How to halve your wedding budget without anyone noticing

Genius ways to save on your wedding day

How to halve your budget without anyone noticing
Budget wedding essentials. Image: Rebecca Douglas

Don’t feel disheartened looking at your wedding budget – a big day doesn’t have to mean a big spend. A few savvy savings make all the difference to the final bill, and guests will still think you’ve gone all out!

Do your venue homework
Don’t just snap up the first cheap venue you find. Look carefully at what each one offers to find sneaky extra savings, such as low corkage fees, or a weekday wedding for a fraction of the Saturday price. A cheaper blank canvas is great if you can afford the décor costs, but an extra £500 for somewhere with a minimal styling bill could save you in the long run.

DIY your florals
Plan an early morning trip to a flower market a few days before the wedding, and stock up on inexpensive flowers you can easily arrange in decorated jam jars for your tables. You’ll save a ton on your florist bill, and could still have bouquets made so you have some pro flowers in your photos.

Image: Steve Gerrard

Dress for less
Get the dress of your dreams at a fraction of the price with a bit of savvy shopping. Schedule your search to coincide with sample sales – the biggest ones are in September and March to free up space for new season stock. Be prepared to make a quick decision – try on lots of styles before, so you know what you’re after. 


Save on your stationery
Even your gran’s on Twitter these days, so make the most of the internet revolution and go digital with your invites. Set up a free Wordpress blog to post all the details of your day, have an email address for guests to RSVP to, and send out gorgeous free digi-invites from sites like Wedding Chicks. You can always invite older guests with a pretty handwritten card – they’ll love the personal touch.

Cut the classic cars
Sure, it’s fun rocking up in a Bentley, but the effect is wasted if your guests are already seated inside and you’re staying put for the reception. Rope in a friend or family member with a nice car to act as chauffeur for the morning and you’ve instantly bumped up the honeymoon budget. Even a decent taxi will do the job – just make sure they wipe down the wheel trims first...!

Get photo booth creative
Hiring a photo booth definitely ups the budget, but really all you need is a plain backdrop, a few homemade props and a polaroid camera or simple digital camera set up on a tripod, so guests can take their own shots. Yeah, they won’t get an instant print-out, but you’ll get the fun of posting the lot online without anybody vetting them first! *Insert evil laugh here*.

Image: Emma Case

Save on your booze costs
Nope, we’re not talking hip flasks under the tables. Up the free booze for your guests by naming your tables after homemade drinks. Everyone can have a tot of your carefully crafted sloe gin or apple cider during the speeches, saving a fortune on prosecco. You could even ask close friends and family to make these, cutting costs even further.


Ditch the formal dining
A three-course meal doesn’t come cheap. Choose a venue with a less expensive BBQ, picnic or buffet-style menu, and cut your bill even more by swapping dessert for a DIY cake table guests contribute to instead of bringing a gift. Consider only catering for 70 percent of guests for evening food – lots will be too busy drinking and dancing to eat, promise!

Image: Stephanie Swann

Be your own DJ
Get your guests to nominate their favourite songs when they RSVP, then make up a playlist that friends or ushers can play as a personalised Spotify disco. Most venues will have a simple sound system you can link with a laptop, and giving your volunteer DJs half hour slots throughout the evening means everyone gets a chance to show off their DJ skills and hit the dance floor, too.

Something borrowed
If one of your close friends or a sister wore a beautiful veil or wedding headpiece on her day, ask nicely if you can borrow it. Most people will be glad to see a special piece have another outing, and it’s practically bad form not to wear something borrowed, right?

Want more budget tips? Here are six wedding costs to watch out for and nine simple wedding budget hacks...

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