Plan a wedding for less than £450


Money Saving Tips

Update: see our new guide to planning a wedding on a budget

If you have always dreamed about getting married but don’t think you can afford to, our handy guide could help. The average cost of a wedding in 2014, according to the readers of Bride Magazine, was £24,000 but getting married doesn’t have to cost anywhere near that amount. We’ll show you how you could plan the wedding of your dreams for less than £450 – which is less than 2% of the price of the country’s average wedding.

All prices were correct at the time of writing (11/12/2014)

Saving up

If you set yourself the saving goal of putting £18.75 aside each month, you would have £450 saved up after two years. If you managed to save £37.50 a month, it would only take you one year! (In fact you’d have a little bit over that when you add in the interest you’d earn).

And if you are a thinkmoney customer, you could set up a savings account with a high street bank or building society and then set up a standing order to pay money into it from your thinkmoney account.

1. Venues

The first thing to decide is what sort of wedding you want, and then you can consider the different venue options available.

Church wedding

It can cost over £500 to marry in a Church of England church but other denominations may only ask for a donation, so if you would like to get married in a church it’s best to speak to the vicar/priest and make an initial enquiry to find out how much it would cost.

Registry Office wedding

If you want to get married in a registry office, the day you choose can impact on the price you pay. For example, getting married on a Saturday would cost £126, but getting married on a Friday before 5pm would cost £36, saving you £90. Whatever day you get married you will need to pay £44 for notice forms and £8 for a copy of your marriage certificate. For more information visit

(Please note: Some reception venues are licensed to hold civil ceremonies but many of these cost more than the budget we have set for this article.)

****Total cost: £88 (may be more depending on what you go for)

Once you’ve decided between a church and a registry office wedding, it’s a good idea to think about where you want to hold your reception.

For a small fee you may be able to hire the church hall or a community hall. Some sports and social clubs may waive their fee if you allow them to serve drinks from their bar. This can be a good option, as guests can pay for their own drinks and you don’t need to foot the bill yourself.

They may let you bring your own Prosecco for the toasts, but could charge you corkage for each bottle. Aldi sell bottles for £4.99 and your venue may charge a £5 corkage fee, which works out at £9.99 per bottle in total. Each bottle will serve approximately 10 guests.

Top tip:

If they try to get you to pay more than £5 corkage, negotiate. Get prices from other venues in the area to strengthen your case. Just getting £1 off each corkage fee will give you extra money you can spend elsewhere.

Instead of a DJ why not set up a laptop and speakers with a Spotify playlist for the wedding breakfast and evening entertainment? You can preselect all your favourite songs and let people add their own favourites to the playlist!

Total cost: £39.96 (40 guests for Prosecco, free venue)

2. Guests

Deciding who to invite to your wedding can be very stressful – especially if your in-laws and parents want to invite their friends along too. The more guests you have the more expensive it will be, so if you can cut down your list, you could save a fortune.

Wedding Guests

When deciding on your guest list try to ask yourself: “Am I close to this person? Will I be their friend in ten years’ time? Do they really need a +1?”

****Things to consider:

If you have your wedding later on in the day, instead of having a sit-down meal in the afternoon and a buffet in the evening, you could just have an evening buffet. If you want to use caterers, make sure you negotiate hard so you get the best deal possible. You could decide to not pay for a dessert as guests will be eating the wedding cake anyway.

Why not ask family members/friends if they can help make the buffet as this can bring costs right down? You could decide to have a ‘bring and share’ buffet and ask guests to bring a plate of food rather than a present.

If someone is very good at baking, they might be willing to make your wedding cake as their gift to you or you could have a go at baking it yourself. Alternatively, Costco sell large cakes which serve 48 people for £12.99.

Total cost: £0 (if you opt for a ‘bring and share’ buffet and someone makes a cake for you).

Check back next week for handy hints and tips on how to save money on wedding invitations, rings, outfits and bridesmaids.

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