If you are planning a wedding on a tight budget, it doesn’t mean you can’t have the most amazing day.
With the average wedding costing £32,000, spending just a tenth of that on the whole day might seem impossible. But by following our breakdown of costs – plus knowledge of where to save and where to splurge – you’ll find having a budget wedding is more than doable, and you’ll have just as much fun.
Here’s how to make the most of your cash, from your venue to dress to décor.
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Wedding Venue – £400
If you are looking for an affordable wedding venue, then small hotels, pub wedding venues and church or village halls will be the best places find a bargain. Don’t worry if the venue is fairly plain and simple as there are lots of easy and affordable ways that you can add pretty and stylish wedding décor to transform it.
We've got a whole article on budget wedding venues in the UK, but here’s a few of our favourites:
The Lady Ottoline – Bloomsbury, London
If you’re having a small wedding, this beautifully-decorated pub is cosy and elegant. Its two private rooms can host from 14-45 guests and a three-course menu is £35 per head.
Kent Life – Maidstone, Kent
Venue hire starts from £399 at this country wedding venue set in 28 acres of rural surroundings. You can marry at the Ulcombe Village Hall or beautiful Old Wedding Chapel and dance the night away in their one of two reception rooms.
Accrington Town Hall – Accrington, Lancashire
Suitable for weddings of every size, Accrington Town Hall is a striking Grade II-listed building in the heart of East Lancashire. Their Ballroom features a fully sprung dancefloor- the only other in the North West outside the Tower Ballroom in Blackpool. Wedding breakfasts start from £25pp.
The Admiral Rodney – Southwell, Nottinghamshire
Set in the rolling Nottinghamshire countryside, The Admiral Rodney is a lovely, traditional pub, with delicious food and friendly staff. Their silver wedding package includes a three-course meal and Prosecco for 30 guests from £990 so that’s venue hire and catering covered!
Meade Hall - Camberley, Surrey
Opposite the Crown and Cushion pub is this impressive 16th century Medieval-style banqueting hall. Hire charge costs up to £500 but is much cheaper for off-peak and midweek weddings. Hire includes full use of Meade Hall and the patio outside, furniture, crockery, glassware, candles, a PA system, and a dedicated Event Organiser.
Kitchen Garden Cafe – Kings Heath, Birmingham
This quirky cafe is decorated with fairy lights, rustic brick walls and beautiful artwork by local artists. It has its own private bar and an outside courtyard venue – you’re able to hire it all exclusively or part of it for a smaller celebration.
Princess Pavilion and Gyllngdune Gardens – Falmouth, Cornwall
You can hire this restaurant for up to 120 guests, but a smaller party will see you bag a bargain. From Gyllyngdune Gardens – with its working glasshouse and stunning bandstand – you’ll get gorgeous views across Falmouth Bay and a fantastic backdrop to your wedding photos.
The Rowantree or Marlin’s Wynd – Edinburgh
Part of The Caves wedding venue, the Rowantree and Marlin’s Wynd are the two smallest spaces, nestled in the depths of the 18th century South Bridge in the heart of Edinburgh’s Old Town. Licensed for civil, humanist and religious ceremonies, these atmospheric rooms are more affordable than you might think.
Coastal Meadows – Marros, Carmarthenshire
If you’re happy to DIY your day, how about hiring camping pitches or a few of the holiday cottages at Coastal Meadows, set right on the coast near Tenby? You’ll be surrounded by miles of meadow and coast to explore, plus plenty of local pubs, so it’s a cheap way to make a whole weekend of your celebrations.
Ceremony Fees – £450
No matter what size your wedding, you will still be paying between £400-£500 for your ceremony fees. If you are having a civil ceremony then this will cover the cost of the registrar and the marriage licence.
If you are getting married in a church ceremony, it’s always worth seeing if you can receive a discount for hiring the church hall for the reception afterwards.
Wedding Dress – £100
We’ve done the legwork for you and picked out our favourite high street wedding dresses, with prices from just £30! Browse high street bridalwear ranges, but don’t dismiss white occasionwear either that will come with a cheaper price tag than a more traditional wedding dress. Almost all these bridal styles end up the sales too, so don't dismiss slightly higher price brands like Whistles, Phase Eight and even Ghost if you can bag a bargain.
Wedding Shoes – £20
You can get some fantastic shoes from the high street for around £20 - £50. Go for plain white satin shoes if you want to keep it simple or go glam with some glittering heels if you want to add some sparkle. We adore these simple but sparkly glitter pointed court shoes from New Look that are just £23.99.
Sales are your best friend when it comes to shoes and dresses - look out for clearance, Black Friday, and January sales which can see designer shoes at amazing prices and mid-range shoes at complete bargains.
Bridal Jewellery and Accessories – £50
There are some stunning bridal jewellery options on the high street and for £50 you can get some amazing costume jewellery and no one will be able to tell the difference! A great pair of earrings, a necklace and a bracelet will transform your wedding dress. We adore this pearl earring and necklace set from LHG Designs at Not On The High Street for just £50.
When it comes to your wedding veil, make sure you visit Etsy as they have some amazing styles starting at less than £15 for a simple birdcage veil.
If you want to save even more money, your jewellery is a great place to seek out your 'something borrowed'. Do you have friends or relatives who might lend you their jewels for the day? Then the £50 can go towards something else like your shoes or dress.
Bridesmaids – £0
Just because you're having a budget wedding, doesn’t mean you can’t have your best friends by your side. If you just can’t stretch to paying for their outfits, you could ask them to all wear a certain colour or dress shape, using an outfit they already own.
Mismatched bridesmaid dresses are really on trend right now – just think of Carrie’s mismatched bridesmaid gowns in Sex and the City! If they’re on the hunt for an inexpensive gown, point them in the direction of these bargain high street bridesmaid dresses, starting from just £25.
