Weddings on a budget - tips and tricks

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Whether you are looking for a big, traditional wedding or a small and intimate ceremony, it is important to work out how much you can afford in advance. We look at budget wedding ideas and how to have a wonderful Big Day without breaking the bank.
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You can save money on your wedding and still have a stellar day

Planning a wedding takes time and patience – and even more so if you are looking to find the best wedding deals to save money.

According to the National Wedding Survey by Hitched.co.uk, the average cost of a wedding increased from £9,100 in 2020 to £17,300 in 2021.  You don’t have to spend as much as this to make your wedding special.

Whether you are holding a wedding ceremony or a civil partnership, the most important part of the day is to create memories that you can remember and cherish. It is not all about spending money, but about prioritising the parts of the day that you can personalise and make your own.

How much will my wedding cost?

A budget wedding can be just as much fun as an expensive one. You can get married for just a few thousand pounds if you are savvy about where you get married and how you source expensive items like the wedding dress and groom attire.

The key to having a great day on a smaller budget is deciding what elements of the wedding are really important to you, and which expenses you can do without.

Ask for help from family and friends – they will love the idea of helping to make your ceremony special! You could always ask them for help in lieu of a wedding present – for example if you have a friend who is an amazing baker, ask them to create a cake for you instead.

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Budget wedding ideas

When you are planning a wedding or civil ceremony, think about what is most important to you as a couple. There is a whole list of wedding extras that you can include or dispense with depending on your preference. Sit down together and work out what is a “must have” and what you can do without.

Possible options include:

  • Wedding car hire – could you decorate your own car or a friend’s and recruit a friend as a driver? They could even dress as a chauffeur if you can persuade them to do so!

  • Wedding guest list – should you invite all your friends and family or keep guests to those who see regularly? An intimate wedding can be as memorable as a larger one.

  • Bridal favours – simple table designs can look elegant and stylish and you may feel you do not need all the extras such as place settings and favours.

  • Photographer – do you need a professional or could you ask your friends to take informal snaps of the Big Day? Drop some disposable cameras on the tables for guests to use and drop off for development later? For many couples, having a wedding photographer to take some formal shots is important as a record for family and friends. Professionals are also good at framing and composing photographs, so this may be one cost you do not want to skimp on.

  • Honeymoon – this is often a big cost and something that couples could compromise on. Shopping around for great hotel and travel deals can save you a lot of money. You could always opt for a cheaper deal later in the year if you are getting married in the peak summer holiday season.

  • Wedding dress – many brides like to have their new dress for the big occasion but there are a lot of beautiful used designer and vintage gowns which you can pick up at a discount online. High street stores now also offer amazing and beautiful budget gowns and some creative options for bridesmaids. If you find a dress you love but it is not quite the right fit you can pay to have it altered by a professional dressmaker, at a fraction of the price of buying a new dress.

  • Be creative in your venue ideas – smaller venues like pubs and village halls can make surprising intimate and informal places to have your reception. If you choose somewhere local to where you live it will make decorating and organising the reception easier than if you are a long distance away.

  • Economise on decorations – think of a theme and use budget options like fresh flowers in pretty vases rather than have a florist design table pieces. Hire or borrow vases, decorations and other finishing touches. Friends and family can help you set up the place settings the evening before.

  • Wedding cake – you can customise supermarket cakes with your own personal theme or get a friend to make a cake for you instead of a wedding present. Remember you will need to order party or wedding food well in advance from supermarkets to ensure everything you need is in stock.

  • The stag and hen party: It is of course customary to have a celebration before the big day with your friends. Pre-Covid stag and hen parties were often lavish and expensive weekends, often abroad, with hundreds of pounds spent on activities and eating out. You may find your friends are relieved if you opt for something cheaper and more low key that doesn’t require them to take time off work or away from their families. There are still plenty of exciting options which you can do locally and which won’t leave you in the red.

Making your wedding budget go further

The other important point to make about wedding finances is to think about how you are going to fund the Big Day. Saving up a fund for your wedding is a good idea, even if you are getting some help from your family.

If you are planning to pay for a lot of expenses on credit card, think about find the best credit card for your needs. A good option is a card with a long interest-free period, or a low Annual Percentage Rate (APR). Then you can start your married life without the worry of wedding-day debt.

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