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How to Plan a Wedding for £3,000: What to Spend & What to Save On

Not everyone has tens of thousands to spend on a wedding, so if you're working to a smaller wedding budget, this guide to a £3,000 wedding will really help you out

Couple standing in the snow at their 3,000 wedding dancing outdoors
Unsplash / Alesia Kazantceva

Couple standing in the snow at their 3,000 wedding dancing outdoors
Unsplash / Alesia Kazantceva

Planning a wedding on a budget is completely doable - but we’re not going to lie and say it’s really easy and doesn’t take some work. With the average wedding costing £18,400, spending £3,000 on a budget wedding seems a world away - but that’s where we come in to help.

Planning a wedding on a tight budget is possible but it requires couples to do two key things: compromise and prioritise!

If you and your partner are able to compromise on certain aspects of your day and prioritise what’s most important to you, you can absolutely plan a gorgeous budget wedding for £3,000. It's also worth considering booking outside of the typical wedding season, as prices tend to be lower outside of the peak time for weddings. 

How to Plan a Budget Wedding For Just £3,000

We've put together a clear breakdown on how you can get married for £3,000 - read on to discover how and get ready to make some savings. And remember, the free wedding budget planner from Hitched will also help you to stay on track.

hitched budget breakdown for a £3,000 wedding

Our wedding budget breakdown gives you guidance on which areas of wedding planning require more of your budget, and which aspects you can easily save on. But it’s important to note that this is just a guide. Every wedding is completely unique to the couple who are planning it and your priorities are going to be different to that of your friends and family.

While our budget breakdown gives you a great idea of what money should be spent where, and how much budget you should aim to allocate to each part of the wedding planning process, you will likely want to tweak this to suit your personal priorities.

For example, we’ve suggested certain areas such as wedding entertainment as aspects of wedding planning you could save on - but if you and your partner are music-mad and love the idea of a live singer or band, you may want to cut costs in other places.

Whatever edits and tweaks you make, our guide to planning a wedding for £3,000 will definitely give you a place to start and help you begin to map out your budget allocations. 

Wedding Venue Hire - £400

a plain wedding venue decorated with tulle and sparkly lights
Unsplash / Nathan Dumlao

Your wedding venue is always going to be one of the biggest expenditures when planning a wedding budget because it’s the base for your whole day. However, when planning a wedding for £3,000, you’ll want to keep your costs down as much as possible.

There are a number of cheap wedding venues that offer dry hire for around £400. It’s also worth considering spaces within pub wedding venues or hotel wedding venues. Weddings with a smaller budget tend fall in line with a smaller and more intimate guest list so booking a room within a venue is a much more feasible option and will cut your costs dramatically.

Spending just £400 on your wedding venue will tend to mean there aren’t any extras such as table and chair decorations but fear not - there are plenty of cheap wedding decorations and DIY wedding ideas you can explore to make your venue feel special.

Because of this, it’s also worth looking for a cheap wedding venue space that doesn’t require much décor. Pubs bursting with character or restaurants with gorgeous art on the walls can mean you won’t need to spend a penny on extras.

Budget Wedding Venues You Might Like: 

Wedding Catering - £1,125

Along with your wedding venue hire, wedding catering will be one of the largest chunks of money you spend on your big day because no matter what your wedding budget is, you and your guests need to eat.

If you are having 45 wedding guests then it’s achievable to cater the event at £25 a head, especially if you swap a traditional sit-down wedding breakfast for a buffet-style barbecue or a sharing platter vibe.

Other ways to cut down on your catering costs include an afternoon tea of sandwiches and scones, or a festival-style, casual wedding breakfast with an open fire pizza oven or cheese and meat platters. This is a great option if you’ve hired a venue that doesn’t have a kitchen, like a tipi wedding venue or rustic barn.

If you’ve lucked out and managed to bag yourself a corkage-free wedding venue, you could even opt for a BYOB day (that’s bring your own booze for those who are unfamiliar) and ask guests to bring a bottle in lieu of wedding gifts - that will slash your catering costs and also means everyone has their perfect choice of drink.

You could also consider throwing a twilight wedding - this is when you start your wedding later in the day so you only need to offer one meal, rather than a wedding breakfast, evening buffet and canapes. 

Affordable Wedding Caterers You Might Like: 

Ceremony Costs - £400

Groom placing the ring on his bride's finger at their £3,000 wedding
Pexels / Pavel Danilyuk

Whether you’re planning a wedding for £10,000 or sticking to a £3,000 wedding budget, you can expect to pay between £400-£500 for your wedding ceremony fees.

If you are having a civil ceremony then this will cover the cost of the registrar and the marriage licence, but those who aren’t will have to pay for their marriage licence separately. You can check out our Hitched wedding celebrants here.

Wedding Licence - £150

Often with weddings on a smaller budget, couples may choose to have their legal wedding with just one or two guests and then have the wedding celebration at another time.

