Marquee wedding reception
Credit: albertpalmerphotography.com

No matter what your wedding budget, you can still have the day of your dreams – and the best bit, nobody will ever know. Here are our top tips to help those pennies go further…

Hire a wedding planner

This may seem like a luxury, but more and more brides are realising that having a wedding planner can be a huge help. As well as finding the best deals, they can also make sure that everything you’ve spent your money on gets used on the day. With varying degrees of service available, you can choose the one that’s best for you.

Do it yourself

The best weddings are often the most personal ones, so why not turn your hand to making things? You’ll find a whole host of crafts online, as well as pre-made kits to suit a colour scheme. Or how about making your bridesmaids’ posies? Many florists have workshops where you can learn how to create small arrangements. Leave your bouquet to the professionals though!

Choose a must-have

If you’ve always dreamed of arriving by helicopter, having a cocktail bar or a massive firework display, then make it happen. Choose one must-have item and do everything you can to have it, even if you have to cut back in other areas.

Sell, sell, sell

One girl’s trash is another’s treasure, so hunt through your attic, basement and garage, and box up any unwanted junk that you can sell at car-boot sales or on auction sites. You could be surprised by how much you make and it’ll make space for gifts, too. 

Bag a bargain

Join your local Facebook buy and sell groups. Couples often sell off pieces from their wedding after it has happened – you could pick up candles, other décor items and even chair covers there. Alternatively, check out our online shop to find affordable gifts ideas.

Use your friends

Whether it’s a talented relative making the cake, your best friend DJing or your neighbour chauffeuring you in their brand new Mercedes, make sure to ask your nearest and dearest to help you on the day.

Cut back on food

The reception is normally one of the most expensive parts of the wedding, but it’s also the place where you can cut back on your spending. Why not have a later ceremony so there is only one meal during the day? Serve your cake as the dessert or choose a theme that doesn’t involve a formal sit-down meal, like an English tea party with tea, jam and scones. You could even ask guests to bring homemade cakes for a Bake-Off style celebration.

Seek out newbies

Choose suppliers that are just starting out – you’ll find that they are often more competitively priced than long-established companies and still have great skills to offer. You may also find that new start-ups in the process of building their portfolio might make more of an effort for you as a result.

Go seasonal

If you choose seasonal flowers you could reduce your bill by hundreds of pounds – ask your florist what works best at what time of year, buying British if you can. Also, moving your ceremony flowers to your reception will enable you to use them twice.

DIY photo booth

Buy a Fujifilm Instax or a digital Polaroid and set up your own photo booth station with props. Ask your guests to leave you a snap with a note for the perfect guest book.

Go frugal on favours

Instead of shelling out on favours for each guest, why don’t you give one favour between each couple? Just make sure that it’s something shareable (obviously), like a jar of sweets.

Share the price

It can be worth asking your church or venue for contact details of other couples using the same location that week. You could share ideas, flowers or other decorations.

Get cashback

Take out a credit card with cashback to use for your wedding purchases. Some offer up to five per cent – and wedding bills soon mount up.

Spread the payments

Avoid paying for everything at once. Ask your suppliers if you can pay in instalments by direct debit – it will really help cashflow.

Don’t be extra

Don’t shell out on unnecessary extras. For instance, don’t provide a bread roll with your starter – guests will only fill up and not finish what is on their plate! Don’t fork out for dessert if you feel your cake served with fruit and cream will be just as good.

Venue with a difference

Look for independent venues. We heard from a bride who took over her favourite creperie and it cost just £1,400 for an unforgettable three-course meal. She hired a marquee for the dancing and it all worked really well. Think outside the box!

READ MORE: How to choose your wedding fizz on a budget

Negotiate packages

Don’t be scared to negotiate with your venue, especially if its set packages are not exactly what you’re after. For example, it might agree on a two-course meal to replace the three courses it offers, but add an extra glass of wine per head.

Lucky 13

If you’re not superstitious and not fixed on a mid-summer Saturday wedding, you may find that some dates are better priced than others – like weekdays or the 13th of a month. Venues and suppliers are also more likely to be available.

Marry abroad

Getting married overseas is great if you’re relaxed about who attends. Costs are usually lower because of the number of guests (though still be careful how many people you invite) and you get to start your honeymoon early. You may also find that your resort has some amazing wedding packages that UK venues just can’t beat.


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