32 Ways to Have the Wedding of Your Dreams On a Budget
You're getting married! How exciting! And there's no better way to celebrate the start of your married life than to have the wedding of your dreams…whatever that might be.
Perhaps you're looking at a nature-inspired wedding, or maybe you want to tie the knot at a venue that's so perfect it leaves you and your guests speechless. Do you have a vision in mind? Details down to a T? Amazing!
What's next? Implementing all of your gorgeous ideas with these cost-cutting tips and tricks. There really is no reason to overspend, especially if you've got a limited budget!
Here, you'll find 32 creative ideas to have your dream wedding on a budget.
- Wedding Admin
- Wedding Attire & Wedding Rings
- Wedding Favours & Gifts
- Wedding Vendors
- Wedding Food and Drinks
- Wedding Hair, Make-Up & Accessories
- Wedding Date, Time & Venue
- Wedding Décor
- Saying "I Do"
- Other Cost-Cutting Tips & Tricks
The digital age has come with a whole slew of benefits. One of which, is the ability to save costs (and the environment) by using digital invitations. To print and send your invites can definitely rack up a pretty penny, and take up a bit of time.
And while having a tangible memento of your big day is lovely, you can be sure that your guests won't think twice about tossing it after your wedding.
Another perk of using a digital wedding invitation is that you can provide effortless directions and more information about your venue using clickable links.
2. Guest List
It's of course difficult to come up with a guest list that encompasses all of your nearest and dearest while keeping to your allocated number. But the trick to cutting down a lot of costs, is to really fine-tune your guest list.
Inviting one or more people out of pity or because you feel that you must, will only add an additional head count to your big day, racking up those wedding costs. Stick to those who you truly want by your side to avoid extra costs.
Wedding Attire & Wedding Rings
3. Wedding Dresses
While you may have your heart set on walking down the aisle in a Vera Wang, you really can find some gorgeous dresses at a number of locations for a heck of a lot cheaper.
Consider visiting various high street chains like Coast or Phase Eight, or take a gander at the website net-a-porter.com. This site sells ready-to-wear wedding dresses at bargain prices.
If you're still pining for something more designer, there are charity shops, such as Oxfam or the British Red Cross, that may have a few second-hand designer wedding dresses.
Alternatively, the wedding site sellmyweddingdress.co.uk could have the dress of your dreams to buy second-hand.
4. Bridal Shoes
If you're a bride-to-be, you may think that your wedding shoes are just as important as everything else. But if you're wearing a long dress, you can certainly opt for less-expensive wedding shoes, as they won't be as noticeable as you may hope.
Not only that, but many a bride have been known to take off their wedding shoes to fit into something more comfortable once the reception party starts. It just makes sense to be budget-friendly when it comes to your bridal shoes.
5. Rent a Tuxedo
For men, wedding attire has proven to be way less important than that of their female counterpart. And if the groom-to-be really isn't as invested in buying and keeping a suit, renting is your best option when it comes to saving.
You could rent a three-piece Ted Baker suit for around £140 from Moss Hire - a British tailor that delivers anywhere within the UK.
6. Wedding Rings
Maybe you're lustfully in love and can't wait another second to be married to your partner, despite the lack of huge funds at your disposal. But you really don't need to buy the most expensive wedding rings for your big day.
Read here how to choose the perfect wedding rings.
Wedding Favours & Gifts
7. Wedding Favours
A wedding favour is a nice touch, but not entirely necessary. In fact, you could put your best arts and crafting skills to use and create a unique and homemade trinket for your guests to enjoy. You could make a customized jar of sweets, for example.
If you'd prefer to buy something however, you can definitely get some great things on a small budget. And Etsy is the perfect place for some amazing finds. Consider wooden sign wedding favours, engraved wooden pencils, or personalised drink stirrers - all of which can be bought for under £1 per item.
8. Wedding Gifts
Not necessarily a cost-cutting tip, but a way in which to get some "just-married" spending money, is to ask your guests for money as a wedding gift.
These days, many partners move in together before they're married, making household items such as tea sets, linen, and house décor less needed as it was back in the day.
Use the money to have a wonderful honeymoon, or save it for a rainy day.
9. Wedding Photography
Hiring a photographer can be one of your biggest expenses. And because so many photo-worthy moments happen later on (such as the cutting of the cake, and throwing the bouquet), you'll have to keep him or her around until late.
If you move your schedule around a bit however, and celebrate those fun moments earlier, your photographer need not stay for the entire event.