If this is the case, it’s important to leave around £150 in the wedding budget for your marriage licence, but as we mentioned above, those opting for a civil ceremony will have their marriage licence cost covered within their ceremony costs which is worth considering to save £150!

We have a complete guide to wedding licences and marriage certificates here which gives you a complete guide on what to do, how much it costs, and when to do it. 

Wedding Cake - £50

Simple wedding cake with lillies as decoration
Pexels / Rerisson Hofniel

To be completely frank, it’ll take some creativity and thinking outside of the box to get an absolutely spectacular wedding cake for £50 - but you do have other options.

Whilst it may not be a stunning three-tier marble wedding cake, there are a number of high street retailers who offer supermarket wedding cakes for around £50 and you can buy faux or fresh flowers to decorate your wedding cake yourself. 

It’s easy to make simple wedding cakes more special by adding florals, ribbons or a pretty wedding cake topper which you can get on Etsy and Not on the High Street for around £10. If you can get a wedding cake big enough to guarantee each guest a slice, it can double up as dessert and help to free up some of the budget allocated to your wedding catering. 

For more info, we have a complete guide to wedding cake prices which details what different budgets can get you in the world of wedding puds. 

Wedding Cake Suppliers You Might Like: 

Wedding Flowers - £100

Bride and groom's hands on top of simple wedding bouquet
Pexels / Wendel Moretti

If you are on a really strict budget with your wedding flowers but still want something that is bespoke and made for you, speak to local florist wedding suppliers. Be really honest with them about what you can afford to spend and they will be able to inform you of your options.

It may be that you opt for a wedding bouquet just for yourself and give bridesmaids a single rose or flower to carry down the aisle - the same can be done for ushers and groom buttonholes.

Another way to save money on your wedding flowers is to be flexible with styles. If your budget is strict, you’ll want to focus on foliage which is always cheaper than blooms, and only use flowers that are in season as they will also be cheaper than any which need importing or need to be specially sourced.

Those on a super strict budget can always opt for supermarket flowers and have a go at creating their bouquet themselves.

For more information on what your budget can get you, check out our guide to wedding florist prices, with expert advice from the professionals. 

Wedding Florist Suppliers You Might Like: 

Wedding Photography and Videography - £400

It’s not easy to find a professional wedding photographer or videographer for less than £1,000 - their jobs entail much more than just the work on the day - but there are options for getting some gorgeous wedding pictures on a budget.

You could approach a professional wedding photographer and discuss significantly cutting down on the number of pictures and length of time you hire them for. Some professional wedding photographers offer a very stripped back package where you can have some lovely couple portraits and immediate family pictures after your ceremony. 

You might consider approaching a trainee wedding photographer or a university photography student. Trainees and student photographers will charge much less than a professional but bear in mind they are less experienced and you are not likely to get the same results you'd get from hiring a seasoned pro. 

Photography is one of the key areas to invest in on your wedding day, as those pictures in your wedding photo album are your lasting keepsake.  

We also have a complete guide to wedding photography prices and wedding videography costs which each explain the different tiers of packages and what different budgets can get you.

Wedding Photographers You Might Like: 

Wedding Videographers You Might Like: 

Couple’s Wedding Outfits - £300

couple holding their shoes on a beach after their wedding ceremony
Unsplash / Nathan Dumlao

£300 may not seem like very much to spend on both yours and your partner’s wedding outfits, but it is certainly possible. High street retailers have seriously upped their game when it comes to formalwear on a budget and you can get high street wedding dresses from retailers like Chi Chi London, ASOS, New Look and Coast for under £100.

And it’s not just wedding dresses and wedding jumpsuits that can be bought on a budget - there are a number of wedding suit retailers who offer cheaper alternatives to designer and bespoke made outfits. Places such as Topman who now sell through ASOS offer a number of cheap wedding suits in a range of fits including tall and plus.

Securing a wedding dress for around £100 and a high street suit for the same still leaves you around £100 between you for shoes and some accessories. High street wedding heels can start from as little as £15 on the high street and you can even re-wear things you already own. Something borrowed can stand for something borrowed from your wardrobe, you know!

Wedding Fashion Shops You Might Like: 

Wedding Stationery - £75

Spending £75 on your wedding stationery still gives you a lot of options, but there are a few common wedding stationery mistakes you want to be aware of, especially if you are working to a tight budget. If you are posting your wedding invitations, you need to consider the cost of postage for each one.

Hitched wedding invitations offer designs which start from as little as 86p per invite making them super budget-friendly. Alternatively, you could use the wedding stationery budget to commission a tailored design which you can print and post yourself.

Another option for couples looking to save money on their wedding stationery is to create email wedding invites which would slash the cost dramatically.

Browse our favourite websites for wedding stationery here.

Wedding Stationery Suppliers You Might Like: 

Hair and Makeup - £0

If you are planning a wedding for less than £3,000, hair and makeup will be one of those areas where you may need to compromise. If you’re going DIY, there are plenty of wedding makeup and hair tutorials on YouTube which you can watch and practise. 

