Putting together a wedding for £2,000 may sound like a challenge, particularly as the average UK wedding costs £31,974. But trust us, you can have a wedding that’s cheap but still looks chic.
Planning an affordable wedding means you need a detailed financial plan, and to keep a close eye on costs to make sure you stick to it.
You’ll need to carefully consider every element of your celebration, from wedding dresses to the all-important venue. Our guide to working out your wedding budget will show you what you do (and don’t) need to include in your plans.
There will be compromises, but you’ll be surprised at the beautiful options out there that fall within your wedding budget. Even if your celebration is on the cheaper side, you and your guests will have a magical day.
Get ready to plan the affordable way with our breakdown of how to have a wedding on a £2,000 budget.
We may receive a commission on products or services purchased through links in this article. All the products have been chosen independently by our editorial team.
Wedding ceremony: £155 – £400
It costs £35 per person to give notice, or £47 per person for non-British or EU citizens, and £11 per extra marriage certificate – one is normally included in the ceremony fee. If you’re divorced, you’ll need to pay a fee of £50 to have your documents checked. On top of that, you need to pay registrar fees, and these vary depending on where and when you’re getting married.
In order to keep costs down, we’ve budgeted for a ceremony at a register office. That’s because if you want to get married at another venue, the registrar fee will increase considerably, and you may also have to pay an extra venue charge. There are pretty register offices out there, so you’ll still be able to have a stylish ceremony.
Shaw House, West Berkshire register office
On the lower end of the scale, the cost is for a basic ceremony with you and two witness – no extra guests. The higher end of the scale includes a ceremony at the register office with readings and music, and as many guests as the room allows – but it may be more expensive depending on where you are in the UK.
READ MORE: The legal requirements for marriage in the UK
In both cases, the price is for a weekday wedding. You can save a considerable part of your wedding budget by avoiding Saturdays and Sundays.
If you are a woman who keeps her own name or takes her husband’s name, or are a same-sex couple who change to a combination of your surnames, there’s no charge for changing your name. Otherwise, you need to pay to change your name using deed poll.
The venue: £0 – £300 (hire fee)
While the season won’t affect your civil ceremony price, it will have an impact on the cost of your reception. If you’re on a £2,000 budget, we really recommend having an autumn wedding or a winter wedding if you want to hire a reception venue. You will find there are more bargains to be had outside the peak wedding seasons of spring and summer.
READ MORE: How to plan a wedding on a £5,000 budget
We recommend looking at pubs and restaurants. Your wedding budget is unlikely to cover exclusive hire of the whole venue, but you should be able to hire a private dining room or area. And in some pubs, venue hire is covered by the price of food and drink. Check out our sister site Hitched for venue inspiration in your area.
For a hire-cost-free option, do you or any of your loved ones have suitable space for a laidback party?
You could also look at a village or community hall. Try HallsHire or Hall Hire UK for options throughout the UK. While the hire fee will likely be very low, bear in mind that you’ll need to provide every last detail, such as crockery and cutlery, and in some cases even furniture. If you can’t borrow most of these items, a village hall wedding can actually end up busting the budget.
READ MORE: How to decorate a village hall
The wedding outfits: £200 (total)
Save money on your wedding outfits by looking to the high street. There are some stunning dresses and suits available at purse-friendly prices. And don’t forget to look out for sales to maximise your savings.
This maxi dress, from Dorothy Perkins’ wedding gown range, was already a bargainous £119, but it’s reduced to £89.25 in the sale.
Don’t limit yourself to specifically bridal ranges.
This white bodycon dress is from River Island’s main collection, but we think it would be perfect for a sleek, sexy wedding look for just £55.
Again, this tweed Zara midi isn’t officially a wedding dress, would be perfect for a winter bridal look.
Check out our edit of the best high street wedding dresses for more.
When it comes to grooms’ suits, the high street is also a great place to look. High street stalwart Marks & Spencer is a good bet for a sub-£100 suit that doesn’t look cheap, and you can find a range of brands at John Lewis.
River Island is good for trend-led styles at affordable price points, like this dark grey skinny jacket and trousers, which come to £100 – £135 if you go for the waistcoat, too.
You could always look into suit hire – morning suits start at £57 for a two-piece at Moss Bros, for example.
The wedding accessories: £0 – £100
If you have suitable shoes and jewellery, and a shirt that goes with the suit, we’d strongly suggest using those, or borrowing from a friend as your ‘something borrowed’. After all, it’s not just about saving money – reusing accessories will make your day more sustainable in eco-terms, too.
READ MORE: Green wedding ideas – how to make your day more sustainable
If you can’t get anything suitable for free, stick with the high street. New Look are a good bet for affordable shoes, like these mules for £25.99.
For hair accessories and statement earrings, like these floral doorknockers, Accessorize is a good bet.
Cream birdcage veil, Etsy
If you’re keen to wear a veil, check out Etsy. They have some affordable options, like this cream birdcage style for £16.99.
READ MORE: How to choose your wedding veil
Hair & make-up: £50
You’ll be going DIY with this, unless you have a skilled friend or family member who’s willing to help. The most important thing to invest in is the best base you can afford – check out our edit of the best long-lasting-foundations. A base to keep your eyeshadow in place is also important – we love Urban Decay eyeshadow primer, which is £11 for the travel size – as well as a setting spray, like the brilliant and bargainous elf Matte Magic setting spray for just £5.
If you use heated tools, whether a hairdryer or straighteners, the biggest favour you can do your hair is invest in an excellent heat protector. We like Living Proof’s Perfect Hair Day at £10 and Aveda’s Damage Remedy Daily Hair Repair for £25. Treat yourself to a hair mask or treatment to get your locks luscious for the wedding. If the genius Olaplex No 3 busts the budget, we also rate the Garnier Fructis mask at £6.99.
