling a historical house built in 1929. Together we made our place our home. When we decided to go through with a wedding, getting married in our home seemed like the obvious venue.

So on to the details (and I think lots of this advice can be applied to a more traditional wedding as well):

(Video) how to plan a low-budget wedding + how much our wedding cost

{Our modest home and the location for our wedding}

How To Plan An affordable At Home Wedding

If you want to have an at home wedding,consider the space. Our home is only 1,500 square feet so we made almost every single room open and available for guests to mingle and sit in. We had about 30 people at the ceremony and then opened up the home for a reception in the evening where guests could pop in and out as they pleased. I think at most we had 60 people in our house at once and at times it felt like a tight squeeze.

You might also consider using the fabulous home of a close friend or family member (if they’re open to the idea). I have some friends that got married in their parent’s gorgeous backyard. But as always, have an indoor alternative in case weather gets crazy.

The great thing about getting married in your own home is the flexibility you have to get things ready in advance. However, that didn’t keep me from procrastinating down to the very last minute. Learn from my mistakes, people!


If you’re getting married in your home you will need to make the place spotless. I would recommend doing this a whole week prior to your wedding. If I were to do it over again I would hire a cleaning company to come in to do all of the deep cleaning. Trust me, there was nothing romantic about mopping down our wood floors, sticky with spilled liquor, the morning after our wedding.


Along with a spotless house I recommend creating a festive atmosphere through lighting and decoration. We filled our house with tea lights, placed strands of twinkle lights under our furniture, used lamps instead of overhead lights and hung a ton of white lanterns from our ceilings. We also bought inexpensive wild flowers from a local grocer and placed them in pretty vintage vases around the house. I also advise getting your decorations up and ready the weekend before your wedding – for whatever reason we waited until the morning of, and it was stressful.



We planned our at home wedding with a tight budget. However, we knew we wanted to feed our guests well. We also wanted the overall vibe of our wedding to be like a classy house party – so guests were welcome to grab food and drinks as they arrived.

  • The Spread: My sister put together and arranged all the finger foods (bought at our local grocery store) on a mishmash of vintage china arranged at different heights. It’s amazing what a unique serving bowl will do for a can of mixed nuts.
  • The BBQ: It’s kind of ironic, now that Jeremy and I are both vegetarians, that we had fancy BBQ at our wedding. But we did this because it was easy enough to order X lbs. of meat and sides for X number of people. They came in trays and everyone was welcome to help themselves, buffet style.
  • The Cake: A fabulous and talented friend of mine gifted me and Jeremy cupcakes for our wedding. It was perfect – not too fancy and again, fit the “help yourself” vibe we had going on.
  • The Alcohol: We had beer, huge bottles of wine and sweet tea vodka in pitchers available for our guests to help themselves

{All professional photography by the very talented Simon Hurst}


Jeremy and I actually scheduled a professional shoot for just the two of us a few weekends prior to our wedding. On our actual wedding day we gave our friends Polaroid cameras and had no professional photos taken. Again, this helped keep the energy of the celebration more like a party and less like a fussy wedding. The advantage of getting married in your home is that you have the flexibility to do photos, on location, way in advance. I wouldn’t necessarily recommend doing it this way but it worked for us.

{One of the only photos we have of the actual ceremony}


Usually when you get married at a church, or venue that uses an event coordinator, you don’t have to worry about things like, oh… getting your sideshow performer brother who lives in Coney Island ordained so he can legally perform the ceremony and have it recognized by the state of Oklahoma. It involved a little bit of paperwork and timing. I’m still not certain it was all entirely legal, though. And if you are religious you may need to find a minister (or whatever else you call religious folk) who is willing to perform the ceremony in your home…

(Video) Budgetarian Wedding | Practical Wedding Tips | Notes from a CPA

Those were the logistical details. Now…



+ We had amazing help from friends and family. One word: Delegate. I cannot stress this enough when planning a wedding. I had my sister and sister-in-law organizing and picking up food. My brother and cousin were hanging paper lanterns. My best friend was decorating my mantle with bell jars and tea lights. Don’t try to do it all yourself. You can’t and if you try you’ll hate yourself for it.

