Wedding receptions swallow up a big part of every bride’s budget, but it doesn’t mean you have to get into debt! Follow our fab guide and we’ll help you stay in the black on your big day.

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Prioritise costs

Spend more on the things you need the most. The four big items of a wedding are the dress, the photographer, the venue and your entertainment, so focus getting those first.

Consider all inclusive days

It’s not always cheaper to do everything yourself – package deals are often much cheaper than hiring all the different details on the day and the convenience of having it all sorted for you makes the whole process a lot less stressful!

Attend wedding fayres

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Wedding fayres are brilliant for gathering ideas for your big day, shopping for unique items and grabbing some big day bargains. The National Wedding Shows are a great starting point for new brides-to-be and many suppliers offer exclusive show discounts.

Off-peak discounts

You can save money by having your wedding on a weekday. On the day, you’ll be on cloud nine and won’t care what day it is, just make sure your send out your RSVPs early so your guests have time to book holiday at work.

DIY your details

The best way to save money and make the day your own is to make some details yourself. Use the skills of friends and family to help you out as their wedding gift to you.

Out of season dates

Your venue and all your suppliers will cost less if you hold your big day out of season (October to April). You are also more likely to get your first choice of venue out of season – it may even be cheaper outside of the popular summer months.

Double up!

Save money by using your wedding items more than once. Your ceremony flowers can be used at the reception, your bridesmaids’ bouquets can be used as top table decorations, and favours can double up as place cards.

Discount venues

The wedding venue can be the most expensive part of the budget. So slash costs by hiring a local village hall or a private club. These can be dressed up to be made to look as good as any big-budget wedding venue.

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Hold on for offers

Don’t just settle on the first quote you get – shop around and hold on for special offers on some of your big budget items.

Stay organised

Don’t rush into buying details right at the start of your planning. Work out a colour or theme before you start shopping – that way you’ll avoid any costly mistakes. And also, once you’ve found your wedding dress, stop looking! Deposits on dresses are usually non refundable so make sure it’s the one before parting with any cash.

Keep a record

Keep track of what you spend all the way through your wedding planning. This way, there are no nasty surprises when you go to check your final figures. Wedding Ideas has some handy budget spreadsheets that will help you spread the costs.

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Cut your guest list

It may sound harsh but cutting your guest list is the easiest way to stay in budget. If money is tight, prune the people who don’t make the A-list!

Contingency plans

Invest in wedding insurance, even before you’ve fully started planning your big day. Policies start from just £20 and they could save you a much larger amount should anything go wrong with one of your larger suppliers on the day.

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It’s not all in the decorations

Sometimes the best parts of the wedding day are the bits that cost nothing. More people will remember your big day for being fun, rather than the finishing touches you’ve spent the last of your budget on.

Book last minute

If you can get organised quickly, there are some great last-minute deals to be had, especially on wedding venues. Plan your day in six months or less and you could save yourself anything up to £5,000 – and in some cases more!

Consider chair covers

If you haven’t got the budget to hire brand new chairs for your reception, chair covers can transform the reception room in minutes and are worth every penny.

A photogenic budget

Photography is a key part of the wedding. Your photographer can capture your big day perfectly and create memories that will last a lifetime. We’d even suggest allocating a large proportion of your budget towards finding a photographer that’s right for you.