But what about the rest of the celebrations? Ask your friends to snap some photos! In this way, you'll have professional photographs and more intimate-style pictures. You can create a group online for photo sharing, and enjoy those small moments that you may have missed.
10. Don't Mention your Wedding to Vendors
A pro tip: the instant that you mention it's your wedding day, prices are almost guaranteed to hike up.
For that reason, talk with your vendors about your needs before mentioning that it is for a wedding. This may give you a leg to stand on when it comes to sorting out the bill.
11. Reduced Vendor Prices for Feedback
For businesses that are fairly new or that are not so prominent on social media, gaining valid and good feedback is very important.
If you're confident in a vendor's skill and ability, why not ask them for a reduced price in exchange for (positive) feedback on their website, social media, or an external review website? If you don't ask, you'll never know.
12. Vendor Deals via Newsletters
This is a nifty trick not only for those preparing to tie the knot, but for anyone who appreciates a bargain. If you have your eye on certain websites, be sure to check out their newsletter sign-up deals.
For many, you'll be able to receive a discount once you sign up to their mailing list. And while spam e-mails aren't all that fun, it may save you some precious wedding money.
Wedding Food and Drinks
13. Wine on the Table
A simple yet effective way to spend less on alcohol, is to refrain from decorating each table with one or two bottles of wine.
Instead, implement a cash bar or a bar tab, prompting your guests to get up in order to get a drink.
Sure, champagne is the epitome of a luxury life, but people in the U.K. are equally, if not more so, in love with the idea of a glass of Prosecco.
There are various brands of Prosecco that you could consider at a much lower price than, say, Dom Pérignon.
Alternatively, source a great sparkling wine to serve your guests for your wedding toasts.
Alcohol is a symbol of celebration all around the world, and when it comes to wedding parties, it's something that many couples opt to have in abundance. But, of course, this costs money.
If you have the opportunity to rent a venue that offers a BYOB (Bring Your Own Booze) policy, you could save a hefty amount by letting your guests bring their preferred drink of choice, and only offering them champagne during the toasts.
16. Wedding Cake
A beautiful wedding cake can definitely rack up the pennies, so why bother with an additional serving of dessert?
If you double up on your wedding cake, allowing it to be the dessert, you'll save a nice chunk of change while still serving something sweet for your guests.
17. The Bar
There are a few options to consider when it comes to cutting the cost of drinks at your wedding.
You could have a spending limit on the free bar, ensuring that you won't go over your allocated budget. Or, you could ask your guests to pay for spirits while beer and wine is free. You could also make the entire bar a cash bar.
And when it comes to bar staff, consider the honesty bar option with your guests pouring and paying for their own drinks. This is when you pre-buy the alcohol, and have your guests pay what they feel the drink costs. This is a great idea if you can front the booze, and if you trust your wedding guests.
18. Buffet over Sit-Down-Dinner
If you chose a sit-down dinner, you'll have to factor in the waiting staff which would then be an additional wedding cost, as well as possible tips. It also means more admin for you, as you will have to find out the dietary requirements of your guests beforehand.
If you choose a buffet dinner, you are more likely to pay less, yes, but you'll also save on the dishes on which the food is served on. A chafing dish costs way less than platters, and a three-course sit-down meal usually consists of various courses which will also run up a bill.
Wedding Hair, Make-Up & Accessories
19. Hire a Student
When you find someone in-training, their fees will be significantly less, if not free. So when it comes to your hair, make-up, nails or even wedding décor and planning, you could grab yourself a deal by hiring a student.
Just be sure to have a practice round beforehand to be sure of their abilities.
20. Family Heirloom Accessories
For those who have access to treasured belongs from family members and deceased ancestors, this is the perfect opportunity to wear them with pride.
That feeling of history, love, and unique specialness will really be brought to life - something that cannot be experienced while wearing a new piece of jewellery.
And, you'll be able to save some money on your accessories.
21. Wedding Planning Classes
If you want to look your best, but feel a professional in some capacities is a bit out of your price range, why not invest in take a few wedding planning classes?
You could learn some nifty ideas for yourself, or invest in your maid of honour to take some classes to assist you with your hair, make up, or nails.
It may not seem like a cost-cutting option, but all the little things really do add up. And after, you can walk away with new skills and perhaps interests.
Wedding Date, Time & Venue
22. Wedding Date
When it comes to your wedding date and time, you could save quite a large amount of money… if you choose them correctly.
Most brides and grooms choose a Saturday afternoon for their big day. For this reason, venues and services tend to be more expensive.
If you choose a week day however, you'll find a number of options that are cheaper and more accessible.
Additionally, if you choose to celebrate your wedding during off-peak wedding season, you too will be able to save a considerable amount.
The venue that you choose for your wedding can either make or break the bank. And to achieve the former, you should consider choosing a place that is simple, less popular, small yet beautiful.
This could be at a national park, at the beach, in a forest, or in someone's spacious backyard. Be sure to check if said-place allows for weddings beforehand however.
A wedding is love in action and the venue simply comes second to the experience.
24. Morning Brunch Wedding
As discussed, a weekend wedding that takes place in the late afternoon or evening is the most expensive time in which to celebrate a wedding. But if you choose a (weekday) brunch wedding, you'll have a slew of cost-cutting opportunities.
For example, during a brunch wedding, you could plan for one or two mimosas per person, as opposed to a big party celebration with tons of alcohol.
Additionally, the cost of renting a venue will be a whole lot cheaper during the morning.
25. Rent or Buy Second-Hand Décor
The décor you use for your big day may be important and will definitely add a magical touch, but afterwards - there is not much need for it. For that reason, why not consider renting or buying second hand décor?
Facebook marketplace is a great place in which to find items that you may need, and there are tons of groups and pages allocated to selling second-hand bridal items.
Alternatively, there are a number of online rental companies that can spruce up your venue at a fraction of the cost.
Flowers are basically thee symbol of a wedding, and you'll more than likely find them at any wedding that you attend. But it really doesn't have to cost an arm or a leg. And the trick to cutting down on flower costs… is to pick them up yourself.
Surprisingly, the cost of flowers - while still high - are sometimes not the most expensive aspect when it comes to a wedding… it's the delivery.
Make sure to ask them about their delivery charges, and if possible - arrange for someone you know to pick them up for you.
Saying "I Do"
27. Your Officiant
If you're not dead-set on someone specific being your officiant, why not consider a close family member or friend? In this way, your wedding ceremony will have an extra personal touch from someone who truly knows you.
Not only does this route cost less, but becoming ordained is easy for anyone by consulting a non-denominational church website.
28. The Musical Entertainment
There are so many hidden talents when it comes to musicians and DJ's. You really don't need to hire the most expensive and well-known wedding band or DJ if you know of someone who is equally as talented, local, and less expensive.
You can do this by scoping out live music events at local pubs. Pop in and have a listen… if you like what you hear, you may have discovered a hidden treasure at a fraction of the price.
29. The Honeymoon
There are so many different ways you can celebrate a gorgeous honeymoon on a budget.
For one, you should be able to rack up some flier miles after paying for your wedding using a credit card, which could contribute towards a flight.
Additionally, try to choose an off-peak season to travel. Not only will the flights be cheaper, but the hotel prices are usually much less, and the location will be less crowded.
Alternatively, you could choose to have a beautiful honeymoon somewhere in your own country. Take a trip to the countryside or to a beachside town, and enjoy the sights and sounds alongside the love of your life.
Tip: be sure to let your accommodation know that you're on your honeymoon and you'll probably be treated to some perks like champagne upon arrival or even a room upgrade.
Other Cost-Cutting Tips & Tricks
30. Enter Competitions
This may seem like a long shot, but it's the same principal as playing the lotto - someone's got to win!
So, if you're about to be married, keep an eye out for competitions in various printed and online bridal magazines, pages, and articles - you could be saving yourself a lot of money and effort by winning a wedding day treat.
31. Method of Payment
If you choose the right credit card to pay for your wedding as opposed to a debit card or cash, you could receive cashback rewards.
Consider American Express, Asda, Tandem, or Barclay's to benefit from their cashback rewards system, and you can use the extra cash on little frills and thrills for your big day.
Some couples love the idea of arriving to their wedding in a limo. But you can still arrive in style and within your budget by choosing something less pricey. In fact, a horse and carriage, or a party bus are both cheaper options than a limo, believe it or not.
And in actuality, the days of wedding parties arriving in a limo are far less common today, and a well-decorated car is more than enough to get you to your big day.
So, are you ready to rock your dream wedding without spending too frivolously? Perfect! With these tips and tricks, you'll be able to say your sweet "I do" with smiles in abundance, surrounded by the ones you love and cherish. Happy wedding planning!
More interesting articles from our guide:
- A Comprehensive Price Guide: Everything You Need to Consider for Your U.K. Wedding Budget