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15 Tips for planning a Wedding in the cost of living crisis

Author: Sophie Drew

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With household bills rising and increased interest rates, the cost of living crisis is causing many engaged couples to struggle to pull off their dream day without carrying any debt afterward. With drinks, decorations, and dresses to pay for it’s easy for costs to get out of control. But don’t panic! We understand the stress that engaged couples are feeling as they realize their wedding budget isn’t stretching as far as they expected, especially those that have already paid a deposit. This doesn’t mean you have to postpone your wedding and or lose money. There are many simple ways that you can save money on your big day and still bring the wow factor, so if you’re starting the wedding planning process… take notes!

We’ve put together a list of our top tips for wedding planning on a budget so that you and your partner can get married in this cost of living crisis without stressing about money.

1) Pick a wedding date that won't break the bank

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Picking an off-peak date can dramatically bring down your wedding costs, this means trying to avoid weddings on weekends (especially in the warmer months), bank holidays, and days when schools are out! Many venues also offer off-peak packages that include things like food and entertainment for a much lower cost. So you can get everything you want in a wedding venue but for much less, if you’re willing to get married mid-week, in quieter months. Another easy way to cut costs is to keep your eyes peeled for any offers that venues might have. Village halls and sports clubs can even make lovely, inexpensive wedding venues.

2) Have your wedding ceremony and reception at the same venue

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Many wedding venues are now licensed to host civil ceremonies, which can help you and your wedding guests to save both money and time by eliminating the need for extra transportation. It’s a win-win situation!

3) Bring your own booze

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Bringing your own drinks will significantly cut the costs of your wedding breakfast and reception. Don’t fall into the trap of purchasing any pricey drinks packages. The tricky part is, not all venues allow you to bring your own. Make sure you’re searching for wedding venues with a ‘no corkage’ policy. This will mean you can bring whatever your heart desires from champagne to elderflower spritz with no extra charge. Sounds too good to be true, right? If the venue that’s caught your eye doesn’t have a ‘no corkage’ policy, don’t worry. As long as guests are purchasing their own drinks and you’re not planning on having a free bar then you’ll still be saving money.

4) Keep it intimate

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It can be easy to get carried away when choosing who to invite to your wedding because you don’t want to miss anyone out or offend people, but keeping your guest list limited to close family and friends can decrease your costs massively. And guess what… smaller weddings are right on trend. So, taking the time to think about who you can’t imagine your special day without, can help you to narrow down your guest numbers and save money. Remember, you don’t need to invite all of your colleagues or friends you haven’t seen since college! Keep it intimate to keep your costs down.

5) Think about what's really important to you

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Take the time to carefully think about what you really want at your wedding. Do you need a photo booth or a fancy car? Do you need a three course meal and a big cake? These details are great things to have but they’re also quick ways to blow your wedding budget. If you can’t bear the thought of having your wedding day without them, that’s ok, but if they’re not a dealbreaker for you then don’t include them in your plans if you’re saving cash.

6) Pre owned gowns

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Looking at a selection of beautiful wedding dresses is a huge part of wedding planning, but there are so many more options beyond visiting a bridal shop. Wearing a second hand gown is a great way of saving. You get a beautiful pre loved dress and it will cost you a lot less. What more could you ask for? You could even consider wearing your mother’s dress or your sister’s if that’s an option for you. It’s a great way to honour someone that you love and could even be the start of a new family tradition. Buying second hand also has a better environmental impact, so not only would you be helping yourself to save money in this cost of living crisis, you’d also be helping the environment. You could also consider swapping bridesmaid dresses for second hand outfits too. You can even encourage your other wedding guests to buy second hand outfits because after all, we’re all going through this crisis together.

7) Utilise shops like Etsy, Vinted, Depop, and eBay

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Using online sites like Etsy, Vinted, Depop, and eBay for accessories, bridesmaid dresses, a wedding dress, suits, and even wedding favours can save you a fortune. Etsy even has a ‘used wedding décor’ section which can help you save money. You can get anything from pre-owned centrepieces to fairy lights on there so it’s worth a look.

