Money Saving Tips – How to Look After Your Wedding Budget

Written by Caitlin Hoare
With the cost of living reaching a 40-year high, it’s no surprise that couples are looking for ways to reign in the spending while still creating their dream wedding day (spoiler alert: it’s absolutely achievable).

The good news is that a wedding that’s perfect for you doesn’t need to break the bank. I emphasise the you part here because you need to focus on this and keep at the forefront of your mind during wedding planning. Don’t be distracted by what others are doing or get caught up in whatever mega wedding trend Instagram keeps serving up in their ads. Yep, we know it’s easier said than done, but if you’re serious about scaling back on some areas of your big day during this challenging economic landscape, it’s time to get less spenny and more savvy.

Understanding the value of service/product for money will certainly help, but in the same breath, don’t set out to find the cheapest of anything – in fact, this isn’t what we’re recommending at all. Seeking out the bargain basement option could cost you more in the long run, and you’ll probably feel disappointed.

Here are some quick tips before we dive into the details: filter out what isn’t essential, be realistic about what you can afford, and how many guests you can accommodate. Prioritise the things that will make you happy and that you’ll remember. Think about what your guests will appreciate, and dig into what you enjoyed and remembered as a guest from previous weddings you’ve attended. You can immediately start saving on the areas that don’t fall into these categories.

Finally, commit to set a budget…and stick to it!

choosing your wedding venue

Carefully select your wedding venue based on the whole package. Making the right choice here could save you a considerable amount of money from the off. Don’t fight against the décor/location/catering once you’ve decided it’s ‘the one’. If you’re considering a nice venue, but you’ll need to change XYZ to make it the perfect venue, then it’s probably not for you.

Make the most of everything your venue offers

If your venue has accommodation on site – book it. If they offer in-house styling, props and furniture – say you’ll take it all (within reason). Heck, some even have their wedding car!

Another brilliant way to save a few pennies is to find a venue that doesn’t charge corkage, where you’re welcome to BYOB. Drinks packages and corkage fees can seriously bump up your bar bill, but heads-up folks, as with a few money-saving alternatives, it could cost you more in time and effort.

wedding ceremony options

To keep any additional costs to a minimum (including travel), opt to have both your ceremony and the reception in one location or at least very close by. Most of our venues are licensed for legal marriages, and many have a church on-site/within walking distance. Or you can go for a humanist-led ceremony, a non-religious celebration that is inclusive, flexible and personally tailored to you as a couple.

The time of your ceremony could also impact your budget – booking a ceremony later in the day means you could bump your timings along, therefore having less food and drinks to pay for.

dry hire wedding venues

Please always carefully consider a DIY or dry-hire venue. Whilst we love the freedom and flexibility these venues allow, and it might also seem like the obvious choice for cutting costs, do some sums on what you’ll need to bring in (tables/toilets/caterers/décor/staff, etc) before you commit.

Go mini on the moon

You’ll absolutely need time to decompress after the wedding, so a mini-moon is a brilliant idea. There are some absolutely dreamy hotels, cottages and cabins dotted around the UK, or why not jet off for an affordable getaway in Europe? You can then save, plan, and properly enjoy a honeymoon later.

Go Seasonal

Everything is much easier and cost-effective if you work with the season, from the food to the flowers. Flying exotic flowers around the world and requesting strawberries in winter comes with a cost to your purse and the planet! Chat with your suppliers and see what they would recommend, and don’t forget to source as much as you can locally, too.

re-use your flowers

This isn’t a new hack; couples have been doing this for years. But there’s a reason why…because it’s a fab idea! Re-use floral displays/décor items in various areas around your venue throughout the day. You know that beautiful floral display you commissioned for your top table? Why not use it on the table where you sign the register, too? If you want to cut costs even further, we’d recommend going big with the greenery. Foliage is considerably cheaper than flowers and still looks amazing. Have you ever considered foraging?

choose an off-peak day / date

The hire cost of wedding venues can vary wildly throughout the year. You can still get married in your dream location for a fraction of the price by choosing to get married on a summer weekday or an out-of-season weekend.  Chat with your venue about off-peak options and enquire whether they have any packages/deals they offer during the quieter times.

budget priorities

Work out the priorities in your budget first to know the most important parts of the wedding. You might love good food, whereas your partner’s into live music. Sit down together, work out what’s non-negotiable and then get the calculator out. The next step is to keep track of spending – once you’ve set your budget, it’s important to keep on top of mounting costs because you need to ensure that the carefully considered budget works as hard as possible for you!

