How to plan a budget wedding (and tips to save for it)


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    Weddings are notoriously expensive occasions, but they don’t have to be. According to Hitched, the average wedding in 2019 was a whopping £ 31,974, more than the average annual salary that year. The fact that people take out loans and other lines of credit to pay for their dream wedding means that many couples start the rest of their lives together with debt. Instead of wasting tens of thousands on one big day, cutting back to a budget wedding and using the money saved to become more financially secure could be a great way to start a married life together.

    Budget, budget, budget!

    We may talk about it a lot, but budgets are so useful and important for keeping track of your finances – especially when it comes to weddings. Instead of planning your dream wedding and then figuring out how you will pay for it, first ask yourself what you can afford to spend on your wedding without going into serious debt.

    The easiest way to keep track of things is to enter all the small expenses in a table. Google Sheets is ideal because everything is managed online and you and your partner can edit it individually. Set up separate tabs for each of the main wedding expenses – the venue, catering, decor, entertainment, and outfits. As you shop, you can instantly compare how much you’ve spent and how much of your budget you have left. This can help simplify monitoring and make sure you are not spending too much.

    Reduce your guest list

    Ultimately, the guest list is something that depends a lot on how much you end up spending. If you pay for food, drink, and entertainment for each of your guests, it quickly adds up. Opt for a more intimate occasion with a guest list of 30 or less. You can consider smaller (and cheaper) venues such as B. renting a private room in a pub or restaurant. Since venues are a key cost to a wedding, you can save thousands in finding a way to get a cheaper option.

    Another option is to keep your wedding guest list small but host a much larger celebration for your first anniversary. This gives you time to save separately and means that you don’t have to worry about using up a large portion of your wedding budget at the front desk.

    Postpone your honeymoon

    Similarly, delaying your honeymoon can help with your wedding expenses. For example, if you decide to have your first anniversary, or even after 6 months, give yourself extra time to plan and save instead of having to pay for everything up front. Off-season trips also help you save massive amounts. Read our article on how to grab a vacation bargain here.

    Choose creative catering

    For an inexpensive wedding, avoid the traditional 3-course wedding breakfast followed by a buffet dinner. Why not get married later in the day and then serve a large buffet for day and evening guests? That way, you only have to pay for one meal and it’s much cheaper than a larger meal to sit on.

    Also consider other cheaper grocery options. Barbecue in the afternoon, creating fun picnic baskets for guests, or renting a food truck for the day – all of these are fun ways to enjoy delicious food on a budget. Plus, save on having to provide dessert too, and serve your wedding cake for dessert instead!

    Buy pre-loved and second-hand items

    You can find great bargains by buying pre-loved and used items. Websites like StillWhite, Bridal Reloved, and Preloved are three great places to find deals on wedding outfits and decorations. You can find things at a fraction of the price of what you would otherwise pay and they have only been used once! Oxfam also now has its own online bridal shop with even more great deals.

    For men, a suit can be very expensive to buy and is unlikely to be worn again or very often depending on the style. Instead, if you’re looking to buy a wedding suit, it’s worth checking out stores like ASOS, Topshop, and Marks & Spencers, all of which have their own cheaper alternatives for wedding lines.

    Make the most of supermarkets

    Don’t forget about the supermarkets when planning a budget wedding. Whether it’s your wedding cake or joining a loyalty program, they can be a great way to cut costs. Wedding cakes can cost an extortionate amount, but many supermarkets are now offering cheaper versions. Especially with Covid-limit guest lists, a three-tier mammoth cake is not required when a much smaller one feeds everyone.

    When you shop with a loyalty card, you can get great deals in the long run. Tesco Clubcard offers one of the best rewards programs where the value of your points triples when they are spent with one of their rewards partners. Some of these include luxury jewelers goldsmiths, various restaurants, and vacation and travel booking websites. So why not use the money for a cheaper honeymoon?

    Get rid of the stationery

    Not only is it expensive and not as environmentally friendly, it is completely unnecessary. Ditch Save the Date and RSVP cards and everything online. Set up a free, simple website where guests can sign up and email details and information about the wedding at no additional cost.

    Skip the summer weekend

    Summer Saturdays are the most desirable day to get married and you pay a premium for it. Consider getting married Monday through Thursday when demand is much lower and you can negotiate a deal for a fraction of the cost.

    An off-season wedding between October and March is also ideal for an inexpensive wedding. And for the particularly savvy saver, why not get married for Christmas? Make the most of the venues that have already been decorated and save yourself those extra costs!

    Negotiate hard

    Most businesses have been hit by the effects of the pandemic, but that doesn’t mean you can’t negotiate a deal. Companies that need to trade now may be willing to cut prices to close a deal. If they can’t offer you a discount, see if they’re willing to include extras instead. Maybe you could have a room upgrade? Or lower your cork costs?

    Have an emergency budget

    There is only so much you can do to prepare, and realistically there will be an additional cost when you least expect it. Set aside part of your budget to be prepared for the unexpected. Ideally, you are covered with 5 – 10% of your budget that you have saved as emergency money. Remember to disconnect it from your main account so that you are not tempted to spend it!


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