Top 5 ways to save money at your wedding, without making it look cheap!

Top 5 ways to save money at your wedding, without making it look cheap!

A bride & groom having some time together

1) Go to wedding fairs and get chatting…

I know when we got married 9 years ago we went to a wedding show because apparently that’s what you do when you’re planning a wedding. We walked round and didn’t talk to anyone. Not one single exhibitor. We really didn’t know what we needed to ask or say so it seemed easier to chalk it up to experience and go home for tea instead. But now, as someone that runs AND exhibits at wedding shows, this makes me laugh as I see so many couples doing this – walking around desperately trying not to catch anyone’s eye incase they’re given the hard sell on items they don’t need, don’t want or haven’t a clue what they do!

It may sound crazy, because I know you’ll be worried that you’ll get trapped for half an hour listening to some yorn of a bloke drone on and on, but truly most wedding fairs these days just aren’t like that. Speaking as an exhibitor, these shows are a huge investment in both time and money and we put a huge amount of love into making our displays look eye catching – but does this mean that we’re going to trap you into signing on the dotted right THEN & THERE? No. Definitely not. We’re nice people, and most wedding folks are. If you pick the right shows, the exhibitors will be hand picked because of the quality of their work, their dedication to their craft, and years of experience. So have a chat with us! There may be special offers you can take advantage of and even if you don’t book anyone, I guarantee that you’ll walk out with loads more ideas, inspiration and wedding know-how than when you went in!


Come and visit the show that we organise here in Derbyshire:

the giant wedding fair at Osmaston Park

2) You don’t need flowers

I know to some of you that’s just NOT an acceptable statement!!

But bear with me.

There are lots of ways to make your wedding look beautiful without spending a fortune on 300 premium roses that you may not be able to afford, need or simply may not be your style. So here what we suggest…

Firstly, hire a florist whose work you love; do a bit of research online, look at their galleries, recent weddings and understand their ’style’. Perhaps meet for a chat and make sure you get on – that you are on same wave length.

Secondly, once you’ve found them, trust them!

These fab people have many years of experience, so chat to them about what you’d like to spend. Be honest and upfront from the start, this will help them to help you understand what’s achievable and how to maximise what you do have to spend. For example you may want to think about the possibility of using greenery rather than florals – a table well dressed with foliages can be absolutely stunning! Another thing to consider is what will be in season at the time of your wedding; some flowers won’t be readily available so that will push the prices up (and please don’t ask for red roses for a Valentines wedding or pink roses for a ceremony on Mothers day without allowing 50% more in your budget!)

I chatted to Nadia from Nadia Di Tullio Flowers while writing this post to ask her thoughts. Her suggestions for a couples on a budget would be to think carefully about where you splurge and where you save – choose the real priority items you MUST have and be open to options for other areas. So a knock out bridal bouquet and a fabulous flower arch would make a great statement – and probably feature in the photos you’ll have hanging on your wall for years to come, but I’ve never been to anyones house where they had a picture of their wedding tables centres hung on the wall for posterity. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t dress the tables. But if money isn’t growing on trees in your back yard, you could consider a mix and match scheme. Half the tables with florals, half with candles or lanterns?

The other option of course is to DIY it – now this isn’t for the faint hearted, you’ll need a good source for flowers (Aldi is great for a quick pick-up for the kitchen table but may not have enough stock for a whole wedding!) and you’ll need to know how to put them together, space to do so, and time too. It’s great taking your time arranging your Bloom and Wild delivery once a month but 10 tables worth, plus bridal party flowers, ceremony flowers, and don’t forget Nana would love a little corsage too! Be realistic about what you can pull together and what you may need your bridemaids and attendants to help with on the day. But perhaps there’s a member of the family who does some flower arranging or an auntie who has a wonderful garden and doesn’t mind you pillaging her flower beds. But be aware that flowers that aren’t properly conditioned after harvesting will wilt very quickly and you could end up holding a bunch of sad blooms – not ideal for the happiest day of your life!

