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


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!


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. 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!)


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.

If you are going to go this route, my advice would be to ask a lot of questions to the seller beforehand. Question them about delivery times and costs, how they’ll make sure the dress fits you and the quality of the fabric and design. If they’re cagey or take a long time to get back to you I’d look into other options. Next, check their reviews and ratings. See what other people that have actually used them are saying about the experience and quality of the gown they received. Finally, make sure you leave plenty of time for it to arrive. If it shows up and you hate it, you’ll want enough time to find a replacement. It might also get held up in customs.

Speaking of customs, if something is valued at over £15 you’ll have to pay import VAT and possibly customs duty when it arrives into the UK. Be sure you take this into account. If you’re landed with a £150 fee to take delivery of your gown, that total bargain might not seem so reasonable anymore… You can double check how much this might cost this on HMRC’s site or call them on 0845 010 9000.


As well as the Chinese knock-off’s there are literally hundreds of websites where you can buy vintage reproduction wedding dresses for less than £100! I love and would wholeheartedly recommend Vivien of Holloway, Unique Vintage and Honeypie Boutique. I’ve featured many weddings where the bride has worn dresses from these places and they all looked incredible.

You could also buy a second-hand dress. There are so many websites where past brides can sell their pre-worn dresses. Check out and There’s also always eBay.

Some bridal boutiques will run seasonal sales on old stock or sample dresses and many bigger charity shops have wedding dress sections too. Oxfam and Barnardos even have whole stores dedicated to them!

Consider independent designers on Etsy who are often less expensive than designers with bricks and mortar shops. There are literally thousands of them on there selling both vintage and made to measure dresses.

Off-the-rack high street wedding dresses are gaining more and more popularity these days. Coast, Debenhams, BHS, TK Maxx and Monsoon all do a bridal line and their dresses are super duper affordable, with all of them having at least one style at under £150. H&M are even bringing out their first wedding dress later this month and it’s going to cost just £59.99!

At the rock bottom budget end you could just wear something you already have in your wardrobe or hit your favourite high street store. At this time of year a lot of shops have plenty of white dresses in stock in preparation for summer anyway. Bonus! Don’t forget about online stores too. Check out these beauties on ASOS and Boohoo, both of which I shop on all the time. A bride rocking this with a Crown and Glory flower crown would so get featured on Rock n Roll Bride!



For something that dies pretty quickly, wedding flowers can be damned expensive. If I was doing things on a super strict budget I’d forget about any ceremony or reception flowers and pop to my local supermarket or flower market for my bouquet instead. Grab yourself a couple of pretty handfuls and make your own! I mean for a fiver each these are pretty bloody gorgeous don’t you think?

If you had time and were green-fingered enough you could even grow your own flowers. Seeds, soil and water are a cheap combination.


If you or someone you know is a dab hand in the kitchen then making your own cake is certainly going to be the most affordable option. Failing that, Marks and Spencer has an awesome wedding cake range and prices start from just £179 for a three-tier plain white cake. Have it as is or decorate it however you wish!


Hiring a wedding car is probably the most expensive way to get from A to B. Instead why not drive yourself (yes, really!), ask a friend or relative to play chauffeur or simply call a cab!? Black cabs in wedding photos are the coolest.


Forget ’em. Honestly, by the time the wine starts flowing no-one will give two hoots about those intricate and individually hand-crafted gifts that you shelled a fortune on for each guest. I swear.



Again, DIY is the way to go here. Fire up Photoshop and get creative. Printing costs are obviously going to fluctuate depending on your requirements but there are so many online printers around. The most affordable I’ve found are Vistaprint or Overnight Prints. Of course if you’re eloping or having a small wedding you could just ask people if they wanted to come and skip the formal invites completely…


OK so we all know my feelings on this one. I think that even the most budget conscious couples should try to invest as much as they possibly can on the photographs that will capture their day. A cheap dress can look amazing when shot by a decent photographer, but a budget-busting dress can look really awful when shot by a cheap, or inexperienced, photographer.

