July 4, 2023

Organising a wedding on a shoe string

My daughter and her partner are extremely frugal, even though they are both on good wages.  This way they can spend their income on what they want and therefore have a camper van and do activities that other people might feel are extravagant.  They also hope to buy a home soon without a mortgage.  This last weekend they were married, and it cost less than £1,000.

Invitations  These were digital and so free.

Venue.  They found a beautiful wedding venue near them.  Instead of having the ceremony there they had a registry office wedding (which is £50 on a week day) and then booked a ‘birthday party’ in the restaurant which has a meal deal of 2 courses for £17.99 on a large selection of dishes.  We arrived early for the meal and had all the photos taken with the hills and beautiful scenery behind us, the same as any bride who had been married there would have done.  If they had mentioned that it was a wedding party the cost would have been a lot more.

Outfit Her dress was not a typical white wedding dress, but an off the peg dress that was in a style that she loved.  She likes a vintage look.  The shoes she had bought 10 years previously and announced that these would be her wedding shoes (before she even met the guy).  The groom wore an outfit that he already had as well.

Photographer The professional photographer was a work colleague who usually takes portraits, and so did not charge very much, but he had photographed weddings before and knew where all the good spots for photos were at the venue.

The Cake.  Mr S and I made the cake.  Mr S is a chef and we have sold cakes in the past.  We made it for free and made the flavour of cake that they wanted.  We made fondant roses for the top and they got a free wedding day topper using a voucher.

The Flowers.  These were bought from a market stall and my daughter made her own bouquet and we made the button holes together after watching a YouTube.

Guests  Only immediate family were invited.

Virtual Guests

The wedding ceremony was streamed so that close family could still attend the wedding virtually.

Night time event. A BBQ was held in their garden.  We had fairy lights and the garden was dressed to look nice with bunting etc.  All the meat had been bought on yellow sticker and frozen over the last month and the vegetables were homegrown  Guests all brought garden chairs.  Music was from a phone to a speaker.  Alcohol was what they already had in their cabinets, guests brought, and wedding gifts.  We had a roaring fire to keep warm, and we had a lovely relaxed evening

Makeup  We all did our own hair, nails and make up, and helped each other.

Wedding favours  These were homemade fudge in little cellophane bags, and everyone was offered a flowering tomato plant to take away.



The event was not stressful at all.  There was absolutely no pressure as it was just immediate family.  They have some gorgeous photographs as memories and we all had a relaxed and fun time together with no stressful, awkward speeches, or expensive bar bills.  The event has not drained their savings as family were able to chip in without it breaking the bank.  My own wedding was similar and so she is a chip off the old block!  I must say I am slightly relieved as the average cost of a wedding in the UK is £19,184 according to bridebook.com.

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  1. CurlyTop July 5, 2023 at 9:15 pm - Reply

    Wow, what great tips. It sounds like and looked like, from your photo on FB that a good time was had by all.

    I chose the chicken way out and went to Vegas with just myself and hubby. No party when I got back either. We’d been together a number of years so made the wedding party of a holiday🙂

    • ToniG July 6, 2023 at 5:23 am - Reply

      A great idea. I think that there was their alternative idea as they did not want the fuss of a wedding but I am glad that they let us be part of it. Thanks x

  2. Sue July 6, 2023 at 9:39 am - Reply

    We got married in 1979, a second marriage for both of us (I was a child bride 😂). We had 13 guests including us, just immediate family, at the local registry office and then went back to my mum and dad’s for a chicken salad and a cake she had made for us. We did have a professional photographer though.
    Later on we went home, stuck our jeans on and walked to The Berni Inn for a meal.
    Our honeymoon was four days away in Skegness where there was a sea fog and we never saw the sea but did visit hubby’s brother and wife who’d just had a baby and therefore couldn’t come to the wedding. 💖💖

    • ToniG July 6, 2023 at 3:54 pm - Reply

      Aww. Yes I had a very cheap wedding in a registry office too. It sounds like you still had happy memories, though. Thanks for sharing x

  3. Kathryn Naden July 6, 2023 at 8:58 pm - Reply

    This sounds a perfect day . My wedding dress was £16 green satin bridesmaids dress & my hubby wore his work suit . We married on Islay & we’re the first couple to marry in Bowmore new registery office . The only regret I have is we don’t have a good photograph of the day but still many beautiful memories . X

    • ToniG July 7, 2023 at 3:13 pm - Reply

      Aww that is a shame. What a beautiful place to get married x

  4. Nelliegrace February 4, 2024 at 6:03 pm - Reply

    Mum made my wedding dress, (white moss satin,) and the two bridesmaid dresses, (Laura Ashley cotton.) I borrowed my sister’s wedding sandals. Mum made the wedding cake and my friends made the fondant icing roses to decorate it, on our girls night.
    My brother drove me to church.
    A friend from the photography club took the photographs as his present to us.
    We married at our Parish Church with the bells rung and the choir. That was important to us.
    The reception was a buffet at home, a bit crowded with immediate family and a few friends.
    My flowers were taken to the hospital ward where I was working, a tradition.
    DH had a new suit.
    The total cost was £350, about a month’s joint salary after tax.

    A few years later the satin dress made a christening robe and bonnet, and the top tier of the cake was re-iced for the Christening cake.
    We have been married for 44 years.

    • ToniG February 21, 2024 at 10:11 am - Reply

      Aww that sounds like a lovely frugal wedding. Yes the top tier of my wedding cake was my daughter’s Christening cake too. Thanks for sharing. Sorry it took me so long to reply. We had a bereavement in the family. 44 years is one heck of an achievement and I wish you many more years together to come.

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