The average UK wedding – pre-COVID – cost around £30,000. For most people, a wedding is one of the biggest expenses they will face and is by far the most expensive day of our lives.
Whatever your budget may be, keeping to it is important as it is likely to be an agreed cost between you and your partner, or you and family members, so to reduce unnecessary stress and disagreements, its often best not to go over that amount.
If you are considering hiring a wedding planner, they can be an excellent resource for keeping your wedding below budget. On average a wedding planner charges 10-15% of your overall budget for a full planning package, and they bring with them a wealth of experience and supplier connections who will come highly recommended and at competitive prices.
If you plan to share the labour with a wedding planner, or take on the planning yourself, there are a number of resources you can use online to ensure you are keeping your wedding to a budget. Here are some suggestions for keeping your spending in check:
Prioritise your spending
Have a conversation with your partner about your wedding spend priorities: is the venue or location most important; do you have a big or small group of guests; do you want designer wedding outfits with designer price-tags; will your wedding theme require expensive props or decorations?
Understanding the most important parts of the day for each of you means that they can be prioritized within the budget, and items of a lower priority can be delivered to a lower price.
Keep a spreadsheet
This goes without saying – keep a running total of outgoing expenditure as well as prospective costs to ensure that you are staying within budget. You can use a traditional excel spreadsheet, or if you are sharing the planning with a partner, wedding planner, or delegated friend or family member, using Google sheets makes it easier for all involved to add costs in real-time.
Go window shopping
There are a number of online tools such as Pinterest to create a vision board of your wedding that enable you to virtually window shop for your big day while keeping a realistic running cost of your spend without spending a penny.
One thing to be cautious of when shopping online is buying unseen items, especially in bulk – first and foremost check the returns policy, and secondly make sure you have checked the reviews. Buying items in large quantities – such as table decorations – may feel like a cost saving, but if they are of poor quality and you are unable to return them, you will be out of pocket.
While some may prefer to buy everything new for their wedding, others can enjoy cost savings by buying items second-hand through online marketplaces such as Gumtree, Freecycle, Preloved, eBay and Facebook marketplace. Most items bought specifically for a wedding day will have only been used once, so for decorations especially this is a great way to save money and reduce waste.
Some may even be comfortable buying their wedding dress second-hand – again, this may have only been worn once before for less than a day. The same online marketplaces above are great for bargain hunters, as well as clothing specific second-hand online stores such as Vinted and Thriftify. You could also buy a wedding dress from a charity shop to save money, reduce waste, and support a good cause. However, many brides have a deep emotional connection with their wedding dress so it is understandable that this option is not for everyone.
Another option for keeping costs down is DIY decorations, favours, invitations and more. This depends entirely on how comfortable you are with being creative or crafty as well as how much time you have available to achieve this ahead of your wedding.
This could be a fun opportunity to get friends and family involved for a crafting party at the cost of materials, food and drinks for your guests. Again, this option is dependent on how comfortable you are with potentially mismatched or characterful decorations, albeit made with love for your big day.