Tag Archives: budget wedding

How to Plan a Wedding: The Cheapest Ways to Get Hitched

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The cost of weddings is always increasing. While there are plenty of DIY darlings planning their big day on a shoestring, many others really struggle to see how they can shave the pounds.

The industry is undoubtedly to blame. Yes, wedding suppliers have overheads, and need to make a profit, but there are many things that are still perpetuated by the wedding media as ‘essentials’ when quite frankly that’s total bullshit. These ‘essentials’ are peddled to make people money. End of.

If you have limited funds you can still have an amazing wedding. I’m here today to show exactly you how.

The Ceremony

Undoubtedly the ceremony is the most important part of any wedding, and actually the only thing you HAVE to do in order to get married. The cheapest way to say “I do” would be to hop down to your local registry office and have a quickie ceremony with just the two of you and some witnesses (you’re required to have at least two) present.

For the purposes of this article I’m just focusing on the costs for a wedding in England and Wales so be sure to check your own country’s marriage laws if you live elsewhere.

In England and Wales a registry office wedding costs £119 (£35 each, paid when you give notice, £45 to register the marriage afterwards, and £4 to purchase the marriage certificate which you will need to prove your marital status in the future). Notice must be given at least 16 days in advance. The ceremony will be short, you must exchange some formal wording, you’ll sign some papers and voilà! You are wed!

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The Reception

The cheapest way to have a reception is to book a non-wedding venue. Wedding venues can charge a premium because they do weddings day in, day out and can offer their couples exactly what they need, all under one roof. However, if traditional isn’t your bag then there are a million ways you can have a party on the cheap.

If you’re blessed with a house or garden that can hold everyone you’d like to invite (or you have a friend or family member who’s willing let you use theirs), how about having the reception at home? Do the catering yourselves (pot luck buffet for the win!) and either have a dry wedding or buy the alcohol in bulk from a wholesaler. Moneysavingexpert.com have compiled an awesome wine discount finder which can help you find the biggest discounts and cheapest options available at Tesco Wine, M&S, Majestic and Slurp!

Another surprisingly affordable option is to hire a pub or restaurant. A little known fact is that a lot of them will actually let you hire them for a nominal amount or even FOR FREE (usually only on weekdays) as long as you (or your guests) spend a certain amount behind the bar and/ or you buy all your food from their kitchen. I know!! I couldn’t believe it when I heard that either!

Also don’t disregard church halls, village halls or local sports clubs which can also be suuuuper cheap to hire for an event (pro tip: avoid saying the W-word when you enquire, some places will slap on an extra fee if they think it’s for a wedding, the bloody cheek!)

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The Dress

There are so many places you can buy a low-cost wedding dress these days. Firstly you could buy one from a wholesaler in China. Ethical debates aside, it is still an attractive option for may brides. These gowns are often imitations of designer gowns and are made from cheaper fabrics and with less sophisticated techniques. While there is no question that a copy from China will never be even close to the quality of the expensive designer gown that it’s been based on, if your budget is really small they are something you might want to consider. Prices usually start from as little as £100.

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Hip French Nightclub Wedding: Elisabeth & Benjamin

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After a city hall ceremony, Elisabeth and Benjamin’s beautiful French wedding was held at Bizz’Art Club in Paris, They wanted a cosy day that was comfortable and enjoyable for all their guests.

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“We tried to do something cosy and friendly with a bit of retro decorations and a lot of good music.” wrote Benjamin. “We started the reception with the concert of our friends and family! During an hour they played together our favourites rock and pop songs. They created a band just for the occasion! It was awesome and was probably what most defined our wedding – both side of friends and family had a great time together like one unique family!”

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1950s, Rockabilly and Polkadot Wedding: Carrie & Neil

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Carrie and Neil had a red and white wedding with rockabilly and polka dot touches! The day was held at Highbury Hall in Birmingham and was full of DIY décor. “We would like to think we were far more relaxed, friendly and laid-back than other wedding we have been to”, began the bride. “So many weddings we have been to seem so stiff and uptight as a whole. We wanted a fun party atmosphere with a live band playing lots rockabilly, plenty of food for people to stuff their faces, and encouraged dancing until your feet dropped off. The word ‘formal’ never entered our vocabulary.”

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Carrie wore a custom dress from Honeypie Boutique, which she loved! “I never wanted my dress to be long. I went to a few bridal shops and never liked the look of anything on offer. I made the mistake of asking one shop owner if they had anything short or polka dot and I was greeted with a look as if I was a mad woman. Honeypie Boutique were a life saver. I actually got a polka dot dress that didn’t have to drag along the floor and annoy me all night!”

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DIY Rainbow Farm Wedding: Helen & Toby

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Helen and Toby’s rainbow wedding took place at Coombes Farm in Lancing. The didn’t have a huge budget, £8000, but they made it go far with plenty of personal touches and DIY projects. The cakes, flowers and stationery were all done by friends and they didn’t hire a fancy caterer to feed their guests. Instead of gifts they asked their guests to each bring their favourite dish!

“We deliberately chose to get married on Friday 13th September 2013, as we liked the idea of choosing a date that is not usually chosen by couples planning a wedding”, Helen explained. “It also meant that it would be unlikely to clash with any other weddings and Toby won’t be able to forget our anniversary!”

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“We chose Coombes Farm due to its relaxed vibe, it is very much a working farm and therefore doesn’t feel like the average wedding venue, which can feel very polished and formal. We also wanted somewhere where we could stay in the camper van and for our guests to have the option to camp, which made it feel like a mini festival. We basically treated planning our wedding like planning a party and wanted to ensure that everybody enjoyed themselves! Key ingredients included a tractor ride and of course, a bouncy castle!”

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Doctor Who and Chester Zoo Wedding: Diana & Ben

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When my favourite vintage wedding dress shop launched their own, self designed, collection based on vintage styles (but able to be sized up to a Uk size 22!) I was super excited to be able to host an exclusive competition for one of my readers to win one. Alongside Fur Coat No Knickers founders and designers Emma and Laura, I read every single entry, eventually picking the gorgeous Diana as our winner.  Her story touched our hearts and we were all so honoured to be able to fulfil her dream to feel beautiful on her wedding day.

I am utterly thrilled to be sharing that wedding with you all today! It was held at Chester Zoo.

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“Our wedding was us. It was just us”, Diana began. “It was the most laidback, chilled out event ever. Everyone commented on how impressed they were that we’d managed to instil a sense of ourselves through proceedings. Neither of us wanted a big fancy event. We just wanted to get married and have a kickass party and that’s what we did. The Doctor Who stuff was more me than Ben but I loved it and so did the kids.”

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Doctor Who Inspired Woodland Wedding: Justin & Annie

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Justin and Annie were married at the groom’s mother’s house. They didn’t have a massive budget for their wedding, just $5000, but made it go really far by DIYing a lot of things including all the reception décor and props. They wanted their day to have a lovebirds theme but with references to the other things that they enjoy, namely  Doctor Who!

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“Our wedding was homemade and we tried to have lovebirds as a recurring theme as I have a lovebirds tattoo”, began Annie. “We also wanted to include other things we loved such as the tardis from Doctor Who on the cake, the photo set-up, the zombie cake, and even the Star Wars lightsaber cake cutters! We really focused in the small details.”

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