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Planning a Wedding with a Budget

Updated on August 31, 2013
preparing for your wedding day
preparing for your wedding day | Source
Choose a church..
Choose a church.. | Source
...Or a country pub...
...Or a country pub... | Source
..Or even a castle!
..Or even a castle! | Source

You're Engaged!

If you're lucky enough to have been proposed to by the man (or woman) of your dreams, your next thought is preparing for your wedding.

Most people have some sort of idea of what they want in a wedding, even if they are a little open minded. You may still have your heart set on marrying in your local parish or ensuring all of your friends and family attend. But that initial thought is just the beginning of what will be one of the biggest and probably most expensive days of your life.

The Cost

You may have thought the engagement ring was expensive, but when it comes to celebrating your marriage in style you'll have a lot more to worry about.

This is something I am learning myself as I am preparing for my own wedding next year. We skipped the engagement because the 'moment' was never right and he wanted to save enough money for a tasteful platinum diamond (my choice, of course). Knowing that the Big Day would be costly enough and our relationship was worth more, we just went ahead and booked it. But we did our research first.

Even the cheapest wedding isn't really cheap. As soon as you mention the word 'wedding', everything doubles in price. Thinking that all you need to worry about is the venue and a dress means you need some help with planning. Whether you want to do it on a budget or go all out on a fairy tale extravagance.

A basic ceremony is affordable, but once you've thrown in your guests in the form of friends and family (you may end up inviting more than you wished for), the cost of food and drink adds up. Then there are the hidden extra costs...

What to Plan First?

When it comes to wedding planning, communication is key. Whatever you decide you need to talk to each other first. Making a decision about your day is the first test of your relationship, so compromise if you have to and do things together. There would be nothing worse than a no show photographer because you didn't talk through who was going to do the booking.

Make a List

Rather than using scraps of paper that get scribbled over or lost, use a spreadsheet or notepad on your PC where you can find your list.

You need to make initial decisions on your date and location and start shopping around. If you want the ceremony and reception all in the same vicinity, send out some emails or make some calls to get an idea of what they offer and price packages.

Wedding Venues

Having your wedding all in the same place saves on travelling (especially for those unfamiliar with the area). As long as the place has a wedding license, some ideas include:

  • A converted barn
  • A marquee (apply for permission to hold the ceremony on the premises you use)
  • A hotel
  • A country pub
  • A stately home
  • A boat

Or if you have a more 'creative' idea you could go for that...

Booking your church or using a registry office can mean picking a reception venue within a few miles, to limit travel from one destination to another. Check what is available on websites or from local knowledge and ring to make appointments.

You could hold your reception virtually anywhere you like, from a nightclub to a community center. If there isn't a licensed bar, consider the cost of supplying your own alcohol or apply for a license if you are selling it.

Equally consider the extra cost of outside caterers if there isn't a restaurant on site.

Once you have booked your wedding venue/s, make a list of what to do next. Details make the list longer than you may expect!

Use a Friend's vintage car
Use a Friend's vintage car | Source
Ask someone to make your wedding cakes
Ask someone to make your wedding cakes | Source

As the months or weeks pass, the list will become more detailed. You will also (hopefully) start to tick things off!

Cutting Back on the Cost

We are not all lucky enough to have a wealthy family to pick up the bill at the end of the event, but if some family members offer to help out then be sure to take them up on it.

Instead of doing a wedding list, asking for money as a gift could help with your finances. You could put it towards your reception or the honeymoon of your dreams.

If you feel a little uncomfortable asking for money, you could ask for gift vouchers to use in a store of your choice, or again towards the honeymoon.

Favors for Favors

There is so much to organize for your wedding day that it can become incredibly stressful. If you know people who can help you out, take full advantage. Here are some ideas:

  • If you know a talented dressmaker, making bridesmaids dresses and even the bridal gown will save you a lot of money
  • Designing your own invitations, place names and seating plan can be fun for the creative. Get some ideas from books or the internet and print them from your computer
  • Making favors from mesh bags (purchased online or from craft stores) and placing sugared almonds in them (in Italy, the tradition is five sugared almonds for each guest) is a simple gesture. If there are young children prone to choking, Haribo sweets are a colorful alternative for them
  • Car hire can be expensive, but there may be someone you know who owns a vintage car. Decorate with ribbon and it's perfect for the bride! Polish up a few more 'respectable' cars for the rest of the family, and promise the drivers an invite
  • The evening entertainment could be a local band you know who may offer a good deal for a friend. Alternatively, ask someone to 'DJ' for you. You may know someone with a sound system, or your venue may provide speakers
  • Photographers offer expensive packages, but with a good camera, allocating someone to act as the photographer may give you more natural results. Place disposable cameras on the tables at the wedding breakfast, and you will have many pictures to remember your day by
  • Put together your own wedding bouquet rather than paying high prices for the florist to do it for you. You will make high savings
  • Wedding cakes can vary in cost, but if you know someone who can make one for you, it's another saving. Buying a cake and having it iced professionally would also save you money


As the day gets closer, ensure you have not forgotten anything!

Go for regular dress fittings so it fits perfectly. This goes for the men's suits too.

Keep in contact with everyone, such as those doing the photography and music. Communication is important so everyone knows where to be and at what time. Make sure you have a back up plan in case of cancellations.

Making a list for the day itself (especially the bride) will reduce mental blocks brought on by nerves.

This may include hair, nails, makeup, flowers. For the groom it will include rings, cars, thank you gifts for friends and family. Then of course, getting there on time!

The last thing to remember is to try and relax and enjoy the day. A champagne breakfast should help with any worries.

Good luck!


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    • Emma Harvey profile imageAUTHOR

      Emma Kisby 

      7 years ago from Berkshire, UK

      Hi davenstan - thanks for your comment. People are thinking about their weddings now that we are in the new year. I am having a summer wedding but some may have a romantic Valentine's day wedding (or engagement!)

    • davenstan profile image

      Katina Davenport 

      7 years ago

      This ties into my hub about my cheap wedding! Great tips!

    • Emma Harvey profile imageAUTHOR

      Emma Kisby 

      7 years ago from Berkshire, UK

      Thanks DexisView. I am loving planning my wedding. I am blocking out the cost (to reduce the stress) and focusing on the fun bits!

      Of course my husband to be is the most important part of the wedding though. We will be very happy together.

      Thank you.

    • DexisView profile image


      7 years ago from New England

      Great hub Emma! Weddings are so much fun to plan especially when you add personal touches that show who you are as a couple. Have fun, enjoy, and remember that while the actual day is an important part of the fairytale that the true celebration is of the person standing beside you!

    • Emma Harvey profile imageAUTHOR

      Emma Kisby 

      7 years ago from Berkshire, UK

      Now that I can say I am getting married THIS year, I am thinking about some serious planning and organization! I have actually bought my shoes before my dress - but buying small things bit by bit should make things go a bit easier!

    • susan54 profile image


      7 years ago

      Emma, Just remember to take time for you and your new partner. I have been married for over 30 years and we still love each other,he even likes the haircut, Lol. The wedding is only part of your life together. Bye

    • Emma Harvey profile imageAUTHOR

      Emma Kisby 

      7 years ago from Berkshire, UK

      Hehe, susan54, how lucky. I haven't booked a hairdresser yet, let alone think about the style. So much to do...;)

    • susan54 profile image


      7 years ago

      Emma Harvey, Super hub! I wish you luck with your wedding. My daughter is getting married next year.We have so much to do. Fun but overwhelming the easiest part is getting my hair done for the wedding as you can see not much to do there. Thanks

    • Emma Harvey profile imageAUTHOR

      Emma Kisby 

      7 years ago from Berkshire, UK

      Hi kellymom1970 - my wedding will also be quite small, but the amount of preparation is mammoth! It can be quite overwhelming, but with some research, support and enjoyment it can be rather fun. I haven't yet felt the stress - and I'm really looking forward to the most important bit: The dress, haha!

    • kellymom1970 profile image


      7 years ago

      Emma, VOTE UP! what a great hub. My wedding was small but we still had lots of planning to do. Great job writing this hub.

    • itsmonkeyboy profile image


      7 years ago from London, UK

      Great hub! It's very topical for myself as my partner and I are currently planning our wedding for next year. Well, I say we are planning, I'm trying! I keep learning about new traditions though, some which suddenly add cost to the event, you have to be very careful with your planning. Thank you for this hub though, I enjoyed reading it, it's so close to what we're going through.


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