Couples and wedding parties doing their own wedding makeup should consider investing in a great wedding foundation and wedding lipstick for your wedding day so your makeup feels extra special.

We’ve got the wedding day beauty essentials makeup artists swear by so you know these are worth the money. Feel Unique, MAC and Boots are all be great places to find some extra special makeup.

If you have a friend that is great at hair and makeup then don’t be afraid to ask for some help or advice when it comes to creating your wedding day look.

Wedding Décor - £0

beautiful wedding table with cheap greenery decor
Unsplash / Jordan Arnold

When working to a tight budget, wedding decorations may not be the top priority on your list but as we said before, your choice of venue could mean you don’t have to spend anything on decorations. If you know your wedding budget is slightly restrictive, have that at the forefront of your mind when looking around.

You can also get creative with DIY wedding decorations and use cheap alternatives to create something beautiful. Nowadays, YouTube, TikTok and Instagram are filled with DIY tutorials and wedding ideas on a budget that you can do yourself.

Botanicals and greenery also make gorgeous wedding décor and can be bought second hand or from stores like IKEA which are super budget-friendly. If you're not feeling too creative, empty glass bottles of differing heights and candles add so much when it comes to ambience - all you have to do is drink a bit more wine.

Wedding Party Outfits - £0

Couples with a smaller budget need to think really carefully about priorities and for a lot of nearlyweds, buying outfits for bridesmaids, ushers and other members of the wedding party just isn’t top of the list. Most wedding party members will be happy to pay for their own outfits as long as you are flexible and reasonable in your approach to the situation.

There are so many cheap bridesmaid dresses that look totally expensive, so they won't have to break their bank accounts either. 

If you are asking people to pay for their own outfits and accessories, be mindful of the cost implications on them. Giving a colour or brief guidelines gives your friends and family the opportunity to shop around for the best deals so they can save money too. You also want to ensure that whatever they wear to your wedding can be worn again if they are footing the bill themselves. 

Wedding Favours - £0

Similarly to wedding décor and wedding party outfits, buying expensive wedding favours just isn’t realistic when working with a £3,000 wedding budget. There are, however, plenty of ways you can work around a lack of budget for wedding favours.

Some couples opt to use their wedding cake as favours. You can order or make small wedding cake boxes or use little bags to give guests a slice of cake as a wedding favour - it minimises waste and cuts costs for you! If you do want to allocate some budget, we have wedding favour ideas under £1 - and they're really nice...

Wedding Entertainment - £0

Couple partying with their guests at their wedding with bubbles floating around them
Unsplash / Nevels Media

Hiring a wedding band or DJ for the evening will take up at least a third of your £3,000 wedding budget but you have options. Thanks to savvy music apps like Spotify, you and your partner can create your very own wedding playlist including all of your favourite songs as a couple.

You could have a slower and more romantic playlist for the daytime and then change to a more upbeat playlist of all your favourite songs for the evening. Just make sure you have a charger on hand and maybe even a back-up device just in case.

You can even involve your guests in this by having a shared playlist or asking everyone to submit requests before the wedding that you guys can then add to your playlist. That will ensure every track is a floor filler and it costs next to nothing.

Wedding Transport - £0

Wedding transport is a luxury that, again, eats into a smaller wedding budget but you can always ask a friend or family member to drive you to the wedding or pay a small fee for taxis for everyone.

Alternatively if you know someone with a super nice car, why not ask to borrow it for the day? You can get some nice pictures with it at the ceremony and maybe offer them an extra slice of cake or a small gift to say thank you. 

How to Have a Cheap Wedding: 3 Budget Wedding Tips

If you're wondering how to do a wedding on a budget, there are some key things you have to keep in mind. Along with our useful £3,000 wedding budget breakdown, we have three main expert tips to help you stick to the cheapest wedding budget possible. 

1. Be Strict with Your Guest List

It’s tough but if you have a tight budget then having fewer wedding guests will save you a dramatic amount of money. If you still want to have a great party then you could have a smaller guest list for the day and then invite more people for a big party in the evening. Here are our expert tips on planning your wedding guest list (including who not to invite!).

2. Make Use of Your Friends and Family

If you have a friend who is a great photographer, a bridesmaid that is fantastic at makeup or a sister that should really be on the Great British Bake Off then don’t be afraid to ask for their help as a wedding present – hopefully they will be more than happy to help and will be honoured to play such a big part in your special day, and you can always give them a lovely wedding thank you gift

3. Be Prepared to DIY

It’s amazing how much money you can save on a budget wedding by creating things yourself. Try and make as much of your décor as you can and maybe enlist the help of your friends and family. Just make sure you leave plenty of time to execute ideas and don't set your expectations too high for how much you can do on your own.

Looking for more budget ideas? Discover how one couple on a £50,000 income planned their wedding, or check out our guide to saving on your wedding - there are plenty of tips and tricks that'll help you cut costs whilst still having the day of your dreams.