12 Surprising Ways to Make Your Wedding Budget Stretch Further

Megan Saul Photography

April 24, 2015


With the average cost of a wedding in the UK allegedly being upwards of £18,000, it’s no surprise that more and more alternative brides and grooms are looking for ways to cut costs.

But how can you create a stunning wedding, on a budget, whilst still having the best day possible? Here are my best wedding budgeting tips!

1. Look beyond the traditional

You need a wedding dress, so you go to a bridal boutique… you need a wedding cake so you go to a bakery… you need flowers… well, you get the idea.

This doesn’t have to be the case though. The British high street has so much to offer! From clothing stores like Coast and Monsoon offering wedding dress lines, Marks and Spencer and Asda doing wedding cakes and cut flowers being available in nearly every supermarket, looking outside the wedding industry bubble for these things can really save you thousands!

2. Buy secondhand

There are lots of websites that are great resources for secondhand wedding bargains. Look on for-sale.co.uk, eBay and preownedweddingdresses.com for pre-used items, many of which are complete steals!


3. Enter competitions

You’ll be amazed what you could end up with. Wedding photography, wedding planning, cakes, dresses, décor, the works! Wedding blogs and magazines often host contests so make sure you enter as many as you can. Remember someone always has to win!

4. Shop out of season

When looking décor particularly, shop in the sales. After Christmas is a great time to get sparkly, kitschy items and post Halloween is the perfect opportunity to really score black vases and table wear, skull candles and themed candy! Don’t forget about Valentines Day sales too, especially if you want things pink, red or love themed!

5. Buy in bulk

Especially when it comes to the booze! Instead of using a normal bar service where you have to pay per drink, why not stock up at somewhere like Majestic or Costco? Some of these places will also buy back any alcohol that’s not used, and will throw in free glasswear hire for big orders. They always have massive sales after major holidays too.


6. Pot luck catering

You might think a standard buffet with soggy sandwiches and dry sausages rolls is all you can afford, but think again! How about asking your guests, instead of gifts, to bring their signature dish? Not only will you end up with a really unique and tasty spread, but it won’t cost you a penny!

7. Ask for help

Most of your friends and family will be thrilled to help. Maybe your aunt makes a mean cake or your bestie loves getting crafty? Maybe you mum is obsessed with flowers and your dad is a dab hand with a glue gun? Use them! Just remember to do something nice as a thank you for them afterwards.

8. Go digital

The cost of stationery can really add up. If you’re not too bothered about it, and most of your guests are pretty digitally savvy, why not set up a wedsite instead of sending out paper invites? You can put all the information they’ll need – and more – on them and people can even RSVP through some of the services out there.


9. Use a trainee

Everyone has to start somewhere, right? If you want to use a professional but don’t have a lot to spend, try and find someone just starting out in their trade. Just remember to ask to see their portfolio to make sure they’re up to scratch and realise that you might not get the exact same result as using someone with years of experience! You might also want to consider having a trial (if it’s something like hair and make up) or to do a pre-wedding shoot (with a photographer) to make sure you are 100% happy before you book them.

10. Make it yourself

Probably the biggest and easiest way for you to save the pennies is to make as much of the wedding yourself as you can. From décor to flowers to cakes, and even whole wedding dresses, I’ve featured so many killer DIY weddings on this blog. I dare you not to be inspired to do it all yourself after reading through that lot! Just make sure you don’t take on too much or end up spending way more on materials that you would have buying the things in the first place!

11. Use a non-wedding venue

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 other places you can have an awesome party on the cheap.


12. Skip the things you don’t care about

Not bothered by favours? Couldn’t care less about a swanky wedding car? Skip them!

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. In England and Wales the cost of this is just £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).

Anything on top of that is just for fun or prettiness! You don’t have to have any of it if you don’t want.

For more money saving ideas, be sure to check out all these amazing budget weddings I’ve featured. Are you having a budget wedding? Got any tips?



  1. Hear hear! I’ve seen so many weddings where the bride, in particular, hasn’t enjoyed it as much as she should have because of worrying about things that she can’t change – like the weather, like the wedding breakfast starting fifteen minutes later than anticipated, like a few of the guests turning up late. NONE OF THAT MATTERS, really.

    I see some weddings which are just ‘over planned’ – the flowers are scheduled to turn up at 10.23am and the bride has a meltdown when they’re not there until 10.35am. Relax. Enjoy it. It’s about love and happiness, not a Monica-from-Friends clipboard schedule 🙂

  2. Thanks, great post. Great to remind everyone that the wedding will not go exactly as planned; ever. It will usually, overall, go nearly as planned. The thing to realize is that it is almost certain that your guests will never know the difference!

  3. Good advise Kat, think B & G need to enjoy the journey up to the wedding not just the day and relax about the whole thing. Things will not go exactley as planned but they need to let their hair down : )

  4. Fab post!

    I would love to add one extra point:

    You bought the dress to wear for one day. Wear the hell out of it! I have seen too many brides worry and fuss and become so precious about their dress that it really stifles them.

    Now we advise all our brides to remember that they shouldn’t let the dress be in charge!

    If you rip it, stain it, muddy it a bit (as long as it isn’t all 3 right before you walk down the aisle!) then you know you enjoyed your wedding day. Why sit out the dance floor just because it may leave a grey hem?

    Big hugs for giving such fab advice!

  5. Great article.It’s true that nothing is perfect.This article is very useful for the couples planning to marry.Of course we do not have to worry about what didn’t happen perfectly.Instead we can be happy with our special memories on our exclusive big day.

  6. i’m a little surprised to read about wedding insurance… never heard this ever before. I don’t even knwo if they exist in my country ( france for the record ).

  7. Elizabeth Morgan-Ellis

    A) I really like your post, thanks! Very helpful perspective.
    B) I especially like your concession to wedding vendors. I’m a wedding harpist and no, in 6 months I don’t have 10 weddings, I have about 45. If someone is emailing me about their wedding 6 months away, I also have someone emailing me about their wedding tomorrow, and the day after, and the two I’m doing the day after that. Unfortunately, all vendors have to prioritize, and it’s refreshing to know that brides acknowledge that.


Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *