Let’s be honest, weddings are an expensive event. Any time you mention the word ‘wedding’ to a supplier, it will no doubt raise the cost. Now whilst any couple will want their wedding day to be special, that does not mean you need to spend an absolute fortune on all aspects of the day.
Making sure you plan your wedding day and think about ways to reduce the overall cost are important, especially when you are trying to plan it on a budget.
In this post, we have come up with 20 ways that could help reduce the money you spend, whilst still being able to have a great wedding. Whether you choose to follow a couple of them or combine them all – there are some great ideas to save some money.
1. Avoid Inviting Too Many Guests
When writing down the list of people to invite, it can easily become 200 names without even thinking about it too hard. But do you really need to invite that friend that you haven’t seen since school?? It seems harsh, but you do need to think that there is a cost that goes with everyone you invite. Whether you are paying for caterers or catering yourself, you will need to pay to feed everyone on the list. Come up with the list by all means, but then go back and review the list and ask yourself whether you really want them there or is it down to your parents wanting them there. If you explain that you are on a budget, then they will understand. Try reducing your initial list by 20% and if possible try again.
2. Ask for Help Instead of Wedding Gifts
Have you any friends with a musical talent? Or a friend who takes photography seriously and you trust them to capture some high-quality images? Nowadays it isn’t seen as rude to ask for money to help with the honeymoon costs in a wedding poem, as most couples are already living together, and wedding gifts are a bit ‘old-school’. But if you do have talented friends it is a great way of saving money on your wedding day.
3. Hold the Ceremony at Home or Outdoors
Hotels or Wedding venues can cost £1,000’s to hire + all the costs associated with feeding your guests, etc. my sister-in-law got married last year and the venue alone cost £10,000.
This can be a real way of saving money, especially if you are on a budget. Consider if you have a family member or friend with a decent size garden. Hiring chairs will cost a lot less than hiring a venue.
But with the way the weather is in this country, another option could be a local social club. Most let you hire the room for free, just paying a security deposit. They are normally quite accommodating you with decorating the room to make it look just the way you want it. It also covers the drinks aspect, as hiring chairs and buying alcohol could end up being costlier.
4. Do the Catering Yourself or Hire a Family-Owned Restaurant
As long as the guests are fed, they are happy. So why should you pay £100 a head for a fancy sit-down meal when you could do something yourself. Creating a buffet-style selection allows everyone to eat what they would like and still capture the magic of a wedding.
Another option is to talk to a local family-owned restaurant to cater for you. They will normally go the extra mile to make sure your guests are happy and will thank you for the business (normally with a discount).
Another route is to combine both. We were at a wedding reception recently; the bride and groom had got married abroad and wanted to do a reception back here for those who couldn’t make it abroad. They had a local company come in and offer a hot buffet and a family member had arranged a selection of sandwiches, etc. alongside.
It doesn’t not have to be an extravagant affair when feeding your guests and you can save a fortune. Compare a wedding where you are paying £95 a head at a sit-down meal or a hot and cold buffet which will probably cost a couple of hundred.
5. Don’t Splash Out on Flowers
I am not in any way saying, ‘don’t have them’, just think about ways of still having them included in your day without blowing your budget. Flowers do not last, and if it is a really hot day, some will not even last the day…
There are plenty of ways to save money on them. The key bouquet is the brides, but the bridesmaids could have a single flower instead of a bouquet. A single rose or lily instead? You will also find that fake flowers will be considerable cheaper, and no one will really notice unless they get up close. You might consider exploring wholesale markets for silk flowers, etc. and you will be paying wholesale prices, instead of retail prices. Another saving! You will also be able to keep it.
If you are dead set on real flowers, it might be you have them in your bouquet and save the money when looking at button-hole flowers or your bridesmaids.
6. Skip the Groomsmen & Bridesmaids Gifts…
I know it is traditional to give them a gift, but we are talking about ways to reduce the overall cost of a wedding. If you still want to get them a gift, without breaking the bank then I suggest you look small. I got my grooms men cufflinks, they cost about £10 each online. My wife got her bridesmaids necklaces, which cost about the same. It doesn’t have to be anything too expensive. As they will know it is an honour to do it.
But if your budget doesn’t allow for it, why not write them a very personal thank you card. Share with them how much you appreciate them being a part of your day. Think about it, a cufflink is something that doesn’t get worn very often, but a heart-felt thank you will remain for a long time.
7. Make Your Own Invitations
If you want a simple wedding invitation, you could create your own and print them off at home. Searching the web can give you some great ideas. Or you might want to explore our Celebration range. We offer a simple range of invitations and you can get 50 invitations would set you back £16.50. Which may be preferable if you do not own a printer.
8. Set Up a Playlist & Do Your Own Music
If you decide to get married at home or outdoors and want to save even more money, you could look at setting up your own playlist and borrowing some speakers. This would save you money hiring a Wedding DJ. My only suggestion with this option is task someone in your wedding party to keep an eye on it. If the music stops for any reason, you don’t want to be the one dealing with it. There is something about having a wedding DJ, as most people will expect to see one. But if you are having friends doing a music set (local band, etc.) then you may want to save the money on a DJ. This allows you to have something for when the band are not playing.
9. Stock the Bar Yourself
If you are choosing the at home or outdoor option, there are still ways of ensuring your guests can enjoy themselves with a drink without hiring an expensive mobile bar. Keep an eye out for special offers on drinks in your local supermarket. Or checkout your local wholesaler for deals, this is a good option if you are buying in bulk. Alternately, if you are choosing one of these options – you could choose a bring a bottle option and only buy some prosecco (it is cheaper than champagne) as a drink for toasts or a welcome drink?
