How to Plan a Wedding on a Budget of £1000

The average cost of a UK wedding in 2019 is £17,674, that’s according to a wedding report published by earlier this year.

It’s a lot of money to spend on a single occasion.   To put it into perspective, the average deposit for a house in the UK is £11,400 – that’s £6,000 less. 

There’s nothing wrong with having a wedding that surpasses the national average.  There’s no shame in spending what you want in order to have the day of your dreams.  There’s enough pressure on couples without slamming them with unsolicited advice on what’s too much (or too little) to spend on their big day.  If you can afford to and if you want to, then do it.

But know that you don’t have to spend a fortune, either. 

You don’t have to spend a lot of money on a wedding.  Things tend to escalate once the planning starts but that doesn’t mean you have to break your budget just to keep up with whatever it is that magazines, Pinterest, Etsy, social media, TV programmes, well-meaning friends and family, bloggers insist you need.  You don’t have to keep with the Joneses, either.  Some of the best weddings we’ve attended fell well below the national average for spending.

Go Vintage on Wedding Rings

Wedding rings can be an expensive add-on to any wedding budget, but they don’t need to be.  You’ll find beautiful vintage rings in charity shops and antique jewellers.  There’s no need to go traditional, either. There are plenty of colours, cuts and styles to suit your personality (and finger size).  You could also ask your family if there is a special piece of jewellery that could be passed down and used as a wedding ring.  Rings can easily be re-sized and stones reset.

Use Cashback Websites

Visit a cashback website before purchasing anything online. You could end up with a nice little pot of money after the wedding.  We’re big fans of Topcashback.

Get Married Off-Peak

You can save a considerable amount of money by getting married on off-peak days.  Saturday is always popular and almost always the most expensive day of the week for nuptials.  Try midweek.  Getting married over a bank holiday weekend means you and your guests will have an extra day to recover. 

Hit the Highstreet

For dresses and suits, you can skip the boutique and head straight for the high street.  There’s never been a better time to buy stylish wedding attire from brand name stores.  We’re big fans of ASOS, Topshop and H&M for bridal wear.  Burtons and Next are great for suits and menswear.  If you need to go slightly over budget on a suit or dress, then try and pick something that you can wear again.  

Last season’s styles are just as gorgeous as the latest.  Check out discounted sellers and clearance outlets for a bargain.

Second-hand dresses are also a great idea.  They’ve often only been worn once and will be available at a fraction of their original cost. Money-Saving Expert website offers a list of handy websites to find old dresses: Sell My Old Dress, Preloved and Gumtree. Oxfam also has bridal departments selling second-hand dresses.  Don’t forget to factor alteration fees into your budget.

Cut Out the Florist

Florists do amazing jobs but they can also be expensive especially when you mention the word ‘wedding’.  Hit the supermarkets for your bouquet. You can always mix and match.  Tutorials are available on YouTube and across the internet on flower arranging.  Flower markets are the best way to source fresh flowers and it’s also one of the cheapest ways to do it. 

Reduce the Photographer's Hours

A photographer is going to eat up a chunk of your wedding budget.  There’s a reason why – they’re professionals and they’ll do an awesome job, but some people just don’t have the budget to have one.  You can hire some photographers on an hourly basis.  This will keep the cost down.  You could book the photographer for when you’re getting ready.  The reception is less important and in the age of the smartphone, your guests should be more than able to step in and take shots that you’ll treasure.  You can download wedding apps where people can upload their images to be printed and shared with anyone.  You could also speak to your local camera club or college for anyone talented amateur’s who’d like to help for a small fee and experience.

Reduce the Need for Catering

Catering can really ramp a budget up. One of the best things you can do is to skip the sit-down wedding breakfast and opt for something else – a buffet or a picnic or evening roast, perhaps.  If you’re having a smaller wedding, you could also ask guests to bring a pot in lieu of a wedding gift.  We’ve seen this done to great effect in outdoors or village hall wedding venues. If you have your ceremony later on in the day, then that means you only need to feed your guests once rather than in the afternoon and then again in the evening.  This can save a huge amount of money. 


Getting your own alcohol in will make it cheaper than buying the venue’s champagne or prosecco so long as there’s no corkage fee.  Equally, getting married somewhere where there is a bar – like a sports club, working men’s club or hall means that guests can buy their own drinks at their leisure. 

iPod Disco

For music, you can create a playlist and use the venue’s speakers or connect it through a music device.

Cars Cost Money

Wedding transport always stings the purse even if you’re not going that far.  Ask a friend with a nice car to take you – you can pay for the vehicle to be valeted beforehand.  Ribbons are cheap enough to stick on the front.

Ditch the Wedding Favours

Sack off wedding favours if you can.  Most guests don’t actually take them home and they can add hundreds to a budget.  If you’d like to do something, then adding a small bowl of sweets on each table is a nice touch.   

Let Them Eat (Wedding) Cake

Skip dessert and just let people eat the wedding cake.  You can buy really tasty cakes from the supermarket and then decorate them with additional tiers or decorations.  Most families have a decent baker somewhere that you could ask.  You could even skip the wedding cake entirely and have a dessert table or cheese board.  You can substitute a big cake with cupcakes or muffins.  We’re big fans of the doughnut wall!

Dial Down the Venue

The venue will be your biggest budgetary drain.  Combine the ceremony and reception space where possible.  You could have a sit-down meal in a restaurant to help keep costs down.  Choose a village hall, sports hall or working men’s club for not only a blank canvas but for its reduced rental rate. 

Rope in Other People to Help

It’s always worth asking family and friends to give you a hand.  Although, you should never assume it’s a given that they’ll help and you certainly shouldn’t treat them like slave labour.  It’s a great way to cut down costs, however.  Maybe your sister is a hairdresser or your cousin did makeup at college.   It doesn’t need to be free – you can pay a fair rate – but perhaps they’ll do it as a wedding gift. 

Go Digital
Invitations can really ramp up the cost.  It’s easy enough to make your own or you could send e-invitations.  Initially, we were sceptical about how good these could look but we were very impressed when we got to try out Paperless Post.

Ask for Cash

Talking about money is always a little awkward but most couples now ask for cash instead of a gift.  Whilst you should never rely on cash as a way of paying back your wedding, it is one way to offset the cost. 

You Might Have to Be Ruthless with Numbers

Edit the guest list down as much as you can.  This is rarely easy or pleasant but it’s one way to staying on budget.  Make your initial list and then cut it.  Make it again and cut it again and again until the numbers add up.  Everyone at your wedding should deserve to be there.  If you have to make a few tough decisions, then that’s fine.  If you’re worried about upsetting those you’ve left off then make a point of having a conversation with them about why you’ve made that decision.  They’ll take it better from you than hearing it from others. 

How did you keep the costs of your wedding down and were you able to keep it under £1000?

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