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How To Plan Your Wedding On A Budget

Planning your special day should be one of the most fun things you can do with your chosen life partner, but with the average UK wedding supposedly costing over £20,000 managing your expectations and your wedding budget can be time-consuming and stressful. More and more couples are having to fund their own weddings and almost gone are the days of carte blanche from the father of the bride. But just because your champagne tastes are tempered by your beer budget, doesn’t mean your wedding day has to be any less magical.

We’ve put together some budget wedding ideas to help you decide what are priorities and worth paying for and highlighting where you can save money. We hate to use the term ‘cheap’ but a cheap wedding doesn’t have to mean a wedding day lacking in taste, style, substance or hindering your special day in any way. It merely means working a little harder to make savings on less important elements and using more of your budget for those bits that are most important to you as a couple.

Essential Requirements

Marriage license

Costing around £150 in the UK for a marriage license, this is one cost that you cannot forego.

Registrar/church ceremony fee

Whether you get married in a registry office or religious building, church or licensed wedding venue, your ceremony will need to be officiated at some point by someone legally entitled to do so. The cheapest way to get married is at a registry office where it can cost around £150 for the registrar, room, certificates and booking fee. A celebrant will cost from £500 but offers a much more personal service. A church wedding is no longer free in most places and will usually cost from £500 for your ceremony.

Think carefully about where you’d prefer to get married. It might be that a registry wedding and a reception at a separate venue may save money and still means you get to celebrate with your nearest and dearest.

Wedding rings

Wedding rings needn’t cost the earth. Search for vintage or preloved rings which can be cheap wedding rings alternatives without compromising on quality. These days wedding rings can be anything from a simple band to something more elaborate and that applies to both men’s and women’s wedding rings. Check out local jewellers who make rings for a design that you love that doesn’t cost the earth.

Venue hire

This is a big one. Some wedding venues are like production lines with multiple weddings in a single weekend. For those on a budget, seek out smaller intimate wedding venues, such as The Lawrence, where you can book sole use of a venue without paying a fortune.

Cheap wedding venues offer reasonable packages and might price differently for quieter days of the week. This is a great way to make a saving. Another consideration is your guestlist. If you have a smaller wedding budget, consider who you invite carefully as you often pay per head for wedding venue hire.

For an intimate wedding venue that doesn’t cost the earth, see our twilight wedding packages, for budget friendly wedding alternatives that deliver a unique wedding day with your loved ones.


As mentioned above, a twilight wedding saves money on catering as there’s no sit-down meal, just evening food, which is a great money saver. For daytime weddings, consider your guestlist and choose a catering package that fits your budget. You might find a food van, buffet or picnic might be cheaper alternatives that suit your wedding style better than a formal meal anyway.

Wedding outfits

If the wedding dress is the most important part of your day, then don’t hold back, just make sure you’ve budgeted for it and try to save back money elsewhere. A sustainable way to save money on wedding dresses and suits is to buy second hand or rent. If this is not for you, then high street shops often have off-the-rack dresses which look gorgeous but don’t cost a fortune.

Budget wedding dresses can be found on Vinted or eBay and suits for gentlemen can be easily hired for a smaller cost than buying new.

Wedding cake

You’d be hard pushed to find a multi layered exquisite cake for less than a couple of hundred pounds but there are ways you can save. If you have a talented baker in the family, ask them to make something for you. Decorate it yourself or with simple flowers for a rustic homemade wedding cake or another trick is to ask your cake maker to decorate a polystyrene layer to give it height but without breaking the budget.

Alternatively, supermarkets now offer simple wedding cakes for less money than an artisan baker and are a great way to save money.


Wedding flowers on a budget are entirely doable. Carefully think about what you want first of all. Do you just want a bouquet for the bride and a buttonhole for the groom? Do you need venue flowers? Church flowers? Any professional wedding florist will be able to advise you on what’s achievable with your budget. Historically wedding flowers cost around 10% of your wedding budget but these days you can buy dried flowers online, choose single flowers instead of bouquets and make your own table decorations.

Your local flower farm may even supply DIY buckets of local, British flowers which is a great way to have fun with your friends and put your own wedding flowers together.


Your wedding photographer is likely to be one of your biggest expenses. When you consider that you’re essentially paying someone to spend all day with you, in addition to preparation time beforehand and photo editing and curating afterwards, it’s no wonder.

Find photographers you like and enquire about budget friendly packages that don’t include as many photos or require less time on the day. Make sure to agree on exactly what’s included and check portfolios before committing. Ask photographers about midweek prices or twilight wedding rates which can often be cheaper.


There are so many options for wedding invitations. Save money by sending them digitally! Make them yourself and post them or get a printed design. Whichever option you choose there are cost effective ways to invite your nearest and dearest so you can spend more of your wedding budget on other things.

Wedding Extras

The elements above are the essential costs associated with getting married. Those listed below are optional extras where savings can be made by bargain hunting, DIY creativity or roping in friends and family to help. You could even eschew wedding gifts and ask for donations instead to cover the cost of your wedding entertainment, for example.

Venue styling

Hair and make-up


Wedding favours


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