How to plan a wedding on a budget

12 September 2023

5 min read

While many tried to keep a reign on their spending, 48% of couples said they went over budget. After a venue, the most expensive cost was typically a wedding dress, with the average costing around £1,350.

And with the cost of living continuing to rise, many people are likely having to wait to get married, cut back on the guest list, or scale back on some of the things they would have liked to do. For example, they might arrange their own music rather than pay for a band or singer, or hold off on a honeymoon after the wedding.

And sometimes with the societal pressure from social media, wedding magazines, and the latest trends, it can be all too easy to compare what others are doing and feel judged if we aren’t doing the same.

Remember the reason you're getting married

It is very easy to feel absorbed in the stress and hype of getting married. You can sometimes forget about each other in the buildup, and instead worry too much about the table planning, centerpieces, or how much food to order for the evening reception.

If you are about to plan, or in the middle of planning your wedding day and are already feeling the pinch on the purse strings, stop for a moment and consider what is important to you both. Remember that your special day is about what you two want, and continue to bring your mind back to that thought each time you feel pressure from loved ones about where to have the wedding, who to invite, and what food to have.

How to stick to your wedding budget

Put the word 'wedding' in front of most items, and the cost tends to increase. Wedding dress. Wedding cake. Wedding venue. Wedding photographer. It’s a booming industry to work in, but not so great when you need to make your money stretch.

To help you stick to your budget, you firstly need to establish with your partner what you can afford. Consider all of your current incomings and outgoings, and factor in that these are still things you’ll need to pay for, while also saving for your wedding day.

You could also set money aside each month that you can comfortably put towards your wedding fund, and cut back on those little luxuries such as that daily coffee from your local coffee shop, or the takeaway you might have at the weekend. These small changes can make a big difference to your spending pot over time.

How to plan a wedding on a budget

Knowing what kind of wedding you want upfront helps with both the planning and budgeting. Below you can find some of the top wedding expenses outlined by the UK wedding directory Hitched, as well as ideas you can use for inspiration. These include mid-range and low-cost wedding ideas, depending on the budget you have. They go to show that there are options, no matter what type of wedding you want or what your budget may be.

Food and drink

  • Mid-range – If you want to give your guests great food, but you are working with a budget, buffets are a great option. Contact local catering businesses to see what options are available within your budget.
  • Low-cost – If you don’t have the budget to cover food and drink, you could ask your guests to each bring a dish or to help you make a buffet. This will give a community feel to the reception.

The wedding venue

  • Mid-range – A cost effective option is to have your marriage or civil ceremony separately, then host the reception at a local venue.
  • Low-cost – If you do not have the budget, a cheap wedding venue option is to host the reception at your home. Depending on the weather and time of year, you could hire a marquee and hold the party in your own or a friend or family member’s garden.

Your honeymoon

  • Mid-range – If you are working with a specific budget, you can find a whole host of holiday package deals online. Depending on what time you plan to go on your honeymoon, you may even find an off-season deal. It’s always worthwhile letting the hotel know you are newlyweds to see if you get any perks such as a room upgrade or champagne on arrival.
  • Low-cost – To save money but still have a honeymoon, you could get a last-minute deal for a European city break. You could also opt for a short-stay in the UK, sometimes known as a 'staycation'.

Wedding outfits

  • Mid-range – If you want to look the part, but not pay more than you have to, you could rent a suit or dress for your wedding day.
  • Low-cost – An option for those with a low budget is to wear something special that you already own. Alternatively, you could hunt for budget wedding dresses in the sales or in charity shops, or borrow an outfit from someone you know. You can also search for second hand wedding dresses online and buy cheap wedding dresses from brides who don’t want to keep their dress.

Wedding flowers

  • Mid-range – You could buy dried flowered bouquets and create your own flower arrangements that you can reuse across the day throughout the ceremony, reception and evening do, to keep down the costs.
  • Low-cost – Cheap wedding flowers on a budget can be hard to find, however there are many ways that you can dress your wedding venue with homemade decorations and artificial flowers. Apps like Pinterest can be a good source of creative budget wedding ideas.

The wedding photographer

  • Mid-range – There are now lots of affordable wedding photography options. Take a look at wedding photographers in your local area to see if they offer a budget option.
  • Low-cost – You could buy a selection of disposable cameras and ask your guests to take photos. This way you get to see the wedding from their perspective. You could also ask your ushers or bridesmaids to capture pictures you want of family and friends on a good quality phone camera. Sometimes, photography students looking to build their portfolio are happy to do local weddings at a discounted rate.


  • Mid-range - If you want entertainment on the big day but you don’t want to spend too much, you could hire a DJ or a local band.
  • Low-cost - A cheap way of providing entertainment is to create your own playlist. Alternatively, ask any musical guests to bring their instruments to play during the evening.

How to save for your wedding

If you’re ready to start saving for your wedding, take a look at our savings accounts. We have plenty of accounts to choose from, whether you want to put money away regularly, have instant access to your savings, or earn tax-free interest on the money you save.

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