The average price of a wedding today is around £20,000 and if that’s enough to put you off the idea of marriage, then don’t let it. While it’s lovely to be able to splash out and spoil yourself, it is possible to have a wonderful wedding day on a much smaller budget.
To prove it, we’ve set ourselves the target of having a wedding for £5,000 and here’s how we did it. We started by deciding how many guests we would have – 50 in total – and went from there.
Decide to marry midweek and out of season and you’ll find some really good bargains around. Woodhall Manor in Suffolk is currently doing a package for around £2,400 on Wednesday 4th September catering for 50 guests. This works out at £48 a head and includes a three-course wedding breakfast, half a bottle of wine, toast wine, reception drinks and an evening buffet. Here’s the breakdown…
- Exclusive use of Woodhall Manor
- Use of the Bridal Changing Room
- Ceremony room of your choice
- Wedding and Event Manager to help plan your day
- Reception drinks whilst your photos are being taken
- Three course wedding breakfast
- Half a bottle of wine
- A glass of toast wine for your speeches
- Evening buffet
- Overnight stay in our Honeymoon suite followed by breakfast the next day
- Full bar facilities including staff
- All table linen and crockery
On top of this you’ll need to pay for the registrar to marry you which will be approximately £400, plus £70 for the notices of intention to marry.
You can hire a DJ for around £500 for the evening and maybe negotiate the price a bit if you’re having a midweek wedding. If you have your heart set on a band, but your budget won’t stretch, have a look and see if there are music colleges or universities nearby, which will have some talented musicians at a fraction of the cost for a normal wedding band.
Your wedding dress is going to play a starring role on your wedding day. Our tip for saving money? Keep an eye out for sample sales where you can buy ex-display designer wedding dresses for a fraction of their original price. The boutique will adjust it to fit you and dry clean the frock so it’s crisp and fresh. This Pronovias Diamanté gown is offered for just £299 by Brides at Poppy in their sample sale section. It’s a classic design that looks beautiful and timeless.
Your bridal party
We found two ‘Valentin’a bridesmaid dresses in the Monsoon sale for £23 each, so that’s a total of £46. For the bride there’s Malbec shoes by Else from Rainbow Club for £59. Flowergirls would look gorgeous in simple white ballet slippers that you could pick on the high street in Debenhams or BHS.
How about the groom? Keep your eye out for any summer sales or flash deals and grab a deal on his suit. Or if he wants to be the man of the moment in a classic morning suit, you can hire them from Moss Bros for just £100.
A show-stopping cake
You’ll need a wedding cake as your reception show stopper and we think supermarket cakes can be very good value. Check this three tiered traditional plain white wedding cake from Marks & Spencer for £56. You can decorate it with flowers and a cute bunting cake topper from the Wedding Ideas Shop for £5!
As for flowers, we discovered Pollen designs who could make a handtied bouquet for the bride for £60, a buttonhole for £5 and a bouquet for two flowergirls for £20. That’s £120 including four buttonholes.
For table centres, we decided on purple pansies in pots from a local market – about £5 for 6, we bought 12 and put them in Papaja plain plant pots from Ikea. These were £1 each so we bought 12 in total, which came to £12.
Gypsophila is an inexpensive but effective wedding flower that’s easy to use for decoration. You could buy armfuls from a local market for about £30.
Finally, you’ll want to capture your big day on camera and we think that it’s worth spending the money on having a professional photographer to do this rather than rely on family or friends. We’ve found Your Perfect Wedding Photographer, which has a list of photographers in different areas at different budgets and some come in at between £500 to £1,500.
We’ve then allowed £150 for hair styling and a wedding manicure so you look and feel amazing as you walk down the aisle.
The final figures
So here’s how it all breaks down…
- Wedding venue hire, reception drinks, wedding breakfast, evening buffet, toast, drinks, wine with dinner – £2,400
- Marriage certificate, wedding notice, registrar fees – £470
- Sample Sale Designer Wedding Dress – £299
- Bride shoes – £59
- DJ for evening – £500
- Flowers for bride, bridesmaids, groom and his party – £120
- Two flowergirl dresses from Monsoon – £46
- White satin ballet slippers for flowergirls – £11
- Three tiered white wedding cake from Marks & Spencer – £56
- Cake bunting – £5
- Table centres – £22
- Gypsophilia and extra flowers to decorate venue – £70
- Photography – £700
- Bridal hair and wedding manicure – £150
Total – £4,908
That actually leaves you a float of £92 for extras which you may want to spend on stationery, extra wine for the reception, or perhaps some wedding insurance. It’s always best to have a contingency fund so try to factor this in right from the start.
We haven’t included a budget for wedding stationery here because this is an area you could DIY. You could just send an email with a photograph of the two of you instead of a Save The Date card and then DIY your invitations with the help of your friends an relatives. Our real-life brides-to-be have some great tips on making your own wedding stationery over in the Wedding Ideas forum – check it out, it might inspire you!
What about wedding accessories?
You could always borrow jewellery and a tiara from a friend or a member of your family who has been married, just ask around. We also haven’t included the cost of wedding transport either, because at this venue you don’t need any, your service and reception are being held in the same place.
The main thing is that you can get married very well on a budget of £5,000. It all depends on what you want to spend your money on.
We’d love to hear about your wedding budgets – what you decided on and how you broke it down. Why not start a discussion on the Wedding Ideas Forum and share your tips with other brides?