Many brides dream of a big showy wedding, but, according to Bridebook.co.uk’s National Wedding Survey 2018, the average cost of a UK wedding is £30,355, an increase of 12 per cent over 2017’s £26,989. When you consider those statistics, it is no wonder many couples save hard for years before they get married. With some solid planning and a little creativity, there are ways to do a wedding on a budget and still have the day of your dreams…
Beautiful things come in small packages…
Just because you can’t afford or don’t want a big wedding doesn’t mean it won’t be the best day of your life. Intimate weddings can be just as beautiful and just as meaningful. You can save a lot of money by scaling down.
One of the biggest features of any wedding Is the venue. A huge country house or conference centre is going to bump up the price. With a smaller wedding party, the costs of a stunning venue become more affordable.
Scaling down on the guest list also means an exponential decrease in wedding costs. By simply having less of everything, you have more money to spend on the features that are most important to you.
Saving money on the guest list…
When you have your heart set on having your friends and extended family at your wedding, the costs are going to rack up. Obviously you don’t want to cross people off but there are ways to save money and still invite everyone.
Timing of the wedding ceremony and reception is a big factor in the cost of a wedding. With a large guest list you can be clever. If you opt for a late afternoon or early evening wedding, you can go straight from the ceremony to the evening reception, thereby avoiding the cost of an afternoon reception.
Another way to manage the costs of a large guest list is to restrict the numbers for the ceremony and post-nuptial celebration, then extend the invitations widely to an evening reception.
Save money on the cake…
Splashing out on a stunning wedding cake can cost upwards of £500, with the price rising as you add tiers. There are various ways to save on cost
- Choose a simplistic, minimalist design
- Opt for sponge layers – if you want to keep a tier for a christening or anniversary, order one fruit cake tier
- Choose a small cake for cutting and keeping and serve the guest individual cupcakes
You might also consider looking beyond professional cake makers. The phenomenon of the Great British Bake Off has spawned a nation of at-home bakers. You might have a friend, relative, or colleague who can make your cake. If not, look on social media – Instagram is full of pictures of stunning cakes. You can also find a ton of inspiration for cake ideas on Pinterest.
Save money on flowers and decor…
Making your own decorations and arranging your own flowers can be a big undertaking so it requires thoughtful planning and plenty of time. Schedule specific days and rope in friends and family to help. Keeping things simple will make it easier on the nerves and your purse.
If you decide on doing your own flowers, be sure to find the best, most reasonably priced sources. Also, compare the cost of real flowers and silk flowers.
Being creative can also extend into other wedding features and save more money. For example, you might think about your wedding favours not only being an item your guests can take away but also be part of your décor. If you’re having a theme to your wedding, incorporate your favours to go with that theme.
Check with local garden centres for discounts on buying in bulk. You might also think of using vintage teacups from charity shops (for a few pence each) to hold the succulents.
Save Money on Food and Drink…
With a big guest list, catering is going to be a significant chunk of your wedding costs. If you want to save significantly, do not opt for a formal sit down meal.
If you are getting married during a time of year when you can reasonably predict clement weather, the UK has some wonderful outdoor catering options. You might consider a hog roast or a barbecue. Look online for other outside event catering. You might find, for example, a company who provides pizza from a wood-fired oven in a van.
Also, be smart about drinks provision. It would be nice to offer a free bar, but the expense is huge. Drinks should be paid for by the guests, but you can make sure everyone has a glass of something fizzy for a toast. Avoid champagne as there are excellent alternatives. Think about cava, prosecco, Asti, and even English sparkling wines, all of which are cheaper than French bubbly.
Are you saving for your wedding? Set a wedding budget and stick to it using the ideas for saving on wedding costs outlined above.
Cheers to the happy couple!
Ruby Clarkson is a freelance writer who specialises in weddings and events, planning and helping every girl feel special on her big day. When she isn’t writing, she can be found curled up with a book or shopping for the latest trends.
If you’re looking for more practical wedding planning advice check out The Outside Bride YouTube Channel for more hints and tips.