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10 ways to cut the cost of a wedding

Rachel Wait
Written by  Rachel Wait
5 min read
Updated: 18 Feb 2019

Are you tying the knot this year or next?

You may have already committed to paying for essentials such as the wedding venue, but there are ways you can cut the other costs between now and then. 

Here are 10 of the best ways to limit the cost, but still make your big day an extra special occasion.

1. Go digital with your invitations

Sending out professionally-printed wedding invitations comes at a price. But a completely free alternative is to send out e-invitations and even create your own wedding website.

It’s an environmentally-friendly solution that will allow you to avoid paying postage as well as printing costs. 

What’s more, a website will be a handy place for guests to find information about the venue, such as directions, as well as to post their pictures and comments after the event. 

If you run an internet search, you’ll find a range of sites that provide low-cost options for building your own website.

Hand checking bills

2. Buy fewer flowers

If you want to keep the cost of wedding flowers down, you could choose non-floral table centrepieces that you can make yourself – such as tall candles surrounded with multi-coloured glass pebbles. 

Or use just one single flower in the middle of each table. It can make a big impact without costing the earth.

3. Double-up guests as late-night photographers

Paying a photographer to capture your wedding day in its entirety can add use up a fair chunk of your budget. 

So why not move key ‘picture’ events (such as the cutting of the cake and tossing of the bouquet) forward – and pack the photographer off early? 

Then, for the evening, ask guests to take pictures themselves with their cameras or phones and email them to you, post them on your website, or on Facebook. You’ll have hundreds of decent snaps to choose from and you could even set a prize for the best!

4. Opt for a buffet over a sit-down meal

With a per-head cost of as little as £11 or £12, opting for a buffet over a sit-down wedding breakfast can cut your catering bill by up to 30%. 

Another fun option, if you are holding your wedding in a large hall or outdoors is to go for a hog roast, which can feed up to 150 people – although you will have to provide a vegetarian alternative for the non-meat eaters.

5. Have your cake and eat it

Save money on catering by serving your wedding cake as the dessert rather than splashing out on a separate one.

And, these days, you don’t have to spend hundreds of pounds on a fancy wedding cake. You can buy traditional three-tier versions from certain supermarkets for about £1 a slice. Even better, ask a talented friend or relative to bake one.

6. Keep a tab on the free bar

If you put on a completely free bar, you could find yourself paying for a very large bill at the end – especially as people tend to really ‘go for it’ when someone else is paying for their drinks.A good way to keep the bar bill under control is by paying for beer, wine and soft drinks – but not spirits.When it comes to the drinks served before the meal, offering Pimms rather than champagne is also a way to be generous and frugal at the same time.

7. Hire amateur (but good!) musicians

Musicians or a band can bring some real pizzazz to a wedding celebration. But you don’t have to pay the earth for a big name.One way to find a group you like for less is to scope out the talent playing in your local pubs and have a chat to them about how much they would charge to play for a couple of hours.An even cheaper option is to see if any local schools or music colleges have talented students who could provide musical entertainment for a fraction of the price.Just remember to hold an audition or go to see them perform at a concert first.

8. Book a DJ

Hiring a DJ rather than a band can significantly reduce your entertainment budget.Further savings are also available if you get the DJ to come in just for the disco and not for the pre-dinner drinks, when a playlist played via an iPod/iPad/mobile phone will often work just as well. You could even ask your guests to email requests for it in advance

9. Shop around for a wedding dress

Whether you have your heart set on a designer wedding gown, or are looking for a dress that you could wear again, there are plenty of ways to reduce the amount you spend.High street chains such as Coast and Phase Eight do some beautiful wedding dresses that won’t break the bank, and you can also find bargain ready-to-wear dresses at websites such as brides-to-be with designer dreams, meanwhile, can check out specialist wedding dress charity shops such as Oxfam and British Red Cross. Also, check out – a website selling second-hand gowns which you can be pretty sure have only been worn once.

10. Consider paying with a credit card

Using a credit card to pay for everything from booking the venue to buying a dress will give you access to extra protection you would not receive if you paid in cash or by debit card.This is because credit card purchases worth more than £100 are covered by section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act, which states the card firms are jointly and severally liable with the merchant should anything go wrong – such as the venue flooding or your dress failing to turn up. The protection applies even if just the deposit is put on the card.

 All credit cards are subject to status and terms and conditions. Over 18s, UK residents only. Terms and conditions apply. See for further information.

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