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Small wedding budget help

Hi! I got engaged on Friday... so excited to start planning!


we recently bought a house and have a small child and will be paying for everything ourself and realistically it needs to be done on a tiny budget... like maybe 3k..: (my mum has said she’ll buy my dress). 


Its ran a second wedding for both of us so small and intimate is the name of the game... can you share your tips for a gorgeous wedding on a tiny budget?! 


  • SadieeeSadieee Posts: 1,781 New bride

    Use your contacts. If you have any friends of family who are crafty, ask for help with making things, any good bakers? See if they'll make your cake etc all instead of wedding presents :)

    Also, our invites are coming from vistaprint. Their invites are beautiful, lots of options and they regularly have offers (all invites and similiar are 25% off at the mo for example), you can upgrade the card, the envelopes etc if you want.

    Keeping the guest list small is key, because no matter how savy you are with everything else, if your guest list if huge the budget will get blown lol

    High street, wed2be etc for a wedding dress

    Those are off the top of my head :)

  • Thank you so much. 

    We have loads of great crafty friends, one has offered to do the cake for cost of ingredients, ones husband is a photographer so currently begging him... one of my friends is an aspiring florist and does weddings and events floristry on the side and has said She’ll do the flowers and will be max £150...

    H2B’s best friend is in a band so hoping they might do some entertainment! 

    It sounds so cheeky written down!

  • Laura349Laura349 Posts: 1,001 New bride

    I agree! Trying and call on friends for favours! 

    Weve got a budget of 2-3k (trying to do it for around 2 though!) we’ve called in friends favours with the cake, photography and helping with making things! 

    I got my dress in a sale for £100! 

  • Congratulations on your engagement, we're getting married on a smaller budget too, 

    For our venue we are getting married at the local registry office (we're not religious and it costs half as opposed to getting a registrar to another venue)

    We're also having our reception at my other halfs sports club, which is costing us much less than a barn / country house would. 

    Consider if you would be happy to do anything diy like centerpieces or as mentioned above invites, 

    See If you can cut anything you feel unnecessary like favours or really expensive gifts for family / bridal party. 

    Also I've found it really helpful to ask if people are happy to be paid by direct debit as it limits really significant amounts all having to come out at once. 

    Happy planning! 

  • Not really a money saving tip but make a new email. [email protected] 

    Get all your wedding stuff sent there instead of your everyday email. 

    Keep both wedding related stuff separate to everyday stuff. 

    Best tip I was ever told ! Xx

  • lauren318lauren318 Posts: 482

    Definitely shop around, it drove me mad but i definitely made savings. Also do things crafty where you can, it adds personal touches and saves a fortune. Check online for sales for dresses etc.

    Things we saved money on

    Cake- This was made by my MILS friend

    Car- Wedding gift from SIL

    Dress- £100 previously worn

    Bridesmaid Dresses- On sale from Little Mistress £40 each

    Also i noticed getting married earlier in the day meant more expense as we had to hire the room for day and night and have 2 lots of food.


    Good luck x



  • Like others have suggested do as much as you can yourself. Draft in friends and family to help. I'm fairly crafty as is OH so our wedding is very much DIY. I bought all the stationary from Hobby Craft for around £20 that includes everything to make our own invites and the save the date cards. We've been sourcing decorations and favours from eBay really cheaply (favour bags bought for 50p! from eBay) Home Bargains I found a load of wedding bits in their sale. Shop around!

    Keeping numbers down will ultimately keep the cost down too. It most definitely can be done. Good luck x

  • ZazoraZazora Posts: 17

    Congrats for getting married soon :)


    I really understand where your coming from. For me it was a very similar situation ... We handled it though. A friend of mine just invited her family and best friends, rented a small room for the party. The catering was done by the family, even the cake was made by them (her sister works at a bakery). She lent a very fantastic wedding dress, she bought her ring online (at ) instead of shopping it real (she told me, this saved her a lot of money) ... and those things :)


    If you need some more tips, you can contact me of course :)

  • Congratulations on your engagement! :D

    As for the tiny budget wedding...

    We're doing the same! (£1k).

    No more than 30 guests, DIY invites and orders of service (I work for a printing company!), a friend should be making the cake (but is pregnant and due around the wedding so may have to re-think), I've asked another friend to play cello for the aisle walk and while we're signing the register, and we're using the hall attached to the church for a short "coffee and cake" reception.

    We're having a dry wedding, which most people wouldn't have, but it's such a short event, it's in the church, and I don't drink anyway so... it seems weird to us to pay for everyone else to get drunk when we have to drive to the honeymoon in the afternoon! But that in itself is savings us literally HUNDREDS of pounds, even for a small number of guests. We also don't need to worry about transport between the church and venue as it's the same place.

