film + digital photography

10k Wedding budget. How To keep it gorgeous

10k Wedding is it possible..?

Today I am going to break down how to have a wedding for right around 10k that is still gorgeous! These are our personal DIY hacks that still includes professional photography!

Recently, I released a blog post that has almost everything under the sun that planning couples want for their wedding… which can lead to a $35-40k check.
Read it here!

I know that is not everyones budget and we are here to help ease your anxiety and show you how to have an amazing wedding day for 10k!

1: Elope instead!

It truly is a myth that eloping is always more expensive than a wedding.. it’s just not true! Eloping on average can be $7-15k and builds in your honeymoon!

The argument can lead to that people wont come if you elope – not true!
If your friends+family really love you and really want to be there, they will arrange it! (Plus if you’ve given enough time notice to get off work)

If you’re eloping you can pick almost any spot, venue, park, mountings – etc!
You generally will have to pay for permits (national parks), admittance, and wedding license / officiant fees!

2: Small Wedding

Let’s face it, having a big wedding is a big cost! Nothing wrong if that’s what you want! But if you are trying to cut cost, the best starting point is the guest list.

This also means cutting down on the amount of people in your bridal party!
Bridal party costs:
Dress / Suit / Shoes / Gifts / Engagement Party / Bach Parties

Small wedding – smaller venue – smaller amount of food

3: Cut out traditional wedding food!

There is nothing wrong with pizza + wings 🙂
(We are having pizza and wings at our wedding hehe!)

Now.. we love food, don’t hate us here, sometimes if you’re planning a certain kind of event it would be really weird and awkward for your guests to not get fed.

Other times – if your wedding is early in the day, and only for a certain amount of time… meh, you can probably skip a meal!

Catered meals can cost $7-50 / plate on average in the midwest

4: DIY Everything you can – Outsource what saves your sanity!

Florals, decor, tables, invites, accessories .. so many things that you could do yourself if you wanted to, had the time to, and wanted to save the money on.

Our golden rule is remember what you get to keep after the wedding is over – Photography, Videography, decor

You + Your guests will not usually keep your invite, flowers, gifts, food.. I’m all for a gorgeous wedding invite – but I know better than to spend money on something no one will keep but me.

Also, if you have trades in your family, ask for help!
We’re photographers – we designed + printed our own invites through our professional lab, we have the ability to create all the little things like that.
My parents are in construction – big help for decor + furniture

^^ THINGS like this! Just always remember a thank you, and not a “work my wedding for free”

5: Budget early – don’t ignore the budget!

Never go into debt trying to please other people! A wedding is romance, fun, and a celebration! We would rather our couples have a low budget + high love day, then a stressful day that spiraled out of control!

6: Shop smart to keep the 10k wedding budget

That means getting creative with where you find your decor, rings, attire, everything!

-Etsy: amazing rings + veils + dresses, just be smart and research the shop

-Thrift: Goodwill type stores for decor, you can find some good steals!

-Dress: Decide early what kind of experience you want. I loved my appointment at A&Be and would not trade that for the world! My dress is designer, and that’s what I wanted! I saved for it!
You can find amazing dresses online + at sample sales though!

couple kissing in the middle of their wedding party

7: Venue Reality for 10k Wedding

We have some amazing venues in Iowa, and I LOVE THEM. The coordinators, the space – everything just flows together!

The catch – not every venue is meant for every couple.
Do you want a venue that includes tables / chairs / set up / food

Do you want a venue that includes bar / clean up / ceremony + reception space / bring your own vendors

What is your vibe? Romantic? Rustic?
Do you need a space that fits 150+ ?

If you need an all – in – one venue, the cost will be higher, but less for you to worry about!
If you are all in yourself, and ready to rent things on your own, you can get away with a cheaper space, and decorated all to your style!

8: It’s okay to splurge on a few items!

We encourage splurging on photo + video + attire! Go ahead and buy your dream dress, dream suit – WEAR it on your honeymoon for photos, wear it on your anniversary.

Your photos are your memories and what you will pass down eventually, don’t forget to ask about albums, prints, and how your photographer will give you your photos!

Don’t be scared to look sexy AF on your dream day. Then remember it for years to come.

couple posing in wedding attire

Sample budgets for 10k Weddings + Elopements

Small Wedding — $15k
Photographer: $5000
Videographer: $4000
Venue: $3500
Marriage license: $35
Officiant: $200
Food: $500
Dress: $1500
Suit: $400
Attire Accessories: $500
Flowers: $100

Elopement Sample– $10k
Photographer: $5000
Marriage license: $35
Officiant: $200
Location Permit: $200
Airfare: $100-800 (Want to know how to fly cheap, read our post)
Food: $300
Dress: $2000 (Check out this shop here, I love their modern styles!)
Suit: $400
Veil / Shoes / Accessories: $500
Flowers: $100

As always, if you are one of our #JTPcouple ‘s we have your back! We are ready to dive in and step up to bat for you! It’s your day!

Love, Jamie + Mark


we're jamie and mark!

We help quirky and untraditional couples find joy and adventure on their special days by providing passionate and wild photography that captures the big moments of love… and all the little candid ones in between.


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IOWA ELOPEMENT PHOTOGRAPHER | Iowa Microwedding photographer