Planning your dream wedding is an exciting journey, but it can also be financially challenging. It is likely you are looking for ways to make your special day memorable without breaking the bank. Don't worry; you can have the wedding of your dreams while staying within your budget. Here's a helpful guide to budgeting for a wedding, with a focus on keeping the essentials intact while exploring cost-cutting measures.
Set a Realistic Budget.
We often don't like to think about money but planning is key to staying on track. Start by determining how much you can comfortably spend on your wedding. Consider your income, savings, and any contributions from family members. Be realistic about what you can afford and create a budget that won't leave you in debt after the big day. We have a helpful blog post about some of the associated costs of Marquee Weddings that you can use as a reference point.
Prioritise Your Must-Haves.
Identify the non-negotiable elements of your dream wedding. Is it the stunning venue, a designer wedding dress, or a specific photographer? Prioritise these elements and allocate a larger portion of your budget to them, ensuring they remain central to your wedding vision.
Limit Your Guest List.
This can be a tricky one, especially when family members want to have their say on who makes the list, but trimming your guest list is one of the most effective ways to save money. Invite only close family and friends, and consider having a more intimate celebration. Fewer guests mean lower costs for nearly every aspect of your wedding, from catering, seating, venue size and even size of toilets facilities if you are planning an outdoor celebration.
DIY Where Possible.
Get creative and take on some DIY projects. DIY not only saves money but also adds a personal touch to your wedding. You don't need to do it alone either, get together with friends and have a fun evening making place settings or signage.
Opt for a Non-Traditional Venue.
Consider alternative venues for your ceremony and reception. A family members garden, local park or even a beach can be charming and cost-effective options. Just remember to check local regulations for outdoor events. Yurts are actually quite a good option to consider, they may not be the cheapest structure to hire but you get a lot of bang for your buck. They are so beautiful, minimal decoration is required to make a yurt look magical, plus they can fit in relatively small spaces. We have had the pleasure of being part of many a back garden wedding, in simple but beautiful celebrations.
Shop Smart for Your Wedding attire.
If you are look for a wedding dress, keep an eye out for sample sales. The same applies to suits. You can also consider renting or buying a second-hand gown, which can save you a substantial amount without compromising on style. Companies like The Vintage Suit Hire co and sites such as Bridal Reloved are perfect places to start. Or, try looking at other types of occasion wear as an alternative, you can find beautiful pieces designed for 'bridesmaids' or 'groomsmen' for a fraction of the cost and are just as appropriate - in fact my wedding dress was sold as a bridesmaid dress and cost £65, considerably less than my dad spent on his suit. Mark bought a regular suit in a sale at Zara for £40 and still wears it today (15 years on), I have also worn my wedding dress several times since to formal events and posh parties.
Photographer: Richard Stow Photography • Venue: The White Hart, Whelpley Hill • Structure: The Grand Pavilion Yurt
Don't be afraid to negotiate, ask for discounts or bundle services. Many vendors are willing to work with your budget and may be able to give great suggestions on cost cutting measures that you haven't considered yourself or offer alternative options.
Save on paper and postage by sending digital invitations. There are numerous beautiful online options that allow you to create custom e-invites while being eco-friendly and cost-effective. Sites like Cava where you can design your own invitations or Paperless Post can provide templates for just this purpose. While this may not be appropriate for all your guests if a large portion can be digital, that is a large portion of money saved.
Invest in a Good Photographer.
While it's essential to cut costs, your wedding photos are a lasting memory. Invest in a skilled photographer who can capture your special day beautifully. You can save on photography packages by opting for shorter coverage or digital-only packages. We have a list of great photographers on our credits page.
Stay Organised and Keep Track of Expenses.
Planning really is key to staying on track and not having and nasty surprises. There are lots of budgeting tools and apps out there that can help to keep track of your wedding expenses. A simple Excel spreadsheet will do just as well and staying organised will help you stick to your budget and make adjustments as needed. The wonderful Lou from Whimsical Wonderland Weddings has a free Wedding Budget Planner Spreadsheet for download, along with loads of other handy tips and tools to help you.
Enjoy the process.
It may sound obvious by try to enjoy the planning process. Planning a wedding on a budget may require some sacrifices and this could make you feel disheartened at times, but it doesn't mean compromising on your dream wedding. By making smart financial choices and focusing on what truly matters to you, you can have a beautiful wedding that you and your guests will cherish without going overboard on expenses. Remember, your love is what makes the day special, not all the extra bits and pieces.
We hope there are some juicy bits of information and tips for you to use on your own wedding planning journey.