How to save money on a wedding

people looking at laptop

Your big day is a costly celebration, from the venue to wedding invitations and the wedding cake. In fact, the average wedding costs nearly £30,000, according to

Our survey of newlyweds found that 65% underestimated the cost of their wedding. The majority even had to borrow additional funds to cover unplanned expenses.

But keeping costs in mind while wedding planning, can help you to save money. The first step is to set your budget and stick to it — to avoid any risk of overspending and running into issues later on.

It’s certainly achievable to cut back on a number of essentials and still plan the wedding day of your dreams.

We’ve rounded up the best wedding ideas on a budget, providing some simple tips on how to save money on your wedding.

Have a smaller wedding — cut the guest list

It’s worth considering downsizing your guest list if you’re looking to cut costs. Smaller ceremonies offer immediate savings. It can be difficult not to have all of your family and friends present for the ceremony, but a more intimate wedding day has several advantages, including:

  • Saving money on the catering and invites
  • Spending less time planning
  • Enjoying a private, relaxed atmosphere
  • Having a wider choice of venues that can accommodate your guest list

But if a smaller wedding ceremony isn’t right for you, there are still plenty of ways to bring costs down — no matter how big your wedding might be.

Be creative with your wedding venue

The venue is likely to be the biggest expense when it comes to your wedding, so getting creative with an affordable venue could save you money.

When looking for a wedding venue, bear in mind the day of the week your big day will take place. Saturdays are typically the most expensive because they are in high demand. Summer is also typically the most popular season. You could save a considerable amount of money by planning your wedding on a weekday in a less popular season.

If you’re looking to save on your venue, there are alternatives worth considering, such as village halls or even a family member’s home. You may also be able to save money if your site can serve as both your wedding ceremony and reception venue. Put your own twist on the venue and you might be surprised what you can transform into a magical setting for your big day.

Honeymoon in the UK 

Honeymoons are another big wedding expense. To cut back on your spending, a honeymoon in the UK could be the perfect alternative to a luxury trip abroad. You could opt for a romantic city break or a rural retreat. A honeymoon doesn’t have to be lengthy either, with mini-moons (usually no longer than five days) growing in popularity.

Today, lots of couples ask guests to swap out wedding gifts for cash. If your heart is set on a big holiday abroad, it can help to request money to cover the honeymoon. If you go down this route, you may still prefer to choose a more affordable honeymoon and put the rest towards another big cost such as a property purchase or home renovations. Find more information about the etiquette of asking for cash gifts from your wedding guests on

Rethink your food and drink

If you’re looking for more cheap wedding ideas, you could consider switching the classic three-course meal for a less formal buffet. If you’d prefer a more traditional setting, you could go for a single-course or two-course dinner. If you’re looking for something more intimate and relaxed, opt for a casual food option, such as a picnic or BBQ.

The beverage selection on your big day can be costly too. Instead of champagne and an open bar, explore non-alcoholic drink options or ask your chosen venue about corkage. Sometimes buying in your own alcohol for some of the day can help you cut costs. Alternatively, you could offer homemade punch or batch cocktails.

Embrace second-hand wedding outfits

Finding the perfect wedding dress, suit, or two-piece may be at the top of your priority list. But these purchases also require a big chunk of your budget.

From the wedding dress or suit to your wedding party outfits, buying second-hand is a popular option for many. If you’re on a tight budget, pre-loved wedding attire can be a cost-effective solution. If you’d rather go for something new, suit and dress hire is an option worth exploring or you could even wear something you already own, such as a classic suit or an inherited dress.

Call in favours for entertainment

Calling in favours is ideal for weddings on a budget in the UK. You might find unusual skills among your friends and family, such as magicians, caricaturists, palm readers, and fire performers, who can help make your special day even more memorable.

If your heart is set on live music for your big day, you could save even more by turning to your friends and family. You might be able to persuade a soloist, a friend who plays a musical instrument or even a band to lend their talents for the day.

Cut down on professional photography

Many couples spend a large part of their budget on wedding photographers to capture their big day. There are alternatives to stretch your budget further while still capturing those special moments.

Consider booking the wedding photographer for a few hours only rather than the full day. Opt for other alternatives, such as hiring a photo booth or inviting guests to snap their favourite memories on their smartphones.

Find out more information on financing the perfect wedding

Creating an unforgettable wedding within budget is possible. Whether it’s a second-hand wedding outfit or a garden reception, you can cut costs without sacrificing the most important elements of your big day.

But, even on a limited budget, a wedding is expensive. If you’re exploring ways to help pay for your big day, there are various options available. To see our top tips, take a look at our guide to financing your wedding.