How to Plan a Vow Renewal on a $200 Budget

No budget? No problem! You can celebrate with guests, food, and dancing! 16 Tips to Make the Most of a Tiny Vow Renewal Budget Planning a vow renewal on a […]

10.5 min readCategories: Budget Renewals

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No budget? No problem! You can celebrate with guests, food, and dancing!

16 Tips to Make the Most of a Tiny Vow Renewal Budget

Planning a vow renewal on a very small budget can be a little challenging, but it’s completely doable and you can have a lovely vow renewal ceremony and reception. Just keep in mind why you are renewing your vows as you do your planning – this is about the two of you, not having a big party you really can’t afford. Focus on the elements that are the most important to you and skimp on or skip those that aren’t. Don’t care about having a big meal, don’t! Simply serve cake with punch and coffee. Dying to dance the evening away with your sweetheart, put your money into a DJ or sound system. Here are sixteen tips to planning a vow renewal on a $200 budget for up to 50 guests.

1. Invitations
Create your own invitations using your computer and printer. Lovely fonts and graphics can be downloaded from the internet for free.

Invitation kits are available at the office supply store and places like Walmart.

Greeting card kits will also work.You can also design your own using copy paper mounted on card stock. Check out the Dollar Tree for bargains on envelopes and paper. Remember to keep sizes standard to eliminate extra postage charges.

Cost $0-20
2. Officiant
You don’t need a legal officiant for a vow renewal, so ask a friend or family member to preside over the ceremony. Some churches also conduct vow renewal ceremonies at no charge, be sure to ask!
Cost $FREE
3. Ceremony and Reception Locations
Depending on how many guests you are wanting to have, you may be able to hold your ceremony in a public garden, park, or building. Check with the regulations with your city and/or local parks department. Some spaces have natural seating built in, you could set up lawn chairs, or have guests stand. Picnic shelters also work well for reception spaces and can usually be rented for a small fee.

Your home is also a perfect place to hold your vow renewal ceremony and reception.

If you are a member of a church, you may also find that you can use their facilities at no charge.

Cost $0-50
4. Music
If you’re wanting to have music, consider iPod/digital music – If your church or location has a good sound system, you may be able to fill your iPod, MP3 player, laptop, or even CD player with your favorite music for the ceremony and/or reception. Portable blue tooth speakers can also work wonderfully in small spaces – simply use several to get the level of sound desired. (Ask friends and family if you can borrow one if you don’t have one with enough power to deliver the level of sound needed.)

You will want to appoint someone to be in charge of making sure that it plays what you want, when you want and emceeing the event.

It’s also helpful to have a microphone for announcements of key events during the reception. A computer microphone will work if you are using a laptop for your playing your music.

Cost $FREE
5. Beverages
Keep drinks simple with coffee, iced tea, and a very basic lemonade or fruit punch.
Cost for 50 guests $10-15.
6. Main Course
Pasta is a great choice for the main course – opt for bulky types of pasta over long noodles to make your budget go oven further. Visually they seem like more and people take more appropriate portions and less goes in the trash. Keep sauces simple. A classic marinara sauce enhanced with some canned diced tomatoes and roasted garlic cloves is delightful and much easier than a meat sauce. You need 2 ounces of pasta per adult.

Other great options include salads topped with meat, turkey (buy during the holidays), ham, or pulled pork.

3 sauces, 3 types of pasta – Cost for 50 guest $50-70.
7. Sides
Compliment your pasta with a simple romaine lettuce or baby greens salad pre-tossed with a classic Italian vinaigrette and dressed with some tomatoes and red onions. Finish off with yeast rolls or loaves of French bread sliced and pre-buttered.

If you’re opting to have a meat for the main course, bulky and inexpensive vegetables are your best bet, think glazed carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, roasted potatoes, or even green beans.

Cost for $50 guests $20-30.
8. Cake
If you have a membership to your local Sam’s Club, you can pick up a sheet or layer cake pretty inexpensively. Some Sam’s Clubs even offer two layer “wedding” cakes for as little as $50. Otherwise I recommend having a baking party and making a variety of cupcakes to serve for desert. Your local Dollar Tree or Walmart should have festive cupcake papers in stock to give them a little polish. Simply top each one with a single pearlized Sixlet (available at Walmart in the baking aisle usually or at your local party store), a conversation heart, or other small candy to finish them off with a special touch. If you put the icing on the a decorator tube, you will end up with a cupcake that looks like it came straight from the bakery.
Cost for 50 guest $20-50.
9. Flowers
For flowers, keep things ultra simple to stay on budget. Have each female attendant carry a single rose tied with a ribbon instead of a bouquet. Check your craft leftovers for ribbon or pick up two spools of beautiful, but inexpensive ribbon. Get a dozen roses the day before at your local grocery store or Sam’s Club. Keep them fresh in water.

For the female attendants – Tie the single roses with a 24-inch piece of ribbon making a bow. A sheer or satin looks lovely. Return to water.

For you – Tie six roses into a hand-tied bouquet using some satin ribbon. Simply wrap the stems tightly going down six inches. Once you are ready for the ceremony, cut the excess stems off.
Groomsmen – Skip the flowers!

Groom – Tie a small piece of ribbon at the base of a small rose ahead of time. A couple of hours before the ceremony, cut the stem short, and you have a perfect boutonniere.

You have two emergency roses left from a dozen!

Cost $15-25.
10. Photos
Ask all of your guests to send you the photos they will inevitably take with their cell phones. Set up a special free email account for this! Make some little cards for tables with your request and the email address to send them to one them.

