Can I Pull Off An Elegant Wedding With A 10K Budget?


Dear Kelly,

My guy and I don’t have a lot of money but we want to have some sort of a wedding to celebrate our union. The idea of a park and restaurant sounds too lowbrow and going to City Hall and a bar does too. Is there a way to have something elegant and beautiful for 50 people and have it cost less than 10K?

Diamond Dreams on a Beer Budget

Dear Diamond:

This is an incredible milestone in your life, congratulations! Yes, I do agree you should celebrate this union and I truly believe you should do so in a way that is meaningful to both you and your partner.

I am not going to sugarcoat it: you have a lot of things to organize and prepare for and it will feel overwhelming at times but if you break everything down into clear categories and plan to attack the list over a period of time, you won’t feel as panicked. Here are my tips:

1 | Figure out what is important.

I know, it’s all important, but we need to prioritize here. Are you a foodie or more into capturing gorgeous photographs to have in a legacy album? Are you a fashionista who is obsessed with the dress or have you been dreaming of a specific once-in-a-lifetime location? Talk to your partner about where you will place most of your money and then you can move onto the planning.

2 | Break down your budget.

Once you have figured out the important items, it’s time to break down the budget and put ‘lump sums’ into an area. This will allow you to really see where your money would be going. For example: Photographer, $4,000. Catering, $4,000. Location, $1,000; and so on.

3 | Pick a date and location carefully.

These two things are very important as they will affect your overall budget. If you choose to get married on a holiday, like Valentine’s Day or Christmas, expect your cost to go up! Everyone in the service industry, from florists to restaurants, are in demand on holidays and they are able to raise their rates in order to accommodate this demand.

4 | Ask family and friends to take care of a wedding item in lieu of gifts.

Not only will this make them feel a part of the wedding, it will save you money and time. You can put together a task list and let your guests choose or you can delegate to those who are on-board. Just be mindful of expectations (financial and time) and don’t overwhelm them with too many tasks!

5 | A wedding on a budget doesn’t mean it’s lowbrow.

A City Hall wedding can be every bit as exciting and meaningful as a huge church wedding. Most are heritage buildings that offer a beautiful backdrop for wedding photos at no extra cost! As the cost of a City Hall wedding is very low (usually less than $200), you are able to splurge elsewhere.

6 | Utilize one venue for the ceremony and the reception.

This allows you to concentrate on your décor and guest experience all in one location. A unique ceremony and reception location on a tight budget could be a beautiful yacht; all of your guests could board, have a cocktail and set sail! The ceremony area can convert into a dance floor area and your guests will be able to experience different views around the harbor. Another budget-friendly location would be the botanical gardens. Most major cities have beautiful botanical gardens that allow weddings to take place at very little to no cost. This way you can focus on the reception at a beautiful loft with an incredible view. Your catering company will set up and take care of the rest!

Whatever you decide to do, make sure you take at least five minutes for yourself to enjoy the day and don’t forget to take it all in with your partner and loved ones. Your wedding is all about creating memories!

Best of luck,



Categories: Advice, Weddings


Kelly Irwin Rutty
Kelly Irwin Rutty is the founder of Kelly Irwin Rutty Events. For over 10 years, Kelly has been planning and producing weddings and private events for a client list that includes celebrities, athletes and royals. An Aussie with a passion for art deco designs, a love of champagne and an appreciation of handwritten thank you notes, Kelly enjoys living the good life and creating it for others. She's also been known to run a team of over 300 men on-site while making sure the bride has fresh flowers and her favorite treats in her suite. Her dedication to getting things done no matter what it takes is what makes her badass.


Photo: Christian Oth.

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