Having two years to plan our wedding was key to being able to save and budget for it. The two years allowed me plenty of time to do my research, create Pinterest boards, and shop the sales. We also had a very simple wedding. Originally I wanted lots of dahlias, different centre pieces, extravagant floral arches, and gold cutlery. But the truth is if you're looking to have a beautiful wedding on a budget simple is better. We opted instead of huge bouquets of out of season flowers to just have white roses, eucalyptus and babysbreath. Instead of gold cutlery which rents at about 3x the price as normal ones we did gold napkins. Candles were bought on sale from a local store (www.yummicandles.ca) and twinkle lights were purchased after christmas when all winter decor goes onto majour clearance.
Very few venues allow this for insurance purposes so we were limited in where we could hold the venue but luckily for us, our top choice was one of the few places in Hamilton that allows outside catering (they've sadly since changed this).
Our AMAZING photographer was a bit out of our price range, he usually shoots with a second photographer and does it for 8hrs. So instead of assuming it was a write off, I emailed him. I asked if he was open to the idea of just him, and just 4hr of photography. Turns out he was, and we saved 1500$ on photos he also threw in a free 1h shoot a few days after the wedding since we were being traditional and didn't want pre ceremony photos.
Overall the biggest cost of our wedding was our open bar, in Ontario there are very few ways to avoid this unfortunately. But we knew that going in, and were able to save for two years.
Planning a wedding on a budget is totally doable. It just requires commitment & discipline. I probably repeat those two words the most in my budgeting blogs. They are the two keys for budgeting success.