How to plan a wedding on a budget

OK, so weddings have changed a little bit and maybe your budget has been altered by being furloughed or worse. But that doesn’t mean that your wedding has to be a bargain-basement affair that’s lacking all the trimmings.

For more sparkle and less sadness without breaking the bank or any social distancing rules, try these budget wedding plan tips on for size.

Be a high-street princess

We know the dress is a big deal, but the price tag doesn’t need to be. If you take a look at online Phase Eight reviews, for example, it’s clear to see that an off-the-peg dress can give you all the princess feels without the need for a second mortgage. Plenty of other designers have followed suit as well, offering inclusive ranges of ready-to-wear wedding gowns that cater to a wide variety of sizes, heights and styles. The money you save will be better spent elsewhere, like on your rings – or the bar tab!

Take advantage of the 30-guest rule

No more wondering how you’ll break it to great aunt Maureen, who you haven’t seen in 20 years, that she isn’t invited to your wedding, as COVID-19 has stepped in and taken care of that for you. The new wedding guidelines that have recently been announced state that you can’t have more than 30 people in attendance and that receptions are ‘strongly advised against’. It might seem a little less celebratory, but remember that you now don’t need to pay for 100 of your nearest and dearest to eat and drink after watching you get married. When you calculate those numbers, we don’t think you’ll miss the mini quiches and Buck’s Fizz.

Make your own invites

Bear with us here. You don’t have to be an ex-Blue Peter presenter to whip up a few wedding invites and save-the-date cards. Pinterest boards are a great resource for cool ideas to make your own, but do be prepared to lose a week of your life on there. You can also have a scroll through Instagram to find some homemade invites to inspire you. A night in with your betrothed, with a film on in the background and, potentially, a bottle of something tasty on the go, could see you get everything you need printed, written and ready to post. Or, wave goodbye to £100s, having somebody else do it for you. The choice is obvious and outweighs a few spelling errors that can be blamed on wine.

Put your mates to good use

If you’ve got friends with particular sets of skills (not Liam Neeson-style), get them involved in the wedding planning. A good complainer/haggler will be useful for driving down supplier costs where possible, as well as anyone with a talent for construction if you want to host a safe outdoor ceremony under a beautiful gazebo. Artists can help with invites (see above) and for the ultimate in useful…do you know anyone already ordained? We’re not saying that officiants are pricey, but not having to pay one would be a bonus.

Bake your cake and eat it too

Calling all budget-savvy couples: make your own cake. Wedding cakes cost a huge amount, with even simple variations fetching £300+, just because you mentioned that it’s for your nuptials. Avoid getting stung with this ‘wedding tax’ by either making your own cake, if you are a decent baker or enlisting the help of a kitchen-whizz friend/family member. It doesn’t even have to be complicated, thanks to naked (non-iced) cakes being all the rage. A few layers of simple sponge with a frosting filling and some fresh fruit is all you need. As for toppers, you can get as creative as you like – Lego and Sylvanian Families figures have both been put to good use in this way.

Get down the market

Flowers add a considerable sum to the final cost of any wedding, but you can negate this by shopping local. If you have a market where you live, ask at a flower stall for a price for some unarranged stems that you like, not mentioning the ‘w’ word. Collect the day before, put them together in a rustic and unfussy way, tied with ribbon, and there you have it – a perfect bouquet for pocket money. Make smaller matching posies and pop them in old glass jam jars to add some colour to the rest of your setting. Nobody needs the Kim and Kanye white-rose flower wall anymore!

Do away with the pomp

Nobody wants to offend family members by not asking their offspring to be a bridesmaid of pageboy, so just do away with them altogether. Groomsmen, too. That’s fewer buttonholes to buy, no outfits to supply and just a whole lot less coordination needed as well. By all means, have one special friend that helps each of you, but take the formality and financial burden away. It’s 2020 after all, so you don’t necessarily need a Maid of Honour to attend to your every need.

Choose meaningful jewellery over bling

Diamonds used to be a girl’s best friend, but today we think house deposits are better companions, so step away from the showy wedding bands. There are plenty of ways to have special rings made, from commissioning a jeweller to make something just for you, to repurposing family pieces and even taking inspiration from a hobby. For example, if you are a cycling couple, you could contact a local custom frame-builder to ask them to turn your rings from steel or titanium used for bicycle tubing – now, that’s niche.

Planning a wedding on a budget is not the same as compromising, it’s simply common sense. You don’t want to start your married life in debt, so keep it simple, follow the COVID-19 rules and focus on the important thing – the presents. Ahem. We mean the lifelong commitment.