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10 awesome cost effective ways to have your dream wedding. What to scrimp on and what to spend on

We are planning our wedding this year and from our own experience we discovered money doesn't go that far. Budgeting for your wedding is really important. But that budget may not stretch to get everything you have ever dreamed of meaning that actually you don't end up with everything at the wedding you really want. Even if on paper you have successfully budgeted, what about the quality? Are you guaranteed the quality you deserve? It is a difficult choice. Where do you save your money and how do you still get that amazing wedding you really deserve?


Centre pieces are very grand and bring attention to the table that a lot of people spend time on. There are so many different designs and ways to have the centre pieces, from lego centre pieces to trees with bird cages coming off them. So once you have the centre piece idea you love, you will start to look in shops and suppliers. A great way to save money is by going to a “second hand” market place online.

Brides can easily spend £500 on the centre pieces alone, then use them for their wedding. They then have 12 beautiful vases that they will never use again. This is your opportunity to buy these vases, only used once, for a price that no distributor or shop can offer. The fact they have only been used once means that they will be in good condition.

As mentioned in the example, these site will also be selling in the correct quantity that you will need. They will have bought 8, 10 or 12 of each individually. What we have found is that they sell all of the ones they have together for a much better price than you can find anywhere else. Suddenly you have gone from spending £20 per vase to £5.50 per vase.

Once you have finished with them, and you don’t think you will ever use them again, then put them on market place yourself. Help another bride like the one you brought them off of, but also make some, or all of your money back.

Photo Credit: Emma Hollings Photography


The venue is so important to your big day, of course it is where you are going to be spending the whole day. Budget will always come into the decision of which venue you choose. It's important to bare in mind that some venues actually help save you time and money as they can provide the food, flowers, accommodation etc.

The important thing to remember is you will be spending your entire day at this place so make sure you like it and it feels special to you. I know when we were looking for our wedding venue the decision was fairly easy, I got that feeling in the pit of my stomach and just knew it was the right place.

We chose one venue for the whole day. Depending on whether you are having a religious ceremony or civil you may need two venues or just the one. Sometimes the advantage of having just one venue means your costs are lower as you may get away with not needing transport between the two. There are the small details like moving the flowers from the ceremony to the reception would be easier in the same venue. So; many people save some money and, more importantly to them, they save time by spending more on the venue.

Photo Credit: Emma Hollings Photography


There are so many things to do on your wedding to do list I'm sure. Some little some large. Look at that list and if you know anyone who may be able to do something, ask them. Ask them for a favour, but more importantly ask them to be a part of your wedding. A lot of people don't use the people that can help them the most.

For my own wedding we asked our family members to be a part of our big day. We had a Great Aunt make our three tier cake, amazingly decorated and it tasted better than it looked. An Aunt who did the flowers for us. A cousin played some live music. Friends did the hair and make, and so on.

We got people involved in our wedding. The cost, we offered a contribution and gave them a special mention. The flowers we got a discounted rate. The cake we offered to pay for the ingredients, but because our Great Aunt wanted to be a part of our wedding, they did it for free.

A good wedding cake can cost anywhere from £90 upwards. Even if we had just paid for the ingredients it would have been somewhere around £20. Utilise the people around you and make them a bigger part of your big day.

Photo Credit: Emma Hollings Photography


People remember food. They remember bad food and good food. Your budget food may be remembered for all the wrong reasons. It's important for you to enjoy the food and generally the more you spend the better the quality.

If you decide to have the caterers your venue supplies make sure you like what they are offering on the menu and then ask if you get a menu tasting so you know what the best option to choose is. Some venues allow all your guests to decide what they want individually and some get the bride and groom to choose what everyone will be eating.

You also will find you have an evening buffet as well as your main meal. Some venues offer the evening buffet with their packages when you book. Most of the time you have the option to bring in your own caterers for the main meal and the evening buffet.

Many couples decide to cut the cake up for everyone to eat in the evening, they might have a buffet or bring in food trucks, pizza vans etc.

The most important thing is that you enjoy the food you are going to be eating. Treat your guests and treat yourselves. Spending a little bit more can make a difference.

Photo Credit: Emma Hollings Photography


The wedding dress and bridesmaid dress. Each can be extremely expensive. You will often walk past the windows of a dress shop and glance at a dress you love. Many dresses come with a price tag that won't always fit in with your budget. You want to make sure you feel fabulous and confident so you won't want to settle for much less than "the dress" again, when you know, you know.

When I was searching for my wedding dress, I decided I didn't want to spend more than £1,000 on a dress as there were other parts of the wedding I wanted to put the budget on. I found a couple of shops with ex-display dresses they were selling from £400 - £1,000 which for me was perfect.

I was a little fearful I wouldn't find a style I liked and that suited me but after trying on about 8 dresses in one shop all different designs and styles I soon knew what style I liked. Most importantly for me, I also knew I could afford the dress. I actually picked up my dress and veil for under £500 which I was very pleased with.

