Budget wedding help please!

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  • Posted: 6 Aug 2018 20:48

    Budget wedding help please!

    hi everyone! 

    So I’m recently engaged and we’ve decided that we are going to have a very budget wedding (£5-6000 max). Ceremony will be in our local registry office and then we want to have the reception elsewhere. 

    Can you suggest any reception venues that are very budget friendly in south east England? (Mainly Kent but also south east London)  

    Also can anyone shed some help on how they achieved a budget wedding? 


    Thank you 😊 

  • Posted: 8 Aug 2018 10:44

    Re: Budget wedding help please!

    Congratulations on your engagement!

    I can't help with the venue search, as I'm in the South West, but I can maybe help with the budget saving tips...

    Firstly - call in ALL the favours you can. My stepsister has a cake making business, so she is providing the wedding cake, my brother is in a band, so they are playing in the evening, plus he is playing the music for me to walk down the aisle to. We have a friend doing the flowers, and future MIL is growing them on her allotment. I'm making the invites, and we're skipping save the dates, and asking people to RSVP online, so saving 2 lots of postage. 

    We've also recently decided to do our own food for the evening food - fiance is going to smoke some meat, and I have a friend who runs a vegan catering business who I'm asking to provide pies at cost price.

    We're going to make and borrow a lot of our decorations too. 

    I've bought the bridesmaids skirts from Amazon at £25 each, just need to get tops which will be quite cheap, and I'm asking the girls to provide their own shoes. Groomsmen are wearing their own suits, we'll provide ties.

    We booked our bar at a wedding fair and got a £250 voucher towards welcome drinks for booking at the fair, 10% of the photobooth for booking through a fair too - go to wedding fairs! 

    We found our photographer on Facebook and got a deal - £650 instead of £1200 for whole day (prep to first dance) because we'll let them use some of the photos on their website. 

    Hope this helps - good luck! X


  • Posted: 8 Aug 2018 11:27

    Re: Budget wedding help please!

    Also can’t help with the venue as we’re getting married in the midlands. However, I think I have a couple of tips that might be helpful. I think our estimated costs for the entire day is about £8.8K but that’s with quite a few added extras (10 min non-stop fireworks display, paying for an additional 5 hotel rooms for immediate family for the wedding night, upgrading menu to give guests a choice of 3 meals etc.) without all of those I think we’d be looking at more like £6K.

    I know one top tip is to ask friends/family to help but we didn’t have anyone that would be able to!

    Anyways, tips:

    1. Shop around. Different companies obviously offer different rates so make sure you get lots of quotes to see which suits you the best at the lowest cost. Some companies were quoting me £3k for a 10 min display, I ended up paying £1k for mine! 

    2. Look for deals/sales. I got my wedding dress from a bridal boutique during Black Friday which gave me an extra 15% off. The dress was already reduced as it was a sample sale so I got a one off £1700 dress for £510. 

    I also got my invites from vistaprint with a 40% off code so all of my wedding stationary will have cost around £100. 

    3. Don’t be afraid to get things second hand. I looked on gumtree and bought a couple of wedding bundles - both cost around £70 but got £200/£300+ worth of stuff. We got our bridesmaid dress (only have one BM) from eBay; it was second hand but came New with tags.

    4. Try to buy things that can be sold on after. If you can, buy your own decorations rather than hiring a company to do this and rent their decor as if you buy them outright you can recover some of the costs after the wedding.

    5. You can haggle. When looking at what companies can do with their prices it’s easier to get things added in the cost rather than reducing the cost if that makes sense. We got our venue (including meal for 50 etc.) for £3849 (they were originally charging us £3500). For the extra £350 we got 4 additional rooms the night of the wedding (usually £150 each, menu to include choices for guests, corkage for 15 bottles of wine and 2 1.5l of prossecco and DJ). We managed to get such a good deal because we paid the full price up front that day. 

    6. Look for new companies. We hired a fairly new photographer so got a much cheaper rate £525 for all day and usb after the wedding. Our videographer is also just starting out so is only charinging us for accommodation and travel expenses. You might also be able to find someone who is new to the industry to make your cake etc.

    7. DIY. Do be careful with this one as sometimes once you’ve bought all the supplies it can work out cheaper to have just bought the thing you’re making. But I’ve saved money by DIY-ing my own sparkler tags, I will be making my table plan, centrepieces and I embellished my wedding boots too. 

    8. Work out what’s important to you both early on and make sure your priorties are where you allocate most of you’re biggest and if needed make compromises elsewhere. We decided right form the start that we wanted fireworks and knew this would be a big expense. In the end I didn’t get giant LOVE letters or a startlight dancefloor as these were low dontbon the list and wasn’t worth the extra expense in th end.


    I think that’s all I can think of for now but will update if I happen to think of anything else. 



    9. I forgot to mention time of day/year. If you get married out of season late autumn/winter/early spring, venues will often offer discounted packages and some even do ‘winter specials’. Also, getting married later in the day can save you pennies too! My FMIL got married late afternoon as this was cheaper and it meant she only had to pay for one meal (buffet). 

  • Posted: 8 Aug 2018 16:18

    Re: Budget wedding help please!

