Most brides set aside a substantial budget for their wedding day but finding ways of stretching your money a bit further is so satisfying and means you can get more for your £££. To help you plan your big day budget and what you could be spending your money on, we’ve asked real-life brides to tell us about their big day best buy.

Wedding venue bargain phototom

Midweek venue savings

“We didn’t have long to plan our wedding and all the venues we looked at were already booked on a Saturday,” remembers Sylvia. “So we ended up having our wedding on a Thursday when a venue we liked was free. Everything was so much cheaper – the venue hire was less than a Saturday would have been and because it was out of season in February the hotel did a special deal. We also had more choice of photographers because of the day of the week and we could haggle with the caterers as they wanted our business. I’d really recommend a couple rethinks the idea of marrying on a Saturday if they want to save themselves some money.”

Colour-matched bridesmaids

“My bridesmaids’ dresses were such an unusual colour that it made shoe shopping a nightmare, until I found out about Rainbow Club’s colour match service,” says Laura. “We sent the shoes away with one of the dresses and four weeks later they were returned looking absolutely gorgeous in the exact tea-stained colour of the gowns. This is a great service which I would definitely recommend to any bride.”

Fantastic floral buys

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“My best buy was actually my florist’s idea,” remembers Reina. “I had eight bridesmaids so she made them extra large bouquets that we then used as table centres at our reception.”

“Ask your florist which blooms are seasonal and inexpensive to ensure you get maximum flowers for your money,” suggests Louise Baltruschat from bridal blog Whimsical Wonderland Weddings. “Try gypsophila, carnations and plenty of pretty foliage to create a cost-effective look that’s dramatic.”

“My best buy was buying 50 small terracotta pots, potting compost and narcissi bulbs,” remembers real bride Tracey. “We planted ahead so the bulbs were in bud on our wedding day and then put them by the ladies’ places on the tables as wedding favours. Everybody really enjoyed taking them home.”

A sample dress steal

“My best buy was finding my wedding dress in a sample sale,” says Sylvia. “My friend told me about the sale going on and I found a dress I’d never have been able to afford otherwise. The shop cleaned and altered it to fit me perfectly and it looked like new – but without the new price tag. I literally saved hundreds of pounds but still got my dream dress. I’d say keep an open mind about your wedding dress if you want to save money and sign up with designer newsletters to see when their sample sales are happening.”

wedding transport deals

Family transport bargains

“My dad’s friend had a white classic mark II Jaguar,” says Fran. “We asked him if he’d chauffeur me to and from my wedding and he agreed. We dressed the car in white ribbons on the bonnet and put a little bouquet of flowers in the rear window. He even found a chauffeur’s cap to wear! It was lovely having him to chat to on the way to the church as I was a bit nervous and he loved being part of our inner circle on the day. It also saved us money on wedding transport and was so much more personal!”

Customised bargains

“Our best purchases were the bus tickets to go with our RouteMaster bus,” says Amanda. “We have stamped the table name on each ticket to match where each guest will sit. We are popping them into the invites and they will make nice little keepsakes, too! A roll of over 100 cost £5 from eBay. I love them – they’re quaint and quirky. I’ve never seen it done before.”

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Hiring instead of buying

“My best buy was hiring vintage china for my afternoon tea,” remembers Helen. “We had quite a limited budget and couldn’t afford a sit-down meal so we had an amazing afternoon tea for close friends and family, with my auntie’s homemade cakes. My theme was country garden so the vintage tea cups fitted in perfectly and really set the scene. Everybody said how pretty it all looked. Later that evening we had a hog roast and a disco in the village hall for all our friends.”