– Our guests showed up early. Because it was at our house (where we often have parties and guests) said guests felt like it would be okay to arrive up to an hour early. I was literally in my overalls hanging lanterns when people started showing up. It was embarrassing (that I didn’t have everything done yet) and stressful (that people were showing up early). It’s another reason to get all your decorating done prior to the wedding day.

– There was a freak snowstorm. It was March 28 and it was supposed to be beautiful outside. We were going to get married on our back deck and have a lovely outdoor wedding. That morning a freak snowstorm came in and we had to think on our toes.

+ We decided to get married in our living room – and it was even more perfect than I could have imagined.

– We never rehearsed. Even just a little walk through of the order of events, how we’d make our appearance, etc. would’ve been helpful but it’s a step we completely neglected to take.


– Our cat started licking his balls in front of us right in the middle of our ceremony. My sister was doing a reading of The Rainbow Connection (which was beautiful) and Mister Boots plopped right down in front of us and started licking his balls. It was hilarious but completely took away from the sweet moment of the reading. So, my advice – have your pets boarded for the weekend.

+ The guest book – we used the chalkboard wall in my office as the guest book. It was perfect and a lot of fun for our guests.

– The decorations caught fire before, during and after the ceremony. Apparently it’s not a great idea to put more than two tea lights in a glass jar.

+ The budget – Our entire wedding cost $2,250. Partially due to the generosity of our talented friends, hand-me-down heirloom rings, a BCBG dress from the mall, and of course a free(ish) venue.

– A casual house party vibe + liquor can make for very drunk friends who pass out and puke in your bath tub before the night is over. This is fine for any other Saturday but when it’s your wedding and you only have one bathroom in your little historical home it can make it a little awkward for your guests.

– Having to pee in the backyard in your wedding dress – because of said friend passed out and puking in the tub.

+ Having to pee in the backyard in your wedding dress – it actually makes for a really funny story. So we’ll put this back into the what went right column.

(Video) 30K BUDGET WEDDING | BUDGETARIAN Wedding | Magkano magpakasal sa Pilipinas?

{Of all the photos from our wedding this is my favorite.}

In conclusion, I learned that an at home wedding made for a really good time. It felt incredibly personal and special getting married in our own space. However, planning a wedding can get stressful no matter how casual you try and keep it. My biggest advice is to roll with the punches and remember what you’re celebrating. It was all the things that went wrong that made our wedding so perfectly imperfect. So us.

Photos: First one by Calin Peters. Most by friends and family, Pro-photos by Simon Hurst Photography inOklahomaCity


What is the first thing you do when planning a wedding? ›

How to Start Planning a Wedding: The First 10 Steps
  1. Dream – get the vision for your big day.
  2. Determine what's most important to you.
  3. Set a wedding budget.
  4. Form your wedding party.
  5. Create your guest list.
  6. Determine dates.
  7. Start looking for your dream venue.
  8. Begin looking into the vendors you want for your wedding day.
16 Apr 2020

What is a reasonable budget for a wedding? ›

The average cost of a wedding in 2021 was $28,000 (including the ceremony and reception), according to The Knot's 2021 Real Weddings Study. Here's what you should know about wedding costs and how to realistically estimate how much you'll spend to take the plunge.

What is the cheapest way to get married? ›

The Reception

The cheapest way to have a reception is to book a non-wedding venue. Wedding venues can charge a premium because they do weddings day in, day out and can offer their couples exactly what they need, all under one roof.

How many guests is a small wedding? ›

Intimate wedding: Between 50 and 75 guests. Small wedding: Less than 50 guests. “That number can fit comfortably in a backyard with 6 or so tables,” she says.