I’m not going to expand on my feelings any more than that right now because I’ve written about it a million times before, including here when I offered some tips on how to get great professional wedding photos without having to spend a fortune.

But here’s the thing, this is just my opinion. If professional photos really aren’t something you value or want, then by all means skip them. There is no law that says you must have a wedding photographer! If your friends with their phone cameras is fine and dandy with you then go for it and don’t let anyone (me included) make you feel like your wedding will be inferior because of it.


The UK has two famous jewellery districts – Hatton Garden in London and Birmingham’s Jewellery Quarter. The stores here deal in bulk which is why they can usually be a much more economical option compared to high street jewellery chains. The same goes for jewellery e-commerce sites. As I mentioned above regarding buying a wedding dress online, be sure you do your research thoroughly if you’re going to go for this latter option.

Another idea is to go second-hand. You can find some real gems (boom boom!) in vintage and antique shops. It also also worth checking out places like eBay or etsy.

Another thing I found out recently is that you can trade in Tesco Clubcard points for Goldsmiths vouchers. Every £10 Clubcard voucher gets you a £30 Goldsmith voucher, so a £300 ring would cost you just £100 in Tesco vouchers! As a side note you should also read this guide from which explains some other ways you can boost your Tesco points. Amazing stuff!


Remember that, bar the legalities, all of these things are totally optional. If you don’t want to wear a white dress, waste money on flowers, have photos or eat cake then forget them! As long as at the end of the day you’re married, then the wedding will have been an overwhelming success.

Are you having a budget wedding? How much are you planning to spend? Do you have any tips that you’d like to share with everyone else reading this?

This is the final instalment of my how to plan a wedding series. If you missed the previous ten articles, be sure to check them out now too. 

All the photos illustrating this article are from weddings costing less than £5000. If you need some more inspiration, be sure to have a snoop at all of the budget weddings that I’ve blogged over the years. Wedding pretties for days! 

Supporting Cast


  1. We’re having a budget wedding and so far I think we’ve been doing pretty good at saving money… until I tried some wedding dresses and fell in love with the most expensive one! Now I’m having mixed feelings about it, trying to look for something cheaper but can’t forget about THAT dress! Something tells me that will be the one.. but hey, I’ll only get married once, right?

  2. Oh, Kat. It’s amazing how even your “cheapest ways to get hitched” post has me dreaming of my future wedding….oh, my poor boyfriend…

  3. Awesome article! I’m with you on the photographer thing though. That is one area that is well worth the money!
    But I’ve never understood the insane amounts some people spend on the bride and bridesmaids dresses. That’s why I’ve been working on expanding my line of VERY affordable (starting at $95 US) custom hand-made dresses (mostly convertible gowns). I’ve loved working with my brides from around the world, but they do need to keep duties and import taxes in mind whenever ordering internationally. Check me out on Etsy:

  4. Another brilliant post Kat – I see more and more budget-conscious couples booking a basic register office appointment for their legalities – and afterwards holding a lovely symbolic and meaningful Wedding Ceremony at their chosen reception venue – whether this is their back garden, a village hall, tipi or a bit of woodland. It’s very affordable to hire a professional independent celebrant or a humanist to conduct a Wedding. Or to save even more, why not write your own vows and ask a friend to officiate?

  5. We’re having a super budget wedding. We’re getting married on the beach with a reception in a 120 year old village hall. We’re having friends and family provide us with cake and pies, and we’re doing the rest of the catering ourselves. I’m making my own dress and might buy a vintage one too, since I’m not spending lots of money! Doing my own hair and make-up, flowers, no invites…
    Not because we can’t afford the traditional wedding, just because I can’t justify spending £10000 on one day. I’d rather use that to travel, or towards education. And I’m sure my wedding will be very special because I’ll know how much everyone helped to make it! The only thing we’re splurging on, in fact, are the photographers.

