The average wedding in the UK now costs £17,674, so it’s no wonder many couples are looking for wedding ideas on a budget to cut costs on their special day. From your wedding dress to the venue and decorations, there are many simple ways to save money when wedding planning, so you can pull off your dream day without getting into debt. Read on for our 17 ways to plan a wedding on a budget…
1. Marry out of season or on a weekday
One of the easiest ways to reduce the cost of your wedding is to consider marrying out of season, or even on a weekday. According to Bridebook’s 2019 wedding report, couples can save almost £5,000 by hosting their wedding in January or February rather than the peak months of June to August. You could almost save as much as £6,000 by marrying on a Tuesday or Wednesday rather than a Saturday.
2. Keep it intimate
It can be easy to get carried away when choosing who to invite to your wedding, but keeping the guest list limited to close friends and family could significantly cut costs. Take the time to really consider who you can’t imagine your big day without. Would you really miss that old friend you haven’t seen for years or the former work colleague you feel obliged to invite? If not, cut them from the list.
3. Say yes to the bargain dress
Choosing your dream dress is a big part of wedding planning, but there are so many more options beyond visiting your local bridal shop if you’re on a budget. While high street retailers including Whistles, French Connection and ASOS all have their own wedding dress lines, you could also look to websites like Still White, a pre-owned wedding dress marketplace, where you can find designer wedding dresses at a fraction of their original retail price.
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4. Hit the sales
You could save cash on everything from bridesmaid dresses to the grooms’ suit by browsing the sales. Keep a look out for mid-season and end-of-season sales at your favourite retailers, as well as one-day events at department stores like Debenhams, where you could save as much as 30 per cent on a selection of brands.
5. Print your own wedding stationery
The cost of bespoke wedding invitations and the rest of your stationery can soon stack up, but you could save a fortune by taking it into your own hands. There are thousands of beautiful templates you can buy on Etsy and customise yourself, while websites like Printed.com offer high quality printing services for as little as £10, for beautiful and luxurious looking wedding stationery on a budget.
6. Or send e-vites
Alternatively, you could take the modern route by sending e-vites to your guests. Not only will this save cash on your stationery, but websites like Paperless Post will allow guests to RSVP online, helping you to keep track of attendees too.
7. Utilise your friends' talents
Is one of your best friends a talented musician, photographer or DJ? Utilise their skills by asking if they would kindly help out on your wedding day, whether it’s performing during your drinks reception or doing a DJ set in the evening. Chances are they will love the opportunity to play an important role in your wedding, and it could save you thousands on booking the services elsewhere.
MORE: 5 ways to save money on your wedding venue
8. Look for a venue with no corkage
Bringing your own drinks could significantly cut the costs of your wedding breakfast, and help to avoid pricey drinks packages. However, not all venues allow couples to do this, so look for somewhere with a ‘no corkage’ policy that will allow you to bring your own wine and champagne with no charge.
9. Prioritise what's important to you
Even if you have a strict budget, you don’t have to scrimp on everything. Take the time to think about what is most important to you and prioritise those things, then aim to cut costs on the less important elements. Perhaps you have always dreamed of that designer wedding dress but aren’t as bothered about the cake, or you want to spend more on that unique wedding venue that doesn’t require any extra decorations. With some savvy planning you can still create your perfect day on a budget.
10. Have your ceremony and reception at the same venue
More and more wedding venues are now licensed to carry out civil ceremonies, and not only does it eliminate any travel time between two different venues, but it can also help to reduce the cost of wedding cars and transportation for your guests. Win-win!
11. Make your own wedding cake
The average wedding cake now costs £331, but you could spend as little as a quarter of the price by making it yourself. Stork has launched a DIY ‘Bake By Numbers’ wedding cake kit to allow even novice bakers to make a botanical-design naked wedding cake for 70 guests for £49, or you could try a supermarket wedding cake from the collections available at Marks & Spencer and Waitrose.
12. Re-think your wedding flowers
You don’t need to spend a fortune on your wedding flowers. Try incorporating lots of foliage and greenery into your bouquet to help keep costs down, or mix one or two more larger headed blooms in with smaller filler flowers to create a striking bouquet or display for less.
MORE: How to get celebrity-inspired wedding flowers on a budget
13. Try some wedding DIY
Experiment with some DIY elements to incorporate into your big day such as your decorations or favours. Not only will it save money, but it’s also a great way to add a personal touch to your wedding, and make it truly your own.
14. Buy on the high street
Who says you need to hire a wedding stylist or splash out on expensive decorations to make your wedding perfect? You can bring your Pinterest dreams to life with bargain high street buys from stores like IKEA and even Primark, from striking candleholders to ornate photo frames and lighting, you’ll be surprised at what you could find when you think outside the box.
15. Don’t over-cater
It can be easy to get carried away when catering your wedding, but chances are many of your guests may not want lots of evening food and snacks just a couple of hours after a three-course meal. Consider supplying evening food for around 70 per cent of your guests, to eliminate food waste and wasted money.
16. Support local businesses
From your florist to your photographer, try to support local businesses and up-and-coming suppliers when planning your wedding. Not only will they likely be cheaper than bigger, national suppliers, but they may also spend extra time and effort working with you to ensure everything is perfect, as it helps to build their portfolio too.
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17. Plan just for you
Try not to get swept along by trends, what you think you should have or creating the most Instagrammable wedding. Instead, just focus on what your wedding day means to you as a couple and keep that in mind throughout the wedding planning process. This will help to prevent overspending on unnecessary details that you don’t want or need.
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