How to get hitched without spending all of your savings. This is part of our frugal bride series, so stay tuned for more articles coming soon! 

After a lengthy discussion with my fiancé, we decided that the traditional church matrimony probably wasn’t the best fit for us. Instead, we want to go the cheapest, most-sane way possible: courthouse wedding.

However, that doesn’t mean that I’m willing to give up *every* thing that a girl dreams of on her big day!  There are some things that are very important to me – such as a dress that makes me feel good, and an incredible party afterwards to celebrate with my friends and family.

Invitations

According to theweddingreport.com, the average price for 150 invites + response cards is a whopping $245!  As someone who won’t even spend that much on a designer purse, there is no way I will be dropping that kind of cash simply to send out invitations to my celebration.

Thankfully, there are tons of websites that will provide you with free templates.  Wedding Chicks, Love & Lavender, and Cards & Pockets all give you templates, and some even offer convenient printing options.

Amazon also offers cheap cards that you can fill-in yourself.  Although this may be time consuming (and hand-cramping), this route is ultimately even cheaper than the templates since cards/envelopes are already printed for you.

If you know that all of your guests have active email accounts, you can do a virtual invitation and save all of your money.  Websites such as Punch Bowl and Pingg offer free templates for your online invites.

Little White Dress

You’re probably going to want a dress of some sort, although you may or may not want traditional attire.

If you want to splurge and get a nice new dress, you can actually search on various bridal shop websites.  For example, June Bridals is an online store that offers a ton of beautiful boho-inspired dresses that range from $100 – $300. David’s Bridal is another choice that has conventional dresses starting at $100.

You can also get a pre-owned wedding dress for a fraction of the original price, or even rent one for your big day (no one ever wears the dress more than once anyway, right?).

Last but not least, if you want to go a super frugal route, you can always head on over to the local Macy’s, Sears, or even a consignment shop.  Although you will not find a traditional wedding dress, you will have ample options.

Photographer

Photographers can break the bridal budget, with an average price-point of $2,000.  Never fear, cheaper options are here!

If you still want a traditional photographer, your best bet would be to reach out to the local college in your area.  The photography department is sure to have a bunch of creative photo geniuses itching at the opportunity to begin their portfolio.  As long as you meet with the person beforehand to discuss a formal contract, aspiring photographers tend to be some of the easiest ones to work with.  They are typically eager to please and sincerely want to do a good job for their debut.

If you don’t trust a novice, then you can always turn to your friends and family.  Is there anyone you know that you could barter with in exchange for a discounted wedding shoot?

Last but not least, you can always use disposable cameras.  Simply place one at every table and let your guests take pictures that capture the true essence of the night!

This article was written by Doc Frugal staffer, Elyse Carabello, who lives in Pittsburgh, PA and will be getting married soon.