A wedding can be expensive, and one under 10K is almost impossible to plan if you use the old standards.
The main and most effective way to save money is a smaller guest list. That multiplier will cost you more than any individual item ever would.
Decide what you REALLY want and care about. Think really hard on this, and then focus your attention there. Decide what you don’t care about and don’t waste your money on these things. Frugal is an objective term; my recent wedding cost enough that likely no one here would call it frugal but to me I think it was; each thing we spent money on was carefully thought about and decided to be necessary for what we wanted. If you really want a formal sit down dinner of high quality food then do it; you won’t be happy with pizza or a potluck. But maybe you don’t need fancy cocktails before dinner and can cut those out. Same thing with an open bar: we decided it was a priority so even though it costs more we went for it.
At the same time maybe you don’t care about any of those items and cut them all: I know someone who has a Sunday morning wedding with a nice light brunch after and no alcohol: it was cheaper than a standard wedding and still nice and everyone had a good time.
Don’t get sucked into “traditions” that you don’t care about. I recommend this book that we read, called “a practical wedding” by Meg Keene, it explains how all the “traditions” that people will get bent out of shape about actually are not long standing traditions but recent things designed to take your money. If it’s something you want then do it and don’t feel any shame about it, but if you don’t care about it then don’t waste a bunch of money and ignore anyone who complains.
I recommend focusing on WHEN things need to be done as a guide for possible frugality too. Remember that with a wedding everything will cost you either time or money and you need to pick. Meaning that if you want it cheaper it will mean more time and work for you, and if you want it easier and faster then it costs more money. So anything that can be done well in advance and will still be fine come the big day (like making decorations or things like that) I recommend taking advantage of as you can save money without too much extra stress and get this done when you actually have available time. I tried/recommend avoiding anything that requires your personal time in the week before the wedding as you will already be super busy and stressed in the days right close to the big day; it might save you some money to do your own flowers but the bride and groom shouldn’t be up until 4am the night before the wedding day making arrangements. This is the reason that we did a huge amount of DIY decorations/favors/etc (including pies for the dessert that we made and cooked and then froze until the wedding!) but you can hired someone to do the flowers and other perishable things (you will just have to pay).
There are different kinds of expenses when you do an outdoor DIY wedding on private property like that. We had our wedding at my grandma’s home in the country, and we had to rent a big tent (in case it rained) with all the furnishings, audio equipment, a generator, and washrooms. The tent, lights, tables, chairs and linen rentals were one of our biggest expenses.
It was beautiful and I loved it. But it’s not necessarily cheaper than an inexpensive venue.
I read on here about one couple that used plates from goodwill and just donated them back after they were done with them. Apparently they were cheaper than renting or buying and also more eco friendly than disposable.
Also, my buddy bought a whole bunch of goodwill stuff as decorations. He bought used chandeliers and spray painted them silver and hung them from trees outside to provide lights for the reception. They had the wedding at her parents farm. They looked really cool and it turned out to be a very effective and stylish. They were about 20 feet up so the metallic spray paint looked fine.