27 Savvy Ways To Save Money On Your Wedding
27 Savvy Ways To Save Money On Your Wedding

27 Savvy Ways To Save Money On Your Wedding

We all know times are tough – but if your dream wedding is starting to look a little toppy, help is at hand. We asked some of our favourite wedding planners to share their best budget-cutting tips on everything from the flowers to the food.

The Venue

“Choose your preferred venue’s quieter months or days of the week for your wedding.  Even the best venues have quieter times, such as between Christmas and New Year, and the winter season. Midweek weddings also tend to be less expensive. So, check when they are for your venue and negotiate costs if you take an off-peak date. Always check any additional fees for setting up the night before and get them included free of charge, so that you have more time to prepare the reception room. It is also cheaper to hold your ceremony and reception in the same venue as you reduce transport costs among other fees. Finally, choose a venue that needs less dressing and décor. Historic venues for example have architectural interest and wonderful backdrops, which need little additional décor. So you may pay a little more to hire them, but work out if you will save overall by not having to add dressing to the space.” – Liz Taylor, CEO of luxury wedding & event planner Taylor Lynn Corporation

“If you had your heart set on a wedding abroad, but budget constraints mean it now has to happen closer to home, start by visualising your desired overseas destination to establish the tone. Consider what attracted you to that location, then use those impressions to guide your choice in the UK. Finally, don't be hesitant to choose an unconventional wedding location – cultural institutions, museums, parks, and garden come to mind. You can then infuse different aspects of your wedding with characteristics of your chosen destination, from your stationery suite to customised napkins. Stick to subtle tones, images and symbols that may be included in your invites.” – Roberta Burcheri, wedding planner & designer at Roberta Burcheri Events 

Guest Numbers

“The way to do this is to set hard-and-fast rules at the beginning and stick to your guns. Do not make this up as you go along! Be it no children, no extended family, no new partners, you must draw your line in the sand early on and people will understand. The important element with any guest list (reduced or not) is to make sure every group or standalone guest feels looked after and happy to be there. If you have opted for a cut-down list, do consider this when it comes to your seating plan. When in doubt with a guest list, invite forwards in your life, not backwards.” – Matthew Shaw, creative director at luxury events company Sauveur

The Dress

“Who says you have to have a new wedding dress? Remember the adage of ‘something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue’ and recycle a family heirloom or go vintage and simply update with some modern jewellery and shoes. Otherwise look for an elegant cocktail/evening dress at a good department store or online – you get all the style without the premium of a ‘wedding dress’ price tag. You can also rent evening dresses from many local dress exchanges or dress hire boutiques. Remember – trouser suits are on trend for the bride too and nowhere near as costly as a bridal gown.” – Liz 

“Another solution could be using your mother or grandmother’s wedding dress if you are similar sizes, and perhaps have some alterations to add a modern twist. If you decide to hire a dress rather than purchasing one, make sure you read the fine print of your lease agreement and understand everything. Since most rental shops want garments to be returned in pristine condition, you may be charged a price to have them cleaned if you accidentally spill anything on them. Also, try it on beforehand. Finally, check wedding designer outlet stores – there may be previous years’ collections that are still quite current, especially if you go for a classic look.” – Roberta

The Bridal Party

“Opt for a colour theme rather than matching outfits when it comes to bridesmaid dresses. If your colourway is red, encourage bridesmaids to choose a dress or trouser suit in shades of red, blush, pinks. The fact that outfits aren’t identical adds interest and it allows you to buy outfits more cheaply from departments stores, local suppliers or online, rather than bridal shops.” – Liz

“Think of all the clothes people already own! From experience, guests are increasingly loath to buy something new for weddings. It can be a big bill by the end of the year. Some of the best bridesmaids and groomsmen outfits I’ve seen have all been pre-owned with just a key colour given to people. It allows everyone to wear something they are comfortable in and makes them feel great, which is the most important part.” – Matthew

Go for big flowers, like HYDRANGEAS or PEONIES. The larger the flowerhead, the FEWER stems you’ll need, and the LESS MONEY you’ll spend.

