How to Budget for a Cheap (and Cheerful!) Wedding

Planning a wedding on the cheap can be easier than you might think. While a £40,000 wedding at a stately home in Surrey might look great on the pages of a glossy wedding magazine, the day will be over in the blink of an eye. When you wake up the next morning, better to be staring into the eyes of the one you love, not at a massive credit card balance. We've analyzed a £20,000 wedding budget and will show you how to cut costs, without making any real sacrifices, potentially paying around £14,000 less than the UK average!

Cheap (and Cheerful!) Wedding on a Small Budget

When working with a small wedding budget, it's important to understand where your hard-earned money will go. The following chart illustrates, for an average £20,000 UK wedding, the amount of money spent on the various cost items, like venue, catering and your lovely dress. Using this as a starting point, you can see which cost items have the most potential for cost cutting.

Chart showing the average costs of wedding budget items across the UK
Average Costs of Wedding Budget Items

Wedding Venue and Catering

To bring down the cost of your wedding, it's easiest to go after the biggest line items first, like venue and catering. Venue and catering are not only the largest costs of a typical wedding, they are also the most variable - which means you can generate the most overall pound savings here. Regardless of venue, fewer guests means a lower food and drink bill. By keeping it small, you'll have a good excuse to only invite people you really want at your celebration. Use the table below to get an idea of total catering costs, by per-head charge and number of guests.

Per Head Catering Cost20 Guests50 Guests80 Guests

For the venue, ask a friend or family member who has a nice garden. They'd probably be honored. You can hire tables, chairs and have caterers in. Skip table service in lieu of a buffet. Failing that option, get married at your register office for a late morning ceremony then head to a local restaurant you've negotiated with. Pop by the restaurant before the ceremony to drop off a few lovely table decorations and flowers.


Looking back, many of our most romantic moments are not grand, but small and sweet. Like being surprised with flowers, just because. Your honeymoon can have just as many special moments, if not more, no matter where you are. If the budget is tight consider a few nights at a luxury hotel within driving distance, or perhaps glamping made extra special with lots of flowers, champagne and candles. Or if you want to go abroad, get some ideas on budget-friendly destinations in our article on holidays abroad for pre-Brexit prices.

Cheap Wedding Dresses

Try googling "cheap wedding dresses" to see a plethora of wedding dresses near the £200 mark. Leave some room in your budget for tailoring to achieve a truly customized look. Most of these "cheap" dresses look pretty great in the online photos - they'll look great in your wedding photos, too. Alternatively, finding a gently used gown on ebay, gumtree or preloved for a fraction of its original price.

Cheap Wedding Rings

The cost of your wedding rings will be largely dependent on where you shop, the metal you choose, the weight of the ring and any additional design features (e.g., brushing, two-tone, jewels, etc.). Controlling for the retailer, we checked prices at Goldsmiths across a range of wedding ring options. The following table will give you an idea of how these factors can have a drastic effect on your wedding band cost.

Wedding Ring Type3mm Width, Plain Finish5mm Width, Plain FinishWith Pave Diamonds
Sterling Silver£40£60n/a
9ct White, Yellow or Rose Gold£200£380£675
950 Palladium£230£500n/a
18ct White, Yellow or Rose Gold£380£600£1,000

Below is the wedding band data illustrated in chart format, for a snapshot view of how the features and qualities of a ring affect its price.

Chart showing how wedding band prices change by size, metal and stones
How Wedding Band Prices Change by Metal, Size and Stones. Source: Goldsmiths

Cheap Wedding Entertainment

Entertainment is a budget item you can get for next to nothing. Set up a wedding play list in Spotify or Deezer and borrow some speakers, if you don't have any. Worst case, stick your phone in an empty water glass to amplify the sound. Picking your own music has the added benefit that you'll have a truly personalized wedding, complete with your favourite music.

How Much Can You Save?

£14,000, or so! Making some of these changes, you can bring down the cost of your wedding significantly. The chart below shows the estimated costs for a cheap (and cheerful!) wedding vs. an average UK wedding. Look at the savings! (in purple) For tips on how to pay for your wedding, see our article Average Cost of a Wedding in the UK. And remember—if you're ever worreid you're missing out by going for a cheap wedding option, remember that money saved on your wedding is money you can save towards a dream home renovation that will impact your entire married life.

Chart showing how much you can save on a low budget wedding
Where to Cut Wedding Costs

Another surprising way to save money on your wedding is going abroad for your nuptials—it's true, you can actually save money by having a destination wedding!



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