  6. Scarlett

    Hi Kat!
    Loving this article, and your fab blog in general!
    Our registrar is charging us £495 to do our ceremony at our venue in November, plus £35 each registration fee and £8 for certificates… Is this a total rip-off?! It’s much more than I expected!

  7. claire

    I’m currently planning my budget wedding registry office with close friends & Family then a cheap & cheerful social club. I have begged and borrowed decorations, made invites, called in favours from family, got my dress from eBay, bought simple great value rings, making a brooch bouquet myself and even just bought my little bridesmaids summer dresses rather than proper bridesmaids dresses. I think we will easily come under £2500 once all paid for! I also avoided using the word wedding when searching for things!

  8. Post author

    Hey Scarlett – not at all. I’ve just covered the cheapest option – ie going to the registry office and doing it there but if you want them to come to your venue or youre having a religious ceremony it is more expensive. Have a look at all the info on the website, it’s where I got my info for this post:

  9. We had a pub reception last year in London and it was awesome. We had the entire pub to ourselves on a Saturday, in August – as long as we could hit the minimum spend which was as much as some wedding places charge just to hire the room! It meant we could feed and water our guests to our hearts content and did not have to forgo anything. We had canapés, prosecco (loads) wine (even more) a 3 course dinner, teas, coffees, an evening buffet. The service was also exceptional. It made me feel happy that we could really spoil our guests. Although one word of warning is that you may have to hand hold a pub venue as some don’t so weddings all the time and you may have to put a bit of extra effort in but it is well worth it x

  10. We’re currently planning our wedding on a fairly tight budget but our main issue is the number of people! We’re only in the first few stages and we’re already doing a lot of these things (flowers, dress, favours etc) but housing, feeding and watering 150 people for a day is turning out to be pretty expensive! It’s a blessing and a curse having such a large family and group of friends – usually I love it but an intimate, party of 20 type wedding would save us so much money!

  11. Kim fern

    Scarlett our wedding is costing £430 and £4 per cert, they add a price on for coming out to you it is different per council and how far they have to travel, mine literally has to cross the road to our venue, it is also a higher rate for a Saturday.

  12. charlie

    I’m going to Vegas to get married.
    the whole things working out cheaper than some venues quoted me for an evening reception only when we return so it will be a pub function hall when we come back. x

  13. Mia Jones

    Another dress option, and the one I’m going for, is make your own! If you’re a sewing newbie, get on a dressmaking course (I did an intensive 3 day one), then buy a pattern and a bit of material and ta-daaaaaa! The exact dress you want, in the exact material and you have the smugness of being able to say “I made it!!”.

  14. Helen

    We’re just starting to plan and having spent Saturday on excel doing the numbers I now understand how weddings get mega-expensive very quickly! We’ve fallen in love with a venue and decided to go with an amazing photographer, but we’re getting creative with everything else to keep the rest of the spend to a minimum. I had dreams of a non-traditional custom made dress, so my next challenge is to find a new way to get there without blowing the budget 🙂

  15. Sara

    I love this article – we are going super cheap – currently saving for a house so we’ve prioritised. Having parents and close friends (x2) at the registry office followed by a nice lunch at a local garden (RHS Wisley) great for photos and then dinner in the evening – then probably Sunday lunch with friends. I’m hoping our friends wont be upset about not being invited but the day is about us! And we cant afford to go all out!

  16. Rachel Tonks

    We didn’t set out to save money but we really couldn’t justify spending a fortune on one day and we really didn’t want to end up in debt just as we were starting married life. I really didn’t feel that we missed out on anything though, despite the money saving! Our rings were free (we did the Tesco Clubcard Goldsmiths conversion), Mum in law bought and arranged the reception centre piece flowers as our present, friends and family were roped in to bring a cake so we could have a cake buffet in the evening (you could do this instead of dessert but we wanted dessert AND cake!!), mum in law baked the main cake and my mum iced it, and we found a pub/restaurant that puts up a marquee in its garden each summer. That was so much more affordable and meant that the food was really good because they were used to catering for large numbers. We’re also lucky to have talented friends and family so my brother and one of our best friends sang too.

