With some clever money-saving tricks, you can plan the day of your dreams without blowing the budget! Sophie Smith spoke to four different brides who wed for under £10,000 to find out how they did it…


Nia and David – Cost: £3,500


Wycliffe School Church, with their reception in Nia’s grandparents’ back garden, Gloucestershire.

How did they do it?

Nia says the most important factors in keeping to their budget were careful planning and shopping around. “Savings were made everywhere!” explains Nia. “We saved on transport by getting my dad to take me in his car with a big ribbon on, and saved on photography by hiring a great photographer for just three hours rather than for a full day.”


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The couple used their imagination to add quirky elements to their wedding, too. “Giant cotton reels were free and were sourced in local electrical shops, then the best man painted them into toad stools that we used as tables,” says Nia. Our bride also made bunting and pom poms and hired bouncy animals for the children.

Nia proved that being on a budget doesn’t always mean missing out, as she managed to get the desired look for her day for less. “We really wanted a festival feel to the day so we hired a live band also a luxury portaloo with music, fresh flowers and baby changing facilities,” remembers Nia.


Would they have done anything differently?

“If I was brave enough, I would have done my own flowers,” Nia admits.


Anna and Andy – Cost: £5,000


St Mark Church, with their reception and evening party at the Green Dragon Inn, Cowley.


How did they do it?

“We set budgets for each element when we started and tried hard to stick to these,” explains Anna. One thing the couple did spend a little more than planned on was the dress and photography – there was no compromising when Anna tried on her wedding dress! “I just had to have it – I cried when I put it on!” remembers Anna.

The main way the couple made their savings was through making so many things themselves. “All of the wedding stationery was homemade, meaning that it cost just £35. So were the room decorations (including 60 metres of bunting!) and the wedding cake,” says Anna. “I also made all the fortune cookie wedding favours, which I now make and sell to other brides.” She also collected lots of vintage china and made cake stands out of separate mismatched plates.


Would they have done anything differently?

“I can’t remember a thing the Vicar said, it’s a total blur to me now!” Anna says. “We never had a budget for a videographer, but in hindsight, I think this may have been a brilliant thing to have to look back on.”


Sophie and Michael – Cost: £7,000


The Matara Centre, Gloucestershire.

How did they do it?

“We knew we wanted a beautiful outdoor wedding in a gorgeous countryside location, which is why we splashed out on our dream venue,” says Sophie. “In fact, the venue and catering used up half of our wedding budget! It’s so special to us there, and we got to plant our own tree, which we can go to visit at any time.”


The couple made savings by inviting just 50 guests, opting for an afternoon tea and by choosing to hold their wedding on a Sunday. Sophie also decided not to have any bridesmaids, which not only saved them money, but also the headache of choosing! They also ditched the evening do, too. “The venue charged at an hourly rate and neither of us are big fans of partying so we decided against having an evening do and instead headed to a country pub to celebrate with our close friends,” says Sophie. “It was so nice to get such lovely feedback from guests about our day. In fact, many said it was the most fun, relaxed wedding they had ever been to!”


Would they have done anything differently?

“I feel I treated myself in many ways, with a great car, dress, photographer, food and venue, but with hindsight I would have hired a florist instead of making my own bouquet and the buttonholes,” admits Sophie.


Wendy and Ashley – cost £7,500


White Hart Hotel, Lincoln.

How did they do it?

Wendy and Ashley begun their wedding planning by working out how much they could feasibly save over their 18-month engagement. They both wanted a small wedding which helped, because they didn’t have a large number of people to feed and provide drink for all day. However, good food was important to Wendy. “As a guest at a wedding I always think food is important, and I always remember it,” she says.

The couple read a great tip that after the wedding all you really have to show for it apart from a husband/wife, is a ring and the photos. “I have at least one friend who didn’t budget a proper wedding photographer and she regrets this decision, so we didn’t want to make the same mistake,” explains Wendy. Wendy wanted her day to be memorable and alternative, too. “We tried to think outside the wedding box, which gave the day a feel of our personalities. Many guests commented on all the little things we had, like beermats, pom poms and bunting.” says Wendy.


Despite a tight budget, Wendy still splashed out on a pair of Jimmy Choo shoes. “They made me feel special and like a princess,” she smiles. She matched these with her dream 50’s-style dress for just £89. One of the couple’s highlights was their balloon prop. “We loved letting the balloon go last thing at night when the day was nearly over and making a wish together,” remembers Wendy.

Would they have done anything differently?

“No, the day was perfect!” laughs a super-proud Wendy.

Looking to plan a wedding for less? Check out our Wedding Budget and Finance section – or see more real-life Budget Weddings here!