DIY Wedding on a Budget

My husband and I got married a few years ago and paid 1/3 of what the experts say is the average cost of a wedding in Seattle. It was a ton of work since it required a lot of time up front to accomplish the DIY portion of things, plus the time required to research options we could afford – but it was so worth it.

Here are some tricks and tips I have to offer someone who wants to have a very budgeted and DIY wedding.

wedding budget

My first bit of advice is to ask as many friends and family members as possible to do things to help out in lieu of a gift. Here’s the key though – it has to be something they want to do. So many people will say, “Let me know how I can help.” But what they really mean is, “Let me know how I can help by doing something I want to do.” So find out what interests or excites them, and ask away.

We started our venue search by looking in Vancouver, WA (where I’m from) thinking we’d save a lot of money that way. Nope. The venues we looked at were just as expensive as the ones in Seattle. Plus it would have meant the majority of our guests having to make the 3 hour trek South. The venue we ended up choosing (The Mt. Baker Community Club) was the least expensive option we could find that didn’t look like we got a deal on it. It’s actually a non-profit that was established in 1909. It looks like an old house and still has the original floors. Given my love for all things vintage, I fell in love immediately.

wedding post

wedding post

{Bottom photo source}

For flowers, we asked a family friend to be the day-of arranger. She had done this for various other weddings and events and we knew it was something she enjoyed doing. I knew I wanted a few stems in mason jars, plus simple bridesmaids bouquets, and that’s about it. Mostly I wanted to avoid spending hundreds of dollars on something that’s so disposable while still adding some color to the room. Our family friend and I went to Pike Place Market the weekend before the wedding and worked with one of the flower stands to pick out the colors and the amount of flowers I wanted. I left a deposit with the woman and said we’d be back the following Saturday to pick them up. Our family friend got there when the market opened the day of our wedding and got the flowers to the venue and arranged them for us.


For alcohol, we were able to bring our own in since our venue allowed it. We got two kegs from Chuck’s in Greenwood (that we of course had someone else pick up and bring to the venue the day of the wedding), and then we got wine from Costco. I honestly forget how many bottles of wine we got, but we stuck to red and white to keep it simple. We also had non alcoholic options like soda, juice and sparkling water.  We ended up spending $5/person for beverages. So even though some people estimated that they had 9+ drinks that night (good times, good times), the cost stayed at $5 person. If we had asked the caterer to provide the beverages it would have been $5 per drink. That’s a huge difference in cost.

wedding post

For food, we went with Madres Kitchen. They had a great selection, were really easy to work with, and came recommended by our venue (which is great because we didn’t have to worry about relaying details like where to load/unload, who to contact, etc.). They took care of the silverware, dish, and linen rental as well.

wedding post

For day-of coordination, we asked a friend of my mom’s to help out. To be honest, I wouldn’t have invited her otherwise, so the trade off was that we got her a nice hotel room in Seattle (plus we got her a thank you gift afterwards) in order to make sure nothing went drastically wrong for a couple of hours. The main tasks were to set up the table decorations, and figure out any answers to questions people had in the hour or two leading up to the wedding. She helped clean up afterwards as well, and that was about it. It was so nice to know someone else, who wasn’t needed somewhere else like hair or make up, was in charge during that time period. There’s no way I would have been able to do it myself.

For photography we went with Char Beck, who was a recommendation from a friend. We met with a couple of other photographers, checked out endless websites, and really just felt the most comfortable going with someone that our friend knew. He was great and I would definitely recommend him. Any of the good photos from this post are his.

For general table decor I did most of it myself. Check out this post for details.


For wedding invites, my brother created those. We just paid to have them printed. See that post here. I made the envelopes myself, which means we paid 5 cents/envelope! See that post, tutorial and downloadable envelope template here.

wedding invites

For dessert, my sister in law made the cake, and we had our aunts make cookies that served as an additional dessert option as well as decor for the dessert table. See the post about that here.

wedding desserts

wedding desserts


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