  17. Primrose

    I’m hoping my other half has enough photography friends that we can get a good deal for a photographer (a bonus of him having gone to film school). That’s the one thing I don’t want to scrimp on.
    I’m a bargain hunter by nature, so everything else I see as a challenge to get for the best price. I cannot wait to get this show on the road!

  18. Scarlett

    Thanks for the replies, guys! Good to know that that’s a normal amount to spend. We are trying to stick to a tight budget which is why we’ve gone for a November date – we’ve got a Saturday in a nice venue for less than half the price of a summer/Xmas date, and no panicking about the weather (just accept it will be raining, and plan for that!) Going completely DIY on decor tho, so better start soon!

  19. Scarlett

    Ooh, also I will be upcycling my mum’s 1960s wedding dress (as,bizarrely, it fits me perfectly!) but may need some inspiration on what to do with it, if anyone has any ideas/ websites they can point me to?

  20. Brilliant read Kat, I have to say on the venue front, I have shot at some amazing, beautiful village halls and similar venues that have cost about £200 to hire absolute bargain!

  21. Jo

    We had a very simple wedding, using many of these tips. We used illustrator for the invites, I had a dress from Phase Eight, we got married in an art gallery on Friday afternoon. We had canapés and bubbly after, and then dinner in a local restaurant with fewer people. We bought our rings online, and the cake was £54 from M&S (alongside the tiered cakes you can also buy tiers individually). We did spend money on things that people noticed: a string quartet, and an amazing photographer (Lydia Stamps), my flowers (but none for the venue). There are unavoidable expenses, such as getting the registrar out, and a modest sum for the venue hire, but you can be quite creative. We had our photos taken in a city centre park. We had a fantastic day, and people thought we spent a lot more than we did. We didn’t even notice the rain, people still comment on how much they loved our wedding, and it would do exactly the same again.

  22. Wish I’d known all this when we got married! Being wedding photographers ourselves we wanted some fun memories so my husband hid a go pro camera under the flowers on his suit!
    Some of the shots are a real treat 😉

  23. Bear

    We are going ultra budget too! This is such a great article to help people see beyond what they think they “have” to have!
    One place where you can design your own invites is and they print them for you – a fraction of what it normally costs.
    Dress from a vintage seller on – checked the measurements three times and it fits like a glove!
    Cake is a cheese stack, less than £100 so cheaper than a proper cake!
    Reception in pub where there was no hire fee (they have their own separate room) and it’s a beauty of an old Victorian pub!
    Putting together things for our wedding through second hand places and ebay has been really fun and a good way to be creative! But you do still feel like you’re doing things “differently” when you see so many expensive weddings out there.
    Thanks Kat for such a good post, hope it helps lots of people as your blog does on a daily basis!

  24. I second the pub/restaurant idea. We had our reception at an outdoor cafe – we chose it because we love the look of the place and the atmosphere – so we didn’t have to worry about any decorations at all. It was only the second wedding they’d ever hosted so the staff were so excited and enthusiastic and made us feel so special. and the food was AMAZING!

    Also, think about where you and your friends and family work, and whether you can benefit from that in any way. I was working at IKEA at the time and almost all of our ceremony decorations and furniture came from there. the staff discount and a couple of gift vouchers I’d got as bonuses came in very handy! My mum was an art teacher at the time and printed the invitations I’d designed at school. A friend who runs market stalls regularly lent us her folding tables for the cake and champagne. now, if only my husband had still had his job at the liquor store…!

