16 June 2022

7 ways to create – and stick to – a small wedding budget

16 June 2022

Getting married can be a very costly business. With the cost of living crisis and prices ballooning, it’s hardly surprising you might be questioning the cost of everything, even down to the wedding balloons and banners.

And if you have your heart set on a special dress,  a sizeable bridal party, fairy-tale flowers and getting hitched in a grand stately home, it does not come cheap.

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As a result, you might be having second thoughts about how best to plan your big day – without having to splurge more than you can afford to spend.

To point you in the right direction, Alina Jaffer, financial expert at Virgin Money, shares her top tips for creating a wedding on a small budget.

1. Be realistic with your expectations



“With the average wedding in the UK costing £24,000 in 2021, it’s important you’re realistic with the expectation of what your wedding could look like,” says Jaffer. “Budget weddings don’t need to be any less special than a more expensive event, but they might not look exactly like the lavish celebrations we see on the pages of wedding magazines.”

Instead, she says to get creative with where you’re looking for inspiration – Instagram accounts like @budgetsavvybride and @rockmywedding are great places to find unusual ideas about how to plan and style a wedding on a budget.

“The beauty of budget weddings is that you can get more inventive with how your big day looks – and this can often result in a more personal occasion.”

2. Ensure you and your partner are on the same page


 “While you might have a clear idea of how much you want to spend on your wedding, you need to ensure your partner is on the same page, otherwise you run the risk of overspending,” warns Jaffer. “Keep in mind the length of your engagement could affect your budget too.

“A longer engagement means you have the potential to save more money ahead of the big day, but on the flip side, it does allow you to run the risk of spending more,” notes Jaffer.

“Being clear with your partner about your budget and what your priorities are for your wedding will be crucial if you’re to stick within your spending limits. You don’t want to be surprised by your other half splurging on wedding transport or decorations you weren’t expecting.”

3. Use tools to help you budget


Once you have your budget in mind, it’s time to start saving, says Jaffer.

“Use the tools available to you through your current account to help you stay on track – many now have savings pot functions, which allow you to create a dedicated ‘pot’ to watch your savings build for the big day.”

If you don’t have one already, she suggests opening a joint current account with your partner, so you can both contribute to the same pot.

“Set clear goals for how much you want to save each month and be strict with how much budget you allocate to each aspect of the big day.”

4. Make sure friends and family know what your plans are

“Pressure from family and friends can sometimes be tricky to negotiate,” says Jaffer. “Expectations for what your big day should look like can differ vastly from your ideal, and the temptation can be to overspend to meet these in order to make others happy, whether that involves the number of guests you invite or the type of catering you opt for.”

As tricky as this might be, Jaffer says it’s important you stick to what you and your partner want, it’s your big day and budget after all.

“Alternatively, if you have family or friends generous enough to contribute to your big day, have a conversation with them as early on in the planning process as possible, so you’re crystal clear on the budget you have to work with.”

5. Be flexible with the venue location and date

“Wedding venues can often be the most expensive part of your wedding. That being said, if you’ve got your heart set on a specific venue, don’t panic. While Saturday weddings during the summer are the most popular time to get married, often you can slash venue costs by being flexible on the day and time of year you choose.”

As Jaffer points out, winter weddings can look just as gorgeous and will often be much cheaper. If you can gather your guests for a mid-week wedding, you’ll be sure to slash the costs further.

“If a Saturday is non-negotiable and you’re looking for wedding venue ideas on a budget, creativity can help you to bring your day to life. Town hall ceremonies, elopements or even an at-home garden wedding are all cost-cutting ideas that are becoming more and more popular.”

6. Get crafty

Prepare to save hundreds if you dare to DIY, says Jaffer. “Try making your own decorations for your venue or ask guests to bring a bake for a dessert table – there are so many ways you can save by doing it yourself.

“You could even make this into a pre-wedding event, invite people to help you get crafty and DIY decorations, or even flower crowns, for the big day.”

If friends or family have got married recently, ask them if you can borrow items like tableware or centrepieces they might have bought for their own wedding.

7. Rent your outfit

“Wedding dresses, suits and bridesmaid outfits can be very expensive, but you can save a huge amount by renting them instead of buying, and it’s also more environmentally friendly,” says Jaffer.

You may even be able to wear a more expensive designer item by renting it. She says there are lots of rental services available that stock options suitable for any budget, and mentions sites such as Hurr and By Rotation.

Even wedding guests are opting to hire their outfits now, so why not spend a fraction of the cost and wear something utterly unique for your special day – chances are, you won’t wear it again anyway.

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