How to plan a fairy tale wedding on a shoe string budget

Money 2019-7-3
How to plan a fairy tale wedding on a shoe string budget.jpg

We team up with the experts to bring you the best ways to plan a budget wedding.

With the average wedding in the UK expected to cost approximately £30,335, it’s not surprising that more and more couples are trying to be financially savvy when planning their special day. Here at Hitachi Personal Finance, we have put together a money saving guide, with the help of some experts, for planning your fairy tale wedding while still keeping the pennies in check.

Decide on your budget and stick to it

Tom Bourlet, Marketing Executive for a number of wedding planner clients, gave his advice: “It’s easier said than done, but you need to be strict with your budget and stick to it.”

Your budget should be the amount you can comfortably afford, not the absolute maximum you can save - you should still keep a rainy day fund just in case. And remember, the longer your engagement, the longer you'll be saving, so don't over-commit.

Make a list of everything you’ll need - from flowers to catering to a photographer - then allocate a budget to each.

Tom adds, “Start by recording all potential costs in a spreadsheet and put in a little extra for unexpected costs. You can then prioritise some of the costs to work out which ones can be trimmed off the list if necessary.”

If you’re not keen on the idea of compromising and you need a helping hand, check out our low cost wedding loans which start from just 3.2% APR Representative between £7,500 and £25,000.

Keep your numbers low

A great way to save money as well as keeping your ceremony intimate is to invite as few people as possible.

Put your guest list through vigorous stress testing. Make a list - look again a week later and aim to reduce it by 10%. Keep doing that until you can't reduce it anymore. 

A good way to decide whether someone should be at your wedding or not is by pretending your invites were going out right now. Do you know their address? Would you be seeing them in the next couple of weeks to give it to them in person? If you answer 'no' to both of these questions, you should seriously consider whether they're close enough to make the cut.

Go digital

In the past, it wasn’t unheard of to create your own ‘save the date’ or official invites by hand, but this can be a tedious and long-winded task if you have many guests.

Michael from Leeds got married in June and used an online tool to print multiple invites: “There are a number of free graphic design websites you can use free of charge to create professional invites. All you need to do is pick a template and fill in the text boxes.”

Once you’ve completed your desired look, email a printing company who are able to print these on high-quality card for a fraction of the price as a business that specialises in wedding invites.”

Consider a weekday wedding

If at all possible, you should try to book the venues for midweek, as the cost will be significantly cheaper between Monday-Thursday.

Not only will a Thursday wedding cost less when it comes to booking the venue but the cost of hiring catering services have been known to cut by half. As for worrying about your guests getting time off work, hotels and travel will also be considerably cheaper than a weekend too. The same goes for out of season ceremonies, and even peak times of the ceremony itself.

Don’t mention the W-word 

Speaking to different vendors can be a daunting task when you’re not sure exactly what to ask. Tom advises: “When calling up your florist, makeup artist, or caterer, avoid mentioning the word ‘Wedding’, as they’ll automatically add a premium rate. This can end up costing you up to 50% more than if it were another type of event.”

Call in a favour

Tom suggests thinking about how your friends or family could come in handy, and asking them to trade a gift for their skill. “If your nan bakes perfectly fluffy cakes, your uncle has a swish car, or your friend is a videographer, you could save hundreds by asking them to replace a professional instead of purchasing a gift.”

Even if your friends don’t have a skill that can help with something as obvious as a cake, even an extra pair of hands or a van owner can help with the logistics on the day, especially if you’ve chosen a less conventional venue, such as a barn.

Stick to seasonal products

If your heart is set on getting fresh flowers, consider picking seasonal and locally sourced flowers as they’ll be cheaper than exotic orders. Florists will invite you to the shop for a consultation before the big day, and they’ll ask for information such as; how many bouquets are needed, how big you want them, and if you have a flower girl. Be sure to have your answers ready and stick to them if you want to keep within your budget.

Georgia Scott, florist at The Raven Rose comments: "Sticking to seasonal flowers means you get the most for your money. I’d advise any couples who have their heart set on a particular style to research when their desired flower blooms locally before setting a date, to avoid extra costs. Peonies are really popular at the moment, but weddings taking place later in the year will have to ship them into the UK from abroad which makes a significant price difference."

Dare to DIY

When it comes to DIY, there are some things that aren’t always worth the hassle of making on your own, but there is strength in numbers! Tom advises: “Get creative at your hen party by setting up a craft evening. Not only will making bunting or centrepieces with your nearest and dearest be fun, but the pieces will have sentimental worth too.”

Kate Beavis, Magpie Wedding Blogger, puts the cost of her impressive £3,000 wedding down to DIY, “To name a few, we made decorations, a sweet table, and a bar by asking shops for old display furniture. Our wedding had a vintage theme which can keep costs down because instead of going cheap, or unethical, you can use second hand or pre-loved items! We borrowed a car, had a ‘bring your own cake’ table, and we prepared our own music playlist”.

Get your dream dress at a sample sale

If you know what your dream dress is, or at least who your ideal designer would be, keep your eye out for a sample sale at a local stockist. You can get a great price when buying at these events compared to the full price.

If that doesn't work out, remember that designers generally release new lines for spring/summer and autumn/winter, so make sure you give yourself plenty of time to find 'the one'.

Affordable wedding rings

The cost of wedding rings can vary hugely depending on size, elaboration and material. On average a white gold ring will cost anywhere between £150 and £400. Places like ‘Hatton Garden’ in London or ‘The Jewellery Quarter’ are great for striking a bargain and haggling a price to suit you. Other options are to buy pre-owned wedding bands either online or at dedicated pre-loved jewellery stores which are great options for saving some pennies.

However you decide to plan your big day, remember it is all making memories and having a wonderful time with your partner, family and friends.

Brides Magazine

Hitachi Hints and Tips is intended to be informative and interesting. It does not constitute financial advice, and you should always do further research when making any financial decisions. All information was correct at date of publication.


Live chat

best live chat