10. Display Vendor Cards in Exchange for Discounts
See if you could get a discount from your DJ, Photographer, etc. if you display business cards or a card with all of the vendors you have used on each place setting. Everyone business owner will recognise the need for advertising and this could mean you get a great discount on their services. It is worth asking the question.
11. Check Out the Local University/College
This could be a great option if you would like live music at your wedding or are looking for a photographer. Speak to them about recommendations for someone who would perform to help with their portfolio. My only watch-out, as a wedding photographer, is if you are asking about a photographer for your wedding – ask to see some of their work first. If they have only done landscape images before, it is a different skill set taking wedding photographs. There is a reason why wedding photographers charge what they charge. There are always options to reduce the cost but ask to see it first and make an informed decision.
12. Shop Around for Decorations & Consider Second-Hand
I am sure you are already looking at ways to get these without spending a fortune, so one key element for this is – many brides decide to sell these once they have gotten married, this makes it a great option for someone looking to get married on a budget. If their theme is very similar to what you want, then why not. Facebook & eBay are great places to keep an eye out for these opportunities.
Another factor is to search for exactly what you want… and then shop around to see if you could get it cheaper. If you are buying a number of them (50 wedding favours for example) then check out wholesale suppliers, you will find again there are discounts.
13. Buy Dresses ‘Off-the-Rack’ & Watch Out for Sales
This can be for both the bridal gown and the bridesmaid’s dresses. Depending on the type of dress you want your bridesmaids to wear can help you locate a retailer that does the dress you want, without the cost becoming too high. It might also work to your advantage, as if the dress is a type where they will wear it again, they may even help towards the cost.
Also, keep an eye out for the sales as you may get a big discount.
You may also save a lot of money if you choose a simple gown to wear as your wedding dress and maybe add a few accessories to make it look awesome, you won’t have the hefty price tag that goes with a bridal gown.
14. Wear Match Suits…
Hiring suits can end up being just as expensive as the bridesmaid dresses. Morning suits can end up costing you £100 per suit to hire. But you may find the groomsmen already have suits the same colour?? If they all wear a black suit, which mostly look the same – it can be a great way of saving money. But back to the hiring of suits, hiring a normal suit will be much cheaper than hiring a wedding morning suit.
It is definitely worth reviewing what you want, shopping around and again making an informed decision.
15. Choose Affordable Wedding Rings
Depending on the ring you are after, these can end up costing you a lot of money. Wedding rings have a special meaning you the couple, but it doesn’t mean that you have to spending £1,000’s on them. It is definitely worth looking into it. Platinum is becoming more popular, but Titanium is harder wearing (it will look great for longer) and is a lot less money to buy. My wedding ring looks great (to us) and is made from titanium. We bought it from the Jewellery Quarter in Birmingham and combined with my Wife’s Wedding Ring which was White Gold, we spent £300 on both of them. That was we considered affordable and we also have recently been back to buy her Eternity ring from the same place.
If you are working to a budget, then it is definitely worth shopping around and maybe also worth a visit to the Jewellery Quarter, as you will save a fortune.
16. Plan a Simple Honeymoon
There are a couple of factors to consider when booking this. Don’t tell the travel agent it is a honeymoon, as this will increase the cost and it might be you delay it for a better deal.
I know a few friends that have had a few days off after their wedding and made it a staycation or maybe a weekend away locally – and made their honeymoon a holiday when they could get a better deal (i.e. when it isn’t the school holidays). If you do want to go abroad for it, again book it as a holiday as saying it is a honeymoon does not always guarantee you will get a better deal. Search online for deals, i.e. travelsupermarket.com.
You could also include a wedding poem in your invitations, where you ask for money to help with the honeymoon costs.
There is also something to consider when paying for your wedding, find a good credit card that offers air miles or the like and use it pay for your wedding with advantages when booking your honeymoon.
17. Chat with Your Closest Friends & Family
I am sure you are already chatting with your friends and family about your wedding plans, but it is definitely worth chatting to them about ideas to save you some money. You can also get their thoughts about your ideas and whether it is a good idea. Some ideas can seem too drastic and a second opinion can help you see whether some will be welcome.
18. Try Not to Use the ‘W-word’ at First
I have mentioned it a couple of times throughout this article, but when booking a supplier (Wedding DJ, Wedding Photographer, Wedding Flowers), try not to mention the fact it is for a wedding straightaway. This is a sure-fire way of increasing the cost. Sound them out, listen to them talk to you about their services and then subtly bring it into the conversation or even just book them for an event (like the DJ).
19. Plan, Plan, Plan
This is a must to stop any impulse buys. Going to wedding fayres gives you loads of ideas, but before you know it you have bought something, that maybe you couldn’t afford. A Budget sheet will help you to know what the costs are on everything, when it is due for payment and how you are going to pay.
Plan how your wedding day and reception are going to go and what you need for it. Plan time to shop around online for the best deals for the items you need.
You need to be really organised to ensure you keep to your budget.
20. Don’t Panic
Don’t be surprised if something goes wrong at the last minute – a little detail might not work out the way you intended.
Don’t worry about it and do not be tempted to throw money at it.
It is most likely to go unnoticed – and usually someone in the wedding party will come up with a solution, meaning everything goes as planned.
Back to our original point, weddings can be very expensive nowadays, but that doesn’t mean there are ways of having an awesome wedding day without the huge cost.
If you have any other ideas you would like to share, please share them in the comments below. I would love to know your ideas on how to plan a wedding on a budget.
After many years in retail, John took the huge step into Wedding Photography, this led to John & Gemma and the family to invest in the Feel the Magic Ltd. company. Now a proud owner of a wedding stationary business. We have recently stepped up to offering a number of wedding hire items, including our Magic Mirror Photo Booth. John is also an accomplished Internet Marketer & website designer – learning it all from Wealthy Affiliate.