Wedding styling french bulldog

3) DON’T book a venue with dodgy carpet – please!

OK, I’ll admit it – I have a real hatred for a dodgy carpet. You wouldn’t believe how many wedding venues think it’s wise to put down a multi patterned, minging monstrosity, usually based on green or red – YUK! You can guarantee that these carpets will not enhance, never mind compliment your colour scheme. It means that often you have to pay for chair covers to make the place look as bland as possible, but whatever you do and whatever flowers, centre pieces, bridesmaids dresses you choose – it will always clash. All that money will be wasted!

But it’s really a wider topic than that…. if you choose a beautiful venue, you won’t need to spend £££s on decorating it. A great example is The Riding School at Calke Abbey, on first look it may seem empty and daunting. But all you need is a few strings of fairy lights or festoon lights to hang from the ceiling and that’s it!

Have a look at Amy & Brett’s wedding at The Riding School

fairy lights at a wedding

4) Don’t follow the crowd

The key to wedding planning is to throw all the rules out the window – you don’t have to book anything you don’t want. You don’t want canapés, don’t have them. You don’t want 10 bridesmaids, don’t have them. If you’re not bothered about matching suits – don’t bother hiring them.

One of the nicest weddings I’ve ever been to as a guest was my sister’s. She hired a local scout tent, all the guests brought food & puddings, we provided lots of PYO strawberries. She didn’t bother with all the matching suits and bridesmaids dresses. Hay bales, acoustic music and a fire for the evening as the sun went down – it was just perfect.

a bride and groom in the golden sun

5) Really think about how many people you invite

One of the biggest expenses at a wedding is feeding, what can suddenly become ‘feeding the 5000’ (-ish!)

Costs per head can range from a modest £25 per head to a rather more staggering £75 per head! So if you have 100 guests, the costs could range from £2500 to £7500. That’s a whole lot of bangers and mash! So think about whether you really need to invite your second cousins that you’ve not actually seen or spoken to for 10 years. Also, less guests also means less tables to decorate, invites to print and maybe even a smaller cake… although Ben would kill me for writing that as “there should be no scaling down of the cake” maybe the cake should stay the same regardless? It’s all about the cake!

The best advice we’ve ever heard is only invite people to the day, that you would happily buy dinner for normally. And if you are getting pressure from your parents to invite the whole family, perhaps you could gently point out that you just can’t afford to pay for all those extra people. They should be pleased that you’re being sensible or maybe they could offer to pay the extra?

Of course, you can invite whoever you want to the evening do, just remember most venues expect you to cater for everyone you invite to the evening so get that clarified before inviting your whole department at work!! But if that’s the case maybe bacon butties, a pizza truck and a tower of cheese would go down just as well as the gourmet buffet you’d originally planned?

Ultimately, I guess it’s all about priorities when you haven’t got a bottomless budget, and if what you really want is a really killer party with everyone you know, have a later summer wedding ceremony, a big buffet or BBQ and no formal sit down dinner, then spend your money on a great band, evening fire pits and funky lighting. But if family is the most important thing, then invite everyone to the daytime and have a low key evening do.

There really is no right and wrong – only what’s right for you!

the bride and groom getting married in a barn





Other ways to save money

  • Get a professional cake maker to provide you with a smaller cake and then ask guests to bring cakes, brownies, cupcakes too – you could even have a Great British Bake Off style competition to make it fun!
  • Consider booking your wedding for a mid-week date.
  • Pick a venue that doesn’t need a lot of decoration – it may cost more initially to hire, but might save you money by needing less decoration.
  • Cut down on bridesmaids, groomsmen, flower girls and page boys.
  • Get a friend with a posh car to drive you around – Does anyone really see you arrive if you’re having a cival cermeony at the venue .
  • Elope!! But make sure you take your photographer with you!! 😁