    We're not having a photographer and we're also limiting when people can take pictures (and request no one posts on social media seeing as neither of us are on any sites!).

    The whole point is the ceremony, not the reception, for us. We're having a small, humble wedding. No dress worth thousands (it's an £80 high street dress), or fancy shoes (£5 satin pumps), no diamonds just plain titanium bands. No wedding party. Silk flowers instead of real, with only a small bouquet and buttonhole (both DIYd), and four pew decorations (also DIYd). No car - the church/venue is a 3 minute walk from our house! Also for the guests - no presents, and come as you are - no need to dress fancy.

    My friend is a hairdresser so will do my hair for me, and my SIL works in makeup so is going to show me some trials so I can do my own on the day.

    It's not going to please everybody, but it's our wedding so we'll do it our way! We COULD have a big expensive wedding but we don't WANT to, so it's on a small budget.

    So I guess what I'm saying is this: don't worry about your budget - you do exactly what you want and don't do things because they're 'traditional' or 'expected' - nobody NEEDS favours, for example. 

    (I'm not slamming anybody's choice of wedding - if you want a big one, go for it! It's just not for us). 

    Definitely call on your friends and family - they'll honestly love to get involved! Just be sure to give them a VERY clear vision on what you need from them otherwise you could end up in a few awkward situations. We're going for silk instead of real flowers because we can DIY in advance, and keep them afterwards as mementoes. We've found our wedding rings on Etsy for less than £50 for both. Definitely look at what you can DIY, but it's worth thinking also about the three most important elements of your day and investing a bit more in getting those bits done professionally I think. Also, we're getting married in June-ish time but already looking for stuff in the Christmas/January sales to save the pennies!

  • I think a lot depends on what you want from your day. As lots of people have said, asking guests to help out with making things and having a DIY style wedding is one way to have a lovely personal day on a budget. However if that’s not your style something else that might be worth looking into is private dining in a nice hotel or restaurant after a register office ceremony. This is what we are doing and because there’s no venue fee, we are managing to treat 50 of our nearest and dearest to a lovely meal and drinks in a beautiful hotel for less than the cost of venue hire elsewhere. An extra bonus is because the hotel is quite elaborately decorated already, we won’t need to spend much st all on decoration. We are then going on to a local pub for dancing in the evening, where we will lay on some food and people can buy their own drinks. Our budget is larger than yours but still relatively small (£5000) and we have sacrificed a lot of things that people care about such as a photographer and bridal party as these things simply aren’t our priority, but we have spent money on extras such as transport between the venues and nice wine. I guess what I’m trying to say is that if you think about what is really important to you and try and avoid only looking at ‘typical’ wedding venues then you can get a lot more for your money.

    Good luck :) I’m sure whatever you decide upon will be wonderful and, corny as it is, I do truly believe that the loveliest weddings are the ones where you can feel the happiness between the couple and of their loved ones, and that’s something money can’t buy!

  • I think everyone has covered the main things - calling in favours, smaller guest list and DIY what you can.

    Our budget is between £5-8k, I think we’ll end up nearer the top end, which is not ideal but still small by wedding industry standards. Our venue was doing a package for 40 people, canapés, 3 course meal and a glass of wine plus toast wine for £2019. We’ve ended up paying more because the guest list is now over 70 people and we’re sticking extra booze in, but it’s still a fantastic deal. We’re not bothering with cars as it’s all in one place. My bridesmaid dresses cost £24 each in the Quiz sale, I’ve just bought them faux fur stoles for £5 each from Peacocks. My little nieces’ flower girl dresses were from the monsoon sale less than half price at £30 each. My dress was over budget, but my shoes were £15 in a closing down sale. We’re toying with asking the menfolk to wear a suit they already have and just buying coordinating ties in a sale or from ebay(China). My sister in law is doing the flowers for cost, my niece is doing my hair and I’m thinking I’ll either make my own cake or get a M&S / other high street place. Mother in law is doing the invitations.

    We did save the dates because our date is so close to Christmas, and we got a wowcher for photo magnets so it worked out fairly reasonable, but if I had my time again I’d probably not bother and just send the photo as an email/text/Facebook thing - they’re not *really* necessary. 

    Our photographer was around mid range price wise, but because we asked nicely he offered us a discount. I think being prepared to ask and negotiate is a big thing, not something we’re naturals at unfortunately! 
  • longhaullonghaul Posts: 22 New bride
    my advice:
    * look for venues that have free hire if you use their cash bar (many pubs have this and some are beautiful)
    * paperless post is great as postage is always quite a big cost
    * buy your dress either online (not a knock off but from say lindybop, jjhouse or light in the box) or from the high street or a sample sale
    * think outside the box for food like pizza, afternoon tea, bbq, food van etc...

