How to Have a Brilliant Budget Wedding

October 7, 2011

in Reception

Wedding Turntable

Wedding Reception Music

The average wedding now costs somewhere in the region of £18,000 – which is enough to turn any blushing bride a little white with shock. Yes, it’s supposed to be the biggest and best day of your life, but does it really warrant blowing so much cash in what is effectively 24 hours?

If you’re a bride or a groom who’s looking to save money on your impending nuptials, check out these great suggestions. Not only will they help you save the pennies, they could also make for a truly unique day.

Creative Wedding Catering

For most weddings, the single biggest expense is feeding your guests. Many brides and grooms feel they need to stick with tradition in offering guests a sit down three-course meal – which is when costs really start mounting up. If you’re on a tight budget, however, you should consider the different ways you might feed your guests.

Perhaps try an afternoon tea, with easy-to-prepare, cold foods such as sandwiches and cake. You could even organise a wedding picnic where every guest is asked to bring a dish. Also, think about swapping fancy dining for ‘bowl food’ such as curry, stew or shepherds pie – it may not look as posh but it’s hearty and cost effective.

A serve yourself buffet or BBQ can also keep  the costs down on waiting staff. You might even approach a local café or take-away (like your local fish and chip shop) who may be happy to cater for smaller parties at a very reasonable price.

Bring your own Drinks

Drink is another large cost – especially when it comes to expensive per head drinks packages in hotels. Look for venues that allow you to ‘bring your own booze.’ That way, you can provide all the alcohol and soft drinks needed for your party at a price that’s right for your budget.  Many people opt to hop across the channel for cheap wine and champagne in France. There are also some great supermarket deals to be had on wine and beer here in the UK.

If you’re using a catering company, they’ll probably charge a corkage fee – to cover the costs involved in serving the drinks (normally charged per bottle opened). Even with this fee, it will still normally work out much cheaper to provide your own. You could even invite each guest to bring a bottle of bubbly in place of a gift!

Playlist vs. Live Reception Band

Live bands and DJs can demand large fees for playing at weddings (as well as a hot meal in some cases). However, you can create a great atmosphere and lively dance floor simply using a laptop/I-pod playlist. You will probably have to hire speakers and lights, but it could work our much cheaper than hiring a live act.

If you’re still keen on a band – check out local bands on MySpace or go to local gigs for inspiration. Approaching a local band directly could help save on agency fees and travel costs for your live act.

Second Hand or Vintage Wedding Attire

Clothing for a wedding can end up costing a small fortune, especially if you’re footing the bill for bridesmaid dresses too. There are some great second-hand deals out there on wedding attire – particularly for wedding dresses.

If you have your eye on a designer frock, check out, to see if you can pick it up second hand for half the cost. Most of the dresses advertised will have had a professional clean included in the cost.

Email invites

Beautifully designed ‘save the date’ cards and invites may look delightful, but they can be a rather unnecessary cost. As most people are online these days, you could consider an email invite/save the date. You can still make the email look attractive – but you’ll save on all the design, printing and sending costs.

A wedding website might also prove a good idea, so all the details of the day can be easily accessed online. is an American website that helps you to create your own wedding webpage – and what’s more, it’s absolutely free!

Protect the Wedding Plans

And finally, make sure any plans you do make are covered with adequate wedding insurance. If you’re on a tight budget, you may feel that insurance is another added cost you don’t need – but it could actually save you money if things don’t run to plan.

For example, if venues or suppliers let you down last minute – your insurance could help cover the costs involved. It might even protect you from the impact of bad weather. Take a look at the wedding insurance packages on offer and decide whether the protection is right for you.

This guest article was provided by insurance specialist Policy Expert.

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{ 26 comments… read them below or add one }

susan December 22, 2011 at 3:44 pm

In Sarasota, many brides do “Beach Weddings.” These Sarasota Beach Weddings are usually done on Siesta Key Beach – which is the #1 beach in the states, according to Dr. Beach.
Beach weddings are also very budget friendly. Receptions can also be on the beach or at the picnic area and wedding couples will many time hire out someone to do Barbecue – I love roast pig!


Heidi January 25, 2012 at 2:31 pm

Roast pig is one of my favorites! Beach weddings can be so beautiful. You also (generally) save money on the dress since you can get a lighter fabric or even go non-traditional.


Rose February 17, 2012 at 3:09 am

I like beach wedding. And the food will serve must be sea foods. I want also an area where I can display fireworks.
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Liz February 24, 2012 at 8:52 am

I used to own an Inn and hosted many weddings. I saw a lot of creative budget minded ideas. One of the newest was to make your own arrangements and bouquets.
Flowers would be bought in bulk and the bridesmaids would put together their own bouquets. The arranged flowers would be wrapped tightly with floral tape. Then ribbon would be wrapped on top of the floral tape and then secured with a floral pin. Worked perfectly and looked beautiful.