    For dresses – I make lovely custom made dresses for any budget! and so do LOTS of other designers around the world. It’s so much nicer and more personal than getting a chinese knockoff or digging through warehouse sales. have a look around on etsy and even if it looks out of your budget, don’t be afraid to ask the designer about what you want. I will sometimes give a big discount if I’m excited about the design and know it will look great in my portfolio.

  25. Kayleigh

    Thanks Kat for another great article. This is coming at a perfect time in my wedding planning when costs are threatening to get out of control. This is another great reminder that you don’t ‘have to’ do anything!

  26. Totally agree with you Kat!! I think guest list is another important factor when thinking about a budget wedding. An intimate wedding with close family and friends is much easier to save on cost without compromising on those must have details than having a huge party with everyone you know. And having had a large wedding myself you never get enough time to spend with anyone when you know 120 people at the same party so keeping it small can make it really special AND save on cost. Win win. X

  27. Also you can use start up business wedding suppliers. They are often much cheaper and the level of service you will receive will generally be much higher as they will have a smaller client base and will be trying to build a portfolio. Just make sure you ask lots of questions, look at what they have done previously and build trust. X

  28. Post author

    Kirstie – oh yes, how could I forget about you guys?! I LOVE WHAT YOU DO! Thanks for posting the link beautiful

  29. Laura

    Really great article, all round. Initially I found budgeting for a wedding totally overwhelming, as I had no real idea how much things cost (cakes for £500, flowers for close to £1000, it all seemed crazy to me). Finding cheaper venues was the hardest thing, but once we went down the village hall, pub and cafe route a whole world of options opened up to us!

    I do think it is easier to spend less if you have a bit of imagination, and are prepared to do more yourself. If you want a straight up wedding package, you will struggle I think.

    Totally agree that picking where to save and where to spend more is so important. I had to fight tooth and nail to convince my boyfriend we needed a pro photographer, and ours is costing us £800, which from the research I did is still pretty cheap. We just had our engagement shoot and the photos were amazing, I am so happy and I know we made the right decision.

    I’d also say go to local jewellery designers for cheaper wedding rings. My engagement ring and our wedding rings are from a guy who has a workshop round the corner from us, custom designed and handmade, and also about 1/2 the price of a high street jeweller.

  30. The biggest thing we saved on at our wedding was paying for guests! It was just the two of us (well, and the officiant and photographer, who doubled as a witness). So, from my perspective, the best way to have a cheap wedding is to only invite the people you really want there. You can always have a knees-up later with all your mates!

  31. Budget weddings are the best! There is real skill in creating something awesome on the cheap. For a long time the wedding industry seems to have focused heavily on the expensive, the luxury and the aspirational but I think the thrifty and the affordable is really making a comeback. I think this is down to couples priorities as well as finances. I do hope you don’t mind me mentioning but I recently started a new blog called Pretty Thrifty all about awesome budget weddings and ways to save money without compromising on having a really great do, Rock n Roll Bride has been a huge inspiration 🙂

  32. When we got married our only choice was a budget wedding. We got married at the local registry office – for us the only choice as back then (32 years of married bliss!) as that was the only place to have a non-religious ceremony. I bought my dress at Dorothy Perkins in Oxford Street. It was pure cotton in an Edwardian design (I still have it and wore it again to renew our vows on our 25th anniversary). My sister-in-law made the cake, my husband (then fiance!) and I brewed all the beer ourselves using a kit with a pressurized barrel so we could serve it on tap. We also used home-made wine making kits for red and white wine. We re-used our own wine bottles and collected bottles from friends and family. I remember one wedding guest who wasn’t clued up on the provenance of the wine examining the bottle so he could buy some himself – we told him it was chateau Boots! I catered the whole reception myself. We had a large freezer, so I bought a a freezer cookbook and started cooking months in advance to produce a 3 course meal. We had the reception in a village hall. My husband and I played in a band (that’s how we met) so we borrowed the lights and PA system, and made several mix tapes (remember them?) for the meal and evening party. My sister-in-law’s dad owned a Rolls Royce hire firm, so he gave us our transport as our wedding present. Great fun to have the chauffeur (him) take off his hat and sit down for the meal with us! The only real expense was the photographer and yes, it was so worth it! We even had a bargain honeymoon – we caught a coach to Edinburgh and booked a hotel when we got there. We had a wonderful day that seemed to fly by. As DJs my husband and I see many weddings, many of them costing what we’re sure are eye-watering amounts of money, and I can honestly say that I think our own low-budget affair (it cost less than £500), along with those of other couples we’ve worked for in pubs and village halls were just as much fun – often more so!

