How to have a UK wedding on a tight budget

With the question popped across the UK on Valentine’s Day, couples will now be puzzling how to afford the actual wedding. To steer them towards cost savings that can amount […]

With the question popped across the UK on Valentine’s Day, couples will now be puzzling how to afford the actual wedding. To steer them towards cost savings that can amount to over £20,000, Langley Castle in Northumberland has 10 great money-saving tips.

1. North-south divide

Remember that location is a major factor underpinning venue costs, so grasp the concept of the North-South divide.  You will typically pay much more at venues located in London, the south of England, or in ‘fashionable’ counties, so spread your net.  You could save heaps by heading north.  You can also make the occasion the start of your (or entire) honeymoon, whilst guests can enjoy a northern break.

2.  Wed mid-week/out of season

Instantly cut wedding-day £ signs by going ‘off-peak’, choosing an early or mid-week. There’s also no rule to say you must have a summer wedding and the less fashionable the month, the more you should save.  

3. Go for an elopement wedding

Save absolute shedloads by opting for an ‘elopement’ wedding.  This wedding option will also remove all financial pressure from your parents.

Turn to a specialist in ‘weddings for two’, like Langley Castle, and have a wonderful, mindfulness-filled experience, all about you and your partner.  Costs are minimal, even if you invite a few select members of your family along. If not, a venue can provide your witnesses.  

Share pictures and little details with your friends and family afterwards – or even have a ‘live feed’ from your wedding.  You can also roll your wedding and honeymoon into one, as the wedding-for-two package should include a room.  A saving of £15,000+ is easily achievable, just on the cost of just the average UK wedding (£17,300 in 2021), let alone the honeymoon.  To discover more about what an elopement wedding entails, read the Langley Castle guide.

4. Charge back the accommodation

If you book a hotel on an exclusive-use wedding basis, you should have rooms included in your hire charge.  Rather than allowing guests to stay in these for free ask the venue to allow guests to pay for them direct and tell your guests that’s an option for their accommodation.  Every time a room is booked, there’s a deduction against the cost you paid for exclusive use.  

5. Reduce

By adopting the reduce, re-use, recycle principle, you can save heaps of cash.  Reduce the size of your wedding by restricting guest numbers, inviting only the must-haves to your ceremony or evening celebration.  Similarly, cut down on printed items by asking people to share, and do away with RSVP cards, asking invitees to email or text acceptances or declines.  

6. Re-use

Re-use someone else’s wedding dress by adapting a family heirloom or buying second-hand or from a charity shop.  If you can’t find anything there, hire an outfit, rather than buying.  

If planning décor for wedding function rooms, buy items you can later have in your home, such as LED light displays, vases, or furnishings.

7. Recycle

Recycle your flower displays throughout your wedding day.  Move them from the ‘vows’ room to the dining room and get instant table displays.  Make your bouquet the top table centrepiece!  Be minimalist with flowers and go fake for extra savings.

8. Cut the cake cost

There’s no need to spend a fortune on a cake by having a multi-tiered extravaganza.  Go for a simple naked one-tier cake.  Make it look grander by sitting it on a few beautifully covered decorated styrofoam tiers, to create an illusion.  

9. Choose a venue with atmosphere

Wedding decoration budgets often run away with themselves because the venue lacks atmosphere or an integral wow factor.  Opt for a venue with stunning architectural features or a woodland wedding area and you will have a stunning backdrop that really doesn’t require decorations.  

10. Call in favours

Use the skills sets of those you know, whether that’s for cake baking, flower arrangements, calligraphy, music, photography or the provision of an unusual vehicle to get you to the wedding venue.   If you can’t find anyone with the right talents, see whether a local college has students wanting to earn a little extra cash.

11. Have an OO reception

With Millennials less keen on alcohol than others, there’s an argument for making your reception drinks alcohol-free, saving good sums.  If people really want alcohol, offer a cash bar.  Alternatively, swerve the champagne toast and choose a cheaper celebratory tipple.

Summing up

There’s no need to spend anything like the average of £17,300 on your wedding – or sums even higher than that.  Plan carefully, be frugal and do things differently, to your tune.

Don’t fritter money away by conforming with the norm or being too proud to try lower-budget alternatives.  It’s time to be innovative and stop trying to please others.  Get back to basics and you could still have the wedding of your dreams, without the financial hangover.

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