Wedding planning on a budget

As some of you may already know, we are getting married in 2020! I was so happy when my partner proposed to me a few years ago, we had an engagement party and a few weeks after that was when I found out I was pregnant with Kory so the wedding planning got put on hold. Fast forward to now and we’ve officially set a date! We’ve paid the deposit on the venue, we’ve booked a photographer, paid for all the flowers, booked a venue dresser, bought all of the wedding stationery, (invites, rsvps, save the dates, guest book, thank you cards and place name cards) booked registrar and decided on where we’re going on our honeymoon – well, familymoon!

A few people have told me that we’ve got a lot done and that we’re very organised but I still feel like we’ve got so much to do and it’s stressful! And very expensive…

Here is a list of everything included in our wedding planning, some that we’ve done and some that we’re still yet to get done.

  • Decide on a budget (X)
  • Draft your guest list
  • Decide on the ceremony time (X)
  • Research and visit venues (X)
  • Start scrapbooking ideas (X)
  • Start dress shopping
  • Book ceremony and reception venues (X)
  • Book officiant/registrar (X)
  • Decide on your wedding party (X)
  • Hold an engagement party (X)
  • Meet caterers and decide on menu
  • Book entertainment
  • Book photographer (X)
  • Research guest accommodation (X)
  • Send save the date cards
  • Plan honeymoon (X)
  • Shop for wedding party’s outfits
  • Book a florist (X)
  • Arrange transport
  • Write and send invitations
  • Order the cake
  • Book hair/make-up appointments
  • Plan the order of service and the days time-line (X)
  • Make/order favours
  • Buy wedding rings
  • Organise stag/hen parties
  • Final dress fitting
  • Check in with all suppliers and confirm details
  • Organise gifts for wedding party
  • Get marriage license
  • Send final guest list to caterers/venue
  • Delegate wedding day tasks
  • Pick up dress
  • Confirm arrival times with all vendors
  • Book spa treatments
  • Break in your shoes

I think that’s everything. At least I hope so anyway!

The truth is, we’re not made of money and we can’t afford an over the top extravagant wedding even if we wanted one, which if I’m honest, we don’t. We both agreed that we wanted something low key and I’m more than happy with that. All that matters to me is that I get to marry the love of my life, the person who is the father to my child and my best friend.

So I’m going to share with you some ideas of my own on how you can cut the cost down for your own wedding. Here goes:

  • Decide on a budget: It sounds simple but it’s important that you agree on a realistic budget with your partner and then start planning from there so you know how much you can spend and what sort of wedding to plan.
  • Call in favours: Do you know someone who makes cakes? Someone who drives a nice car? Don’t be afraid to ask them if they wouldn’t mind making you a cake instead of buying you a gift, ask your friend with the nice car if they wouldn’t mind driving you to the church. Tell them it’s okay if they don’t want to. My auntie makes dance costumes and has said she will do all of my alterations for me on my dress and my bridesmaids dresses so that has saved us lots of money.
  • Cake: If you don’t know anyone who can make your wedding cake for you as a favour, you can still save money by buying one. I don’t mean from a professional cake maker because they can cost hundreds of pounds but supermarkets such as Asda and Tesco sell their own ready made 3 tier wedding cakes, they’re usually fruit cake, serve around 60 and don’t cost much at all! You could even spend a little more if you wanted to and head to somewhere like Marks and Spencer’s or Waitrose who sell ready made tiers. The small tiers start from £10 and go up in price with each bigger tier. You can choose from fruit cake, traditional sponge or chocolate and just put it together yourself. For example, a three tier cake from M&S would cost £60, it has beautiful lightly flowered detail on each tier and would feed up to 80 weddings guests.
  • Wedding stationery: Wedding stationery includes invites (day time and evening), rsvps, save the dates, a guest book, thank you cards and place name cards. To pay a company to make your wedding stationery for you can be quite expensive as they can charge more than £1 per invite and if you’ve got 100 guests then you do the math… You could have a go at making your own if you’re crafty but I purchased all of mine from Card factory, I think they’re lovely and they fit the colour scheme of our wedding perfectly and saved us a fortune. The day time invites cost £3.99 for a pack of 20 invitations. The evening invites cost £1.99 for a pack of 10 invitations. Thank you cards cost £1.99 for a pack of 10. Our guest book and pen cost £3.99 and came together as a set. The rsvps cost £1.49 for a pack of 20. Save the date cards cost just 99p for a pack of 20 and place name cards cost just 99p for a pack of 20 too! I even bought a pack of 12 matching table numbers for 99p as well!
  • Research and visit venues: Have a look around online and see what venues fit your agreed budget and look at the packages they have to offer you. A lot of places will give you discounts if you have a winter wedding or a wedding on a weekday. Wedding packages usually come in bronze, silver or gold. Bronze being the least amount of cost and gold being the most expensive. We wanted a venue that is beautiful yet affordable and we found that with Mercure Georgian House Hotel. We opted for their silver wedding package, we felt that it was best suited to what we wanted and we saved a great deal of money by choosing one of the packages as so much is included in them, it saved us a lot of money and a lot of stress too because it took away a lot of the things that we still had to arrange.
  • Start scrapbooking ideas. Making note of things that you’d like at your wedding and noting down the cost of them is a great way to start planning but it’s also a good way for you to eliminate things that maybe aren’t essential and that you can’t afford or have a look at ways of making them more affordable.
  • Decide on your wedding party. Keeping the numbers down in your wedding party (groomsmen, bridesmaids, flowers girls, ect) means keeping costs down. If you have 8 bridesmaids they each need a dress, shoes and their hair and make up doing which if you’re paying for those things then is not going to be cheap! I have decided I am having a maid of honour which will be my sister and 1 bridesmaid which is my best friend. I’m also having Kory walk me down the aisle. My partner is having 1 best man, 2 groomsmen and my nephew as a page boy.
  • Bridesmaid dresses: Speaking of bridesmaids dresses. I knew in my mind what style and colour dress I wanted my bridesmaids to wear, I searched high and low online and in stores but I just couldn’t find what I was looking for and I also didn’t want to pay an extortionate amount of money for them. A few people recommended Crystaldresses * to me, they are a seller on eBay and although they ship from China (I was a little apprehensive at first when I heard that too) I have heard so many positive things about them and they have a very good seller rating on eBay too. The quality of the dresses and the material used to make them is meant to be really good and the price of them also. The dresses that I want cost just £28.99 plus £8 shipping for both and what’s great about Crystaldresses is that if you’re unhappy with the standard of the dress or the sizing then you can return them for a full refund. So I’m going to give it a go because what have I got to lose? If the dresses are as gorgeous as they look on the pictures and the positive reviews that I’ve read already are to be true then I’ll be very happy. As I said earlier my auntie has already agreed to do any alterations for me and I’ll have 2 beautiful bridesmaids.
  • Photographer: Photographers can be expensive but the best thing to do is to have a look at your budget and see what you can afford. Some photographers are cheaper than others, if you book a photographer for less time then that will save you money and if you book early in advance some photographers even offer discounts so try securing one as soon as you can.
  • Make your own favours: favours don’t have to cost a fortune, if you look online there are tons of DIY favours ideas that don’t cost much at all. Or just don’t have favours at all, that’s always an option too.
  • Flowers. Wedding flowers don’t have to be expensive. Artificial flowers are a lot cheaper than real and you could even have a go at putting your own flowers together. Home Bargains have some lovely flowers that are already bunched and they only cost a couple of quid. Might be worth just bunching a few of those together, the end result may surprise you…
  • Venue dresser: Having a venue dresser (someone to decorate the venue for you) is not essential but for us, it took a lot of the stress away of having to buy decorations and then figuring out what to do with them and where to put them after the wedding. Also Something Else Events had an amazing offer on that we just couldn’t pass up. Their pearl plus package cost just £350 and it included up to 10 table centre pieces of our choice, 10 mirrored plates, 2 rose light up bay trees, starlight back drop, starlight top table skirt, starlight cake table skirt, 4ft LED love letters, post box for cards, sweet card filled with sweets for up to 100 guests, 100 chair covers, 100 chair sashes and 10 table runners! Amazing!!
  • Honeymoon: It’s hard enough planning your wedding without having to plan a honeymoon as well. We are so lucky that my uncle lives in Canada and he has offered for me, my partner and Kory to go and stay with him. So accommodation isn’t costing us anything and all we will have to pay for is our flights and our spends whilst there. My advice to you would be to book your honeymoon destination when it’s off season. You’ll notice a drastic drop in price and it won’t be as busy. Depending on where you decide to go, off season doesn’t necessarily mean bad weather. When you’re asking about a rate or making a reservation, don’t be shy to let them know that it’s your honeymoon. At the very least you may get a bottle of champagne on the house, a better table or even a room upgrade. If you’re simply not in a position to afford the honeymoon of your dreams right now, book a mini moon now and save for your honeymoon for your first wedding anniversary.

So, there all my own ideas on how you can plan a wedding when you’re on a budget. As you can see, we’ve still a lot of planning left to do ourselves! I hope you found my tips to be helpful. If you did, please let me know what was most helpful to you.

* Items marked with a * are part of a collaboration. These are all my own ideas and all views and opinions are my own. *

2 thoughts on “Wedding planning on a budget

  1. Love all these ideas! We did a similar post last year after I (Laura) got married ( I made 300+ cupcakes for our reception dessert, and we hosted our reception parties in our parents’ backyards to save serious $$! (More wedding stuff we loved blogging about all linked from this post:
    Can’t wait to hear what some of your decisions are! And to see pictures!!

    Liked by 1 person

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