35 tips and ideas for an amazing money-saving budget friendly wedding

It’s a fact. The wedding industry is £10 billion strong, and Ross from friends is responsible for half of that (Oh yes, I’m a Friends fan)

Average cost of a UK wedding is £30,355 and when you think about it, that’s a heck of a lot of money. BUT you still want to have the most magical day you can, without breaking the bank. Right?

Backed by personal experience, advice and do’s and don’ts we have complied the ultimate guide to saving money with a budget friendly wedding.

 Lets help a girl out;

 

  1. Cut down the guest list

Sorry Cousin Lucy. Give people the chop that you don’t think you would miss if you looked back on your wedding pictures 5 years from now. It’s a fact that most wedding guests don’t even talk to the bride once years after the wedding date

How to Top Tip:

Write out your entire list (yep EVERYONE) and gradually start chopping off names. Think of a target number that you would ideally like to get to and get a ‘per head’ quote for everyone on your list and the target number. Enlist your fiancé for help!

 

  1. Don’t have a wedding planner

Wedding Planners are great, and at times can be a life-saver but they don’t come cheap. If you are a a control-freak like me, the idea of letting someone else take the reins brought me out in a rash (no, really)

How to Top Tip:

Make a huge one-stop-shop list of every aspect of your wedding, then brainstorm the little parts that go into a larger aspect. Making a list will help you feel less overwhelmed, and shake off that ‘ive forgotten something’ feeling For example:

FOOD

  • Pre reception drinks
  • Canapés
  • Reception meal
  • Table wine
  • Wine for toast
  • Evening food

 

  1. Have your wedding off season

Getting married in the winter or autumn months can save a good chunk of money, especially if the venue is known for having extravagant summer weddings. Vendors will often be open to doing special offers when business is slow.

How to Top Tip:

Try and think about how you could embrace the colder vibes, and opt for colours that are appropriate for the time of year. Hope to Pinterest for inspiration, or check out some of our own themed wedding boards.

 

  1. Get married on a Saturday

Following on from the last point, Saturday wedding are 20-60% more expensive. My husband and I had our wedding on a Thursday, and realistically, it didn’t affect the guest list at all. As long as you give people enough notice, they won’t miss your special day

How to Top Tip:

Try to give guests as much notice as you can, send out save the dates early, highlighting the fact that the wedding may be on a weekday.

 

  1. Combine two venues

Have your reception and ceremony at the same place. There are many venues that can save you A TON by combining the two. If it’s organised properly, it can be a life saver for those day-drunk guests.

How to Top Tip:

Consider finding reviews, Facebook groups or even talking to previous people that have had a wedding at your chosen venue. Ask them how it was organised, and whether they even noticed the co-ordinators busily working away to change the hall around. Chances are, they didn’t.

 

  1. DIY your wedding décor

This is where your creative relatives will have a field day. Spend an afternoon thinking up words to describe your dream wedding vibe, then head to Pinterest to see what magical DIY hacks you can come up with.

How to Top Tip:

Think of those words that you want to describe your wedding vibe – use Pinterest, Etsy, Google and image searches to compile your own Pinterest board. Then using these words, type ‘DIY’ somewhere in the search query to see how-tos and stunning pictures of crafting at its best. Check out our Pinterest boards to get started!

 

  1. Don’t have a sit down meal

This one explains itself, but rather than going for the expensive £100 a head sit down meal option, try going for a fun themed BBQ, or maybe a hog roast? Think of the your guests and what type of food they like.

How to Top Tip:

When you think of your friends and family having meals out, do you see lavish dinners? Or perhaps a cosy country pub meal? Chances are if they like their local pub, they will enjoy a hog roast or BBQ.

 

  1. Enlist friends and family skills

DON’T feel like you can’t say ‘yes’ when grandma Joan asks to put her calligraphy skills to the test with your place cards. Friends and family want to help, and extending the invitations to help, to both sides of the family, can make a great pre-wedding ice breaker.

How to Top Tip:

Do you know of anyone invited to the wedding that has a special skill or craft? Maybe your fiancés aunt has an Etsy shop selling handmade signs?  (Head to our Etsy shop for budget friendly gift ideas) Or has your friend has been taking dance lessons? Ask them for help! Having everyone get involved is a great way to make your day even more special. Think of all the love that will go into each DIY project, and looking around at them on your wedding day, I can’t think of a better way to share the love!

 

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  1. Fake half the cake

Choose a one or two-tiered fake-cake, that’ll have all the pizazz, then have a sheet cake in the back to cut and serve. Guests will never know, and you can essentially keep your cake forever!

How to Top Tip:

Ask around at local bakeries and even grocery stores to see if they can give you prices based on sheet cakes.

 

  1. Email your save the dates

I can hear a few of you flinch, but trust me; this can save you £30-£200 instantly. Make sure to ask around for guests correct email addresses, send a test email and ask them to respond. Then you know 100% that they will get the email. Design a save the date in PowerPoint, Canva or Photoshop and away you go!

