How to Plan a Wedding for less than 5k!

thrifty bride

On Saturday 19th October 2019, my partner Shane and I tied the knot! The day was absolutely amazing; it was everything we wanted it to be and more. When we started planning we set ourselves a budget of five thousand pounds and we managed to come in £68 under!

If you want to know exactly what we spent, scroll down to find out all the costings along with a few wedding snaps.

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Here is how we budgeted our wedding…

The Bride

  • Dress – new from eBay – (my mum paid for my dress but I have included the amount in our total as I had budgeted for it) £190
  • Alterations – Sew Impressed, Tottington – £125
  • Shoes – Quiz – £10
  • Necklace – Next – £20
  • Headband – Matalan – £7.50
  • Belt – Roco Clothing – £10
  • Veil – something borrowed from my oldest friend – £0
  • Bouquet – Materials from Country Baskets but I made it myself with £17 worth of materials, the leftover bits and pieces were used as decorations – £36.28
  • Dress hoop – preloved from eBay – £16
  • My ring – Beautiful Company – £45.20
  • Perfume – Givenchy – L’Interdit’ Eau De Parfum Debenhams Let’s Talk Beauty freebie – Free
  • Hair – Pelo – (£25 updo x 2 – trial and on the day) £50
  • Makeup – Pelo – Makeup by Leoni – (£25 full makeup x 2 – trial and on the day) £50
  • Lashes – Dream lashes by Petra – £40 initial application, £20 infill) £60
  • Tan – Pazzaz – £15
  • Nails – Nailed It by Kira – £20

Total – £654.98


The Groom

  • Shane’s Suit – Moss Bros – £249
  • Alterations (suit) – Sew Impressed, Tottington – £68
  • Shane’s Tie and pocket square – Burton – £12
  • Shane’s shoes – pair given to him at a previous wedding where he was a groomsman – Free
  • Shane’s shirt – one already owned – £0
  • Cufflinks – Debenhams – £2
  • Shane’s ring – Star Wedding Rings – £32.89

Total – £368.89


The Bridesmaids

  • Bridesmaids dresses x 5 – Boohoo – (£18.75 each) £93.75
  • Bridesmaids shoes x 5 – Everything5pounds – (£6.64 each including delivery) £33.22
  • Bridesmaids shawls x 4 (didn’t get used in the end) – local market – (£3 each) £12
  • Bridesmaids necklaces x 5 – AliExpress – (I got a new customer discount so these worked out at £1.30 for all 5 including delivery) £1.30
  • Bridesmaids bag x 5 – Boohoo – there ended up being a huge mix up with my order so Boohoo refunded me for the inconvenience so the bags were free instead of £30 – £0
  • Bridesmaids flowers – Country Baskets – (£5.93 each) £29.65
  • Flower girl dresses/cardigans x 2 – Tk Maxx – £37.98
  • Flower girl shoes/socks – provided by their mum – £0
  • Flower girl signs – The Works – (£1.20 each) £2.40
  • Hair and makeup – the girls did their own hair and makeup or paid for it to be done themselves – £0

Total – £210.30


The Groomsmen

  • Groomsmen’s three-piece suits x 5 – Matalan – (£63 each) – £315
  • Groomsmen’s shirts/shoes – wore their own – £0
  • Cufflinks x 5 – Debenhams – £9
  • Groomsmen’s ties/pocket square/lapel pin x 5 – Primark – (£5 each) £25

Total – £349


Transport

  • Wedding car – friends car – £0
  • Wedding car ribbon – eBay – £2
  • Taxis – We pre-booked and paid for minibuses to take our guests from the register office to the reception venue – £96

Total – £98


Invitations

  • Save the Dates/invitation cards – B&M – £9
  • Invitations – in the end I didn’t like the look of the hand written invitations, instead we created a wedding website for free using gettingmarried.co.uk. We made our own postcards with the website address on to give or send to people, all we had to pay for was a pack of card from The Works – £1
  • Stamps – Second class book of stamps – £7.32

Total – £17.32


Ceremony

  • Notice to wed x 2 – local register office – (£35 each) £70
  • Ceremony including registrar and marriage certificate- £151

Total – £212


Reception

  • Reception venue hire – The Pack Horse, Affetside – there was no venue hire charge as the other side of the pub was open to the public and as we were using their catering they didn’t need to charge – Free
  • Wedding breakfast – Three course, choice menu, meal x 60 including three children’s meals – £1350.15
  • Evening Food – 100 bacon sandwiches – (£3 each) £300
  • Drinks – Bucks Fizz arrival drink x 60, glass of Cava for speeches x 60, bottle of cava for the quiz, Merlot x 18 bottles, Pinot Grigio x 18 bottles – £772

