So we all know there’s plenty of tips and tricks to having a budget-friendly big day, from making your own cake (added pre-wedding stress) to taking the choice out of the entrée (“but I don’t like salmon”).
Or of course, you can always take an eraser to the guest list. When you cut corners on your nuptials, all too often, your economising only seems take away from all the effort, and hard-earned cash, you actually have ploughed into your day.
So, for the kind of cut backs your guests might not notice, and might even enjoy, check out our guide to nifty thriftiness…
1. Self-Scribed Stationery
Calligraphy by Ashley Lurcott via Bridal Musings
When my big sis was getting married, she was trying to plan a chic, intimate wedding, in the space of about twelve weeks, on a rather tight budget.
Big ask! But she did it.
One of the cutbacks she made, actually turned out to be a really gorgeous feature.
Her invites were hand-delivered scrolls, the booklets were DIY leaflets, and the place-settings were lovingly scripted one by one. All done by my rather-gifted-in-the-hand-writing-department, Dad.
If you've been itching to try your hand at calligraphy for the big day, then this is must-read post – Top 10 DIY Calligraphy Tips for Your Wedding and be sure to check out the fab Lettered Bride DIY calligraphy set too!
Whether you know someone with an elegant signature, or you want to get the kids involved and make a really cute, unique invite, self-scribed stationery is an easy way to cut several hundred big ones off your bill, in one fell swoop – while neatly disguised as a sweet way to personalise your wedding.
Check out some of our fave cheap and cheerful Etsy wedding stationery finds below:
2. Ditch the DJ
Photos via Red on Blonde Photography
David Pullum via Bridal Musings (see the rest of this wild, ski lodge wedding here)
Okay, so your guests might notice this one, but it really doesn’t have to take away from your party.
Most couples will give their DJ a list of songs they want them to play, so why not cut out the middleman and do it yourself?
Ask your guests to send along their top five party songs with their RSVPs and put together your own playlist (Check out John Legend's killer playlist for inspiration!). iTunes and other apps can even mix the tracks, doing all the hard work for you. Handy.
3. Frugal Frocks
Photo by Ellie Gillard Photography via Love my Dress
If you’ve got three, four, seven bridesmaids, the cost of kitting them out can really add up.
Get creative with sourcing your threads and add a real burst of style to your day.
Look online, hit the highstreet, and talk to dressmakers; simple vintage styles in colourful fabrics won’t set you back and will add a utterly bespoke look to your wedding pictures.
4. Gif Registry
Gifs by Navy Blur Photography
Can’t afford a wedding video?
Ask your photographer to create some gifs.
You’ll still be able to catch the movement of your dress or the emotion of the first look, without footing the bill for a camera man.
Films are fantastic mementos for catching the atmosphere of a day (and if you can somehow squeeze a videographer into your wedding budget you TOTALLY should, just look at our Film Gallery to see why!) but choose a talented snapper, and movable gif shots or photography slideshows can come *almost* as close.
For inspiration take a peek at McKinley Rodgers‘ gorgeous film slideshows.
5. DIY Decoration
Photo by Kelly Maughan Photography via 100 Layer Cake
Okay, so we can’t all spend weeks before our weddings destroying our Shellac and stitching bunting.
But you can DIY some of your decorations with minimum fuss and effort.
If you’ve got visitors coming to town before the wedding, take the hassle out of hosting and put them to work.
Easy accessories like crepe pompoms or paper pinwheels don’t take a lot of artistic know-how and they can double-up as a fun pre-wedding activity for your friends and family.
6. Hail a Cab
A Guy and A Girl Photography via Bridal Musings (see the rest of this beautiful botanical garden wedding here)
Why waste your honeymoon fund on a fancy car when most of the guests are inside for your grand arrival anyway?
Does your gran own a vintage mini, or perhaps your Dad still has your first car parked in his garage?
Hail a black cab, a yellow taxi or a tuk tuk, heck maybe even take the subway; wipe another chunk off your cost of your day and get some great stories, and even greater pictures, to boot.
7. Polaroid Party
Photo by Anne Claire Brun via One Fab Day
Photo by Kim and Phil Photo via Style Me Pretty
So you really want a photo booth at your wedding, but you can’t afford the cost?
Head to a cheap party shop and pick up some dress-up box essentials, feather boas, dodgy cowboy hats and funny glasses, create an Instagram hashtag, and use a site like Polargram to print Polaroid-shaped pics, after the party.
(Handy tip! Look for an app like CamMe which will help your guests take selfies from a distance without the need to set a timer.)
Image via Cloudberry Bakery
Why not turn your nuptials into your family’s version of the Great British Bake Off?
Ask some of the best bakers in your party to bring along their own cake.
Not only will you have an eclectic array on your dessert table (and get to take a bite out of each), you can also turn the cake-off into the perfect post-dinner debate.
9. Something Borrowed
Dress by Elie Saab via Nearly Newlywed
If you’ve got expensive taste and want the dreamy tailoring and fit of a designer dress, without the panic attack price tag, why not borrow instead of buy?
Not only will no one notice, but you’ll get to wear a premium piece, for the fraction of the price. Sites like Nearly Newlywed allow you to buy discount designer dresses for a fraction of their retail price, then sell it back after the wedding.
Same goes for accessories, decorations and, if you look hard enough, maybe even grooms. There ain’t no shame in renting your dream day.
10. Pay it Forward
Photo by Howell Jones Photography via Rock My Wedding
So it’s too late to save on your wedding, you came, you spent, you bought the Swarovski crystal-encrusted t-shirt.
All is not lost.
From the tiered cupcake stand to the bird cage centrepieces, recoup some of your spending by selling off the less sentimental pieces of your party.
Online shop or roadside flea market, you might just make a little more to add to that honeymoon-shaped piggy bank.
So there you have it folks, our top tips for ever-so-discreet wedding cutbacks. What are your ideas for little ways to save big on your wedding?
For more nifty thrifty advice, see our expert wedding budget tips + download our very handy (free!) wedding budget spreadsheet.