How to Top Tip:

Microsoft word, PowerPoint and Canva are three great free tools to help you design them. They even have free templates!

 

  1. Don’t have flowers or fake them

If you are all about the flowers, have real flower bouquets and buttonholes, but use faux flowers for the centrepieces and other bits and pieces. Alternatively, simply don’t have them!

If you need some inspiration, have a google search for fake bouquets or button bouquets. Why not do something different? A friend of mine had her bouquet made of buttons, and trust me, it looked amazing! Her theme was vintage, and she had teapots as her centrepieces.

How to Top Tip:

Think of your wedding vibe, and brainstorm any other ways you could carry that tone through the day, without the use of flowers

 

  1. Choose a really awesome venue

Having a venue that is already charming, beautiful and full of character means that the décor bill will be much lower, saving you £££.

How to Top Tip:

When looking around at possible venues, take pictures as you go. Make a note of the wow factor as you look, and ponder over whether it really needs £1000s spent on décor.

 

  1. Use a bridesmaid dress as your wedding dress

Stick with me here, Bridesmaid dresses are becoming more and more beautiful and ornate every year, and now even come in white, cream or ivory. If you find a good seamstress, she can make any adjustments or additions needed.

How to Top Tip:

Take a look at Etsy for belts, shawls and other adornments to jazz up your dress. It will end up being completely bespoke and made for you!

 

  1. Wear a pre-loved wedding dress

Many charity and goodwill stores will have wedding dresses for sale, these dresses are longing for another chance at making you feel amazing on your special day!

How to Top Tip:

Get a fab seamstress and go to her armed with pictures, It will help if you’re both on the same page when it comes to alterations and changes.

 

  1. Go simple

Do not get tempted when you go to wedding fairs and fetes, whilst that 7 meter chocolate fountain is fab, it also comes at a £780 price tag. Weddings are about you and your fiancé, not about fancy gimmicks and gadgets (unless it is of course)

How to Top Tip:

Think of all the basic elements of a wedding, and make sure the ones that are important to you, are the ones that you spend your budget. If you don’t care about a chocolate fountain, don’t spend your hard-earned cash on it!

 

  1. Go easy on the food

Personally, 40% of our wedding food was not eaten. This isn’t the first time I’ve heard this. Many of my newly married pals have said that they over-spent on wedding food so that people didn’t go hungry, but what they didn’t realise is, guests will be so busy having fun, they might not eat as much as you think!

How to Top Tip:

Brainstorm your guest numbers, and how much food they are actually likely to eat. I don’t think your fiancés great gran will eat a bowl of soup, two baguettes, a chicken roast with veg, stuffing, a cheesecake, a chocolate torte and half a bottle of wine without feeling a little sluggish after.

 

  1. Rent your wedding dress

YES! You can actually rent designer gowns for the day! Do a quick google search and see what I mean…

How to Top Tip:

Make sure to look at reviews and recommendations before going with a rental company

 

  1. Have more than one ‘something borrowed’

Borrowing wedding items is a great way to save money. Family members and friends will be all-to-happy to lend you their veil or pearls for your special day, and will love seeing their pre-loved items being enjoyed.

How to Top Tip:

Make a list of accessories or décor that you could borrow. Know someone that got married recently? Take them out for a coffee and ask if you could borrow some pieces.

 

  1. Cut out things that aren’t a necessity

This goes hand-in hand with keeping it simple, however cutting down things that were not that important to you when you first started planning, is a great rule of thumb.

 How to Top Tip:

Be strict with yourself, do you really need that pop up bar for the outside space, even though there’s one already included with the venue inside? You probably won’t miss it. If you get stuck, ask close friends or family to chime in.

 

  1. Get plain wedding rings

Diamonds are great and everything, but they come with a huge price tag. Getting plain wedding bands ensures you don’t run out of cash, and still look amazing

How to Top Tip:

Diamonds can be difficult when it comes to wedding rings, if you have more than a ¼ of your band filled with diamonds, if you ever need to resize it, it will need a great deal more work to re-set the stones. In addition, repair costs, if a stone was to fall out, is often more. (trust me, I’m a jewellery designer)

 

  1. Have a longer engagement

My husband and I were engaged for 8 years before we got married, I’m not saying you need to go that crazy, but having a longer engagement can mean saving some serious bucks.

 Think of strolling around a high street on a lazy Sunday, when suddenly you see a sale for beautiful faux flowers for your wedding in 20 months, vs panic buying them from a florists because your wedding is in 6 weeks.

How to Top Tip:

Always look for seasonal sales and promotions, and compare with amazon and google shopping to ensure you’re getting the best deal.

 

  1. Find a budget friendly venue.

Simple really, Don’t go for the Ritz if you want a budget friendly wedding. Chances are if the venue is expensive, they will want you to use their accredited vendors, which also don’t come cheap.

How to Top Tip:

Look though wedding magazines and your local town website to look for low-key beautiful venues – they’re out there – trust me!

