Meet four beautiful brides on four very different wedding budgets – but can you guess who spent the most? The answer may surprise you…

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Couple 1: Alison & David

A traditional day with 100 guests was just what this bride and groom wanted.

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Couple 2: Hayley & Neil

Fun for all and treats for the guests were top priority for this perfect pair.

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Couple 3: Rachael & Mark

This fun-loving couple celebrated their newlywed status overseas.

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Couple 4: Teresa & James

This pair plumped for a country theme for their special day in North Yorkshire.

Scroll down to find out the answers…

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“Our fairytale wedding cost just £5,000!”

Like most couples getting hitched on a shoestring, Alison and David Mussett’s magical day started with an all-important budget meeting. “I had just got over a horrible car accident, so while we were determined to achieve the day of our dreams, we also wanted to have a sensible budget,” says Alison.

With a small budget of £5,000, this savvy pair stretched every penny without scrimping on style. “I came across a website called budgetbridecompany.co.uk that was great for tips and inspiration and this really encouraged me to shop around and involve loved ones,” says Alison. “We were so fortunate to be surrounded by family and friends who were willing to help. Dave’s sister did my hair, a friend arranged our flowers, and another made our cake. We bought all the ingredients and decorations for just £50, so that was a big saving!” she adds.

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There was, however, one area of the day this fashion-loving bride was unwilling to save on – her dress. “I picked out my gown first so we could work out how much of the budget was left for the rest of our wedding!” says Alison. “By planning carefully, we were able to achieve a perfect day with six bridesmaids and a delicious sit-down meal for 100 guests, without getting ourselves into debt.”

Where the budget went…

  • Ceremony, venue, food and drink £2,000
  • Bride’s outfit £1,040
  • Boys’ suits and bridesmaids £1,100
  • Flowers £70
  • Transport £60
  • Entertainment £300
  • Decorations, stationery and gifts £600
  • Rings £200

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“We splashed out over £40,000 – and it was worth every penny!”

Hayley and Neil Reynolds knew their big day had to go with a bang and decided that no expense should be spared! “Being the year of the London Olympics, there was a real buzz shared by young and old, so we thought having an Olympic theme for our summer wedding would definitely get everyone in the mood to celebrate,” says Hayley.
Sitting down to talk about how much money they could afford to save and how much their parents were willing to contribute gave this sporty pair an impressive budget of £40,000. And then came the fun part – spending it!

Topping their must-have list was a fabulous gown for Hayley – a bespoke design by Satin Bow Boutique in St Albans – and locating a dazzling venue, which came in the form of Micklefield Hall in Hertfordshire. “It was our biggest extravagance but the moment we arrived, we fell in love with its spacious surroundings and knew it was perfect for us,” says Hayley. “We wanted to create a fun atmosphere, so we spent a lot on treats like a London bus, a fish and chip van for the evening reception and some crazy stilt walkers.”

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Our big-spending bride offers a word of warning: “It’s easy to get carried away with things that guests won’t even remember the next day – all they really want to see is you and your hubby beaming!”

Where the budget went…

  • Ceremony, venue, food and drink £18,320
  • Bride’s outfit £3,200
  • Boys’ suits and bridesmaid dresses £2,400
  • Flowers £700
  • Transport £1,500
  • Entertainment  £2,150
  • Photography £1,500
  • Decorations, stationery and gifts £3,100
  • Rings £2,000
  • Hair and make-up artists £600
  • Honeymoon £5,000

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“£20,000 bought us a fabulous five-day bash!”

For fun-loving couple Rachael and Mark Bradley, one day of partying was never going to be enough for their nuptials, so they plumped for a five-day celebration in a spectacular chateau in Normandy, France! “We both loved the idea of a relaxed outdoor wedding, but felt we just couldn’t rely on the weather in the UK,” says Rachael. “Our biggest spend was definitely the venue, which we hired for a whole week, but it was amazing to have our wedding last for so many blissful days.”

The couple made savings on Rachael’s beautiful dress, but splashed out on the best photographer they could afford. “After all, when the day is over, all you have is memories and your photographs, so it was worth every penny,” says Rachael.

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“With the help of our parents, we originally planned a budget of around £15,000, but saved in places and overspent in others,” says Rachael.  “I wouldn’t change a thing, though. We got to tie the knot in a stunning venue, enjoy some amazing food and drink and soak up some much-needed sunshine. You only get to hold a bash like that once in a lifetime, so it is worth doing properly!” she smiles.

Where the budget went…

  • Ceremony, venue, food and drink £10,300
  • Bride’s gown and accessories £850
  • Boys’ suits and bridesmaids £300
  • Flowers £500
  • Transport £500
  • Entertainment £1,500
  • Photographer £1,500
  • Decorations, stationery and gifts £800
  • Rings £1,500
  • Honeymoon £1,500

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Creative flair and thrifty thinking ensured Teresa and James Trivunovic’s stylish celebration was one to remember – without busting their budget. “By saving like mad and receiving very generous contributions from our parents, we worked out that we had a budget of around £10,000, which we were determined not to go over,” explains Teresa.

Plumping for Danby Castle in North Yorkshire, the couple gave their wedding a laid back country theme and pruned their guest list to 60 people to save on costs. “Choosing a package deal gave us a clear indication what we were spending,” says Teresa.

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This fashion-forward bride even managed to bag two show-stopping gowns for less than most brides spend on one! “I found my first dress in a vintage market, and my second dress was snapped up at a warehouse that only stocked samples in limited sizes. Together, both dresses only came to £300!”

Pricey blooms were swapped for centrepieces made using piles of old books and buttonholes, and bridesmaid bouquets were handmade using dried wheat and lavender to complement the country feel. “Looking back on our day, I’m so glad we resisted the temptation to over spend,” says Teresa. “We can now cherish every moment together as Mr and Mrs without dreading the next credit card statement in the post.”

Where the budget went…

  • Ceremony, venue, food and drink £5,800
  • Bride’s gown and accessories £345
  • Boys’ suits and bridesmaids £540
  • Flowers £220
  • Transport £15
  • Entertainment £350
  • Decorations, stationery and gifts £250
  • Rings £70
  • Honeymoon £2,400

Not sure where to start when it comes to saving money? Take a look at our Wedding Finance section – why not start with these 10 budget commandments?

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