If any family member or friend has a nice camera, ask them to take photos. If not, check with your local community college that offers photography classes to see if you can find a talented student who would be willing to do it for their portfolio or a small fee. Make sure they will provide you with the photos on a flash drive or CD before leaving the celebration.

Cost $5-50 for the digital images
11. The Dress
Check your closet to see if you have a favorite dress that would be perfect for the occasion. It can be any color. Perhaps you have a long formal or semi-formal gown that’s been dying to make another appearance? Still, have your wedding dress? See if it still fits. You can also check local thrift shops, Craigslist, groups, or the closets of friends and family to find something perfect.

Another good budget option is to take a look at They have a great selection of classic dresses that are often discounted. If you want a white dress, try doing a search for “white” on their site. They usually have a few nice options in white cotton for very reasonable prices. Plus, if you’ve never ordered from them before, you can get $25 off your first order and free customizing. If you have a hard time finding something that fits perfectly, this is an amazing option, but plan ahead as custom orders take three weeks to get. eShakti

Cost $0-75
12. Attendant Dresses
The least expensive option is to skip having attendants, however, if you have your heart set on them, keep the dresses simple. Ask each attendant if they have a certain color of dress in their closet already – popular options include basics like black, navy, and red. Or coordinate colors by shade – think jewel tones, pastels, brights, or shades of a single color. Try to keep lengths and styles similar.

Another good budget option is to take a look at They have a great selection of classic dresses that are often discounted. Plus, if you’ve never ordered from them before, you can get $25 off your first order and free customizing. If your attendants are hard to fit, this is an amazing option, but plan ahead as custom orders take three weeks to get. eShakti – Shop Women’s designer fashion dresses, tops| Size 0-36W &Custom clothes

Asking attendants to either pay for their dress or even pay a portion of the cost will help keep you on budget.

Cost $0-75 per attendant
13. Groom & Groomsmen
The least expensive option is to skip having attendants, however, if you have your heart set on them, keep their attire simple. Ask each attendant if they have a certain color of suit in their closet already that matches what you husband has – a basic black suit with a white shirt is probably your best option. Simply coordinate tie colors with the attendants’ dresses.

Another option for a more casual vow renewal is to have them all wear dress shirts or polo shirts and slacks. This works well with colored polo shirts and tan slacks or even black slacks and a white shirt with coordinating tie.

Cost $0
14. Decorations for the reception
If you want table decorations think simple – one great idea is to put the cupcakes on cake plates and use them as centerpieces and make serving desert easy. You could also check your local nursery for inexpensive potted flowers. Another great option is to place single assorted flowers in assorted vases on each table. A collection of three vases per table is perfect for this. Ask friends and family to borrow any they have. If you’re planning a Valentine’s Day vow renewal, another really fun option is to pick up children’s Valentine cards at the Dollar Tree and place them with pens on the tables in the center. Have guests fill them out and give them to each other or you as a great memento of the occasion.
Cost $0-20
15. Favors
To stay on budget, skip them! They really aren’t necessary. If you really want to do some kind of favor for guests, simply wrap a dozen candy conversation hearts or other small candies in cellophane and tie with curling ribbon. These could also make fun centerpieces.
Cost $0-8
16. Tableware and Serveware
Check your cupboards and call your close family and friends to see if they have dishes, glasses, silverware, cloth napkins, serve-ware, and tablecloths you can borrow! You might be surprised how many you have yourself. Mix and match sets to create eclectic table settings.

If you’re having your ceremony and reception at your church be sure to ask what they have on hand. Many will have everything you need.

Prefer disposables? Check your local Sam’s Club for deals on better quality options.

Cost $0-60
Total Budget for up to 50 Guests and 3 Attendants

A few of notes:

  • There is no budget for alcohol in this list – that’s because it is a huge expense and doesn’t fit very well into a small budget vow renewal.
  • We’re assuming you either have or have access to plenty of crock pots, roasters, coffee pots, and beverage containers at no cost through family, friends, or church.
  • You’re counting on the help of family and friends to help with setup, serving, clean up, and general support.
  • Cutting your guest list back to only the most important people in your life will definitely save you money.
  • If you really want to serve alcohol, have a late evening reception and opt for an inexpensive sparkling wine paired with simple appetizers and cake.
  • A classic backyard cookout or even pizza delivery can be other great “catering” options that will keep you on budget.

If we missed something that you need ideas for, just let us know in the comments and we’ll be happy to help! Be sure to sign up for our newsletter to get the latest ideas each week too!


  1. Karen Yvonne Fountain October 31, 2016 at 11:40 pm - Reply

    These are great suggestions.
    I’d like to see more.

  2. Kimberly August 8, 2017 at 4:41 pm - Reply

    Great tips! I’d like to add that if you are renewing near a Holiday or Season it’s wise to use decorations that are easily found and generally cheap.
    Ex) pinecones, Christmas trees and lighting, wreaths, greenery.

  3. Michelle Gortner November 11, 2019 at 11:35 pm - Reply

    I will be going on my 20th wedding anniversary February 12th. I would love to hear more ideas if you them. Thank you in advance,
    Michelle Gortner

  4. Sandra Vonkaenel April 18, 2020 at 10:25 pm - Reply

    Great ideas can’t wait to see more

  5. August 14, 2021 at 4:25 pm - Reply

    Planning for 2022 46th anniversary and his 75th birthday Milton & Ruthie

  6. Regina Jones December 13, 2021 at 2:33 am - Reply

    Enjoy the idea

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