Total – £2422


Photographs

  • Photographer – We booked our photographer last year after he was recommended by a friend. He was in the process of growing his business so thanks to that and the recommendation, we got an incredible price. His business has since expanded and his prices are now higher than we paid; he was absolutely amazing and would be well worth his current rates. Once we get our pictures back I’ll share some of them along with the current rates – £350
  • Donation to local village – We made a donation to the local village green society where we had our pictures taken. In return they made sure the grass was cut and we were able to use the grounds for our group shots – £30

Total – £380


Decorations

  • Seating plan frame – Lidl – £7
  • Welcome sign – B&M – £2
  • Easel – owned by the venue – Free
  • Flowers – leftover from bouquet – £0
  • Cake stand – Mirror plate from Shpock – £5
  • Silver LOVE letters – Borrowed from Shane’s mum – Free
  • Bunting – DIY using pillow cases, ribbon, wonder web and some gifted transfers – £6.22
  • Pearl garland – Hobbycraft – I used my birthday £5 voucher to pay for this – Free
  • Confetti – eBay – £9.99
  • Black ink for printing – Wilko – £5
  • Tissue box – DIY using an old box, ribbon, tissues from Home Bargains – 59p
  • Wine bottles for table numbers – Brew2Bottle – £14.85
  • We did a lot of other DIY projects and purchased lots of little bits from ebay, Amazon, Hobbycraft etc. Some was paid for using credit earned on various survey apps like Shoppix and Quick Thoughts, the rest we paid cash. We ordered things like paper for table place settings, labels for table numbers, cork lights and lots of ribbon! Our total spend on these extra materials was £22.30

Total – £72.95


Evening Food

  • Cake – Patter Cakes (a local cake maker) made us a two tier semi-naked red velvet cake and used left over bouquet flowers to decorate it. After we cut the cake it was sliced and placed on platters for guests to enjoy. The cake was paid for by for by Shane’s sister but we included it in our total budget as we had planned to pay for our own – £60
  • Snacks – We also did our spin on a candy buffet but with bar snacks. We bought a selection of savoury snacks such as pretzels, nuts, crisps, pork scratching etc. from Home Bargains and Aldi – £31
  • Snack jars/scoops – bought from a work friend who got married a couple of months before me – £20

Total – £111


Entertainment

  • Singer – Lee Delaney. One of our friends is a fantastic singer and he does this on the side of his job. He very kindly offered to do an hour of singing whilst Shane and I were off having photographs taken. It was such a kind wedding gift to us and all of our guests said he was fantastic – Free
  • DJ – As our friend Lee was signing, it meant we had his sound equipment to use in the evening. So instead of hiring an expensive DJ, we decided to do a Spotify playlist. Our best man put it together for us and the dance floor was packed all night – Free
  • Lights – As we didn’t have a DJ we didn’t have any disco light so we ordered a few from eBay – £36
  • Pub Quiz – As we had our wedding reception is a lovely country pub, it only seemed right to have a pub quiz. Shane and I wrote the questions ourselves and printed our own quiz sheets. The prize was a bottle of Cava which was included in our food and drink prices above.

Total – £36

The total cost for our big day was £4932, £250 of that was paid for by family and the rest we paid ourselves. We could have done the who day for a lot less but we decided we wanted to have a more traditional wedding day with a sit down meal and drinks. Nearly half of our budget went on that and it was well worth it – despite the fact I couldn’t eat much on the day due to excitement, nerves and a very tight dress. I know we could also have got carried away and spent a lot more, we just kept in mind that we wanted a day that best represent us and for an amount we were comfortable with then we stuck to it.

We were very lucky we were able to save so much on entertainment and transport thanks to people we know. I would encourage anyone planning a wedding to see if there are any favours you can pull in as a wedding gift. Other great ways to save include using small or local businesses, buying pre-loved, shopping the high street, doing a bit of DIY and looking at places that aren’t traditional wedding venues. That is how we achieved the wedding we wanted within our budget.

Shane kept track of our spending on a spreadsheet so we knew exactly what we spent. It meant we always had a clear view of our budget which prevented us from getting carried away. There is always a chance we might have forgotten about the odd small purchase here and there and fingers crossed my maths is correct. I’ve added this up so many times and I think the exact total is £4932.44.

We have bought a couple of thank you gifts for people that helped us out so we are probably on our budget or potentially a little bit over. That is absolutely fine by us though. During our year of planning we made sure we paid for things as we went; that means that absolutely everything is paid off and we don’t have any payments looming over us. Every single penny we spent was worth it and we created such a special day with amazing and priceless memories.

If you’re currently planning your own wedding, this post I did a few months ago might help you to work out your budget. I’ll share more posts on here and on my Instagram over the next few weeks with more details on how we saved on our big day. In the meantime feel free to send me a message with any questions and I’ll be happy to answer.

Thrifty Clair x

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