How long before a wedding should you start planning? ›

Experts say about one year. “I would say the general consensus is one year in advance is enough time to plan your standard, local wedding," says award-winning planner Nicole-Natassha Goulding. This timeframe gives couples an ample window to book a venue, hire necessary vendors, find a wedding dress, and more.

How do guests prepare for a wedding? ›

10 Tips for Being the Perfect Wedding Guest
  1. RSVP Promptly.
  2. Don't bring your kids unless they're on the invite.
  3. Choose a gift wisely.
  4. Know what not to wear.
  5. Be on time.
  6. Pick a side, any side.
  7. Learn to love your dinner seat.
  8. Don't steal from the reception.
10 Jun 2017

How do you look good for a wedding? ›

The 10 top fashion rules for wedding guests
  1. Don't wear white. ...
  2. Don't upstage the bride. ...
  3. Invest in accessories. ...
  4. Don't wear anything too skimpy. ...
  5. Don't dress too casually. ...
  6. Wear colour in summer. ...
  7. Bring a pair of flats. ...
  8. Avoid wearing black.

What's the most expensive part of a wedding? ›

The most expensive parts of most weddings are costs associated with the reception venue, including the cost of renting materials, including tables and chairs, and serving food or alcohol.

How much do you give for a wedding 2022? ›

2022 isn't much different! We're seeing the same general amount to give for a wedding gift of cash: anywhere within the $75 to $200 range is the norm. On average, most wedding guests give a gift of around $150 to $160 as a wedding present. According to etiquette experts, though, the minimum amount is around $75.

Who typically pays for a wedding? ›

You might be aware that the bride's family is expected to cover the majority of the wedding day costs, while the groom's family pays for a variety of extra activities, like the rehearsal dinner and the honeymoon.

How do you save money on weddings? ›

55 Clever Ways to Save Money on Your Wedding
  1. Keep on top of your spending. ...
  2. Be smart with your banking. ...
  3. Look into your work perks. ...
  4. Switch suppliers to bring down your monthly spending. ...
  5. Think carefully about your wedding date. ...
  6. Have a weekday wedding. ...
  7. Opt for just one venue for both ceremony and reception.
10 May 2022

How can I plan my wedding in 1 month? ›

10 Steps to Plan a Wedding in 30 Days ...
  1. Set the Budget.
  2. Choose a Location.
  3. Set the Date.
  4. Find Guest Accommodations.
  5. Plan the Reception.
  6. Order Invitations.
  7. Find Wedding Attire.
  8. Book Your Photographer.

What is the most important part of the wedding? ›

34% of couples choose the wedding reception as the most important part of their wedding day. This is the largest spend in a couple's budget and most likely the first supplier they will book. Couples are continuing to opt for quality over quantity when it comes to their guests and their venue spend.

What should be done 5 months before the wedding? ›

3–5 Months To Go…
  • Book the rehearsal and rehearsal dinner location(s). ...
  • Put together your rehearsal dinner guest list.
  • Make childcare arrangements and/or plan wedding entertainment for your guests' kids.
  • Reserve all necessary party rentals and linens.
  • Order wedding favors for your guests.
15 Jun 2022

Can you plan a small wedding in 3 months? ›

Yes, it's possible! You can plan an entire wedding in just a few months (even just a few weeks!) We've seen plenty of gorgeous short-notice weddings on the blog & I've had a number of wedding photography clients who have managed planning weddings very quickly in seemingly low-stress fashion.

What is a micro wedding? ›

A micro wedding is an intimate affair, typically with no more than 50 guests. They still feature time-honored traditions that make a wedding but on a much smaller scale.

What is the average size of a wedding in 2022? ›

In 2022, the average number of guests is projected to be 129, which is in line with pre-pandemic numbers, when the average was 131. “After so many months of planning, and time spent away from loved ones, these couples are eager to reunite and celebrate with a blowout bash,” says Nowack.

