A Socially Distance Wedding for Under $3000 // Wedding Impossible

A few weeks ago on my youtube channel (which is full of all sorts of wedding planning goodness), I did a video planning an imaginary wedding based on a few factors a pulled out at random. Let’s talk about those elements that I randomly selected and then we’ll talk about what the wedding looked like.

Budget: $3000

Even though the average budget for a wedding is around $32,000, that includes weddings like Nick Jonas and Priyanka Chopra and they really raise the average. The median budget for a wedding is closer to $18,000 and that means that half of all weddings cost less than that. I wanted to make sure to include a broad spectrum of options, to cover the wide range of budgets that exist. It’s often harder to find examples of lower budget weddings in the magazines and on blogs, so it’s important to me to showcase weddings at every price point!

Guest Count: 50

I was certainly appreciative of a smaller wedding based on our budget and some other restrictions we’ll mention soon!

Themes: Casual and Whimsical

I love both of these themes. They weren’t too specific, which gave me a little more flexibility, but created the perfect mood.

Colors: Navy Blue and Sparkle

I don’t know if I love any combination more. Navy is one of my favorite neutrals. I think it adds a beautiful richness and I’m all about glitter. The challenge these presented was how do I keep the atmosphere casual with colors that tend to lean more formal.

Top Priority: Decor

A bride after my own heart! I love wedding decor and it is certainly one of the most fun and exciting parts of planning a wedding in my opinion. Priorities are so important, especially if you are working on a small budget!

Must-Have: Now!

This one provided the biggest challenge because at the time I was working on this project it was late May and we were still deep in the Corona pandemic, so gatherings were very limited. I had to get really creative on how to have a wedding while following local regulations and keeping everyone safe.

My solution to a socially distanced wedding was to skip the dancing and catering and instead create a drive-in movie experience. Initially, I was thinking of actually having everyone actually stay in their cars, but the logistics of getting a sound system and screen, so that everyone could enjoy from inside their cars was out of the budget. However, I still embraced the atmosphere of the drive-in plus lots and lots of balloons. I envisioned a park with picnic blanket “seats” for all the guests (appropriately at least 6 feet apart distanced, of course). The wedding would happen at dusk and then the guests would settle in for an outdoor movie night.

I think that it is particularly important to create a ceremony space when you are having your wedding in an open outdoor space, like a park or field. This ceremony backdrop would be a pretty simple DIY with a wooden frame covered in a dyed drop cloth. To make it a little more special and elevated, we added a glittery monogram and a balloon garland.

Instead of a traditional table, we created little picnic blanket spots for each couple, so everyone could remain socially distant. We added a little more interest with an LED balloon with a glitter “table” number on it. You’ll notice a lot of balloons throughout this wedding plan. Balloons are a great way to add impact with decor for a small price tag.

There are a lot of nontraditional things about this wedding, but the biggest is probably that we skipped catering entirely! What we would need to catering while maintaining social distancing and not having people touching the same things, just didn’t fit into our budget. I did a couple of things to try to counterbalance that choice. The first being, the wedding will be pretty late. It’s a summer evening, so in order for it to be dark enough for the movie, the wedding probably won’t start until 8:00 or 8:30. We’re also providing some light snacks. They’re prepackaged and already waiting for them on their spots, so we don’t have to worry about germs, but we couldn’t have a movie night without popcorn.

My favorite little detail is the seating chart. To tie in the drive-in theme, I wanted to create a parking lot with each space representing a blanket and then add a glittered car. Creating something special for a seating chart or a guest book or any other little detail can be an affordable way to elevate your event.

Below I've included an overview of the budget. I get into a little more detail in the video, but let me know if you have any questions!