  33. Emily

    I’m getting married next Friday. We have invited (Vistaprint invites) only close family and friends to our local registry office and then onto a local restaurant (free private dining room). I’ll be buying the flowers from our local supermarket and we’re doing without a cake. My dress is from Coast, my fiances suit is Next and our boys are wearing H&M. My very talented Mum is making my bandeau veil, the ring pillow and gingerbread favours. We have paid for a professional photographer, but only for 3 hours.
    I had no idea I was such a rock and roll bride, I love it! 🙂

  34. You’re completely correct about how the talent of the photographer determines if a dress will look great or not. It’s always important to find a great photographer reserve your date long ahead of time. 🙂 It’s worth it!

  35. Completely agree with your top budget tips. I would also add make sure you shop around as there are some great bargains to be found.

    Also, remember this is your day and it will be special whether you spend a fortune or not. If you don’t want or see the point of a wedding cake don’t have it and you don’t have to have a “wedding dress” either. There is so much you don’t have to have that magazines tell you that you do, it makes me go grrrr.

    And I am normally a happy person. 🙂

  36. Emma

    My dress is from Asos but I couldn’t bear to pay full price, so I had a good look on eBay and found the same dress (worn once but I can handle that) for £45! Also, if you’re online shopping check for discount codes :).
    Thanks for this post Kat!

  37. Brilliant article! The first useful — truly useful — article on budget options I’ve found. So many great links to alternative wedding dress sites! I saved about 30 of the dresses I saw on my secret Pinterest board. And a lot of those dresses are really similar to the designer dresses I’ve been scoping for the last month.

    Great resource! Thanks so much!

  38. Charlie

    As my boyfriend is Indian we’re doing two of everything, ceremonies and receptions – and are having to be super scrimpy! I bought my dress at David’s Bridal in Westfield (Super cheap), having a mate bake a cake, I’m doing the flowers and decorations, friends who play in bands to perform, an IPOD playlist for later in the evening. We’ve also found out that curry is £11 ph (3 courses) including waiters/china/cutlery etc and we’re going to Calais for the wine, You can try everything at Majestic UK and then Majestic France will pay your ferry cost if you spend over a certain amount. If I think of anything else I’ll keep you posted! x

  39. Sarah

    Please think carefully before you go down the eBay / China route, unless you can afford to lose the money if it goes wrong.

    I run a bridal business selling upcycled and discount wedding dresses, and speak with lots of brides on tight budgets.

    As mentioned in the article, you can buy high street, preowned, sample and upcycled dresses from £90.

    Yes some people do get a bargain from China, but I get regular phone calls from teary brides who have been left with an unwearable eBay dress despite lots of research and communication.

    I’ve seen dresses that are 2 sizes out…dresses that are the wrong colour, as in peach instead of ivory….and dresses with fabric glued in bunched up lumps rather than sewn.

    It’s a 50 / 50 chance at best, and after shipping and customs the Chinese dresses don’t come in that much cheaper.

    Obviously I have a vested interest in running down my competitors (!) but in all honesty my motivation with this comment is to stop brides ending up in the incredibly stressful situation of being lumbered with a dress that you don’t want to wear and not enough money to buy another one.