One other thing to bare in mind with your dress is paying extra for adjustments after the initial cost. Some shops include it but with ex-display you're more likely going to need to budget an extra £200 - £300 depending on what adjustments are needed.

The same for bridesmaid dresses, they can quickly add up depending on how many you decide to have. I agreed with my bridesmaids I'd pay for their dresses and they can sort out their adjustments if they needed any.

Just enjoy the experience, it's great fun and such a fantastic feeling when you find the right one!

Photo Credit: Emma Hollings Photography


This is the one piece of jewellery you will be wearing forever! It's important to make sure you are happy with your choice, you don't want to regret having chosen a cheaper ring. You may have some wear and tear and time may start causing a lot of issues with the ring. This does happen. The cheaper rings are likely to begin to decline in quality faster, meaning that you spend money on ring restoration or even just a clean, and you need to repeat that every 5 years.

There are a variety of different metals you can choose from for your jewellery from yellow-gold to Platinum. The stronger the metal the more expensive they become. But by adjusting your budget for the rings will enable you to look at the more durable metals.

When you go ring shopping, ask the shop assistant or the person who is making your rings what the different metals do, their quality and lifespan. Also think about what you do on a daily basis. The ring will be on you finger forever so you want something hard wearing.

Photo Credit: Emma Hollings Photography


It is obvious, everyone wants music at their wedding. A live band or a DJ is a question asked by every bride and groom. Sometimes before the wedding, the bride and groom have their hearts set on a live band and see the price and go for a DJ, which can be sometimes only save a small amount of saving. There is another way.

Most of us a way of playing music via a phone or computer. Why not do the same at your wedding. During the ceremony you will have the option to play your own music and pick which songs you walk down the aisle to and leave the room to. Why not continue this throughout the day.

By using your own music device then you can choose exactly what songs to play and when, you change the playlist, people can easily add their requests. All of this and you may only be paying your £9.99 subscription cost to the streaming service.

One thing we did, and this is if you don't pay, is for our wedding we cashed in on one the many 3 month free trial deals. At the end of the 3 months just remember to cancel the subscription and you wont have paid anything for all day of whatever music you want and your guests want.

PhotoCredit: Emma Hollings Photography


Wedding photographers have different pricing packages, some you get for as little as £300 and some can be over £10,000. So why spend £10,000 when you can spend £300?!

There are many different photographers out there and all have different styles. It can be a minefield. The most important aspect when choosing who will photograph your wedding is that you actually like the person who will be with you all day.

Many brides and grooms regret their choice, they tried to save a little bit of money and discover the photographs aren't as good as they were hoping for or took months to receive them. The common story we hear is the photographer took over the day...

How many times have you heard this from your friends and relatives?

There are obvious reasons to spend more on your photographer including:

- These will be the only photographs you will look back on in 10/20/30 years.

- The amount of time the photographer is with you

- The quality and attention they give

- The speed you receive your photographs and amount of photographs you get

- Their personalities and style, if you want a photographer that blends in rather than "takes over"

On the recommendation of several photographers, they have suggested that your budget for a photographer should be no less than £1000 to get the quality images that your big day deserves, and quality lasts.

Photo Credit: Emma Hollings Photography


Have you seen the brides and step out of a Rolls Royce on their wedding day? Or a Ferrari? They spend all that money and how many people actually see them step out of that car? Not many.

All the guests are inside waiting for the bride for to come down the aisle and get married.

So they spent maybe £500 for the car to take them there, then sometimes they will pay extra for the car to kept there during the ceremony to take photos with afterwards, if they can fit those photos in.

If you are on a budget you don’t need a wedding car.

You may still need transport, but if you know someone with a nice car, and also someone who can get the bridesmaids there, then ask them. You can offer to either cover their fuel costs, or a flat fee. Try your luck you may even get it for free. I can confidently say you will save money by finding someone with a nice car and asking them to be a part of your wedding.

Photo Credit: Emma Hollings Photography


When budgeting entertainment side will always take a hit. Telling yourselves that you don't need that magician. But one bit of entertainment that you can get which will provide more services that they initially thought is a Magic Mirror Photo Booth.

The Magic Mirror and the team member with it will be a wonderful piece of entertainment. Having the photos taken and being enhanced with the interactions that the team brings too. They like to dress up too encouraging all your guests to explore the props and have fun!

A budget photo booth company will not provided the same experience as the slightly more expensive ones. The team operating the mirror is more likely to sit back and not interact, meaning that there is no added entertainment for your guests. Paying that extra amount for someone to entertain the people while they wait to use the mirror is something you guests may not notice, but the will appreciate it.

Photo Credit: Emma Hollings Photography

So keep your budget, but be clever about where you put the budget. Some things like the centre pieces and dresses you can save money on by looking into second hand market places and ex-display ranges, while you get someone with a nice car to drive you to your wedding.

The money you have saved can then be placed onto things that will stay with you forever, such as the photographs of the wedding, the rings you wear and also the entertainment of the Magic Mirror Photo Booth.

Thank you for reading

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