Brides share their best tips on how to have a cheaper wedding


Don’t waste money on party favours for guests (Picture: Ella Byworth for Metro.co.uk)

Weddings are notoriously expensive.

From the venue to the flowers, the dress to the food, there seems to be endless costs – not to mention the difficulty of planning in 2020, when the pandemic has thrown the industry for a loop.

If you’re panicking about your budget, take a deep breath.

We asked former brides to share their top tips on how to keep costs low, and what areas to skip spending money on altogether.

Emmie, 27, married in 2019

Remember that your family and friends are there to help – and they each have their own talents!

My mum’s friend (a trained florist) did our flowers for a reduced price, my sister (who loves to bake) did our cake, an old school teacher (who loves crafts) made our favours, and my brother in law (tech whiz) made our invites and seating plan.

Don’t worry about little things like placemats and fancy ribbons or seating covers, or any ridiculous party games and rip-off trinkets.

Spend money on what you want and try to cut corners if you need it.

I promise you won’t even notice it, or have a slice of cake as you’ll be so busy rushing around soaking up the love.

Sue, 48, married in 2003

My wedding dress was £80 from Debenhams. Why spend all that money on something you only wear once?

Seventeen years later, the dress is still for sale in Debenhams (it was from the Debut prom range). It’s slightly more expensive now, at £100, but still a great price!

Clare, married in 2004

I got married in Vegas.

We were going on the holiday anyway so I don’t count that as a cost (!) but my dress was £175 from Monsoon, and then we paid for the wedding ceremony and flowers, which was about £100, and dinner out that evening. Brilliant!

My friends who got married on a budget too. They took a catering course so they had the certificate to be able to self-cater at their venue, and then got friends and family to all bring a dish each for the buffet.

I made them their wedding cake, and it was a great wedding!

Ana, 28, married in 2020

My mother always said we should have a small wedding in our local town hall and a reception in our local pub.

I dreamed of having everyone we love in one place and with four children and being one of four children I have a large family and lots of friends.

We were due to get married in June and had to postpone to June 2021.

However, eight weeks ago, my fiancé decided that he didn’t want to wait anymore and on Friday 25 September we were married and had that small wedding my mum had always envisioned.

Simplicity and the most important people can be just as special. 

Julia, married in 2020

I had a lockdown wedding and did it on a very small scale.

I got my dress for £90 from Cos. My close second cost just £20 from a vintage shop – there are so many good high street options.

We spent a lot of money on a huge picnic from Marks & Spencer, but all people wanted was booze – so we put the money into things people care about the most.

My bouquet of flowers cost £9. I just went down to the local florist the night before and picked the nicest ones they had. Got some twine from him and then just fashioned it into a posy at home with my fiancé.

So simple and I didn’t feel bad when the flowers died a few days later.

We didn’t bother with a photographer either. Everyone has good cameras on their phones these days and they captured nice natural shots throughout the day.

I’m thrilled with the selection of pics everyone took.

Kate, 39, married in 2010

Ask the venue what decorations or table centre pieces they have.

Loads of couples leave centrepieces after a wedding and many venues have a stash of stuff they use for their own events. We asked our venue and saved a fortune on centrepieces as we were able to use theirs.

Second, the favours being ditched. We had a sweet cart in the evening and it went down a storm!

Also ask your talented friends and family to help out in lieu of gifts. Our DJ and live music came from amazingly talented friends and made the event really personal and special.

Finally, work out what is really important to you.

We are not massive fans of photos – we had a photographer, but my face photos are ones from friends. We spent our money on flowers as that’s what I loved and knew that if the weather was bad (we got married on the side of a cliff overlooking the North Sea) I’d want the inside to be really pretty.

And get the ushers to bring the flowers from the ceremony to the reception.

Effie, 32, married in 2015

Wedding favours are a real waste of time and money. Most of our guests left them on the table!

I would have much rather saved those few hundred pounds and used it for our honeymoon.

Geraldine

My top tip would be to look at alternative venues such as the Youth Hostel Association. They have some amazing venues and are way cheaper.

Also food trucks are a great cheap catering option as well as asking for help with wedding items rather than presents. We had someone do our favours and cakes.

We used Eventbrite for invites and planning.

Sarah, 49, married in 2003

Wedding cake cost £80 in 2003.

Bought three M&S pre-iced cakes, hired a tiered stand and decorated the cake myself with ribbon and artificial flowers, saved about £200.

Full-length, lilac satin bridesmaids dresses £50 each, as in the January evening wear sale at House of Fraser.

Do you have a story you’d like to share?

Get in touch by emailing MetroLifestyleTeam@Metro.co.uk.

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