Groomswear – £50
If the groom has a simple suit already, save your pennies and instead splash out on a new tie and a simple white shirt. It’ll transform his everyday suit into some seriously glamorous groomswear.
This personalised cufflink and tie clip set is such a lovely gift to give your groom and it comes in colours to suit every theme!
Hair and Makeup – £55
If you are planning a wedding for less than £3,000, hair and makeup will be one of those areas where you need to compromise. if you’re going DIY, we’ve found the best wedding makeup tutorials on YouTube and there’s loads of videos for recreating wedding hairstyles. Just remember less is more and a simple hairstyle will cause you less stress on the day.
Invest in a great foundation, lipstick and mascara for your wedding day so your wedding makeup feels extra special. We’ve got the 15 wedding day beauty essentials makeup artists swear by so you know these are worth the money. Space NK, Charlotte Tilbury, Feel Unique, MAC and Boots will 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 bridal look.
Wedding Photographer – £430
You may find it tricky to find a professional wedding photographer for less than £1,000. However, you could instead have a student wedding photographer or a trainee that is just starting out.
If you know your wedding guests will be snapping away throughout the wedding breakfast and the evening then you could also consider hiring a photographer just for the ceremony and some group shots so you get the professional shots you want without blowing your budget.
Reception Décor – £110
Your reception décor will transform your venue but it’s easy to get carried away and overspend. If you want to make the most of your wedding décor budget then invest in statement pieces or a theme that draws all your smaller pieces together. Often your venue will have pieces - like centrepieces, vases and artificial flower bouquets - that you can borrow or hire from them for a cheap price.
Here’s a few of our favourite décor picks that will transform your venue on a budget:
Things like pom-poms and lanterns that you can assemble yourself are cheap and easily transform a plain ceiling. This white party decorations set is under £14 for 12 pieces.
Similarly vines and flower garlands can bring the outdoors inside and you can keep them as decorations at home once the wedding’s over. We love these romantic wisteria vines for £9.99 – you’ll find it and more flower garlands here.
You can also get some great vases like these rustic one from Ginger Ray for £2.49 and you can fill them with your own flowers for a cheap but chic centrepiece.
Having doughnuts instead of cake is a fun alternative but if you just want to jazz up your dessert table then this doughnut wall sign is perfect – and under £9! You could buy some cheap ring doughnuts and jazz them up yourself with icing.
Candles and tealights will also add a magical atmosphere to your wedding. Go to Amazon and buy tealights in bulk – you can dot some in cute rustic wooden holders like these or in old jam jars with ribbon around them.
READ MORE: 19 IKEA Wedding Décor Hacks
Wedding Flowers – £120
If you are on a really strict budget with your wedding flowers then speak to a florist and see what they are able to offer. You could consider only paying for your bridal bouquet – as it will be photographed a lot – and then opting for cheaper options for the bridesmaids and centrepieces.
If your budget won’t stretch to a florist then go to a local flower market (or the supermarket!) on the day before your wedding, where you can buy a mix of flowers and have a rustic look to your day.
Alternatively, got a green fingered friend or relative? All you need to buy are some seeds (we love wildflower seeds) and they can plant them in their garden or allotment. You'll have fresh cut flowers on your wedding day for bouquets, buttonholes and centrepieces.
Catering – £1,125
Catering will be one of the biggest chunks of your wedding budget. If you are having 45 wedding guests then it’s achievable to cater for £25 a head, especially if you swap a traditional sit-down wedding breakfast for a buffet-style barbecue. Other ways to cut down on your catering costs include an afternoon tea of sandwiches and scones, or you can do a festival-style, casual wedding breakfast with a jacket potato bar or cheese and meat platters. This is a great option at a venue without a kitchen, like a tipi or rustic barn.
If your venue allows, you can let your wedding guests know that they can bring their own alcohol and that will help slash your catering costs. Why not create your own gin bar with gin and mixers from your local supermarket? We love this rustic gin bar sign which would be a perfect finishing touch!
READ MORE: 19 Alternative Food and Drink Ideas
Cake – £90
To get a spectacular wedding cake for £90, you will need to get creative. Luckily Marks and Spencer have a cake builder where you can order different sized tiers covered in plain white or ivory icing. Choose from fruit, sponge or chocolate cake – you can even mix and match flavours! A three tier, naked, vanilla sponge will set you back just £30. (And Colin and Connie the Caterpillar cakes are only £45 each!)
You can make this simple cake extra special by splashing out on some ribbon to edge the cake with, edible flowers and a cake topper – we love this Best Day Ever topper that is just £12.90 and you can choose from a range of fun colours.
Entertainment – £0
A band or DJ might eat into too much of your budget so why not curate your own wedding playlist on Spotify?
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!
If you want to give your evening reception some added fun then we think these wedding signs are perfect (and they're from £7.50 each!).
READ MORE: The Ultimate Wedding DJ Song List
Honeymoon – £0
This might sound painful but hear us out! Instead of a traditional gift list, ask your friends and family to contribute towards your honeymoon. According to our National Wedding Survey, more than half of couples who married in 2019 did this, so you don’t need to feel awkward about asking for cash instead of gifts or setting up a honeymoon gift list.
Then after the wedding, see what your budget is and book a fab trip away or go on a romantic mini-moon in the UK.
Total = £3,000
Top Tips for Planning a Wedding for £3,000
If you are planning a wedding on a tight budget, then don’t miss our top tips on how to make the most of your money.
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 time and then invite more people for a big party in the evening.
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 – they will be more than happy to help and will be honoured to play such a big part in your special day.
3. Be Prepared to DIY
It’s amazing how much money you can save 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.
If you are planning a wedding on a budget then don’t miss our 37 ways to cut costs.