 

  1. Get married at the courthouse/city hall

Getting married at the courthouse/city hall/ town hall can save you some SERIOUS money. Hey, you still get married right? But now you have some left over budget to have a kick-butt reception at that amazing hotel you’ve always loved.

How to Top Tip:

Google/Look for images taken inside, and choose a ceremony venue that has plenty of character.

 

  1. Have your reception at a restaurant

Having your reception at a fancy restaurant may not cost as much as you would think, and you still get the wow factor without the price tag of a full-sized venue.

How to Top Tip:

This is especially wonderful if you want a cosy winter wedding, when the weather isn’t very predictable outside. Most of these types of venues will let you also decorate how you like, making it truly customisable

 

  1. Skimp on the choices of alcohol

Let’s be honest – you don’t need 3 different types of red wine, 4 white wines and 3 rose choices. This does depend on your wedding tone and vibe, but personally, at our wedding, we tried, tasted and settled on one choice of red or white. However, I do know of one particular wedding, that ordered a keg of locally brewed beer and lager, which was equally as amazing.

How to Top Tip:

Depending on where your venue is, you can locally source different types of alcohol. Getting married near an orchard in October? See if they make their own cider and buy it in bulk.

 

  1. Consider doing your own flowers

Grocery store/ Supermarket flowers are actually amazing. You can totally do your flowers yourself the night before, as long as you are careful and follow the care instructions. Flowers bought from a store can last week sin a vase at home, so why can’t they look just as amazing on your special day?

How to Top Tip:

Go and look the week before and take pictures of stores with flowers that would make perfect bouquets. If not, order bouquet of flowers from your local florist. Alternatively, use potted plants in cute mason jars for your centrepieces.

 

  1. Be your own DJ

Does your venue have a professional sound system built in? If so, plug your laptop in and create a playlist (iTunes is fab for this) Or try Spotify or similar streaming service.

 

How to Top Tip:

Ask around for tech-savvy friends to see if they wouldn’t mind checking on the playlist at various intervals throughout the wedding. At our wedding, halfway through my Harry potter audiobook came on, but it was a funny moment and we all had a laugh about it.

 

  1. Create your own Photo booth

This one I wish I did! You can buy or make your own props and use a special backdrop. Guests can take photos of your wedding and even upload them to a wedding site or use a special #hashtag

How to Top Tip:

Look around at thrift stores or charity shops for fun and DIY props to use. Make them well in advance. Also print off props at home.

 

  1. Plan to shop the sales

Getting married in the summer? Check the January sales. Getting hitched in December? Scour the summer sales at your favourite stores. Whatever season your wedding is in, stores have at least 4 sales on a year, so you’ll surely catch one.

How to Top Tip:

Make a list (do I sound like a broken record yet?) of your favourite stores, and check them once a week for sale and deals.

 

  1. Don’t mention the W word

Putting the word ‘WEDDING’ before anything can increase if not double the price. A good example is your bouquet. Going to your florist and saying you want a bunch of flowers with pink and white roses, will be an awful lot cheaper if you ask for the same but as a bouquet.

How to Top Tip:

Wedding cakes, décor, Flowers, food, alcohol, Music and stationary have all been found to hike up the prices when the word ‘wedding’ is in the title

 

  1. Sell as much as you can after the wedding

Be honest. You’re not going to use that giant teapot you used as your centre piece again are you? SELL IT! You can attend bridal boot sales and pop it on gumtree to earn back some cash after the wedding.

How to Top Tip:

Try sites like

- Ebay

- Gumtree

- Craigslist

- Local bridal boot sakes

- Car boot sales

- Facebook

 

  1. Go for cashback

Oh cashback. You are my favourite thing EVER. If you haven’t started using sites like topcashback and honey you’re missing out! For most stores (online sales) you get some kind of cashback. When purchasing items for our wedding, I earned £75 cashback overall – not too shabby for free money!

How to Top Tip:

Top cashback has one of the larger selections of stores, cashback ranges from 1%-25%. Consider booking your honeymoon through them, as you can literally get £100-£1000 worth of cashback

  1. Use your points cards

Never thought those Boots points would come in handy? Think again. Over the Christmas period, If you save your double points vouchers and various other offers, you can really bump up your points.

How to Top Tip:

Think of what wedding related goodies you can get with points from

  • Boots
  • Superdrug
  • Nectar
  • Ikea
  • M&S

 

  1. Use money saving apps

Using apps like Vouchercloud and o2 priority can be worth a look when shopping. A quick look now has shown me that I can get 30% off the body shop (think bridesmaid gifts) and 20% off experience days (think bridal shower/ hen do)

How to Top Tip:

Download as many relevant money saving apps as you can!

 

  1. Shop small for bridal party gifts

Shopping small when it comes to gifts, is fabulous for saving money. Smaller shops/sites don’t have the large overheads that bigger stores do

 

How to Top Tip:

Head here for great examples, or maybe try here!

 


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