Kelly Jones June 6, 2012 at 7:35 pm

These are great tips to help reduce costs. I am having a Victorian themed wedding and I am coming across Victorian wedding dresses that are way out of my price range. I will have to see if I can find a second hand one.
I also love the idea of sending the invites via email. However, my family (and friends and everyone else I know) is frowning upon it and ask how I could even think of doing something like that. I guess in their defense, it doesn’t go with the whole Victorian theme. Also, thanks for the heads up on wedding insurance. That is something I never even considered. I will have to talk to my fiance and family and start researching.


wedding dresses July 20, 2012 at 3:18 am

You can also opt for chic Plus Size Prom Dresses such as a single – cut wedding gown or a full- length gown. It is important that you do not cover your whole body when you are on a beach. This will make you feel uncomfortable in the humid climate and also make you look awkward. On the other hand, cool halter- neck, backless gowns help you enjoy the sun tan too.
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get the best wedding venues for Ocala December 27, 2012 at 12:33 am

I love the beach wedding concept .I also want to have my own wedding in beach only. Beaches are so beautiful and lovely. You give me a useful tips how wedding can be done in budget. These budget saving tips are going to be boon for me. I really like it.


Laura January 22, 2013 at 6:47 am

I did not have a live act at my wedding and everything was awesome. In fact, I wouldn’t trade this for anything since it allowed us to completely control everything and save quite a lot of money.


David March 5, 2013 at 11:04 pm

Very nicely written. Enjoyed in reading, thanks for sharing it.


Miranda May 13, 2014 at 10:48 am

I would love to have a beach wedding too. there’s something about being on a beautiful sandy beach and getting married!


iPod Weddings July 2, 2014 at 7:56 pm

It\’s also possible to have a halfway decent wedding where you do all the music yourself. It\’s not as easy as it sounds, but it is do-able. These days, we recommend that people use streaming services like Spotify. We\’re professional DJ\’s and although we wish everyone could afford a Pro, but we recommend at least thinking through the playlists. We wrote a guide that aims to help couples with this.
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Zeke Casas October 22, 2016 at 7:54 pm

In my experience I have found that getting a caterer that can give you options and work around the customers budget is a plus. I try my hardest to work with everyone and am pretty honest to tell them I can’t help. Our customers can even have us just drop off the food in a buffet style serving. A caterers focus should be the satisfaction of the Bride and Grooms Budget.


Athalia December 8, 2016 at 8:26 pm

These tips are spot-on, especially the idea of bringing your own wine/champagne for cutting cost. These’re very helpful. Thanks for sharing


Mike Davis January 10, 2017 at 8:33 am

great post and totally agree, one of the best days of your life doesnt need to cost a crazy amount


Alex Martin February 7, 2017 at 2:29 am

I would love to have a beach wedding too. there’s something about being on a beautiful sandy beach and getting married!


Michigan Life Insurance Quotes February 14, 2017 at 1:39 pm

I am all about making a wedding a lot cheaper. Key is to make sure it doesn’t look too cheap and ruin the wedding for the couple.


Jay at Adagio DJ February 15, 2017 at 9:25 pm

Although having a budget wedding can be easy on your wallet. Sometimes it’s cheaper emotionally to hire a professional. Don’t skimp out on quality before you even shop what a professional can do. Many times you can find budget DJs who are still great performers! Good luck on wedding planning!


Cathal Molloy March 22, 2017 at 8:50 am

Definitely agree that it’s worth checking out local wedding bands for your reception and after party. Most groups charge a fortune but there are really great bands out there that do it for the love of the music and only want to cover costs. I’d personally recommend checking out websites that list lots of wedding groups and host showcases.
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Bride Photo April 27, 2017 at 10:30 am

Wow! Usually when there’s a budget constraint, we do limit the grandeur of an event. But this one is just amazing! Thanks for giving these ideas. Weddings should always be solemn and romantic. Great blog too!
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Conner Servant June 6, 2017 at 8:12 am

Budget wedding? We tried to keep the numbers down but it is almost impossible. Consider asking family and friends to bring some food to supplement the catering. Not ideal but a budget is a budget.
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Servall June 7, 2017 at 10:05 am

Sometimes buying your own catering equipment for your wedding works out cheaper as there is a demand for second hand equipment. You buy from a company land sell it back to them.


Aqib Sharif August 15, 2017 at 3:10 pm

I agree with you. I think one should hire a wedding planner for budget management as they are experts and can deliver a wedding event within your budget.


Jason August 28, 2017 at 4:09 am

Their is nothing better than a beach wedding especially when you want to create a carnival style atmosphere 🙂


dexter September 8, 2017 at 3:53 am

you can plan to have a wedding in sri lanka .beautiful blue ocean in the background .


William Henry September 20, 2017 at 7:39 am

Planning is important. One can save money by following these tips definitely. Loved the beach wedding concept.


Hunter October 19, 2017 at 8:31 am

With all things the easier it is the less it cost, the more you do personally the less it cost. Making the choices about things that “really” matter vs things that are cute . The marriage is the end goal, not at ceremony


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