How Much Does a Small Wedding Cost 2023: The Ultimate Guide

If you are planning an intimate size wedding, you are probably wondering how much does a small wedding cost. The good news is, small sized weddings tend to be more affordable than traditional weddings. A smaller guest list means you’ll be paying a lot less for things like catering, venue space, gifts and favors and other quick to rack up costs. 

Today, we’ll take a look at some of the best ways to pull off a cheap yet classy small wedding,  how to plan, budget, and prepare for your small wedding and other affordable ways to save on costs. 

Average Cost for a Small Wedding 

The average cost of a small wedding varies and can be anywhere from $3,000 to just under $20,000. The way you plan your wedding, where you host it, and the different ways you decide to cut on cost will all influence the overall price tag. 

According to industry experts, if you have a small 50 person wedding hosted at home, you can easily put together a wedding for just under $3,000.

If you have a 50 person wedding hosted at a banquet hall, costs will be roughly around 10 to $12,000. The more elaborate and detailed your wedding, the more you can expect to pay in overall costs.  

Factors that Affect the Cost of a Small Wedding 

So exactly what factors will determine the cost of your small wedding? Let’s dive deep into how you should plan for a cheap wedding and budget accordingly so that it’s as affordable as possible. 


Location is the biggest of the overall wedding budget
Location is the biggest of the overall wedding budget

Your location will be the biggest cost of your overall wedding budget. When planning the location, think about places that you can host your wedding for free or relatively cheap. The good news with having a small wedding is that you don’t need a large space, meaning costs will start off pretty low. Common options for small wedding venues can include: 

    • Your backyard

    • A national park in your community

    • A small banquet hall

    • A family vineyard or family farm 


Planning a wedding during peak wedding season will undoubtedly cost more than if you plan it during the off season or during the slower months. You’ll also have to consider where you host your wedding as well. For example, hosting a wedding during peak wedding season in northern states can get costly. But if you live in the south, the weather is pretty decent all year long allowing you more flexibility with time and of course costs.  

If you’re curious about where the cheapest and expensive places to host your wedding during peak wedding seasons, consider the following stats from wedding data analysts: 

The top ten most expensive places to get married in the U.S. include: 

StateCost per guest2020 average cost
New Jersey$460$30,357
District of Columbia$424$27,965
New York$417$27,533
New Hampshire$410$27,074
Rhode Island$386$25,458

The top ten most cheapest places to get married in the U.S. include:

West Virginia$189$12,498
New Mexico$221$14,591

It’s important to note that these national averages are for traditional size weddings – this typically amounts to about 100 to 150 guests. If you’re planning a small wedding, you can easily cut these national averages in half to determine what a wedding would cost in your state or the state that you plan to get married in. Additionally, you can also cut down the cost per person to get a better sense of how much you should plan for each wedding guest. 


Simple wedding design can save a lot of money
Simple wedding design can save a lot of money

Small weddings lend really well to simplistic, minimalistic design. If this is the route you go, you can expect to be able to save big because you won’t need to purchase too much as far as decor goes. If you’re looking for more of a glam or luxurious style, things can get pricey. Luckily, being it is a small wedding the prices shouldn’t get too crazy. 

Guest List    

Your guest list will be one of the most important driving factors for your overall wedding costs. Small weddings typically consist of a 25 to 100 guest count. Depending on how many guests you have, costs can change slightly, or drastically. Here’s what the industry experts have to say: 

    • 25 Wedding Guests – $5,000-$7,000

    • 50 Wedding Guests – $11,000-12,000

    • 100 Wedding Guests –  $19,000-20,000

    • 150 Wedding Guests – $23,000-24,000

    • 200 Wedding Guests – $27,000-28,000

    • 250+ Wedding Guests – $32,000-33,000

Typical Expenses of a Small Wedding 

Some expenses will be more costly than others when you plan your wedding. Typical expenses of a small wedding will still be the same as those of a traditional wedding. Let’s take a close look at what these expenses are and how much you should allocate for them. 


Venue cost is considered a factor that will also offer catering and decor services as well
Venue cost is considered a factor that will also offer catering and decor services as well

Your venue will  likely be the most expensive wedding service you’ll need. As a general rule of thumb, your wedding venue should be no more than 30% of your overall wedding budget. If you’re having a small wedding, you can shrink this total down to about 20%. A neat way to cut costs is considering a venue that will also offer catering and decor services as well. It’s typically much cheaper if you do a bundle with one vendor rather than contract those services out separately. 


Wedding rentals can range from tables and chairs to decor and even attire for your wedding party. Regardless of the services you need, if you’re going to be using wedding rentals you’ll need to plan accordingly. Wedding rentals can be especially imperative if you’re having a backyard wedding or a wedding in a barnyard or a family farm where necessary furniture isn’t available. In total, plan to allocate about 10% of your wedding fund to rentals. 


Vendors will take up a chunk of your wedding budget
Vendors will take up a chunk of your wedding budget

You’ll have all sorts of vendors you’ll be working with as you plan your wedding. These vendors can include the photographer, videographer, wedding cake baker, cater, florist, and much more. Vendors will each take up a chunk of your wedding budget, but if you plan accordingly, you can cut down on costs. For example, determine what is a priority for your wedding and start there. If you prioritize photography and videography, then you want to allocate more funds to that vendor then say a wedding decorator or wedding planner. 


Marriage licenses are another important expense to consider with your wedding planning. Luckily, this is an expense that is relatively small. Plan to spend no more than 3% of your total wedding budget on licenses, your wedding officiant, and other administrative costs. 

Cost-Cutting Tips for a Small Wedding  

So are there ways to save as you plan a small wedding? Definitely! Let’s take a look at how you can plan and prepare for an unaffordable and unforgettable wedding. 

Skip the Stationery   

Do away with wedding invites, and instead turn to other innovative options like a wedding website to announce and invite your guests. Not only is this more mainstream, but it’s also incredibly cost-effective. 

If you’ve never created a wedding website before, you’re not alone. This is a new trend that many couples are turning to, and you might be surprised at just how easy it is. There are many online tools you can turn to that will help you build out your wedding website. Personalize your website, include your registry, and even send out a mailing list to wedding guests so that they’ll  always be in the loop. 

DIY Decorations and Food-and-Drinks 

Small weddings open up a world of opportunity for DIY cost cutting measures. Because of the small size, and the intimate setting, you can create your own decor, cater the wedding yourself, and even send out homemade, handmade invitations and other do-it-yourself tasks. Some of the best ways to execute DIY initiatives is by using pinterest boards and bridal catalogs for inspiration and then DIY-ing your vision from there. 

Opt for Low-Cost, Non-Traditional Wedding Venues 

Because the venue will likely be your most expensive wedding cost, opt for venues that are non-traditional, low-cost, and even free. Popular choices include barnyards, family farms, and even national parks.

Final Thoughts 

When trying to figure out how much a small wedding costs, you’ll easily find out that there are so many ways to save money as you plan. The most important thing to keep in mind is having a solid wedding budget, and sticking to the allocated funds you have for each vendor. This way your expenses don’t get out of hand. We hope our helpful list has helped guide you as you plan out your very own dream wedding. Let us know in the comment section below how you have executed a small size wedding. 

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