What is the Lowest Cost for a Wedding in the UK?
This article/blog is for anyone who loves a bargain, anyone actually in poverty or someone who refuses to spend all out on a top notch wedding celebration. The first things to consider is your list or mind map etc of all the things you need and want on the day and maybe after for a honey moon too. What things could you make an immediate savings on due to family and contacts helping for free or giving things at discounted friends prices? Obviously you’ll probably need to disregard some things and go without certain things all-together if you really want to make real savings. And then you will need to write down after considering costs (see my previous blog post on wedding planning: https://afashionandtextilejourney.wordpress.com/2020/10/06/the-10-top-priorities-of-organising-your-wedding-day/ ) a total budget which may or may not add up to your initial budget you had in mind.
The non-negotiables. I would first start off with what are the essential needs for the wedding always these can differ for different people but a general breakdown list would look like the following:
- A priest and a venue
- Wedding rings
- A hire vehicle
- A photographer
- Wedding attire
- A cake
- A Reception venue
- Food and drink supplies for guests
- Entertainment for guests – usually music.
- Possibly a b&b or hotel rooms for guests depending
- A Honeymoon – stay booked
The above list are usually the essential things you would need and if you already feel you don’t need 1 or 2 of these then you are saving again for example no vehicle because a family friend has a nice car and will drive the bride at least to the wedding venue. Or maybe you don’t need a reception venue because the local church hall is combining the costs for the church and hall together.
Keeping the wedding local or in the country at least will save money and I wouldn’t recommend skimping on a honey moon as these things can really help your relationship going forwards creating memories of that special time in your life when you pledged life long commitment come death do us depart before God and people. It also shows respect for the union and life event and gives you both valuable alone time, especially if its the first time you’ve ever been intimate – which of course it should be.
I also wouldn’t skimp on a photographer because a trusted friend or family member cannot make it their job all day and evening to capture all those special moments for you and guests. To find a wedding photographer I would suggest this well-known wedding specialist: https://www.hitched.co.uk/wedding-photographers/london/ The thought would actually be do you need a videographer or a trusted person to do that for you because for instance the vows and the speeches and guest well wishes are a thing to capture, usually your first dance too!
Coming back to the first points on the list – a church hall is a low cost way to celebrate with loved ones for after the ceremony because usually they are in due respects promoted by the church and churches are not really about making huge profits in a way a business might do..! In a church hall you could either make use of their kitchenette and chairs/tables to have a meal or do it very casually and do a table buffet spread much like you would have done for a birthday celebration at some point in life! Why do you have to do a three course meal? There are also available now, mobile food catering vans all set up to serve food and drink for hire, this could make it a bit more special however, you’ll need to think where to locate it and how they will be charged for each customer. This link should be helpful: https://www.addtoevent.co.uk/listings/food-vans/london If you wanted to do a sit down meal in the hall this could be arranged with the church by using their kitchen and hot plates etc. You could hire tableware and tables separately. Even get in touch with an events company to supply staff. A note to add is that knowing a church member can save money again as usually they are given member prices for hall hire.
Wedding rings do not have to be expensive they are really just gold bands and they are symbolic and a meaningful part of the ceremony. With hire cars you can save by again finding someone who would happily do a short drive with the bride and her dad usually to the venue and borrow a smart car from a hire car company which can be around £60 starting prices for a few hours.
Wedding attire – this is personal and can be something you would like to buy or hire already-made or is something you want to get second-hand or something that you want to get designed by a dressmaker to suit you in your chosen fabrics and style for that special day. Getting an appointment with a bridal shop is the first part really as whatever you do its good to get a feel and look for what you actually like first, do you want a corset discreet or not, do you want sleeves, or do you want a veil etc. Most bridal shops can find you something you like and if it isn’t in your size the dress is then made bespoke fit to your measurements – this is normally done by the shops tailor/seamstress. The shop or a google or yell.com search can put you in touch with a dressmaker or tailor if you’d like something new from scratch and something you’ve had a say in with regards to design details. They could just sit down with you and sketch away or make a mood board for you. Either way a new garment made from customer measurements can take between 6-10 weeks to be finally made for anyone customer only a bit longer than a bespoke made dress from a shop (altered to fit off the rail). The Second hand option I only recommend if its through a family member hand-me-down due to a family tradition – these garments can also be altered to fit or even customised, I have (as a dressmaker) completely dismantled a dress before and used parts of it in a new dress (upcycling). Its a fresh take and interesting way to do things. Second-hand attire can be a choice simply because you just love retro vintage styles however, you still might need a dressmaker or tailor to help you getting it fit and customised to what you need. I don’t recommend second hand myself because dressmaking is an art and a hard piece of work for a designer that to not be using them is to disregard their services and existence to an extent and not very respectful I feel. I think if everyone went second hand it would basically put dressmakers out of business. I also feel a new garment for a special day makes sense to me rather than finding an old gem for low prices in a second hand shop that someone else wore on theirs. Its really up to you.
Flowers, again ask your church venue or local bridal shop if they can get you a good deal on flowers because that’s how negotiation works they get a discount for you because they know someone and act as their agent and so therefore a discount can be applied, they usually have good relations with a supplier anyway. Or maybe simply haggle as with any of the services mentioned – really. Learn some negotiation tricks and start saving at least 10% on everything and you will find you can save a lot this way! The flowers can be also bought and arranged by yourself (fake flowers) to go over a door archway or in main locations of the venue – you can watch a few Youtube videos and this will help you get by.
The cake – well again does it have to be a designer cake? a lot of people like baking would you be able to get them to make a big cake for everyone and maybe your main cake done especially by a cake baker? This is also money efficient and still helping your local bakers.
Entertainment can be a DJ friend you might know or a solo wedding singer can be hired for that special touch and maybe save by hiring some speakers and a hifi system, again can a friend sit with his laptop and put some songs on loop for you, just when the solo singer isn’t singing or if your really strapped for cash. There are fun low cost other entertainment ideas to have to for example a conversation wheel or truth or dare wheel which is spun and gets people talking, there are flower walls for hire too where people can take pictures of themselves in their best attires and all glammed up by.
Average prices in London and surrounding areas for some of the services are:
Church and Priest: This basic legal fee for a CoE church is £495 this includes the cost of the vicar, the church, calling your banns, a banns certificate, lighting and all administration. (After your wedding, when it has been registered at the relevant register office, you will also pay the register office £11 for your marriage certificate – the certificate is no longer issued by churches). Please also see: https://www.yourchurchwedding.org/article/the-cost-of-church-weddings/
Local Church Hall Reception Venue: Normally about £60/hour for non members.
Wedding Rings: from about £30 each in 9crt Gold.
Wedding Photographer: Average cost: £1,550
Hire Car from local Hires: £60/1-3 hours
Wedding Dress: £500 – £1000 Average spend
Men’s Bespoke Suit: £1000 or much less if you supply fabric
I think for an average wedding size (total of people) In England could cost you at very least from £5,000 including the essentials list that I included above in this post. This is the lowest cost I think you could feasibly get away with using strategies and tips – some mentioned here, some costs just cannot be dodged and some things are just non – negotiable. Either way you look at it a reasonable amount of money needs to be put aside or saved for to have a special day and life event done well.
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