The Flowers

“Using seasonal flowers is always less expensive or make use of fresh flowers from your own garden as a simple hand-tied bouquet and buttonholes. As an alternative, you could order a couple of large bouquets of fresh flowers online and make your own wedding flowers from these, which is much less costly than using a florist. If you can, mix a few flowers and foliage with chunky, yet inexpensive candles or present them in oversized mugs, small bottles and jars or old teapots. Charity shops are a great source of these. It will create an eclectic, boho and fun table decoration for a spring and summer wedding. Also, bear in mind many venues will already have their rooms dressed at this time of year for Christmas, so if the budget is tight, consider working with their décor.” – Liz

“Another option is to use grounded or potted flowers and foliage. Not only are they more sustainable, they are easily transferrable to your receptions and can be repurposed if you have another event the day after your wedding. Just keep in mind simple is better, as you have more ways to repurpose your blooms.” – Roberta 

“Go for big flowers, like hydrangeas or peonies. The larger the flowerhead, the fewer stems you’ll need, and the less money you’ll spend. Alternatively, for an elegant yet cost-effective touch, opt for single stems in tall vases on each table. The height will still make an impact and ensure the room still looks decorated throughout. Finally, double flowers up as accessories. Instead of full bouquets, give your bridesmaids corsages to wear on their wrists or boutonnières to fix onto a neckline or waistband.” – Hamish Shephard, founder & CEO of Bridebook

The Décor

“You can use lots of candles instead of flowers to save money. Incorporate height by alternating tall candlesticks and small vases filled with tea lights. Slash the cost on menu printing by using one per table instead of one per person, and ditch the escort cards or combine the latter with favours.” – Roberta

“The best way to save money on décor is to reuse your church/ceremony flowers at the reception – this way you still maintain the quality of the arrangements and the flowers that are used, but you get the most out of them and won’t need quite as much! For my own wedding, we worked with Natural Creations who helped us reuse all of the ceremony flowers, the pew ends and beautiful urn arrangements that featured either side of the altar.” – Francesca Gamble, event planner & founder of 29 London

“Try renting instead of buying whatever decorations you need. There are plenty of styling and prop suppliers able to sort everything out for you with professional vision. You can use our wedding venue directory to find ‘blank space’ venues, too. They’re literally a blank canvas for you to work with, so you won’t need to spend any extra money hiding features you don’t like, or battling against a pre-existing style, and will instead have all the freedom to bring in your own elements and design.” – Hamish 


The Photographer

“Because of the possibility of early booking discounts offered by certain photographers, you should make every effort to get one as soon as you decide on a date for the wedding. Inquire as to whether or not the photographer of your choice provides discounts for referrals. Since the wedding business is so heavily dependent on word of mouth, this is the situation for many professional photographers and videographers. Ask your planner to negotiate for you and ask for a few quotations, so you can compare the most competitive rates for the day and album bundles.” – Roberta

“Most photographers also advertise set bundles, which will usually involve an album and a certain number of printed images. Settle for the basic fee and make your own album. Invest in buying the copyright of your wedding photographs. They’ll be yours exclusively, so you can print as many copies as you want when you have some extra cash.” – Hamish

“Finally, you don’t have to hire a professional photographer. Many of your friends at the wedding will have a good camera on their phones, so simply ask one of them (the most dependable!) to act as photographer for the day. That said, a photographer/videographer is a skilled role and invaluable to capture all those moments. If you need to trim costs, just ask them to cover certain aspects of the day – such as the ceremony and reception – but not the ‘getting ready’ or late-night party.” – Liz 

The Food

“Catering can be expensive so you could opt for an early ceremony and lunchtime wedding breakfast, when people tend to eat and drink less. This change may mean that you can choose a more interesting menu or a better wine. Alternatively, a stylish afternoon tea wedding reception, BBQ or even a family wedding brunch (particularly popular for second-time wedding couples) can be a luxurious change to a formal wedding reception, but at much less cost. Equally, if you want the big party feel, dispense with the usual wedding breakfast and evening reception, choosing a later wedding time and then just one amazing party for all their guests. This allows you to invest all your money instead of spreading the budget too thinly.” – Liz

“Most people opt to marry at a venue where the food options are limited, if this is the case, lose the starter in favour of canapés, then sit down for the main course and use the cake as dessert. If you have more freedom to book your own catering, casual self-service food from food trucks is a great option and offers a more relaxed vibe.” – Francesca

“When looking for menu choices from different catering companies, it is important to request quotations for choices that are based on locally produced goods. Ingredients that are supplied from farther away tend to be more expensive owing to the increased cost of transportation. Otherwise, the single most effective way to lower the expense of your reception food is to find out whether outside catering is permitted in your potential wedding venue or if they only use their in-house catering solution. You can also try to negotiate a discounted price for children.” – Roberta

Lose the STARTER in favour of canapés, then sit down for the MAIN COURSE and use the CAKE as dessert.

