Whether you’re a bride or groom to be and stuck on where to start, or you’re simply on the search for inspiration, here are the best budget wedding ideas to turn your dreams into reality. I’ve spoken to brides past and future to bring you money saving wedding tips that will help you save thousands of pounds without compromising your vision.
Set a budget and start saving
Before you start planning, there’s one key conversation every engaged couple needs to have: the wedding budget. Knowing how much you have to spend from the start of the process will keep you financially on track and avoid any major overspending.
Determine with your partner what you can afford to set aside for your wedding, and keep in mind that the length of your engagement will affect your budget too. If you choose to have a long engagement, you have the potential to save more money ahead of the big day. Make a list of your priorities together to help guide your decision making throughout the planning process. If you have family or friends generously contributing to the day, now’s the time to have a conversation with them too, so that you’re crystal clear on the budget you have to plan with.
Once you have your budget in mind, it’s time to start saving. Stay on track with your spending with the Virgin Money Mobile Banking app Link opens in a new window, where you can create a dedicated wedding savings pot to watch your savings Link opens in a new window build for the big day. You can even open a joint current account Link opens in a new window with your partner, to enable you both to contribute to the same pot.
Decide on your guest list
When it comes to the cost of a wedding, the bulk of the budget for many couples is directly related to the number of guests invited. Typically, venues or caterers will charge a set amount per person for food and drinks, unless you choose a dry hire or DIY venue. That’s why it’s worth spending time thinking about the size of the wedding you want to have, as the difference between 100 and 150 guests on the rest of your budget can be thousands of pounds. Before you head out to visit venues, put together a provisional invite list in order of priority so you have a clear idea of the number of guests you may need.
Find your ideal venue
Wedding venues can be eye-wateringly expensive, with many locations costing over £20,000 for the venue hire. That being said, if you’ve got your heart set on a specific venue, don’t panic. Whilst a summer Saturday is the most popular time to get married, often you can slash venue costs by being flexible on the day and month you choose. A prime example is popular Kent venue Hever Castle Link opens in a new window, which charges £8,500 for venue hire on a Saturday in high season, compared with £3,000 on a Sunday to Thursday during low season. Flexibility can be the key!
If a Saturday is non-negotiable and you’re looking for wedding venue ideas on a budget, creativity can help you to bring your day to life. Hannah, a marketing manager and artist from Bedfordshire, is planning her wedding for May 2023. “We decided to go with a village hall for the reception to save the cost of hiring an actual venue, so that’s saved us about £7,000 already,” explains Hannah.
Tell your friends and family
With the uncertainty of trying to plan a wedding during a pandemic, lots of couples decided to ditch the traditional wedding invitations and opt for online invitations only. You don’t need to be a website whizz to set up online invitations, as websites such as With Joy Link opens in a new window and Hitched Link opens in a new window have been designed to help couples manage their wedding admin, from guest lists to dietary requirements to gift registries, all in one virtual destination. By ditching the paper, you can keep your bank account Link opens in a new window in check and speed up the response time by skipping the mail.
If you do decide to print invitations, you don’t have to spend a fortune on custom design and hand tied envelopes for each guest. Using template designs Link opens in a new window that allow you to edit the details and update the colours to suit your overall scheme offers the best of both worlds, adding personalisation to the stationary at a fraction of the cost of custom designs.
Say yes to the dress
Traditionally, wedding dresses have been a centerpiece at a wedding, with brides spending thousands of pounds on one dress (or several). The good news is that in recent years, with the rise in micro weddings as a result of lockdown restrictions, the options for budget wedding dress ideas have exploded. Once the domain of designers, nowadays high street brands including ASOS Link opens in a new window and Whistles Link opens in a new window offer a range of stunning dress designs at affordable prices.
Journalist Ella Delancey Jones Link opens in a new window was surprised by the number of options on the high street when choosing an outfit for her small ceremony in October 2020, ultimately finding her perfect jumpsuit from Pretty Little Thing Link opens in a new window. Ella’s top takeaway? “It might take some sleuthing, but I found so many unique and beautiful pieces that I knew people would be shocked if they had known I had found them on the high street. I think ultimately, you have to choose something that YOU feel special and confident in.”
For men, renting formal suits has long been the norm whereas wedding dress rental is still relatively new. Offering the ability to rent a luxury designer dress for the day at a fraction of the retail price, wedding dress rental services like My Wardrobe HQ Link opens in a new window are sure to continue growing in popularity as a cost effective, planet-friendly option for your wedding day attire.
Food, glorious food
A celebratory meal lies at the heart of lots of weddings, however the cost of food and drink for all of your guests can soon spiral. Luckily, there are lots of options for couples looking for wedding food ideas on a budget. After looking at the cost of venue catering, 2023 bride Hannah decided to take the wedding food into her own hands. “Food wise, we’re doing street food and a big grazing board, which has ended up working out less than half the price of the caterers at the venues we were looking at. And we’re getting all the alcohol from Aldi! Link opens in a new window”
Small cutting cakes are staying on trend in 2022, with bakeries increasingly offering one- or two-tier designs to mark the occasion without spending huge sums. The good news is that even if you’re planning a big wedding, cakes no longer have to cost a fortune thanks to the rise in off the shelf celebration cakes at supermarkets including M&S Link opens in a new window and Waitrose Link opens in a new window.
Diamonds are forever
There are plenty of ways to find the perfect wedding bands for both parties without having to head to expensive, well known jewellery shops. Increasingly, secondhand jewels are popular with brides looking for sustainable precious stones and secondhand jewellery can often prove to be good value for money. For those looking for bespoke designs, try visiting an independent boutique such as one of those in Birmingham’s famous Jewellery Quarter Link opens in a new window and you may be able to snap up a bargain.
Choose your flowers & decorations
Whether you have a natural eye for design or not, there’s a huge amount of inspiration online and Pinterest Link opens in a new window is the perfect place to find creative wedding decoration ideas on a budget. Ahead of getting married in 2021, I decided that table decoration was one area where we could strip back and simplify to save money, after receiving a quote for £1,100. To achieve the end look, I worked with the venue, my own mum and my future mother-in-law to recycle old medicine bottles as mini vases, along with tea light holders to complement the flowers. We sourced the flowers from a local grower and assembled the decorations the evening before the wedding to create a stunning overall result for around £200.
Earn while you spend
The icing on the wedding cake? If you’re a Virgin Money current account customer Link opens in a new window or credit card holder Link opens in a new window, you can earn cashback to help pay for wedding items using Virgin Money Cashback Link opens in a new window and Virgin Money Back Link opens in a new window.
Saving for your dream wedding?
Remember you can create a dedicated wedding savings pots on the Virgin Money Mobile Banking app Link opens in a new window to help make your big day dreams a reality. Get the app with any of our Virgin Money current accounts.
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