Our guide to cutting costs without sacrificing your wedding ambitions
Unless you’re the son of a sultan, or an endlessly wealthy individual, your wedding will need to have a budget. An end point where you say, that’s enough, I don’t want, or can’t spend any more on this day. For some, that’s around the 25k mark. (In fact, the cost of the average UK wedding in 2023 is £23,885.) But for others, their wedding budget is a little more eye-watering. Regardless of the ceiling amount you want to spend, it’s important to always keep an eye on the figures, and not let the emotion of the day fuel your decisions. With this in mind, and to help all couples, at any point in the wedding planning process, we thought we’d put together some expert budgeting tips. Knowledge, and advice that’ll help you to genuinely save on your Cotswolds wedding, without compromising on the occasion.
There will be many concessions you’ll need to make during the planning stages, but what’s significant to keep in mind is the vision you had at the beginning.
What did you dream about seeing, smelling, and feeling as you walked down the aisle? How did you envision the reception space would look when you arrived at the wedding breakfast? Don’t lose sight of the fantasy. You may not be able to book every supplier, or buy every decor item you desire, but with our wedding budgeting tips we’ll help ensure you’re not forced to sacrifice your dream celebration.
Plan Your Dream Cotswolds Wedding Affordably with Our Budgeting Tips
Planning your dream wedding in the Cotswolds doesn’t have to break the bank. Discover budgeting tips to make your celebration affordable and unforgettable.
Consider an Off-Peak Celebration
Really want to make some savings? You might have to bite the bullet, and marry mid-week, or out of peak wedding season. However, we entirely understand how major a decision it would be to choose either of these options, and that’s why we had to put it first on our list of wedding budgeting tips.
Marrying midweek will ruffle some feathers among your guests, and could potentially alter the whole experience for those who need to work the next day. But, you could potentially save over half on the venue hire alone. Possibly more. Which would mean you could create an even more spectacular event for your guests? Or that drop in wedding venue hire price could mean that your dream space in the Cotswolds is now in budget?
As with midweek celebrations, marrying out of season could save you a small fortune. A wedding in February, for example, would certainly cost a lot less than planning it for the peak summer wedding slot in July, or around a bank holiday period.
Marry in the Morning, or the Evening
By having your wedding celebrations wrapped up by late afternoon, or not starting them until the sun is going down, could also save you money. Venues hate to see their space unused at any point, so if they can get you in and out early, or fit you in later, around another event, they’ll happily offer you a sweet deal.
With either of these options, you may have to alter plans a little, especially for a twilight wedding. This type of event doesn’t lend itself to a traditional sit-down wedding meal. Opt instead for more of a cocktail style soirée with canapés served on trays. But with the savings you’ll be making, you’ll have the opportunity to throw a spectacular evening event.
Skip Physical Stationery
Of all the wedding budgeting tips, this one might upset Mum the most, but we feel it’s worth the heartache! Physical wedding invitations, save the date cards, special envelopes and all the paper parts that make up a traditional invitation suite are so special. And we would never suggest forgetting about having wedding stationery if you can comfortably include it in your budget.
However, using a wedding website, or some kind of email invitation service will save you a lot of money. Many of the wedding website options out there are actually free, and come with lots of other planning tools included that should help you not only keep your budget on track, but the timeline too.
It may not feel as real, or as permanent, as a wedding invitation you can hold in your hands. But online invitations and wedding websites are ideal when you want to update all of your guests with any breaking wedding news. While also allowing you to be more interactive with your presentation, by offering the option to add videos, engagement photos and plenty of useful links and info about your big day.
Rent Your Wedding Dress or Shop the Sample Sales
One of the biggest trends in fashion right now is renting. Up and down the country, and of course online, boutiques are opening up to offer designer clothes for rental. A real game changer for the industry as a whole, and a godsend for those cash strapped social butterflies who can’t bare to be seen in the same outfit twice. But not only is it a cheaper option than buying outright, but it’s also (a bit) better for the environment.
Bridal fashion has also seen a surge in rental offerings, and as a concept, it was given a slight popularity boost when Carrie Symonds rented her wedding dress to marry Boris Johnson in a couple of years ago.
Now, if you’re a purist, and you want the dress you marry in to be a garment passed down for generations to come – maybe scroll to the next of our wedding budgeting tips.
For those not so sentimental, consider the fact that a rental wedding dress can be hired for as little as 10-20% of its retail price. Meaning a £2,000 bridal gown could be yours for the day, for roughly £200. That’s just an average priced bridal, you could choose a designer style that would typically be way out of your price range, and still only pay £500-£600.
If you are dead set on owning your wedding dress, then be sure to follow all of your local bridal boutiques on social media, and watch out for sample sales. It’s also worth getting in touch with shops too, just to see if they have a sale rail you can browse. You’d be amazed at the discount wedding dress shops put on sample dresses when they become unavailable to re-order.
The dress will have been tried on a few times in-store, but the shop will have typically washed and thoroughly checked the garment before putting it up for sale.
Every wedding dress needs to be altered before it can be worn on the day. Which means it shouldn’t be an issue if you’re not quite the same size as the sample. An experienced seamstress can usually work miracles with just a little bit of fabric!
Always Opt for In-season Blooms
Flowers, food and anything natural will always be more budget friendly and better for the environment when bought in-season. Flowers are the most obvious example, as their cost can skyrocket if not considered carefully.
We mentioned in our introduction that you shouldn’t lose sight of your wedding vision when trying to save money. And wedding flowers are often an area that couples struggle to keep under budget, typically because they cost much more than expected. And because they become fixated on one or two particular blooms. Certain flowers they just have to have featured on their wedding day. But when it comes to flowers, there’s always another option.
If you want to save on wedding flowers, speak to an experienced florist, tell them your vision and let them guide your florals. If your dream flower/s are out of season, or cost too much, they will be able to suggest a different, more suitable stem that’ll match the look you’ve been dreaming of.
Create a Misc Wedding Budget Vault
For us, this is one of the most important wedding budgeting tips, and yet it’s not often talked about. A piece of advice that won’t necessarily save you money in the short term, but will certainly help out further down the line.
When formulating a wedding plan and budget, couples typically list all the major, big ticket items. Venue, outfits, catering etc. But they fail, understandably, to include absolutely everything. Small, little purchases and services that, unfortunately, all add up in the end. Things like stag and hen parties, hotels, transport for guests, overtime costs for suppliers and venue, and then just stuff…! Little things like petrol, tips, and meals for people working for you.
There are so many small payments you’ll need to make on, and leading up to the big day, that either you just won’t be able to prepare for, or wouldn’t have had the headspace to plan. So, save yourself the credit card charges, or the embarrassment of asking parents for (more) money, and create a contingency fund. Between 5%-15% of your overall budget is a good amount to keep spare for emergencies.
Don’t allocate anything to this contingency wedding budget during the early to mid-stages of your planning. Keep it back, ready for any emergencies. This may not be the most exciting of our wedding budgeting tips, but you’ll thank us when it saves you from disaster, or debt!