The Drink

“Remember to ask for wines and champagnes to be charged on consumption only by your venue, otherwise they will open all the bottles ordered and you will be charged whether they are used or not. Equally, many wedding couples feel they have to offer free alcohol all evening; not so. Offer a welcome drink, a glass of wine with a meal and then a cash bar. If you want to be more generous, and can afford to do so, it’s very acceptable to offer bottled beers and wines as complimentary but ask guests to pay for any spirits. It helps to manage costs.” – Liz

“Alcohol doesn’t go off, so regardless of your wedding date, buy any alcohol you need just after Christmas or around the summer bank holidays. Try to buy alcohol on a ‘sale or return if unopened’ basis. That way, you might get some money back from any alcohol that doesn’t get consumed. A limited drinks selection is an easy way to cut costs – and speed up service. You could stick to red and white wines, as well as beer, to guarantee almost everyone a drink.” – Hamish

“Invest solely in your preferred liquors if you're set on providing a large selection. You're a gin fan whose significant other prefers vodka? Top-shelf gin and vodka should be served, but other liquors should be offered under more wallet-friendly brands. If you’re big on bespoke cocktails, ask for a limited edition, maybe one or two drinks, to reduce your spirit bill and make life easy for your bartenders.” – Roberta

The Entertainment

“There is a wealth of excellent musicians and artists available in the UK who don't charge top prices, including tribute acts and bands. Big names may only play for 20 or 30 minutes, whereas a good party band or tribute group can play all night and prove much better value for money. For a drinks reception, check if you have someone talented in the family – ask if they might perform a short set. Check out local music schools to see if the students will perform for a donation or fee. And, at Christmas, many local charities have choirs that will sing at events in return for donations.” – Liz

“Choose local entertainment if you can, so you won’t have to spends loads on people and instruments transfer. To cover your ceremony and cocktail hour, hire half the band or inquire about DJ options. Many showbands they offer free DJ service so it’s worth asking. Another way to save money on any kind of entertainment would be avoiding early evening set up. But be cautious: there’s a huge difference between saving money on entertainment and picking someone because they’re cheap. Always hire a reliable service that will tailor their set to your needs.” – Roberta

“Instead of throwing performers and entertainment at your wedding, you can often find different ways to create special moments. Perhaps the band you’ve already booked has a musician that could play people through to dinner or go on stage with the DJ later on. Have you got a talented friend who is a singer or musician? Get them involved. Some of the most special moments I’ve seen at weddings have been friends playing another down the aisle or welcoming people into a reception. It’s not just personal, it’s often more exciting too.” – Matthew

The Overnight Accommodation

“Arrange or reserve nearby accommodation as soon as you get your venue secured. Compare different websites and after selecting a hotel, you should contact them personally to see if you can negotiate a cheaper rate. Many hotels or Airbnbs will allow you to book a stay at a lower rate then cancel for free if your plans change. Another way is to block-book hotel rooms – that can get you up to 20% off.” – Roberta


“Weddings always have unforeseen costs you cannot plan for. Particularly for individuals planning their own wedding, there are lots of unsexy unknown costs that creep out of the woodwork as you move through the planning. If you really need to keep bang on budget, then 10% of your total budget should be in the contingency. This may allow you to make some last-minute additions or, if you don’t spend it, you’ve just got a honeymoon bonus or money for savings. If you do, you will be forever grateful it was there. If you’re using a wedding planner, you should always expect them to have a contingency fund and clear terms for its use.” – Matthew

For more information & advice visit TLC-Ltd.co.uk, RobertaBurcheriEvents.com, Bridebook.com, SauveurStudios.com & 29-London.com

DISCLAIMER: We endeavour to always credit the correct original source of every image we use. If you think a credit may be incorrect, please contact us at info@sheerluxe.com.