Don’t skip the experts

As we mentioned in the intro, it might feel like you’re saving a lot of money by doing your own stationery or growing/picking your own flowers, but sometimes it’s worth just paying the experts. It will save you heaps of time and stress (you don’t need more of that on the run-up to a wedding) and probably cash, too. They’re the experts for a reason…

keep the wedding party small

Of course, some couples have ten bridesmaids and groomsmen, but can you imagine the shopping/gift buying/hair and makeup costs?! Keep the wedding party small where possible, but get your best people involved in other ways – ceremony readings, speeches, asking them to be witnesses, etc. If they’re a good friend, they will always be happy to help, so don’t hesitate to ask friends and family for assistance when needed. ESPECIALLY if they’re a dab hand at baking or signwriting, have a cool car, or are a DIY expert!


Much like a house renovation, always get multiple quotes. The key here isn’t to go with the cheapest but to assess the value for money.

go your own way

Don’t follow the rules of what a wedding is considered to be. Don’t want a formal sit-down wedding breakfast, don’t have one! Don’t eat cake? Skip it! Think favours are a waste of money? Don’t have them. There’s no formula to follow, so only choose and pay for the bits you know you want you’ll actually enjoy and remember long after the big day.

pre-loved love

We LOVE that couples are searching for more sustainable wedding options, such as pre-loved or hired gowns and suits. Be savvy with your fashion choices by shopping around for pre-loved pieces, designer sample sales or high-end hires. Also, have a little nose on the high street – Whistles has a super stylish bridal range, and ASOS is a great place to shop for bridesmaid dresses.

Try not to buy something that you can only wear once, though – purchase dresses for your best women that they can wear time and time again, and if you can upcycle, dye, and shorten your dress after the big day, then you can end up gaining multiple outfits in one. Sounds like a win-win to me!

Another option for cost-effective fashion would be to ask the groomsmen to wear their suits with white shirts and buy matching ties/buttonholes to tie the look together.

Keep things small

The rise of the micro wedding post-pandemic is a beautiful, intimate option for couples still wanting to spoil their guests but remain within budget. The small wedding packages that venues created with restricted numbers in mind may still be in place…or why not elope?

Watch out for VAT

Along the way, you will likely come across a few smaller (but integral) costs that could add up to a large chunk of your budget. When you get quotes from venues, caterers, photographers, etc., read the small print and check whether VAT is included in the quote. If you have to add up to 20% onto each invoice, your budget could be swallowed up more quickly than first expected!

Stationery vs Digital

We love a beautifully crafted invite but know it’s not always a realistic option. Why not mix it up with a professionally designed and crafted Save-the-Date that directs guests to your own personalised wedding website? There are plenty of gorgeous free options out there. But if your heart is set on a stationery suite, save by printing one order of service per couple instead of one per person and just one or two menus per table.

stay local

Travelling the length and breadth of the country isn’t particularly cost-effective for wedding suppliers, especially when you look at the fuel cost right now. Consider booking local suppliers for the venue – caterer, photographer, etc. Not only will you support small, local businesses, you won’t have to pay additional travel/accommodation fees.

evening entertainment

Live music is a LOT of fun and can create a brilliant atmosphere during an evening reception. Still, if the budget is tight, then a DJ friend or a Spotify playlist could be a great compromise, especially if you get your guests to submit song requests beforehand! This is a brilliant way of including them in your big day, and you end up with a corker of a playlist that you can listen to way after the festivities are over.

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