    Don't underestimate shops like pound land, B&M etc. there were some lovely invites in pound land the other day, i bought some nice frames which i'm using to put my table names in, and i bought a chalkboard that i decorated with tiny pearly stickers to put on our table plan board. 

    the table plan is a pallet that i rescued from a neighbours skip and i'm hanging fairy lights and random frames around it. we have wooden centrepieces and these came from a tree my fiances grandpa cut down! the best man is a carpenter so we've asked him to make us a wooden board that we're using as a guest book (we'll be able to hang it on the wall after we're married). my mum is making the cake, i'm buying flowers from a supermarket and my vases are jam jars! 

    start looking at things in a different way- what i can be used for as opposed to what it should be! :-) 

    facebook is good for wedding bundles and DIY is always fun if you can rope people in to help you by bribing them with wine and pizza! 

    use wedding websites to get good ideas and then research as much as you can online to see if you can get what you want (or close to it) somewhere else cheaper

    with the venue, check out packages that they have as they can be really good v4m or alternatively think about other options like afternoon tea or a buffet. if you hire a hall, you can hire a bar for a relatively small amount and that comes with staff. i happen to work in a hotel so if i was going down the self-catering route i can then pay some other team members to waitress for me on the day. 


    lots of options so start with what you want and work from there to see what you can get!

  • Posted: 8 Aug 2018 23:35

    Re: Budget wedding help please!

    I have had an amazing deal and experience from The Blaxing Donkey Country House Hotel. A number of friends and collegues have had smazing weddings here snd the prices are great. Ignore the bad reviews from 2010 not everything is as it seems. 

  • Posted: 14 Aug 2018 7:01

    Re: Budget wedding help please!

    Wow, you did really a good job. My wedding day is coming next year, i think i can also make everything perfect from asking my friends to help me. I have friends who is a professional photographer, friends who own her cake shop and etc. Wonderful tips. Many thanks!

  • Posted: 14 Aug 2018 20:47

    Re: Budget wedding help please!

    When I started out planning our wedding, I was aiming for the £5-6K mark. It's now working out around £10K, for various reasons. BUT I have learnt a bit about budgeting for a wedding.

    The BIGGEST cost by far is catering, and the catering cost depends on your numbers of guests, so keeping your guest list low is a quick way of cutting costs, (this is mainly where ours fell down budget-wise, as we both have massive families so we have invited 180 people and that was non-negotiable for us). Personally, I hate the idea of not letting people bring their partners and children, but a lot of people do it and it saves money,

    The other advantage of a small guest list is that it makes doing your own buffet (evening or afternoon, or both) a feasible option (we are instead going for a hog roast for the daytime and quite a cheapo evening buffet for the evening which will be delivered, but hopefully everyone will be too drunk by that point to notice.

    We're buying all the wine and fizz from France - since we already had a trip planned to see family. If this isn't possible, I hear Lidl is good for this.

    Village hall-type venues are miles cheaper than fancy hotels. Pubs are cheap too, if your guest list is small enough.

    We made our own invites; we bought some blank cards and ribbon from the local craft shop and printed off the inserts ourselves from a word doc, then gave out as many by hand as possible, so invites for 180 people cost us £48 in total including stamps.

    Get as much homemade stuff as possible.

    Don't be afraid of using fake flowers. My cousin did and no one could tell.

    Shop around online for good deals on bridesmaids and wedding dresses.


  • Posted: 17 Aug 2018 20:13

    Re: Budget wedding help please!

    If it is a small wedding, we had a nice wedding meal at Chapter One restaurant in Locksbottom near Farnborough, although it was back in 1998. They had a private function room upstairs.

  • Posted: 22 Aug 2018 10:57

    Re: Budget wedding help please!


    I'm getting married in the SE (Essex). We booked a town hall for our reception (we're getting married in a church). We've got about 100 guests, so we decided to splash out on catering to save the hassle, but we're having the ceremony mid afternoon so we only have to pay for one meal.

    Another option is to look into pubs as venues. Many lovely country pubs have function rooms and often only charge a small amount, or they charge for buffet food which they will provide (sandwiches and pork pies type of thing!). This also means you have a bar already set up for guests to buy their drinks! They are often big enough to have a dance floor and a few tables.

    I agree with many of the points already made:

    1) Ask people to help - most will be chuffed you want them to be involved. Even if you offer to pay them for ingredients, equipment, etc., you might be able to get things like the cake, flowers, music, etc. and it has the added bonus of being extra personal. I would recommend though that you hire a professional photographer. These are going to be the items you hang around the house after the wedding, so you want them to be as lovely as possible! A lot of photographers do packages, with the cheapest coming in about £500, and they often do last minute deals if you want to risk waiting till closer to the day. If you're wedding is out of season or a week day, you may get a better deal.

    2) DIY decorations and flowers. These are very fun to make but do be careful with being craft stuff - the cost builds up! But very fun - craft parties with friends round to help all adds to the exciting build-up. Bunting is a cheap and easy to make decoration if you're having a summer wedding, or paper chains for Christmas.

    3) Christmas sales - in January, go nuts on fairy lights. They are such simple but effective decorations, whatever season you decide to get married in!

    4) Charity shops, budget shops, etc., - eyes open at all times for something that might be helpful. I recently got a picture frame for pennies I'm going to use as my seating plan, and I have a friend who found bridesmaid's dresses in a charity shop. Places like the Range and TKMax also do reasonably priced stuff you could use to decorate. I think the Range also does a wedding range with guest books, etc.

    5) Borrow! Especially from friends who have recently got married - they'll have stuff they want to get rid of. Lots of people have fairy lights they could loan. You could borrow things like cake stands, bunting, jewellery, etc.

    6) Don't go too nuts on the stationary. A simple design done on your computer (and printed out at work if you can get away with it!) is a cheap option. We added glitter to ours and they looked professional enough.

    7) People have different opinions on how much the bride should pay towards the bridesmaids' outfits, but you could ask them to split the cost and then give them some choice as to what they wear. Or even give them the full reigns then they can decide if they want to buy a new dress or stick with something they already have. Either way, telling them to wear their own favourite shoes and jewellery saves a few pounds and keeps their feet comfortable!

    Sorry, I appear to have waffled! And probably repeated what other people have already said! Certainly there are plenty of people who do budget and DIY weddings so keep posting here.

    Wishing you all the best. X

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