    For this reason, I’ve not included my website details in this comment. I’m not here to self promote just trying to share information ; )

  40. EvieA

    Sarah, I agree with everything you’ve said. As a sempstress, I’ve seen enough of those myself.
    And those dresses always seem to get delivered so late (or too late) that there’s not much left for a panicked bride to do.
    Two sizes, at least, is right. And the ones that have been brought to me were never on the too large side. Not much you can sensibly do about that, is there?

    Honestly, a bride will get the best value for her money by – making the dress herself. If you can’t sew,or you’re superstitious, the next best way is to bully Mum or a friend into doing it.
    And unless you absolutely have to have intricate beadwork done, hiring a professional sempstress probably costs a lot less than you might think. And the dress will fit properly.

    (Also not promoting my own business – but definitely all those who share my craft!)

  41. hayley

    Thanks for this post it really helps! Me and my partner want a really low key wedding and have been looking at Venues that are really expensive! We’re now thinking of a registry office wedding (with just parents as including siblings and kids it would be crazy) and then hiring a lodge for the weekend (honeymoon linked) that family can stay in as well and friends and family can meet us there after we’ve wed for a casual celebration.

    I agree with the wedding dresses from ebay-risky! There are plenty of high street stores that are fabulous for wedding attire!

  42. sarah

    im having my bridesmaids dresses made by a family member this is a great way to get the material, colour, fit and design u want for each bridesmaids individual needs and wants but at a fraction of the cost of buying from bridal shops. im also going to be getting my dress from a wholesale factory shop which also sells dresses (some designer) for a fraction of the cost of bridal shops most between £150 and £600. I can also say that im making my own bouquets (artificial with bling) and it works out so much cheaper plus I can resell them to get some money back 🙂

  43. Danielle

    Honestly, this article has helped me SO much! Thank you! My partner and I have wanted to get married for years and are finally at the point where we realise that the ‘money’ issue will always be there… You’ve given me some great ideas for a wedding on a budget! I’m thinking we’ll just have a register office wedding with our kids, parents and a couple friends, and then go on to have a nice 3 course meal in a restaurant. Point noted about the photographer though – who doesn’t want their memories to be beautifully captured, regardless of how little you’ve spent?! Making a checklist as I type (well, not simultaneously, but I will do afterwards lol). I’m hoping too that for our 1st anniversary we can invite the multitudes of friends and family that we would have left out of our big day, for a beautiful celebrationary (is that even a word? haha) party. 🙂 Can’t wait – thanks again!

  44. Georgina

    Me and my fella (mostly me) are planning a £2000 or under wedding for August this year! Got myself a £90 dress which I am altering myself, a registry office ceremony (lucky for us Kent has some lovely options) and a reception at a swanky holiday home (expensive for a holiday cheap for a 2/3 night stay for the wedding) making food myself… Haven’t worked out the rest yet but super excited 🍾

  45. Kelly

    We’re having a church wedding this June costing £3,200! No photographer, DJ, wedding cake or sit-down meal. Outfits from ebay.Invites from vistaprint. And I’m crocheting my bouquet! We have 200 guests so the biggest expense is food.

  46. Julie

    Our wedding cost £1400 including dress, bridesmaids, flowers, catering and a rolls royce. We got married xmas eve in the local registry office, bridesmaids wore £8 angel costumes, then to a hotel just for 3 hours of mulled wine, mince pies and Christmas buffet. Santa even came. BUT …. 15 years on I regret not having a photographer or my dream dress so we’re doing it again on a cruise ship. Don’t skimp on photos…… in my experience you will regret it.

  47. Ask for help from friends and relatives
    Clearly if you have a friend beautician, a hairdresser, a florist, it will be easier, but that does not mean that if you have not professionals in the industry, you can not engage your friends in the wedding. There is always a good friend to the PC that can give you a hand with the holdings, or that set with makeup that has an arsenal worthy of the best professional makeup artist.

    You will see that her friends will be happy to be involved in the wedding preparations and you will spend their evenings to work and chat together.


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