Totting up how much your wedding is going to cost can be an eye opening (and eye watering!) experience; if your dream dress, perfect venue and caterer of choice mean you’ve gone way over budget, there are things you can cut back on to ensure you can afford the aspects that are most important to you.
We’ve come up with key ways to save money on your wedding, yet still organise the big day you’ve always dreamed of, whether you're planning your wedding on a £25,000 budget or a £5,000 budget; you’ll thank us when you’re floating down the aisle in that stunning Ian Stuart number, and we guarantee your guests won’t notice the money saving cuts you’ve made – and to be honest, who cares if they do?!
How to save money on wedding food and drinks
A big percentage of your wedding budget will be going on food and unusual drinks for your guests. If you want to reign in your spending in this area, why not eschew the traditional three course, sit down meal scenario and have an ultra trendy food truck or buffet meal instead – it allows guests to head up and eat whenever they want, creating a lovely laid back atmosphere, as well as saving you big bucks. It cuts down on admin too, since you won’t have to sort out menu choice cards when they’re returned (or shell out for posting them to people!)
Many of the weddings you’ve been to probably served tea and coffee at some point in the evening, but let’s be honest, you most likely weren’t the fussed about the hot drinks, especially when the pimms and prosecco are flowing at summer weddings. Cutting this element out will save you plenty of money, and nobody is likely to miss it.
While we’re on the topic of drinks, corkage is a big wedding cost. When you’re seeking out the ideal location for your big day and wondering what to ask your wedding venue, be sure to ask if they charge a corkage fee, and go for one that doesn’t – your bank balance will thank you! While providing your own alcohol may seem like a cheaper option, once there’s a hefty corkage fee involved it may not work out so well.
We happen to think that no wedding day is complete without a few glasses of champagne, but this can work out a little pricey. Make the bubbles go further by serving champagne cocktails instead; top up the glass with peach puree for ever-popular bellini’s, adding a fruity twist to your day AND making the bottles of champagne your purchased last longer.
How to save money on your wedding cake
We know, we know, the wedding cake is a huge part of the big day, but it doesn’t mean you need to spend an arm and a leg on it.
Lots of couples actually have artificial tiers in the cake; the non-edible (often polystyrene) layers mean you can have a super dramatic cake without shelling out over the odds. The base of the cake will normally still be traditional sponge meaning you can tuck in and take the much-loved cutting the cake picture, so you don’t miss out on key wedding day memories.
If you have a friend or family member who’s a baking whizz, why not ask them if they’d be so kind as to make your wedding cake for you? Sure, it’s a big ask, but it’s likely they’d love to be part of your big day, just be clear that you’d totally understand if they don’t want to.
If you do decide to spend lots of your wedding budget on the cake, why not have it double up as your dessert? It stops the cake from being wasted too, since if you serve up a dessert your guests they’re less likely to want to tuck into a slice of cake too.
How to save money on your wedding dress
Chances are, one of the biggest expenses for your big day is your wedding dress; after all, when else will you get the chance to dress like a complete princess? The sad thing is, if you’re on a tight budget the dress of your dreams might not be in your price range.
It’s well worth looking for a pre-loved wedding dress; they’ll only have been worn for 12 hours or so, so should be in great condition, and you could snap up your ideal gown for a fraction of the price.
Samples sales are also a great place to grab a bargain wedding dress so be sure to subscribe to the mailing lists of your favourite brands to keep up to date with when they are holding events.
How to save money on your groom’s outfit
You can save money on your H2B’s outfit too; high street stores offer great prices on suits, shirts on all the trimmings, saving you a pretty penny compared to what you’ll pay at tailors and fancier, bespoke stores.
Choose a versatile suit that doesn’t scream “groom” and your man can wear it to other occasions too – you’re sure to have many friends’ weddings to attend in the upcoming years.
How to save money on your bridesmaids’ dresses
We know it’s awkward, but a great money saving tip is to ask your bridesmaids to pay for their own dresses; they’ll feel more encouraged to pay for their own outfits if they can choose themselves, so why not give them a shade to stick to and leave them to their own devices?
If you and your maids can make a joke about them paying for their own dress, tell them they should be thankful you haven't asked them to pitch in for your wedding dress as one bride did.
If you don’t feel comfortable asking them to buy their own dresses, you could buy their outfits from the high street rather than high end boutiques. Asos do some gorgeous affordable dresses for maids.
How to save money on wedding transport
If you or your H2B has a friend with a snazzy car, why not ask them if they wouldn’t mind chauffeuring you on your big day – they will probably see it as an honour that you’ve asked and be more than happy to be a crucial part of your big day. You’ll save hundreds not hiring a fancy vehicle and make special memories with your pal too.
If you’re holding your ceremony and reception at different locations, you’ll need to pay to transport your guests from each venue. Save on this by choosing a venue that can host all parts of your day.
Get crafty to save money on your wedding
Having a DIY style big day is great way to save money on your wedding day; while it can be time consuming, making your own wedding day essentials can save you so much money in the long term.
Make your own invites, menus, table plan and place cards – they’ll feel much more sentimental if they are hand made and you could ask friends and family to help out as a fun way to get everyone involved – you’re bound to know someone who’s a dab hand at crafting.
Borrow items to save money on your wedding
If you’re anything like us, you’ll have been to A LOT of weddings, and probably spotted a few items here and there that you coveted for your own big day, so why not ask if you can borrow them?
If you loved your BFF’s quirky wedding sign or admired your sister in law’s cake stand, it can’t hurt to ask to borrow them. Not only will it save you a pretty penny, you can use it as your something borrowed too – win win!
How to save money on your wedding entertainment
While bands are great for getting the crowd going and playing some classic wedding hits, they can be rather pricey; rather than hiring a band for your wedding, you could instead create a playlist of catchy songs to get your wedding guests dancing.
Get your guests involved by asking them all to send two songs they’d like to hear played; they’ll love playing a part in your day and imagine the excitement when their song comes on – hopefully they’ll rush onto the dance floor and get the party started.
Forget paper wedding invitations
While it’s always nice to receive a beautifully embossed wedding invitation in the post, a much more cost effective way to invite your guests is to send out e-vites.
Your guests receive a beautifully designed wedding invitation via email, and click the RSVP link, saving you money on invitation printing, postage costs and RSVP cards too.
How to save money on your wedding date
If you’re hoping to save as much money as possible on your wedding day, it’s worth considering holding your big day on a weekday rather than at the weekend.
While guests might be miffed to have to take a day of annual leave, it also gives them the whole weekend to recover from their wedding day hangover – always look on the bright side of life!
For more ways to save money on your wedding day, check out our article on how to avoid hidden costs.