13 Money-Saving Tips for Planning a Low Budget Wedding
On average, couples in the UK spend over £30,000 on their wedding day. There are so many expenses involved that this is hardly surprising. From the rings and the dress, to venue hire and catering, weddings are an undoubtedly pricey affair.
Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to get married frugally and still have a beautiful and memorable wedding. It doesn’t mean that your special day will be plain or boring. Today, we’re sharing our 13 best tips to help you save on costs while wedding planning, without sacrificing style or fun.
1) Be Flexible With Your Wedding Date
If you want to get married on a Saturday during the summer, expect to pay through the nose. To save on venue hire and ceremony costs, choose a less popular time of year. Venues tend to reduce their fees during off-peak days and seasons.
For example, weekday weddings almost always cost significantly less than weekend ones. And if you don’t mind getting married in the winter, it’ll be even cheaper. Ask your venue for the cheapest days and times.
2) Shop Around for Venues
Which venue you choose can have a significant impact on your wedding budget. And this isn’t only because some venues, obviously, are more expensive than others.
If you choose a venue that already looks beautiful, you won’t need to add your own decorations. And try to find a venue that provides as much as possible – such as chair covers, tablecloths, and cutlery – so you don’t need to hire it separately. If the venue provides its own catering too, that’s even better.
3) Limit Your Guest List
Many people feel pressured into inviting every last aunt, uncle and second-cousin-twice-removed to their wedding. But the more guests you have, the more expensive your day will be. Larger venues cost more to hire, and you’ll have to fork out more for food and drink.
If you have a small budget, a good rule of thumb is to stick to close friends and immediate family members. Rule out casual acquaintances, colleagues, and distant family that you haven’t spoken to in years. That way, you can spend a little more on making your wedding look stylish.
Focus on inviting the people that mean the most to you. You can always have a separate party at a later date to celebrate with everyone else.
4) Cut Down on Decorations
A wedding doesn’t have to be highly decorated to be fun and memorable. When you look back at a wedding, it’s not the decorations you remember – it’s the ceremony, the food, the dancing and the fun!
So keep it simple. Ask friends and family if you can borrow vases to fill with coloured pebbles or cheap flowers for centrepieces, for example. Or borrow from nature, and decorate your tables with leaves, branches, pebbles, shells, and flowers from your garden.
Be flexible with things like the colour scheme. If you see a cheaper decoration on sale, don’t discount it because it’s slightly the wrong shade of blue. Your guests will be having too much fun to notice!
5) Shop Online for Wedding Invitations
Don’t get caught up in spending hundreds of pounds on save the dates and wedding invitations. Your wedding stationery doesn’t have to have gemstones, ribbons, bells and whistles to serve its purpose. Your friends and family will come to your wedding no matter what the invitation looks like.
Sites such as Bride & Groom Direct offer simple but beautiful wedding invitations, starting at 85p per card. Alternatively, you could go paperless and email invitations to your guests instead.
6) Enlist the Help of Friends and Family
Your friends and family will be only too keen to help out with your big day. Now is the time to take advantage of your loved ones’ skills and hobbies.
For example, if you have creative friends, perhaps they could help make your bouquets or decorations. Aspiring bakers in the family could bake your wedding cake for you.
If you know anyone who’s in a band, perhaps they could play at your reception for a discount in lieu of a wedding gift. And if anyone you know has a camera, ask them to photograph the day instead of paying for an expensive photographer.
7) Don’t Mention the Wedding
Suppliers know that people will pay more for wedding-related items. So when you’re searching for things to buy for your big day, don’t mention your wedding at all. For example, search for ‘white napkins’ instead of ‘wedding serviettes’ to find the cheaper option.
When booking a hair stylist, makeup artist or nail technician to get you ready on the day, pretend you’re going to a christening or birthday party. If they know you’re getting married, prices for the exact same service will mysteriously shoot up.
8) Opt for Artificial Flowers
Many couples immediately disregard the idea of artificial flowers. But in fact, they’re much cheaper than real flowers, and can save you a lot of money.
Good quality fake flowers, such as foam roses, can be indistinguishable from the real things. Most people won’t be able to tell they’re not real unless they touch them. And in pictures, they’ll look completely real.
As a bonus, you won’t have to worry about them wilting, and you can keep them forever as a memento!
9) Relax the Dress Code
Black-tie weddings are traditional, but expensive. Even renting a tuxedo can cost hundreds of pounds, and traditional wedding dresses can set you back thousands.
By relaxing the dress code, you can save a lot of unnecessary expense. For example, rather than paying for identical bridesmaid dresses, ask your bridesmaids to wear a formal dress they already own. Mismatched bridesmaids are on-trend right now!
Your groomsmen don’t have to wear tuxedos – simply have them wear a normal suit that they might wear to work. You can coordinate them by buying them all matching ties.
Shop for your own wedding attire at high street stores, or buy ‘off the rack’ rather than a custom gown. White dresses tend to cost more than other colours, so be flexible if you’re willing.
10) Go Second-Hand Shopping
You can get so many wedding supplies second hand for a fraction of the price of new. Search your local charity shops or sites like Preloved for wedding dresses and suits. Pawn shops and jewellers often sell second-hand wedding rings that, with a good polish, will be indistinguishable from new.
You can even find used table decorations, centrepieces, photo booth props, cake stands and faux flowers. Most items will look good as new, as they’ll have only been used once before. Sites such as Sell My Wedding are invaluable for things like this.
11) Have a Casual Wedding Breakfast
Hiring a caterer for a fancy three-course meal is the traditional choice for a wedding breakfast. However, you can save a lot of money if you don’t mind more casual fayre.
For example, why not take your wedding guests to a local, family-owned restaurant? The food will be cheaper, and you may be able to get a group discount, or request a cheaper set menu.
Alternatively, you could host a potluck, in which your guests all bring a dish to share. You could ask for this in lieu of a wedding gift. It could even be in the form of a picnic, held in a local park, to save on venue hire costs.
12) Ask for Cash Gifts
Your wedding guests will want to get you a gift, of course. But there’s absolutely nothing wrong with asking for cash instead. Nowadays, most couples getting married have already got pots, pans and toasters, anyway!
There are ways to request cash subtly, and without causing offence. Tell your guests that you don’t need gifts, but a small donation would be appreciated if they would like to contribute to your big day. Make sure to stress that their presence (not their presents) is the most important thing.
13) Turn Your Honeymoon into a Minimoon
Although you might be tempted with a 2-week all-inclusive cruise in the Caribbean, having a smaller ‘minimoon’ can save a lot of money. Weddings are expensive enough without having to fork out for flights and fancy hotels.
Why not have a weekend break somewhere local, such as a seaside town that you can reach on the train. And as for budget accommodation, try an app like Airbnb instead of a hotel. Renting a self-catered house or flat will save you the expense of eating out every night, too.
Remember, you can always go on a bigger holiday a little later on. That cruise might be a better choice for your first anniversary, once you’ve had time to save up!