What is a normal size wedding? ›

According to the Brides American Wedding Study, most weddings have less than 200 guests, with the average being 167.

What month is unlucky for weddings? ›

The belief that July is an unlucky month for weddings is a superstition that has endured for generations. It's origins can be traced to several old, anonymous rhymes that warn couples married in July of everything from bitter-sweet memories to laboring for daily bread!

Do you wear the engagement ring on your wedding day? ›

Traditionally, after accepting a proposal you will also accept an engagement ring. This symbolic ring is then worn on the fourth finger of your left hand throughout your engagement. On your wedding day, the wedding band will go on that same finger towards the end of the ceremony.

What are the 3 most important things you want to remember from your wedding day? ›

Here's what really matters on your wedding day:
  • 1 / Your person (duh!) Don't skip past this if you're engaged!! ...
  • 2 / Your wedding covenant. You've heard it all before, but I'll say it again to reinforce it. ...
  • 3 / Moments with your partner. ...
  • 4/ How you get married.
12 May 2021

What a bride needs to buy before marriage? ›

Veil or head piece. Necklace(s), earring's, bracelet(s), ring(s), wedding band, and other accessories. Rain boots, umbrella, rain jacket (If there is a chance of rain) Sewing Kit, extra buttons & extra pins.

What to buy before getting married? ›

15 Things to Buy Once You Get Engaged
  • Ring Box. ...
  • Wedding Planner & Organizer. ...
  • Bridal-Shower Dress. ...
  • Wedding-Day Emergency Kit. ...
  • Gift for Your Groom. ...
  • Gifts for the Bridal Party. ...
  • Rehearsal-Dinner Outfit. ...
  • Getting-Ready Robe.

What signs do you need for a wedding? ›

15 Essential Signs to Have at your Wedding
  • Welcome sign at the entrance to your ceremony. A welcoming 'We're Glad You're Here! ...
  • Ceremony décor sign. ...
  • Ceremony carry signs. ...
  • Directional signs. ...
  • Wedding hashtag sign. ...
  • Cocktail party welcome sign. ...
  • Cocktail party menu sign. ...
  • Cocktail party bar list.
25 Feb 2016

What is the best month to get married? ›

The most popular months to get married are from the months of May to October. More specifically, September takes first place at 16 percent, followed by June with 15 percent, and lastly October, at 14 percent. This means that the most popular wedding seasons are Fall/Autumn, and Summer.

How do you have a small wedding without hurting your feelings? ›

Only invite those closest to you

Take an inventory of your closest friends and family and only invite those you've been in direct contact with recently. If you haven't spoken to them in the past five years, their feelings won't be hurt when they aren't included in your wedding celebrations.

Why is engagement important before marriage? ›

The most important reason a couple gets engaged has traditionally been to prepare for marriage. For many couples, married life will be the first time they permanently live away from their parents' home. The engagement period gives a couple time to save money and prepare for the wedding and their new life together.

What are the steps to planning a wedding? ›

If you're looking for tips on how to plan a wedding, we have helpful advice and resources below to help you get organized!
  1. Determine the Date. ...
  2. Set a Budget. ...
  3. Consider Hiring a Wedding Planner. ...
  4. Keep Everything Organized. ...
  5. Attend a Wedding or Bridal Fair. ...
  6. Create an Inspiration Board. ...
  7. Put Together Your Invite List.
15 Aug 2022

Do you pick a wedding date or venue first? ›

However the number one most important thing to book first is your venue! This will confirm so many important things for you like the date (HUGE important detail for vendors), capacity, and if you have to stick to a specific list of recommended vendors.

When a couple gets married who pays for what? ›

According to the WeddingWire Newlywed Report, parents pay for 52% of wedding expenses, while the couple pays for 47% (the remaining 1% is paid for by other loved ones)—so parents are still paying for a majority of the wedding, though couples are chipping in fairly significantly.

How do guests prepare for a wedding? ›

10 Tips for Being the Perfect Wedding Guest
  1. RSVP Promptly.
  2. Don't bring your kids unless they're on the invite.
  3. Choose a gift wisely.
  4. Know what not to wear.
  5. Be on time.
  6. Pick a side, any side.
  7. Learn to love your dinner seat.
  8. Don't steal from the reception.
10 Jun 2017

What is the luckiest month to get married in 2022? ›

The best month to get married in 2022 is April, so that's already soon enough. Fortunately, the optimal wedding date for the year is all the way at the end of the month, on April 30, so that gives you more time to prepare.

What is the best day of the week to get married? ›

While guests usually have a lot of free time on the weekends, Wednesdays are the best day of the week to have a wedding and that's because guests usually have an easier time getting that day off than any other.

What is the lucky number for wedding? ›

Lucky Numbers

Number 9 is also a very lucky number, especially for weddings. The number “9” 's pronunciation is the same as the Chinese word “久“ which means “long-lasting”. That's why some people prefer to have their weddings on the 9th, 19th or 29th to hope for an enduring marriage.

Who pays for the bride's dress? ›

The bride's side of the family traditionally pays for the bride's wedding dress and the bridesmaids' dresses. Increasingly, however, bridesmaids are paying for their own dresses.

Who pays for the cake at a wedding? ›

The bride's parents traditionally pay for the wedding cake, along with the rest of the wedding reception costs, but you don't have to follow this historical precedent. Many couples today may choose to pay for their own cake, or the two families may split costs for the cake and other desserts.

What do the groom's parents pay for? ›

What Does the Groom's Family Pay For, Traditionally? The groom's family is responsible for corsages and boutonnieres for immediate members of both families, the lodging of the groom's attendants (if you have offered to help pay for this expense), and sometimes the costs of the rehearsal dinner.

How can I enjoy wedding as a guest? ›

There are unspoken rules in place when attending a wedding, but not everyone seems to know them.
The 19 Rules All Wedding Guests Need to Follow
  1. RSVP on Time. ...
  2. No Kids Means No Kids. ...
  3. Don't Wear White. ...
  4. Don't Wear Black. ...
  5. Just Obey the Dress Code in General. ...
  6. No Last Minute Change of Plan.
15 Jun 2021

How can I be the best wedding guest? ›

How To Be A Great Wedding Guest
  1. Respond to the RSVP.
  2. Be Excited.
  3. Follow the Dress Code.
  4. Read the Wedding Website.
  5. Make Sure Your Name is on Your Gift.
  6. Be Punctual.
  7. Let The Couple Have Their Time.
  8. Stay in the Moment.
22 Oct 2020

What guests should not wear to a wedding? ›

By avoiding these fashion faux-pas, you will make a tasteful fashion statement and show respect for the bride and groom.
  • White. One of the most obvious mistakes at a wedding is to match the bride. ...
  • A Black Tuxedo. ...
  • Anything Too Revealing. ...
  • Denim or Jeans. ...
  • Low-Cut Outfits. ...
  • Sheer Material. ...
  • All Black. ...
  • Flip Flops.
31 May 2018


1. WATCH THIS BEFORE YOU PLAN YOUR WEDDING! | Hacks Every Bride Needs to Know
(Sharrah Stevens - The Kinwoven Home )
2. How To Use A Wedding Budget Checklist
(Just Marry!)
3. We had our DREAM WEDDING on a BUDGET | 6 tips on how to save money on your wedding 💑
(Debby & Vik)
4. Intimate Church Wedding on a budget (less than 70k!) Philippines | Beverly Lulu
(Beverly Lulu)
5. 10 Essential Wedding Planning Tips from a Wedding Planner
(The Unveiled Bride)
6. 💒 👰 The TRUE Costs of a Wedding | Wedding Budget, Expenses & Suppliers Philippines
(Jessica Viray)

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