Bridesmaids & ushers: £43.72
Ask your wedding party to wear an existing outfit – it’ll push the wedding budget too much to buy bridesmaids’ dresses and suits for the ushers.
You could always thank them with a matching gift to wear on the day, like these personalised cufflinks at Etsy, from £11.95 per pair.
These personalised bracelets, £9.91 each, would be a nice but inexpensive way to thank your bridesmaids.
We’re assuming two bridesmaids and two ushers.
If your bridesmaids decide they want to buy themselves new dresses for your wedding, point them in the direction of our edit of the best high street bridesmaid dresses.
Wedding food: £150 – £500
Whether you’re hiring an outside caterer or choosing a pub/restaurant, prices vary considerably depending on a range of factors, including your area. The first and easiest way to keep costs down is by having a small wedding. Food and drink are one of the most expensive parts of the wedding, so it makes sense to reduce your per-head spend.
If you want a sit-down meal, you should be able to find a £25-per-head package including two courses and a couple of drinks – that’s £500 for 20 people. To make it cheaper, you could look at ordering platters, bringing it to £11.50 per head, or consider having a hog roast.
READ MORE: 14 unusual wedding food ideas
Going DIY with the food will keep costs right down, but it does involve a lot of effort. A buffet or feasting table is an easy way to go, as this will have lots of make-ahead dishes. You could include minimum-effort treats such as cheeses, charcuterie, dips, fruits or the ingredients for a make-your-own ploughman’s. It would be even better if guests could each bring a dish, too – that could be your wedding present! You just need to make sure you have enough room in your fridge for all the chilled dishes, and somewhere to lay it all out.
Wedding cake: £33.04
You can get an undecorated chocolate cake from Waitrose that serves 20-30 for £20 – serve it instead of pudding to keep catering costs down.
Pretty it up with a cake topper, like this from Etsy for £8.79.
CreativeStitchbyEve at Etsy
You could also add some sugar flowers, like these sugar roses at Etsy, which are £4.25
Wedding drinks: £0 (part of food package) – £120 (DIY)
If a couple of drinks are included as part of your per-head venue catering package, you’ll need to ask guests to pay for their own if they want any more than that, in order to stay on budget.
Having an at-home or community hall party? With your smaller guest list of 20, you won’t need to spend too much, so long as you steer away from spirits and stick to wine, beer and soft drinks. A couple of cases of wine from Aldi, cases of lagers and some juices and lemonade should cost around £120.
READ MORE: Creative drinks station ideas
Wedding flowers: £70
You could go DIY with flowers from a market or other wholesaler – remember, you’ll also need to provide vases. However, we think the easiest and cheapest way to make a real impact is to create a foliage-only look. You can play with shades, shapes and textures, put together a greenery table garland, decorate place settings with ivy and moss, create arrangements of grasses… There are so many options.
If you want a bouquet, pick up some blooms from a supermarket or florist the day before and put them together – there are lots of online DIY tutorials.
READ MORE: Creative ways to use succulents at your wedding
Wedding decorations: £53
The more décor you can make yourself, the better, but you’ll still have to factor in the cost of materials.
There are also some chic wedding decorations you can buy while keeping to your budget. Focus on high-impact décor, where just a few will make a statement.
Tropical paper lanterns, £6 for 3, partieswithstyle at Etsy
Paper lanterns are a great, inexpensive way to decorate a room. You could go with wedding white, or to add a colour pop, a tropical design.
Hanging glass Mason jars, £2 each, PurpleCatsHandmade at Etsy
Candles are an easy way to add atmosphere. You could go for tea light holders on the tables as well as outdoor Mason jars.
Pom poms, £0.99 each, ThePartyShed at Etsy
Pom poms are another affordable way to add pops of colour, like these Etsy 20/25cm tissue paper pom poms.
12-piece wisteria artificial garland, £17.99, LoomisCollection at Etsy
Go for a faux garland cascading from the ceiling, like this wisteria version – it’ll be far enough away that guests won’t be able to tell it’s artificial.
5m papel picado, £8.09, MexicanDecorations at Etsy
Mexican papel picado is a fresh alternative to bunting and can really make an impact. This white version is totally wedding-ready.
READ MORE: 10 top tips for decorating larger wedding venues
Wedding invitations: £o
Use Paperless Post to send digital invitations. When you first sign up, you get 25 ‘coins’, then potentially another 10 coins for downloading the app and five coins for liking them on Facebook. These ‘coins’ are what you use to customise their premium designs, then email your e-invites to your guests.
READ MORE: No-children wedding invitation wording examples
Wedding photographer: £250
Good wedding photographers generally start from £1,200, so this isn’t going to be easy. You’ll have to do without extras such as wedding albums or print for now, but don’t worry, you can always order these later on when you’ve saved up.
READ MORE: Wedding photography prices decoded
What you’re looking for is an up-and-coming photographer who’s looking to enhance their portfolio. We don’t really mean a student photographer – more someone who has worked in another area of photography and is keen to move into weddings. One of the things that differentiates inexperienced and experienced wedding photographers is the ability to capture all the important moments, so if there’s anything you particularly want captured, send them a list.
READ MORE: How to get the best out of your wedding photographer
The £2,000 budget doesn’t stretch to music and entertainment, unless you have a talented friend or family member who can step up. However, it’s perfectly possible to create a fun atmosphere – and get people dancing – if you put together your own playlists. Read out guide to DIY wedding music to get started.
So there you have it: add up the top end of the scale and you get £1999.76; with the cheapest wedding options, it’s a bank-account-delighting £1,124.76!
To avoid accidentally going over budget, check out our round-up of 16 hidden wedding costs.