Weddings on a budget

According to Brides magazine, the average wedding now costs over £30,000 - that's more than the average deposit for a house! 

There are LOADS of ways to cut the cost of your wedding and some very sneaky tricks too!

The more you do yourself, the more you can save.  Use your imagination and the skills of your friends and family and you can turn cheap to chic!


Need to know

  • Budgeting is key!  Yes we know that sounds very dull but a simple spreadsheet with what you want to spend on each item vs what you have spent will really help you not to overspend
  • The date: Can you go 'Off Peak'? Venues will charge over 60% less for mid-week weddings and sometimes even Sundays. Tying the knot in January, February, October or November will also save you money
  • The Venue: Look for venues that allow you to bring in your own food and drink but watch out for corkage.  DON'T feel you need to provide a free bar, although a welcome drink and bubbly for the toasts are always nice. Consider sticking to wine at the tables and leave the evening as a pay bar. It is sometimes a good idea to pre-warn guests though
  • Wedding packages: haggle with a local venue to try and get a deal.  National chains Holiday Inn, Britannia and Olde English Inns all do wedding packages for under £1000
  • Invites: you don't have to spend a fortune on thick, embossed cards and envelopes.  Many people are using wedding websites to invite guests, where guests can RSVP online and even share pics after the event. If you want to go the traditional route, cheaper, bespoke wedding invties can be found on Etsy - or ask a creative friend. 
  • The theme: Is there a theme that complements your wedding? A village fete theme with bunting and gingham tablecloths, a festival theme with a field of gazebos or a barn dance with straw and hog roast will really cut the costs but will definitely still be glamorous and very very fun.
  • The meal: Having your wedding later in the day and only having to provide one meal will keep the costs down. PLUS instead of a formal sit down meal consider a fun buffet (with a good system for queuing) or even a BBQ
  • The cake: This is one of the easiet places to cut your costs. Making your own cupcakes (and freezing ahead of time) is a great option. You could also buy a plain wedding cake (M&S does them from £8 a tier) and then decorate yourself with flowers or decorations - a bag of 10 sugar diamonds is just £2.49 on Amazon or you could pick your own flowers from the garden 
  • The gifts: If you don't need several traditional wedding toasters, consider asking for favours from handy friends who happen to be hairdressers, bakers or photographers. You could ask guests to contribute to a 'honeymoon fund' (check out honeymiles)
  • THE DRESS: This is one of the biggest expenses but you can buy your perfect dress secondhand online. Ebay and Oxfam are great places to check or local Facebook selling groups often have bargains. Topshop have also started selling both bridesmaid and bridal dresses at an affordable price, if you don't want something pre-loved. 
  • The flowers: Rather than pay for a florist you could visit a flower market early the day before and pick your own fresh flowers for your bouquet. A simple hand tied spray can be incredibly elegant and buying in wholesale will cut the cost significantly.  Don't feel obliged to decorate the whole church or use flowers as table centres - there are quirkier and cheaper ideas out there
  • The transport: Travelling between your venues doesn't have to be expensive. Finding quirky transportatioin - like a friend's Fiat 500, a black cab or even a tractor, can cut the cost and add a little humour
  • The honeymoon: Adventurous? You can wait until the last minute to book and use sites like to bag a bargain - we found a weeks stay in 4 star Majorca hotel plus flights for just £200! Travel Supermarket is a very useful comparison site that compares all the online travel agents, we found the cheapest deals departed in a fortnight on a weekday, so keep an eye on deals from a month before your honeymoon date

Wedding Dress

When buying a second hand wedding dress you shouldn't be paying over 50% the original price. Stay safe by checking the seller's ratings, paying via paypal and using common sense. Ebay and Preloved ARE NOT the place to buy dresses costing £800+


Why we like it:

  • dresses from £45-£800
  • 95% of dresses donated brand new by designers
  • dresses generally 30% of high street price
  • vintage dresses
  • bridesmaid and groom wear also available
  • 14 day no quibble returns policy

Watch out:

  • limited range
  • not all sizes will be available for your style
  • you will have to pay to return the dress if you do not like it
  • must make an appointment if you are visiting a store (see store finder)


Why we like it:

  • dresses from £2- £1000+
  • grab bargains through bidding
  • vintage dresses
  • expensive dresses for half the price
  • non brand buy it now dresses from £40!
  • bridesmaid and groom wear also available
  • ask questions about the dress you want

Watch out:

  • returns policy depends on seller
  • quality may vary
  • LOOK OUT FOR SCAMS- check seller ratings


Why we like it:

  • dresses from £60- £1000+
  • range of styles available
  • includes ex-display dresses and private sellers
  • jewellery, shoes and hats also available
  • bridesmaid and groom wear also available

Watch out:

  • return policy depends on seller
  • LOOK OUT FOR SCAMS- pay via pay pal

Websites and Invites

Getting Married

Why we like it:

  • GREAT free site where you create your own wedding website
  • very easy to create
  • RSVP online with menu options
  • online gift lists
  • upload seating plans
  • create an online album you can share with your guests
  • involve your guests in the planning
  • contact us page for guests to get in touch

Watch out:

  • remember to include your website on your wedding invites
  • no e-vites
  • premium membership- £39, includes all free benefits PLUS custom site, cash guest list, high res photo storage and more
  • premium membership- £59, includes a keepsake DVD of photos and offline copy of site


Why we like it:

  • download the app free to your pc or mac
  • access to 1000 customisable designs for cards and invites
  • customise wedding invite and then email or share on Facebook ALL FREE
  • invites come with RSVP feature
  • create photo scrap book
  • free 7 day trial for Premium

Watch out:

  • have to join for $3.99 a month to be able to print invites and access music

The inside track

  • Hires: Instead of buying a wedding dress or suit, you could hire them for the day and cut the cost right down. It also saves you having to get things professionally cleaned afterwards! For the groom, Debenhams and Moss Bros do a full groom set for around £90. For the bride, Girlmeetsdress will rent you a gown for as little as £59. 
  • Personal touches: Make sure you talk to your venue before you buy extra lighting or candles, there may be a limit on how much you can plug in or restrictions on flames! Check out lights4fun for great deals on fairy lights
  • Photos: When you're getting your photos printed look out for deals on Boots and Photobox who generally do a number of free prints as a welcome gift when you sign up or special offers on photobooks
  • The rings: If you're splashing out, Diamond Manufacturers have wedding and engagement rings up to 71% cheaper than stores on the high street. Or to keep the costs down but still be glam, go vintage ring shopping in antique shops
  • The research: Use sites like Pinterest where you will pick up some fabulous offbeat ideas that won’t cost a fortune. Being creative and having personal touches is far more memorable for guests
  • The music: You don’t need to hire a DJ or band, most venues (pub, marquee, hotel) will have a PA system and you can just plug your iPod in to pay your bespoke wedding playlist (you could ask a groovy friend to create this for you, or ask each guest to contribute a song idea)
  • DIY: The more you do and make yourself the cheaper your wedding becomes. Remember to plan early, work gradually, get friends and family to help, and don't leave anything to do in the couple of days before your wedding that you don't absolutely have to
  • Children: Do not feel obliged to invite children - they often cost just as much per head but eat and drink very little.  Sometimes parents want a night off anyway and will be grateful their kids aren't included!

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