How To Get Married In Your 20s When You’re Both Broke

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“Young people – marry simply, start your life, and party later. Think of how much babysitting for your future colicky baby you could buy with that wedding budget. Think of how much marriage therapy you could buy. Invest in your marriage, not your wedding.”

~ Glennon Doyle Melton

“We’re waiting to get married until we’ve paid off our debt and saved enough money for a nice wedding and an even better honeymoon.”

Seriously? You can be married and broke …

This statement is problematic on many different levels. Yes, being 20-something and planning an awesome wedding on a budget can be challenging, but not impossible. What does this mean for you? It means you can still get married in your 20s – even if you are both young and super broke. Yes, wedding planning can get pricey, if you let it. But, it doesn’t have to be if you are careful and creative. So, what can you do if you and your fiancée are in your 20s with little-to-no money to contribute to a wedding? A lot.

What you shouldn’t do if feel like you can’t afford to get married

What you shouldn’t do, however, is prolong getting married simply because you are young and in debt or have a tight wedding budget. If you put your heart into planning the wedding, you’ll find ways to make it just as beautiful and magical as one of those fancier, more expensive ones. All you and your fiancée need to plan the perfect wedding is love and an ability to think outside-of-the-box. So, who’s ready to get married now?

The purpose of a wedding is to celebrate the commitment and joining of two people, who are in love and want to spend the rest of their lives together – not to throw the most lavish wedding you can to impress your attendants.

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How to Have a Wedding on a Tight Budget

No money? No problem. You can still get married and have a wedding. The key is to be thrifty about sourcing certain must-haves and to be your own wedding planner.

  1. Purchase or rent a used wedding dress / tux. When you see a design you like, have it professionally altered to fit you just right.
  2. Get creative about the location. Look into the possibility of using or reserving a public space for your wedding. Or if you have a friend who owns a few beautiful acres in the countryside, ask if you can host your wedding on their property.
  3. Keep the guest list to a minimum. Weddings get expensive as soon as you are faced with the possibility of seating and feeding dozens and dozens of guests. Keep the cost of food and accessories low by only inviting your closest friends and family.
  4. Serve finger-foods. Don’t worry about presenting everyone with a full-course meal. Serve finger foods that you and a few helpers can make yourselves a few days before the wedding.
  5. Make your own bouquets, invitations, place settings, etc. The more you can DIY, the more money you’ll save.
  6. Pay friends and family for their talents. Have a cousin with an eye for photography? A friend who can play the violin? An aunt who makes elaborate birthday cakes each year? Don’t expect them to work for free — but know that hiring them will likely be more affordable than hiring a professional.
  7. Get a personal loan. Once you’ve decided how to really rein in the budget, consider taking out a personal loan for the remaining expenses.

Actionable Steps


Read the longer version

You can learn more about “getting married in your 20s when you’re both broke,” by reading the following articles: 5 Ways to Get Married on a Budget, Budget Weddings For Dummies Cheat Sheet, and 20 Ideas for a Frugal (Not Cheap) Wedding on a Budget.


DIY flowers

If you’re getting married in your 20s and you’re both broke, you may want to consider making your own wedding bouquet and flower arrangements. All you need to make a beautiful bouquet and flower arrangements is an open-mind, a lot of creativity, floral tape and wire, your favorite flowers, and lacy or colorful satin ribbons. It’s as easy as that!
The great thing about a DIY wedding bouquet and flower arrangements is you can do them a day before the wedding or on the actual wedding day! Gather up your closest friends, grab a couple of wine bottles and flutes, and start gabbing, laughing, and crafting!
Note: If you decide to DIY for your wedding bouquet and flower arrangements the day before the wedding, research how to properly store them (perhaps on YouTube), so they don’t wilt before you get married.
If you have an extremely tight budget, because you’re both broke, you may want to forgo having flowers altogether. Weddings don’t require flowers. In fact, you could get a large tissue pom-pom from a craft store and use that as your bouquet. You could also get smaller tissue pom-poms to decorate your wedding venue or location. Get on Pinterest and look at creative options other couples have come up with! You are not the first pair of people to get married in your 20s on a tight budget.


Ask for help

If you have a dismal budget for wedding planning – ask for help! In other words, ask your friends and family to help you with wedding preparations, such as catering the reception food, helping you decorate the venue or location, assisting you while you make homemade wedding invitations, etc.  A friend or family member may even have the wedding dress of your dreams sitting in her closet.
The best thing about involving your friends and family in the wedding planning is the onslaught of creativity. Have your friends and family over for a “Pizza, Netflix & Wedding Planning” session, and soak up all of the budget-friendly ideas you get. You never know what you’ll come up. All of those brilliant minds buzzing with excitement and those helpful hands creating amazing wedding masterpieces to help you get married in your 20s will be super helpful.
Many times it’s your loved ones who come up with the best ideas – ones that save you a ton of effort and money. Good friends and family will want you to have the best day of your life, so ask them!


Have an at-home or outdoor wedding

Who says you have to rent a venue to have a wedding? No one. Well, then don’t, if you don’t have to, and we’ve already established you don’t. Wedding venues can get very expensive, so why not save some money and have a cozy at-home wedding with your closest friends and family.
Not keen on having a bunch of wedding guests in your home or at any home for that matter? Why not have an outdoor wedding at a local park with an amazing view, or at a beach with plenty of ocean waves, sunrays, and golden sand? The best thing about an outdoor wedding is you typically get a picturesque ceremony that is both refreshing and memorable.  
Note: If you decide to have an outdoor wedding, make sure you have an alternative location picked out in the event of inclement weather – i.e. thunderstorms, hurricanes, tornadoes, snow, etc. The last thing you want is your loved ones sitting or standing in mud or snow. Research the weather for the next 10 days and pray nothing pops-up before then.


Request money for the honeymoon in-lieu of a wedding gift

Lastly, if you really want to go on a nice honeymoon after the wedding, but simply don’t have the money, request money for a honeymoon in-lieu of wedding gifts. This type of wedding gift is becoming more and more common especially with Millennials and Generation Z’ers. How can you request these funds? By setting up a Go Fund Me account or a similar money-collecting site and placing the information on your invitations.

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About the Author

Dr. R. Y. Langham

Dr. R. Y. Langham

Ph.D. in Family Psychology

Ree has a Master’s in Marriage and Family Therapy (M.M.F.T.) and a Ph.D. in Family Psychology. She spent over ten years counseling families, couples, individuals, and children on adjustment issues such as blended families, same-sex couples, dysfunctional family relationships, relationship issues, etc. Now she writes for famous health organizations and is a published author.
Full Bio | LinkedIn

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