8) Look for sales and offers

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This one may seem obvious, but it’s something that is often forgotten about when it comes to weddings. Don’t be afraid to shop in the sale sections. There’s no shame in getting a good bargain! You can massively cut your wedding costs by looking for suits, a wedding dress, decor, and accessories, in the sale section where everything is a lot cheaper. Most shops also have end-of-season sales, so keep an eye out for those. I promise no one will know or care that you bought your wedding dress in the sale!

9) Turn to talented friends and family members

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Another money saving gambit is to use what you have. What I mean by this is think about what talents your friends and family members have that you can utilise for your special day. Do you know any photographers? Talented musicians? Bakers? If you do, why not ask them if they will showcase their talents on your big day? I’m sure they would be happy to play a role like this for your wedding day.

10) Get creative

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Do you like arts and crafts? Why not experiment with some DIY wedding favours or decorations to incorporate into your big day? This will not only save you money, but it will give your wedding day a personal feel with the bespoke designs. If you want to make your wedding your own, what better way to do it than by using your own decorations. You can make anything from DIY centrepieces to a hand-made photobooth. These will be sure to save you money and impress your guests. If you have any artistic friends, make sure you get them to help too! If you’re stuck for inspiration, don’t worry, we have plenty of DIY wedding guides that you can show to your partner and wedding planner.

11) Support local businesses

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If you’re a glam-loving bride to be, pay attention to this tip. Local hairdressing or beauty schools often offer special deals for brides and bridesmaids and sometimes you can get it done for free. Another option is to get made up at a beauty counter – or simply do your own hair and makeup. Smaller, local businesses normally cost less than bigger suppliers, but they often spend extra time and effort working with you to ensure everything is perfect, as it helps to build their own portfolio too.

12) Bake your own wedding cake

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Many couples want a grand wedding cake that comes at a high cost. Research shows that the average UK wedding cake now costs £331, but you could spend as little as a quarter of the price by making it yourself. Sounds too good to be true, right? You might not be able to make something as show-stopping as a supplier would, but you can still have a cake that goes with your theme and feels personal to you and your partner. Marks & Spencer and Waitrose have wedding cakes that you can build and decorate yourself (adding a few fresh flower heads, a cake topper and some ribbon in your colour scheme can be a really cheap and instant transformation) for as little as £20 a tier.

13) Send online invites

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Many couples overlook the idea of sending electronic save the dates and invitations. The cost of postage these days is constantly rising. Sending invites electronically can save a lot of money and time that can be spent looking over wedding plans. It’s also great for sustainability, so why not help fight climate change whenever you can? Websites like Etsy offer templates you can buy for very little cost that you can use if you’re not great at design.

14) Minimise your wedding flowers

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I promise you don’t need to spend loads of money on your wedding flowers. Adding greenery and foliage will keep the costs low and still have your bouquet looking beautiful. But trust me, when you get married, people generally focus on brides and grooms…not the flowers. However, if you want them to look nice in your photos try and mix one or two larger-headed blooms in with smaller filler flowers.

15) Don't over-cater for your guests

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It can be so easy to get carried away when catering for your big day, but chances are many of your guests may not want lots of evening food and snacks just a couple of hours after a three-course meal. Consider supplying evening food for around 70% of your wedding guests, to eliminate the amount of food that gets wasted. Don’t worry, you won’t be starving your guests, but you will be saving money.

We hope these tips are useful for you and your wedding planner, so that you can have your dream wedding despite the cost of living crisis! Want more ideas? Check out this wedding budget blog.


Written by

Sophie Drew

Sophie has joined our team as a Marketing Assistant who loves to write content and is always keen to learn about everything going on in the world of digital. Sophie enjoys spending time with her Family, Friends and Boyfriend and loves to dance!

Learn more about Sophie Drew