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Planning a Wedding On a Tight Budget


The average cost of a wedding in the UK is now around £30,000.  But lots of couples are planning their wedding on a tight budget.  Many couples just cannot afford to spend that amount of money and others just don’t want to.  Which is totally fine and understandable. Planning a Wedding on a Tight Budget

Spending a lot less on your wedding doesn’t mean you won’t still have a fabulous day.  To be legally married there are some costs that you cannot avoid but there are plenty of options for saving money on every other aspect of a typical wedding day.

I’m not going to talk about planning a wedding for a specific budget as everyone’s budget is different.  Instead I’ll suggest areas where you can save money which will give you options of where to spend and where to save.

And as I often say, remember it’s your day, so if you choose to not have something in your day that’s absolutely fine and nothing to do with anyone else.



Your wedding venue is generally the biggest cost of your wedding.  But there are some cheaper options out there.

Church halls can be a really great way of saving thousands of pounds.  They’re usually a blank canvas which you can decorate and are usually a good size too.  Not many of them are licensed for civil ceremonies so you will probably need to have your ceremony in a church or register office.

Watch out for new venues who may have some introductory offers available.  Choosing a week day or out of season date can often be cheaper too so make sure you price up the differences.



You don’t have to shop at a bridal boutique for your wedding dress.  Many high street stores have either a bridal range or have formal dresses which are more than okay to wear as a wedding dress.

If you do want a wedding dress, then places like Wed 2 Be are a great option for you.  Their dresses are hugely reduced and you buy off the rack but they have a great selection of styles and sizes.

The other option is to watch out for sales in bridal boutiques as you can often get a bargain when they sell off their sample dresses.  As with Wed 2 Be you’re buying that specific dress and will need to sort any alterations you need rather than ordering in a brand new dress from the designer.  But you can save hundreds of pounds this way.

And of course, you can buy dresses on places like Ebay.  Brides often change their minds and sell brand new dresses at great prices or second hand dresses which they need to sell on.

For men’s suits, make sure you shop around.  Rental costs can vary greatly so get several quotes to compare.

Sometimes it’s cheaper to buy a suit, especially if you wait for the sales.  Again this assumes you’re happy to buy off the shelf.  Bespoke, made to measure suits are probably not for you if you’re on a tight budget.



Plain bands are usually the cheapest style of wedding rings and often work really well to offset your engagement ring.  Again watch out for sales in the jewellers to save even more.

Alternative options are places like Pandora or individual retailers on Etsy.

Wedding Rings



Although they’re beautiful, you don’t need a wedding car and you can save several hundreds of pounds on this.  Ask a friend who has a nice car to tie some ribbon onto their car and transport you to your wedding venue.


Music Keeping Your Dance Floor Full

Hiring a DJ and/or a live band is the norm for your wedding party.  But if you’re happy to create a play list and play your own music this will be a much cheaper option.  You’re literally just paying for your own time.  Do check with your venue though that they have a system which you can use to play your music through.



Providing food for your wedding guests can be quite costly, especially if you have an early ceremony and need to feed everyone twice.  Having buffet food is usually more cost effective than meals being served to the tables.

Having your ceremony later in the day can enable you to reduce costs by only providing one lot of food to your guests.

If you are having a sit down meal, providing all your guests with the same meal is usually a cheaper option than giving them choices to choose from.  So talk to your venue to understand ways you can save money here.  If you can have an outside caterer, shop around and get several quotes.  Prices can vary hugely so it’s well worth spending the time and effort to do this.


DIY Things

You can make lots of things for your wedding to save money.  Decorations, favours, cakes, even your own bouquets.

Don’t bite off more than you can chew and make sure you allocate plenty of time to complete everything. And price up the items you’ll need to buy to make sure it really is cheaper to do it yourself! Homemade Favour - Raspberry Vodka



Hiring a professional, experienced photographer can be difficult when planning a wedding on a tight budget.  So you may need to look for newer photographers – doesn’t mean they aren’t good.  But they are likely to have lower prices while they are building their portfolios.

You can also reduce the cost by not having a photographer there for the full day.  Many photographers will offer a package which covers a smaller number of hours.

Another option to consider is contacting your local college to see if any of their photography students would like to get some experience.  You’re not going to get the same standard as a professional photographer but it could be a good way to compliment having a professional there for a few hours to cover the key elements of your day.


Invitations & Other Stationery

You have a few options here to save money.

If you’re creative, you could make your own invitations but be careful the cost of the materials doesn’t end up costing you more than buying some.  Ready-made invites in a pack are very cost effective and you just fill in the blanks with the details of your wedding.

If you know anyone with a good printer who could print on card for you then why not design your own or download a design and then have them printed.  You’d literally just have the cost of the card to cover.  And print shops will often print your designs at a really good price, try places like Vista Print and Zazzle.

Alternatively, you could use a wedding website to issue your invites and much more.  There are several free options out there and this will also allow you to share details and updates with your guests as well as collating your RSVPs.  And of course it’s much better for the environment.

There are also many ways to save money on your wedding stationery.  So again you could make your seating plan yourself or spend a small amount of money having your own design printed.

Name tags for your tables can be bought in bulk if you’re happy to hand write the names on them.  Little luggage tags like this are very inexpensive:

Planning a Wedding on a TIght Budget


So I hope these tips give you some food for thought and some ideas of how to have a fabulous wedding day on a tight budget.  There is tons of help and advice on my blog to steer you through all aspects of planning your wedding.  Happy planning!


Louise Wearmouth, Founder of Your Fabulous Wedding