How I planned my wedding for under £5,000

I don’t mean to brag, but I only spent £5k on my big day AND it had something in common with Meghan Markle’s wedding

I must make a confession, I’m not engaged. Not even close. But as part of my job at You & Your Wedding, I was given the task of planning my dream wedding. I was getting carried away, dreaming of my Berta wedding dress (I’ll be two stone lighter by then) and my Tiffany blue colour scheme, along with imagining twinkling candles on every surface and free-flowing champagne all day long.  

I came back down to earth with a bump when I was allocated my £5,000 budget, and realised I’d need to cut back, a lot, in order to hold a day within my money constraints. 

In the end, I enjoyed working with a less extravagant sum. It forced me to focus on what really matters to me about my wedding, and when the day finally comes, I know I can create a sensational wedding, without bankrupting my new husband and I. (Or my long-suffering father, for that matter.)

Read on to see how I spent my £5,000.

My ceremony venue
Image courtesy of Allister Freeman Photography
My ceremony venue Image courtesy of Allister Freeman Photography

I spent £950 on my venue

I know it’s the norm to have an intimate number of guests to the ceremony, and then invite more people to your reception, but I’m turning this tradition on its head. 

I’ll have 140 people at my ceremony and drinks reception at The Abbey House Gardens in Malmesbury, and a select few will come along for the wedding breakfast. 

I’m feeling pretty pleased with this idea since I found out Meghan and Harry are doing the same, with the most guests at their ceremony in St George’s Chapel, with less attending the reception and less still invited to the evening do.  

For my £950, I can hire the venue for three hours – enough time for the ceremony, photos in the amazing grounds, and prosecco a-plenty. The price includes use of the bridal chamber to get ready in, and an amp to play my carefully curated songs – I hope my guests like Taylor Swift… 

I’ve always wanted a winter wedding (so cosy!) so I managed to save £300 having it between October and March. 

My reception venue
My reception venue

I spent £1,350 on my wedding breakfast

£150 goes on room hire, plus £40 a head for food. After my ceremony, myself, my husband and 30 guests will nip round the corner to The Old Bell Hotel, where I’ll hire the private garden room for the wedding breakfast. 

Sadly I can’t run an open bar on my budget, but fingers crossed people will be sufficiently tipsy from the prosecco at the drinks reception, and hold no grudges over buying their own drinks at dinner. 

My budget ensemble
My budget ensemble

I spent £389 on my bridal outfit

This was the hardest bit for me to cut down on. I was brought up on the Disney Princess dream and I wanted to walk down the aisle in a shining, shimmering dress, but instead am going for a different style altogether.  

All the dresses in my budget completely turned me off, so instead I’m opting for two tulle Needle & Thread skirts (layered for the extra volume) along with a long sleeved, sequin crop top from Monsoon. It’s not the bridal outfit of my dreams, but something had to give. Plus, I wore a full-length white dress to my prom, so been there done that.  

I already have an extensive shoe collection, and they’ll be covered by my floor length skirt anyway, so no need to splash out there. I couldn’t find glass slippers anywhere anyway. 

My decor inspiration
Image by Lisa-Jane Photography
My decor inspiration Image by Lisa-Jane Photography

I spent £800 on my wedding ring 

This is one area I’m not compromising on. Unlike my wedding dress, I’ll be wearing this for the rest of my life, so Tiffany & Co. was the only way for me to go. This simplistic rose gold ring captured my heart as soon as I saw it.

I spent £679 on decor 

I chose my ceremony and drinks reception venue because it’s one-of-a-kind and doesn’t need too much added to make it amazing – handy for my budget. 

I’ll invest in two fairy light canopies to hang from the ceiling (£41 each), to create that twinkling look I covet, and I’m spending £595 on flowers from The Bespoke Flower Company

The flowers will be transported from the ceremony to the dinner venue, so I make the most of them. I’ll have a floral runner, £175, a large hanging hoop, £250, and two dramatic candelabras, £85 each, to adorn the table we’ll sit at while signing the register.

I have £832 left over for

A wedding morning blowdry for me - £40
Invitations - £123
Beverages for the drinks reception - £400
Homemade buffet at drinks reception - £169
Groom’s wedding ring - £100

What I cut back on

A photographer – or rather, I am, but my cousin, who’s a professional photographer will be taking the photos as a favour

Bridesmaids outfits – My best friend has kindly offered to pay for her own bridesmaid dress. Luckily she loves the dress I want her to wear, so there’s no quibbling there.

Wedding cake – fruit cake is no friend of mine, and a naked cake doesn’t go with my glam theme, so I’ll be eschewing cake and spending my budget on sausage rolls and mini macaroni cheese nibbles instead. 

A party – it was difficult to decide my day will be without dancing, but a dinner with my nearest and dearest will mean more to me – and I’ll be less likely to start my married life with a horrible hangover. 

READ MORE: Incredibly Clever Ways to Save Money on your Wedding

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