ornate paper box for wedding favours

Tips For A Wedding on A Budget

Quality doesn’t need to cost the world. Below you’ll find our tips for the thrifty bride and groom aiming for the perfect wedding whilst trying to avoid the nightmare bill afterward! Read our tips on booking a venue, selecting food and drink, a perfect dress and your decorations.

Booking A Reception Venue

It’s likely that the cost of your wedding venue will be the most expensive part of your day. If you’re on a strict budget there are several things you can do to help yourself get a better deal than you might expect.

Just like when pricing up a holiday, you are likely to find the best deals when booking outside of the peak period. For wedding venues, this means that you may find special deals when booking over the winter months. Similarly, if you can book a weekday wedding instead of a weekend then you could save a small fortune!

You don’t necessarily have to book a “Wedding Venue” to host your reception. It’s worth considering hosting your reception and a smaller local venue. These venues might include hotels, restaurants and pubs, church and village halls or sports clubs. If you’re lucky enough to have a particularly generous friend or relative with a large house or garden, they may let you have your reception in their home!

When viewing these venues, try to skirt around the fact it’s a wedding reception until your booking is secured… “parties” tend to cost less to book than “weddings” do.

Try to look at these venues through your mind’s eye. Some of them may look a little basic at a glance but try to imagine what you could do with it with a little time and elbow grease.

Choosing Food & Drink.

Once you’ve chosen your venue, one of the next things to consider is how you are going to manage the food and drink. Some venues will offer packaged which may include food, drink and other options. If booking a package, it may be possible to haggle on the total cost, otherwise, you will have to manage your other supplier negotiations separately.

Ask your chosen venue if they allow your guests to bring their own alcoholic drinks and discuss any corkage charges. If the corkage fees are too high then this may end up costing you money rather than saving it!

If you decide that you would like to pay for some of your guests’ drinks. That doesn’t have to mean a free bar all night. Perhaps provide a drink after the ceremony, for the toasts and as an accompaniment to the wedding breakfast but let the rest of the day be a cash bar.

Time your ceremony and reception so that you are expected to serve only one meal to your guests. If your ceremony is after lunchtime, your guests will have already eaten by the time they arrive. You can then dedicate that part of your budget to one evening meal before the reception begins.

Using budget-friendly foods can make a little money go a long way. Bulk up a buffet with rice and pasta dishes and add your own individual flourish. And why buy in the dessert when you’re the proud new owner of an enormous wedding cake?

Finding Your Dress.

Your perfect dress will make you feel great, and there are ways to make it feel good for your bank balance too. Guess how many times do you think the average wedding dress is worn? I’ll give you a clue, it’s less than twice.

Nowadays there is a huge market for pre-loved ‘as new’ wedding dresses. Thanks to social media alongside eBay and local charity shops, these options are now more accessible than ever before. Be sure to take some time exploring these options.

It’s also possible to order a tailored dress direct from a supplier in another part of the world at a fraction of the cost that you would expect to pay in the UK. That said, if you consider this option, ensure you do adequate research before taking the plunge. This may seem obvious, but if you’re buying online in this way then you cannot see the dress or try it on upfront. If something feels off, then don’t make that commitment.


One of the simplest ways to achieve a mood is to choose appropriate lighting. Lots of venues will offer a choice of lighting options for your celebration. Talk through the options with them and select the right one for you. Your venue may also provide full decorative packages that you may find more cost-effective than hiring a third party.

As with the dress, there are lots of opportunities available to grab yourself a second-hand bargain. Check Facebook groups for those selling nearly new decorations, and keep in mind that if you choose to, you can sell these on to another budget-conscious bride and groom to recoup some of your expenses.

If you’re feeling crafty there’s always the option of going hand-made. There are lots of resources available online which can show you how to make your own simple yet effective decorations.

Finally, try to avoid doubling up – if you’re using two rooms for your day, simply move some of the more expensive decorative pieces over as needed.

This blog is written by Kept Photography. We are award-winning photographers based in East Yorkshire and provide contemporary reportage style wedding photography.

If you have not yet chosen your wedding photographer, Kept Photography would love to talk to you. Check out our website today.

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