    £3000 is totally doable though

  • lush224lush224 Posts: 562 New bride
    My wedding came in at less than 3k. Reception- talk to nice country pubs who do food etc, we managed to get a sit down meal, welcome drinks and wine with the meal for £1400. They also gave us an evening room and Buffet cheap. 
    Draw on friends and family for help, someone crafty did our invites, a friend of the family did photography etc 
    I got my bridesmaids dresses from a high street store wedding range and was much cheaper than a wedding shop. 
    Got my wedding shoes, veil online much cheaper. 
    I probably spent too much on favours with miniature alcohol bottles and wish I didn’t bother as most got left on the tables. I went to another wedding where the favour was a foiled chocolate heart and an envelope with a personal poem, cheaper and nicer. 
    I had an amazing wedding day abc guests commented on the fact the drinks were pub prices rather than expensive hotel prices. 
  • Out budget is the same- no more than £3k. Mortgage, baby- totally unnecessary to spend more, is it. Can’t wait to get to the fun part of finding cheap decorations, dress etc. Hope you manage to stick to your budget!

    To save creating an identical thread, I am just going to ask here. What is the everyone’s advice for venue hire? The costs of everywhere half-decent looking is £3k or they have one preferred caterer who is expensive. I don’t like the idea of an old pub with sticky floors, any nice alternatives? My fiance and I don’t drink apart from when on holiday, and a third of our group don’t drink much either, so a bit silly to have our reception in a pub anyway.
  • lizowenlizowen Posts: 1
    Squirrel, I have a similar budget and am having a church wedding (costing about £500) and a village hall reception (£350 hire for three full days!) They have all the tables and chairs, I have found 100 chair covers and sashes and ten table runners on fb market place for £80.  We are getting married at 2.30 in the afternoon, so we are having a "mini afternoon tea" on arrival (paper lunch bag with scone, individual clotted cream and jam, small cake and a sausage roll) with a can of G&T, premade pimms etc as a welcome drink, then having a hog roast as our main meal at 6pm.  It keeps our catering bill for 100 people below £900 including welcome drink.  I am not doing table wine, instead there is a bar in the village hall run by the local cricket club which will be open, and I have just bought a job lot of the Belvoir Farms posh soft drinks (elderflower presse etc) becaue they are on offer in Waitrose for 1.20-1.30 per 750ml bottle.  No wasted wine and no oligation to drink stuff you wouldn't want to! If, and this is a big if, there is any money left at the end of the process we will hire an end of night pizza van... quotes have come in at about £500. 

    Hope this helps!

  • Thanks Liz, your wedding sounds so nice and relaxed! A lot of people raise their eyebrows when I mention I don’t want an expensive formal wedding breakfast. ‘But what would you do then, your guests will go hungry’. Erm, no, loads of ways to feed our guests in cheaper ways. How did you come up with the mini afternoon tea idea? Did it work out cheaper than canapes? Are you hiring a caterer to serve the afternoon tea bags and drinks to guests while you take photos?

    We have only come up with 30 guests, and given that a few will probably decline, there won’t be enough people to fill a village hall. We’ll rattle around in that big space and seems too much to decorate for the sake of two-three tables. Such a good price though, I have only seen village halls for £900-1200 for not even full three days!:/ 

  • Some of the nicest restaurants in my area have a private room that you can hire for free, you just pay for your meals/drinks. My boss' son had his wedding reception at a Gino D'acampo restaurant in their private room, it looked lovely from the photos.
  • Gosh, free room hire would save so much money! For some reason, I am getting quoted £500+ for restaurant function area/room hire here in Scotland! Are there any websites with lists of restaurants with free rooms?
    Ideally, I wouldn’t want to have our reception around the corner from our home or next to my work etc., it would just feel like any other meal out (not that we go out often),so have been looking for scenically located restaurants.  

    OP, sorry for hijacking your thread, how are you getting on with your planning?
  • I've had a look and I can't find any such websites unfortunately! When I was looking I looked at the website of the restaurant. I know that's not as easy when you don't have specific places in mind though! Maybe when you speak to the restaurant, say that it's for a celebration, don't mention the word wedding and the hire fee might reduce or disappear altogether! You'd think they'd just be happy to have a large reservation!
  • Thank you for looking for me. It is hard for sure when you don’t have a venue in mind. I always feel like I should conceal the fact that it is a wedding, do you think it’s ok to do? 
  • Definitely! You're only want their space for the celebrating, you're not having the ceremony there so it shouldn't matter to them the reason for your celebration! Good luck finding somewhere 🍀
  • Thank you, I really want to find the venue and start planning more fun stuff. 
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