A wedding day is one of the most important days of a person’s life, but it’s also often one of the most - if not the most - expensive.
The average cost each couple in the UK paid for their big day in 2021 was £17,300, The National Wedding Survey by Hitched.co.uk found.
That’s a shocking 90% increase on 2020, when the average cost of a UK wedding was £9,100.
Now, with the cost of living crisis continuing to cripple households across the UK, interest rates at the highest rate for almost 30 years and and inflation rates also rising at the fastest pace in 40 years, it is likely that any couple hoping to tie the knot in 2022 or future years are going to face an eye-watering bill.
They say, of course, that money can’t buy you love - and so you should be able to declare your love for your other half without spending lots of money.
So, at NationalWorld, we’ve spoken to award winning wedding planner Poppy Sienna for her top tips on how to keep the costs down when planning the biggest day of your life.
Here’s everything you need to know for getting a beautiful wedding day on a budget.
Make a budget and stick to it
The first step to keeping costs as low as possible when you are planning your wedding is to set yourself a budget before you part with any cash, write it down, and try as hard as you can to stick to it.
It’s really easy to see things you love as you start planning a wedding, often things you didn’t know you could have and never even considered, but before you know it you can end up spending hundreds or even thousands of pounds more than thought.
But, if you set a budget and keep a track of your spending that can help keep you grounded.
Writing down the money we spend, and what we have spent it on, to make us more accountable for what we are buying.
Poppy said: “At the beginning of your wedding planning, look at what your budget is and what you can afford, make a rough plan and try to stick to this.
“If a supplier is coming in over budget, see if you can reduce costs, for example, take away one flower arrangement.”
Make a list of your priorities
The second thing to do when planning your wedding budget is to make a list of everything you need to buy, and then organise that list according to what is most important to you and your partner, and buy them in that order if you can.
The logic is simple, if you make sure you’ve got the things that are most important to you secured - be that your venue, your wedding dress or suits, or your transport - you’ll be more accepting if there’s less money that you thought in the pot to buy things that aren’t as important to you and also less tempted to blow your budget.
Poppy said: “Understand what your priorities are and book these first. This allows you to spend more on the most important suppliers and then when you have spent most of your budget, you are not left disappointed.”
Purchase second-hand decor
Buying any item you can second hand, from your decorative items like centrepieces to your bridesmaid dresses, is a great way to save some money - and help to save the planet too.
These are things that are only worn or used on a wedding day, and they are highly unlikely to be used again since a wedding is a once in a lifetime event - and so there’s always lots of newly married couples who are hoping to sell these goods to a newly engaged couple on various auction sites. And because these goods have only been used once they’re as good as new and nobody would ever know they are second hand (unless you decide to tell them).
It’s a win-win. You get a cheaper item and the item itself is reused and loved again, rather than being thrown away.
Poppy says: “Places like Facebook Marketplace, Gumtree or eBay are really great places to get beautiful decor that often hasn’t been used or has only been used once.
“You can pick up lots of incredible deals that can work with your wedding colour palette.”
DIY your wedding
There’s lots of easy ways in which you can make your decor, according to Poppy. Now, we know some people have a lot of creative talent (and patience), while others may not. So, there’s no need to panic if you don’t fancy getting out the glue gun or glitter pens.
For example, choosing photos of you and your partner throughout the years and using them as centrepieces is a personal and cheap way to create your own centrepieces.
You and your partner are sure to have great fun taking a trip down memory lane to choose your best photos too.
Make your own wedding stationery
There can be a lot of paper involved when it comes to weddings, especially if you are having a large number of guests. Think invites, save the dates, menu details, RSVP cards and even signs you may have to put up at your venue to direct people where to go.
The good news is, you don’t have to go to a shop and buy all of these things ready-made, you can make them yourself for free using an online graphic design platform and then get them printed.
Printers often offer discounts on bulk orders too, so you could save even more money if you can design multiple things at once. Not only will this be a cheaper option for you, but it will make it more personal too.
Poppy said: “As much as I love wedding stationers, if you are on a budget, you can make your own wedding stationery on sites like Canva and then get these printed online for much less.”
Hire some items
There are many wedding-related items that you will only need for your wedding day, so it doesn’t make much sense to buy them because not only will you spend a lot of money, but you’ll be left with something you can’t use again or don’t have space for.
Think larger items such as light installations, sweet carts, flower arches and more.
Poppy said: “Hiring items are often great ways to reduce your spending. For example, you can get neon wedding signs for say £100 to hire, but they can cost thousands to buy.”
But do buy others
Poppy says it’s not always the most cost-effective thing to hire an item, and when it comes to smaller items you might actually be better off shopping savvy at discount stores.
“Contrary to the above point, there are some occasions that it is actually cheaper to purchase items rather than hiring them.
“Often items like tealights, candles etc. can be purchased for pennies, but hired for pounds. Places like Ikea and Primark, can have beautiful items for a fraction of the cost of hiring them.
“Always have a quick comparison on the costs of hiring versus buying every item - and if you do buy then then you can always sell them after your wedding if you don’t want them.”
Ditch the three course meal or other traditions
One thing to remember is that no matter what you have on your wedding day, it is your wedding - and that means you can have everything just the way you want and don’t have to follow traditions.
For example, it’s traditional for the wedding breakfast to be a sit down three course meal, but that doesn’t mean you have to have it.
To cut costs, you could just have two courses, use your wedding cake as dessert or even have a homemade buffet.
Poppy said: “Hire in some food trucks, skip starters, have sharing boards, have a dessert table full of things like brownies and flapjacks which can easily be made from home or bought from supermarkets.
“Maybe cake isn’t a big deal for you, so if the budget is tight either have a smaller one-tier cake or skip it completely.”
It’s also traditional for the bride and groom and their wedding party to travel to the ceremony in some form of special transportation, be it a vintage car or a horse and carriage. But, you don’t have to do this.
If you’ve got friends or family members who would be happy to drive you to your wedding venue then this will be much cheaper.
Make sure you agree with your partner
No matter what, the point of the day is to celebrate the love between yourself and your partner so it’s crucial to make sure you are on the same page.
Poppy advises that you should “work out what you can compromise on and agree on.”
That way, you’ll both be happy with the wedding day you have and it will be the perfect start to the new chapter of your life together.